PDA

View Full Version : Seventy Years



Lew Barrett
01-26-2015, 11:02 AM
Since the liberation of Auschwitz.

Link. (http://www.ushmm.org/information/exhibitions/online-features/special-focus/liberation-of-auschwitz)

What has the world learned since?

Phillip Allen
01-26-2015, 11:03 AM
not much

Memphis Mike
01-26-2015, 11:07 AM
not much

Well you haven't that's for sure because you remain in your little self constructed plastic bubble.

Rum_Pirate
01-26-2015, 11:17 AM
Zilch.

Phillip Allen
01-26-2015, 11:23 AM
Well you haven't that's for sure because you remain in your little self constructed plastic bubble.

thank you for your kind thoughts, George

Canoez
01-26-2015, 11:24 AM
Since the liberation of Auschwitz.

Link. (http://www.ushmm.org/information/exhibitions/online-features/special-focus/liberation-of-auschwitz)

What has the world learned since?

Nowhere near enough, sadly.

Lew Barrett
01-26-2015, 11:29 AM
Controversy still remains as to why the allies didn't bomb either the camp or the rail lines leading to it. Some say the resources to mount a raid were scarce and couldn't be justified as helping to end the war, others that the lack of precision bombing techniques would have resulted in the deaths of even greater numbers of prisoners. Taking out the rail lines would have probably been a kindness, but may not have resulted in more than temporary gains. This controversy among others will live as long as the memories of this most gruesome set of events.

John of Phoenix
01-26-2015, 11:52 AM
I visited the Mauthausen prison camp in Austria a couple of years ago. I couldn't sleep for several days.

http://en.mauthausen-memorial.at/db/admin/de/index_main.php?cbereich=1&cthema=33&carticle=21&fromlist=1

"What has the world learned since? " Makes you wonder about those "dark prisons".

keyhavenpotterer
01-26-2015, 11:59 AM
Germans and Japs can do really terrible things.

Peerie Maa
01-26-2015, 12:01 PM
Germans and Japs can do really terrible things.

They are not alone in that.

Harvey Golden
01-26-2015, 12:29 PM
Germans and Japs can do really terrible things.

Its slandering entire peoples and name calling like that that led to such horrors.

S.V. Airlie
01-26-2015, 01:25 PM
Germans and Japs can do really terrible things.Or the Russians or the Brits or the French or the US. Why stop with the two countries mentioned?

Lew Barrett
01-26-2015, 01:28 PM
Its slandering entire peoples and name calling like that that led to such horrors.

We agree. For the most part, German youth/younger people and following generations are quite contrite about the horrors. There are deniers and neos, but they don't represent the bulk of the population. Japan still has some facing up to do, but I think turning away from the shame of their behavior in the Philippines and China is a cultural artifact and doesn't really represent current attitudes. The people paid the price, but the German ring leaders were hired to build rockets and fight communists. In Japan, even the remains of the generation that fought the war got the message but actual apologies seem to come harder there. Again, I view it as a cultural artifact.

Keith Wilson
01-26-2015, 01:41 PM
What has the world learned since?A lot. That kind of thing was once fairly common, although the Nazis did it with unusual efficiency and organization. It's much less common that it used to be (really), and is less often ignored by other countries.

Phillip Allen
01-26-2015, 01:47 PM
A lot. That kind of thing was once fairly common, although the Nazis did it with unusual efficiency and organization. It's much less common that it used to be (really), and is less often ignored by other countries.

if you live long enough and pay attention, you'll see it again. It's foolish to think that mankind has 'evolved'

hanleyclifford
01-26-2015, 01:50 PM
We have learned where the survivors went so we can keep persecuting them.

S.V. Airlie
01-26-2015, 01:54 PM
If they are still alive. Point one if they are subject to extradition point 2. Many, even found aren't extradited.

Keith Wilson
01-26-2015, 02:17 PM
If you live long enough and pay attention, you'll see it again.Probably true, alas. My point is that it doesn't happen as often as it used to.


It's foolish to think that mankind has 'evolved'We have indeed evolved, but that's not evolution. However, if you look at the numbers, we have indisputably been getting less murderous and less violent for most of human history.

Sky Blue
01-26-2015, 02:39 PM
I believe the fundamental nature of man is savage and brutal, covered over with a thin veneer of civility and government. Civilizations come and go, empires do as well, the same with governments. What remains unchanged is the fundamental nature of man. As such, his pathologies cannot be "unlearned" or "retrained." He is what he is. No more, no less.

And so Phillip is essentially correct. The idea that man has "learned" or "evolved" in such a way that genocide could not re-occur as a factual matter is in fact a silly one; a peculiar but comforting hubris that there is something "new" or "enlightened" about this particular generation of persons that makes it somehow different from every prior one beginning with the dawn of man.

Paul Pless
01-26-2015, 02:51 PM
I believe the fundamental nature of man is savage and brutal. . .You believe that these are the two strongest characteristics of the fundamental nature of man?

John of Phoenix
01-26-2015, 02:54 PM
I'd go with hungry and horny (in no particular order).

Sky Blue
01-26-2015, 03:00 PM
You believe that these are the two strongest characteristics of the fundamental nature of man?

In the context of the question posed by the OP, undoubtedly. This savagery and brutality is intrinsic to man's essential nature. He has not proven his ability to survive without it. History tells us this is so. Indeed, the 20th century in this context was the most savage, brutal and tragic century in the known history of mankind. If we are speaking of having "learned" something, or having "evolved" as an essential matter, the twentieth century, necessarily, could not have occurred in the way that it did.

Lew Barrett
01-26-2015, 03:14 PM
There has been no mechanized, state sponsored genocide on the factory scale practiced by Germany since, but that doesn't mean there haven't been genocides. Most recently we have in no particular order:


Cambodia (intellectuals being particularly singled out)
The Balkans (one might say "payback" for a long list of memories regarding the Ustashi's (http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/backin.htm) actions during WWII)
The Rwandan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_Genocide) genocide (virtually no international actions taken)
Lately the Isis/Boko Haram/Sudan genocides


What and whom have I left out? The scale may not be as vast but the outcome is the same. We can't say it doesn't happen. It seems a constant.

Paul Pless
01-26-2015, 03:17 PM
In the context of the question posed by the OP, undoubtedly. This savagery and brutality is intrinsic to man's essential nature. He has not proven his ability to survive without it. History tells us this is so. Indeed, the 20th century in this context was the most savage, brutal and tragic century in the known history of mankind. If we are speaking of having "learned" something, or having "evolved" as an essential matter, the twentieth century, necessarily, could not have occurred in the way that it did.

The definition of savage is: untamed, uncivilized. I would argue that the entire history of man is one of man being a social creature - by necessity; and of man moving towards civility not away from it.

Lew Barrett
01-26-2015, 03:25 PM
The argument regarding the inherent nature of man may be for another discussion, but I'll add mine briefly. I think man is innately good but that power corrupts and power too often resides in the hands of those who desire it. Why psychopaths so often find the power spot is a matter for further discussion.

Here is a list of genocides roughly covering the years between 1900 and now. (http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/dictat.html)You may have a bone to pick with one or another selection, perhaps preferring to call one or another action a war rather than a genocide. Regardless, the list is still quite long.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-26-2015, 03:38 PM
Baffled by the inclusion of Nixon and omission of Bush the younger but, returning to our muttons, what did anyone expect to change?

Genocide has been a well documented feature of almost every era and is very commonly done to religiously identifiable groups - one might cite the Scottish Covenanters or the Spanish v Netherlanders or ro forwards to the Kurds V everybody and Sunni V the rest of today.


Plus ca change 'n a' that.

Shang
01-26-2015, 03:40 PM
I was walking down the Marshal Street in Syracuse, wearing the leather trench coat I'd purchased in Istanbul a few years before. I thought it was great, because it looked like the coats that German officers wore. An old man spotted me through his shop window and stepped out and stopped me.
"You are not taking proper care of that coat! You have rolled up the sleeves, and the lining needs to be replaced! Take it off!" In his shop he explained to me that a coat of that quality required a skilled hand to keep in repair, and he said that he had learned in a hard school.
Two weeks later, when I picked up the coat it fit perfectly and looked like new. As the old man helped me to put it on he murmured, "Repairing coats like this one kept me alive..." and I noticed the numbers tattooed on his arm.

Lew Barrett
01-26-2015, 03:45 PM
Baffled by the inclusion of Nixon and omission of Bush the younger but, returning to our muttons, what did anyone expect to change?.......
Plus ca change 'n a' that.

As I said, one can quibble about individual definitions, omissions and additions but the weight overall is unbearable.

hanleyclifford
01-26-2015, 03:51 PM
I was walking down the Marshal Street in Syracuse, wearing the leather trench coat I'd purchased in Istanbul a few years before. I thought it was great, because it looked like the coats that German officers wore. An old man spotted me through his shop window and stepped out and stopped me.
"You are not taking proper care of that coat! You have rolled up the sleeves, and the lining needs to be replaced! Take it off!" In his shop he explained to me that a coat of that quality required a skilled hand to keep in repair, and he said that he had learned in a hard school.
Two weeks later, when I picked up the coat it fit perfectly and looked like new. As the old man helped me to put it on he murmured, "Repairing coats like this one kept me alive..." and I noticed the numbers tattooed on his arm. Great story. Thanks for sharing with us.

S.V. Airlie
01-26-2015, 03:54 PM
At this ann. this year, it's gonna be almost the last one where survivors can attend. Most are in their 90's or more.

John Smith
01-26-2015, 03:56 PM
Controversy still remains as to why the allies didn't bomb either the camp or the rail lines leading to it. Some say the resources to mount a raid were scarce and couldn't be justified as helping to end the war, others that the lack of precision bombing techniques would have resulted in the deaths of even greater numbers of prisoners. Taking out the rail lines would have probably been a kindness, but may not have resulted in more than temporary gains. This controversy among others will live as long as the memories of this most gruesome set of events.

I guess we'll never really know. I remember my dad had a friend who was among the troops that marched into one of the camps. I was quite young, but I remember him saying they didn't really believe what they had heard. Until they saw it themselves.

I suppose that lack of belief could have influenced some decisions.

Shang
01-26-2015, 03:57 PM
Great story. Thanks for sharing with us.

The coat still looks pretty good--I gave it to my son, and told him its story.

PeterSibley
01-26-2015, 04:00 PM
Probably true, alas. My point is that it doesn't happen as often as it used to.

We have indeed evolved, but that's not evolution. However, if you look at the numbers, we have indisputably been getting less murderous and less violent for most of human history.

I'd like to agree with you and in the period since the second world war you are certainly right ( if you only look at Europe) but the technologies of death have "improved'' so much that secondary wars are growing increasingly deadly. The war in the Congo, almost unknown in the West is a prime example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Congo_War#Death_toll.

But when it comes to open genocide , camps and open policies of atrocity things have changed for the better, it could of course revert but the world would have to have descended into true chaos before it could occur .

Edited to add.

The Rwandan Genocide was hugely more "efficient" than the Holocaust , between 1 and 2 million people were killed in 100 days ...while we watched on.

Lew Barrett
01-26-2015, 04:14 PM
I guess we'll never really know. I remember my dad had a friend who was among the troops that marched into one of the camps. I was quite young, but I remember him saying they didn't really believe what they had heard. Until they saw it themselves.

I suppose that lack of belief could have influenced some decisions.

It's indisputable that by 1943 the Allies had knowledge that the camp system was in place. This was perhaps not widely shared with the ground combatants, but the Russians knew, and it's almost a given Churchill (and Roosevelt) knew as well. There had been many reports returned by the time the Ghetto in Warsaw was rising, including reports directly sent to the British by the Home Army. By 1944, photo recon aircraft had overflown almost all the camps and photos were taken. It's true the full extent of the crime may not have been realized until the ground was captured, but credible reports had been coming through for months.

I give umbrage in my comment, but Jewish agencies at the time were begging the allies to conduct one.....just one.....raid on the rail lines. Of all the lines taken out, the lines to the camps were almost uniquely unaffected. It will be an enigma for our time.

Sky Blue
01-26-2015, 04:16 PM
Man is and can be many things, all at one time, but in his first instance, he is a beast that must be fed. Certainly the discussion belongs in this thread when examining genocide and asking if anything has been collectively learned as a moral matter. Indeed, the debate must necessarily begin in questioning whether it is in the nature of man to "learn" from such events, or whether such events are emblematic, in part, of what is intrinsically man.

I hasten to add than my view on the essential nature of man as set forth in this thread is most certainly not an original idea, with the concept having been explored throughout the ages, and in more modern times by literary figures such as Joseph Conrad, William Golding, George Orwell, William Clifford, Herman Melville, George R.R. Martin, and many, many others.

Lew, do you think we have learned something, and if so, what?

Sky Blue
01-26-2015, 04:25 PM
I'd like to agree with you and in the period since the second world war you are certainly right ( if you only look at Europe)
it could of course revert but the world would have to have descended into true chaos before it could occur .

I don't know about that, Peter. The events in the former Yugoslavia, while certainly not of scale, seem forgotten in this discussion (that is, the question of whether things have been learned). The entire world didn't need to descend into chaos for genocide to begin work there, nor in Rwanda, nor the Sudan.

PeterSibley
01-26-2015, 04:39 PM
I'll argue that war is chaos and that is what existed in Yugoslavia , Rwanda is a complicated case and a situation where a ruling minority manipulated ethnic hatreds very efficiently. Sudan is chaos, a power vacuum.

Otherwise Europe has been quite wonderfully peaceful. Thank the EU.

Lew Barrett
01-26-2015, 04:41 PM
Man is and can be many things, all at one time, but in his first instance, he is a beast that must be fed. Certainly the discussion belongs in this thread when examining genocide and asking if anything has been collectively learned as a moral matter. Indeed, the debate must necessarily begin in questioning whether it is in the nature of man to "learn" from such events, or whether such events are emblematic, in part, of what is intrinsically man.

I hasten to add than my view on the essential nature of man as set forth in this thread is most certainly not an original idea, with the concept having been explored throughout the ages, and in more modern times by literary figures such as Joseph Conrad, William Golding, George Orwell, William Clifford, Herman Melville, George R.R. Martin, and many, many others.

Lew, do you think we have learned something, and if so, what?

It's one of those questions, is it not.....the nature of man? You hint at it: we're both, but I just prefer to think that eventually good will always triumph. I hate to use this word but perhaps it's like the dialectic: a constant struggle with imperceptible progress. I think you can fairly make the argument in respect to our basic nature either way; a matter of preference.

I do think we learn, but in a two steps forward, one step back sort of way. And each generation seems to need to learn for itself. No doubt the west has taken strides. the battle has moved on here and is now identified for what it is lately: economic, not racial. Broadly speaking.

So, a cop out then. It's hard to talk about the family of man as a singular entity, so much is a function of culture and place. I don't think we'll see a European genocide in our lifetimes (have to worry a bit about the Turks and the Kurds), but in the way they took place as 'ethnic cleansing?' Not likely.


Yet I think genocide as an international problem is far from resolved, and they prove it every day somewhere. The Chinese and the Tibetans and so on. And of course, they set up camps to hammer the Muslims in the Serbia a scant 10 years ago. One can be forgiven for being a pessimist.

Sky Blue
01-26-2015, 04:43 PM
Thank the EU? I don't think so, Peter. Surely you jest. But that, surely, is a discussion for another thread.

PeterSibley
01-26-2015, 04:43 PM
I do not jest, not even a little bit.

Lew Barrett
01-26-2015, 05:03 PM
The Rwandan Genocide was hugely more "efficient" than the Holocaust , between 1 and 2 million people were killed in 100 days ...while we watched on.

I think those numbers may be high, but I have not looked lately to see what the tally was. What made the Rwandan genocide 'special' was the way an entire population engaged in it directly and personally. Very brutal, but then, which of these aren't? When it's you, your family, your home and your world, the scale comes down to one. We are obliged not to forget that.

What makes the Nazi thing unique has become a bit of a platitude, but it's very real enough. The engagement of a highly evolved and civilized culture in an incredibly complex and well organized industrial dance designed to eek the maximum profit out of wholesale slaughter on the cruelest and most enormous scale has never been seen before and we hope won't be again. Bear in mind; they tried to hide it all, they knew exactly what the world's judgment would be. The knew precisely what they were doing. They invented a whole language and a complete system to maximize the tally and reduce the event to technical jargon. Resettlement, special treatment, a "solution" to a "problem."

Each devastation is unique it its way. And yet, it's all the same.

Paul Pless
01-26-2015, 05:05 PM
It's one of those questions, is it not.....the nature of man? You hint at it: we're both, but I just prefer to think that eventually good will always triumph. I hate to use this word but perhaps it's like the dialectic: a constant struggle with imperceptible progress. I think you can fairly make the argument in respect to our basic nature either way; a matter of preference.

I do think we learn, but in a two steps forward, one step back sort of way. And each generation seems to need to learn for itself. No doubt the west has taken strides. the battle has moved on here and is now identified for what it is lately: economic, not racial. Broadly speaking.

So, a cop out then. It's hard to talk about the family of man as a singular entity, so much is a function of culture and place. I don't think we'll see a European genocide in our lifetimes (have to worry a bit about the Turks and the Kurds), but in the way they took place as 'ethnic cleansing?' Not likely.


Yet I think genocide as an international problem is far from resolved, and they prove it every day somewhere. The Chinese and the Tibetans and so on. And of course, they set up camps to hammer the Muslims in the Serbia a scant 10 years ago. One can be forgiven for being a pessimist.


For all the advances of western civilization, we white people just don't give a damn about brown people, what we do to them or what they do to themselves.
unless of course there's oil involved. . .

Peerie Maa
01-26-2015, 05:08 PM
I believe the fundamental nature of man is savage and brutal, covered over with a thin veneer of civility and government. Civilizations come and go, empires do as well, the same with governments. What remains unchanged is the fundamental nature of man. As such, his pathologies cannot be "unlearned" or "retrained." He is what he is. No more, no less.

And so Phillip is essentially correct. The idea that man has "learned" or "evolved" in such a way that genocide could not re-occur as a factual matter is in fact a silly one; a peculiar but comforting hubris that there is something "new" or "enlightened" about this particular generation of persons that makes it somehow different from every prior one beginning with the dawn of man.

Not necessarily true.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228340.100-steven-pinker-humans-are-less-violent-than-ever.html

Sky Blue
01-26-2015, 05:23 PM
Not necessarily true

I think it is given what history teaches us and I think most serious persons would agree. Evolution of a kind described by Mr. Pinker is an interesting idea, a worthy field of study, an ideal to strive for, but in the end, just wishful thinking imho.

S.V. Airlie
01-26-2015, 05:34 PM
Other perspective. When I was messing about in the Alps, ran into an ex prisoner of war, German who was in a Russian camp. If he could have stood up, he would have been more than 6' tall. However, he as on wood detail and a tree fell on him in Russia. Broke his back! Could even crawl out of his bunk. Russians said "No Work, No food". He relied on his bunk mates for food for two years. When I saw him, me was about 4'10". So, it happened in other countries as well.

Keith Wilson
01-26-2015, 05:37 PM
Evolution of a kind described by Mr. Pinker is an interesting idea, a worthy field of study, an ideal to strive for, but in the end, just wishful thinking imho.This 'evolution' - actually a change in human standards and behavior - has actually occurred. The evidence is irrefutable. We still do dreadful things sometimes, but not as often and not as bad. It's a very clear trend over the past several thousand years, even despite mechanized warfare and horrors like the Rwandan genocide. I seriously suggest you read Mr. Pinker's latest book book, The Better Angels of Our Nature (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature). It's long and dense, and occasionally overreaches, but it presents incontrovertible evidence that humans actually have gotten much less violent.

There are two major reasons we tend not to see this:
- We're hard-wired to give greater importance to bad news. Missing bad news can kill you; missing good news could lead to lost opportunities. Guess which was more strongly selected for among our ancestors? A subset of this is 'bad news sells papers' or 'bad news attracts viewers'.
- Our standards have improved at least as fast as our behavior. What was standard procedure 500 years ago is considered a hideous atrocity now, an example of our inherent depravity.


. . . we white people just don't give a damn about brown people . . . This was once true, but less so every year. The fact that you think it's a fault is good evidence of improvement.

johnw
01-26-2015, 05:42 PM
There has been no mechanized, state sponsored genocide on the factory scale practiced by Germany since, but that doesn't mean there haven't been genocides. Most recently we have in no particular order:


Cambodia (intellectuals being particularly singled out)
The Balkans (one might say "payback" for a long list of memories regarding the Ustashi's (http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/backin.htm) actions during WWII)
The Rwandan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_Genocide) genocide (virtually no international actions taken)
Lately the Isis/Boko Haram/Sudan genocides


What and whom have I left out? The scale may not be as vast but the outcome is the same. We can't say it doesn't happen. It seems a constant.

The Holocaust was a pogrom on an industrial scale. The history of genocide generally has been more visceral, emotional, and personal in the means of killing. It all goes back to a feeling of tribalism, which has been generally tamped down by nationalism where nation building has been competed. I doubt we'll ever get past the motivations behind it, but we may get cultural and institutional restraints on those motivations.

PeterSibley
01-26-2015, 05:52 PM
I think those numbers may be high, but I have not looked lately to see what the tally was. What made the Rwandan genocide 'special' was the way an entire population engaged in it directly and personally. Very brutal, but then, which of these aren't? When it's you, your family, your home and your world, the scale comes down to one. We are obliged not to forget that.

What makes the Nazi thing unique has become a bit of a platitude, but it's very real enough. The engagement of a highly evolved and civilized culture in an incredibly complex and well organized industrial dance designed to eek the maximum profit out of wholesale slaughter on the cruelest and most enormous scale has never been seen before and we hope won't be again. Bear in mind; they tried to hide it all, they knew exactly what the world's judgment would be. The knew precisely what they were doing. They invented a whole language and a complete system to maximize the tally and reduce the event to technical jargon. Resettlement, special treatment, a "solution" to a "problem."

Each devastation is unique it its way. And yet, it's all the same.

The difference seems to have been that in a generation the Germans and their many, many assistants could have and probably would have denied the Holocaust ever took place. The Rwandans were entirely happy to perform in the street.

Keith Wilson
01-26-2015, 05:55 PM
It all goes back to a feeling of tribalism, which has been generally tamped down by nationalism where nation building has been competed.And by capitalism; that's a big one. Even exploitative capitalism finds it more profitable to exploit than massacre.

PeterSibley
01-26-2015, 06:09 PM
The Rwandan massacres were largely about power, position and money . Who had it and who wanted it.

Phillip Allen
01-26-2015, 06:32 PM
We have indeed evolved, but that's not evolution. However, if you look at the numbers, we have indisputably been getting less murderous and less violent for most of human history.

no... the likelihood of being caught has gone up, making savage people a bit more careful

Keith Wilson
01-26-2015, 06:35 PM
I have no idea whether human nature has changed, Phillip, or even whether such a thing really exists. I was talking about behavior. We are indisputably behaving much less violently toward each other.

Phillip Allen
01-26-2015, 06:40 PM
I was walking down the Marshal Street in Syracuse, wearing the leather trench coat I'd purchased in Istanbul a few years before. I thought it was great, because it looked like the coats that German officers wore. An old man spotted me through his shop window and stepped out and stopped me.
"You are not taking proper care of that coat! You have rolled up the sleeves, and the lining needs to be replaced! Take it off!" In his shop he explained to me that a coat of that quality required a skilled hand to keep in repair, and he said that he had learned in a hard school.
Two weeks later, when I picked up the coat it fit perfectly and looked like new. As the old man helped me to put it on he murmured, "Repairing coats like this one kept me alive..." and I noticed the numbers tattooed on his arm.

GAD...

Phillip Allen
01-26-2015, 06:46 PM
since they don't teach history or writing in school anymore... the pendulum may have begun it's reverse swing... again

Lew Barrett
01-26-2015, 06:49 PM
The difference seems to have been that in a generation the Germans and their many, many assistants could have and probably would have denied the Holocaust ever took place. The Rwandans were entirely happy to perform in the street.

Exactly so. Personal and close in Rwanda. The neighbor's genocide. Industrial, even scientifically engineered in Germany's camps. Unless one was directly involved, the smell could be imagined away.

johnw
01-26-2015, 07:00 PM
What the holocaust and Rwanda have in common is the dehumanization of the victims. That's the cultural thing we need to target.

Sky Blue
01-26-2015, 07:03 PM
This 'evolution' - actually a change in human standards and behavior - has actually occurred. The evidence is irrefutable. We still do dreadful things sometimes, but not as often and not as bad. It's a very clear trend over the past several thousand years, even despite mechanized warfare and horrors like the Rwandan genocide. I seriously suggest you read Mr. Pinker's latest book book, The Better Angels of Our Nature (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature). It's long and dense, and occasionally overreaches, but it presents incontrovertible evidence that humans actually have gotten much less violent.


Keith, respectfully, we are discussing issues of much greater complexity than mere violence, and because of that, I don't think we are talking about the same thing.

There are just so many problems with this view that it is difficult to know where to begin. Few serious persons who have considered the matter in depth believe that man's essential nature is changeable in any fundamental way, let alone capable of some form of linear evolution. Man is what he is, what he has always been and will always be. The changes, such as they are, are grounded in the civilizing effects of culture, society and government. Man himself does not change. Strip away those societal and cultural veneers, and history shows us who we fundamentally are. Over and over and over.

We have become less violent? As an evolutionary matter? Irrefutably proven? Few things, Keith, precious few cannot be rebutted in some manner. And even if we are less violent, that changes nothing. We can live communally in an utterly non-violent society, but we still are possessed with latent savagery and barbarity. It is who we are. It is what we are.

I appreciate that you may believe this, Keith, why it may be appealing and desirable to believe this, why it is perhaps an emerging and important field of study. I'm afraid it doesn't matter, however, as we are speaking of two very different things.

PeterSibley
01-26-2015, 07:06 PM
and what you overlook SB is that humanity does not live in a social or cultural vacuum and if cultures "evolve" those living in them change , DNA aside.

Keith Wilson
01-26-2015, 07:17 PM
Again, I am speaking of behavior. That is measurable - and in the end, that is what we are concerned about. Human behavior over the past several thousand years has gotten much less violent; this is really not open to dispute. As far as human nature, which I suppose is a way of describing how evolution has shaped the way we tend to behave under different circumstances, I'd bet it hasn't changed much, if at all. Biological evolution is too slow for that. But 'how we fundamentally are' is a concept that needs to be approached with some care. Human beings are nothing if not adaptable. We live in paces from the Kalahari desert to downtown Tokyo, and everything in between. We have a wide range of social norms that affect what we get from biology. Human societies vary over a pretty wide range in something, much less in others. We are certainly not infinitely changeable, but we are capable of learning and behaving differently - and we have. Sure, we're still capable of every atrocity our ancestors committed. That doesn't mean we're doomed to behave that way.

Phillip Allen
01-26-2015, 07:21 PM
that's a very hopeful sentiment, Keith... good luck with it

Lew Barrett
01-26-2015, 07:26 PM
As Professor Whittlebucker once said, it's all a matter of perspective.

I think it takes a special kind of evil to come up with a concentration camp scheme or a willingness to hack off a child's limbs with a machete, but as John (w) said, once you sufficiently dehumanize your fellow citizens, you can do convince yourself to do anything. Himmler, it's said, was a rather unremarkable chicken farmer. I don't think any serious study of the subject yields any reasonable answer but that we are individually and as a species capable of anything. Some do remarkable good in their lives, other unspeakable evil. Most of us can be found capable of both.

I think the trick is to feed the good part and try to starve the beast. A lot of people seem to do that with good success. But if we doubt that we are still capable of being beasts, I think we do ourselves a disservice.

Sky Blue
01-26-2015, 07:32 PM
But 'how we fundamentally are' is a concept that needs to be approached with some care. Human beings are nothing if not adaptable. We live in paces from the Kalahari desert to downtown Tokyo

I agree, Keith, but it is not as if I haven't considered this issue in depth, read about it, thought about it in view of history, studied the thinkers and writers who argue it.

I would dispute that as an evolutionary matter it can be shown that human are by nature less violent than in the past. As an issue of civilizing forces, however, I would grant it. And adaptation is fine. Again, something different from what we are talking about, but a useful springboard for further discussion. I

For example, if the waterholes completely dry up in the Kalahari desert so there is no water within 500 miles except that currently carried in goatskins, and if somehow Tokyo becomes completely dry, so there is no water to drink at all, what do you suppose happens? Do you suppose that evolutionarily, something has fundamentally changed that would dictate a result different from precisely what our knowledge about human nature tells us would occur when the civilizing effect of abundant water is removed?

I don't think so.

Lew Barrett
01-26-2015, 07:47 PM
I think it profits us more to believe we are better rather than worse, Sky. It may be a lie, but I think we're better off for it. Otherwise, I may be the liberal here that agrees with you. I don't find it that hard to believe we are capable of both good and evil in roughly equal measure, but that most of us find decent behavior to be more rewarding in most company. When we get to fighting over the last water, the reptile brain rules, but be it remembered that within the camps, there were those who shared their last scraps of bread and refused to be abased by the cruelty surrounding them.

The literature is full of such stories.

Sky Blue
01-26-2015, 08:06 PM
Yes, I agree, Lew. After all, if we are nothing but brutes in the end, what is there really to live (or die) for? It does lead one into a bit of nihilism. So yes, I do see the profit.

And I agree that there will always be those few who remain committed to civility, at the price of their own deaths, rather than join the horde in the bloodlust to survive.

We do need to remember the OP in thinking about what we have learned, if anything. Or whether we are capable of learning it as ultimately contrary to our natures. Or even if we can learn, then whether than matters in the context of our true natures. I think it does. Which is why the literature is out there in the first place. But if not, then what can be done anyway in considering how civilization should be ordered to minimize the harm associated with our deepest pathologies.

Great thread. Thank you, Lew.

S.V. Airlie
01-26-2015, 08:08 PM
Chi8ldren under 5 are not inherently bad. They learn that from their parents.

Sky Blue
01-26-2015, 08:18 PM
Jamie, they have no choice in the matter. It is not a question of good or bad. It just is.

The civilizing effect of our culture tells us it is "bad," and it is, much as a housecat that kills birds is "bad." And of course it is disconcerting and frightening to learn that this is what we really are under de-civilizing forces. The novel Lord of the Flies explores this in the context of children. Perhaps you remember it from your school days.

S.V. Airlie
01-26-2015, 08:21 PM
I know they don't have a choice regarding parents. That's not what I'm saying. I'm talking about the formative years when the brain catches up to their bodies.

PeterSibley
01-26-2015, 08:37 PM
Jamie, they have no choice in the matter. It is not a question of good or bad. It just is.

The civilizing effect of our culture tells us it is "bad," and it is, much as a housecat that kills birds is "bad." And of course it is disconcerting and frightening to learn that this is what we really are under de-civilizing forces. The novel Lord of the Flies explores this in the context of children. Perhaps you remember it from your school days.

I do, an unpleasant distopian fantasy.

S.V. Airlie
01-26-2015, 08:41 PM
Sky the kids in the LOTF. were teenagers, not 5yr. olds.

Phillip Allen
01-26-2015, 09:09 PM
individually, we may exhibit good or evil, but collectively, we lean toward evil. it may be that, in a 'crowd' it is easier to pretend to be someone else being evil... such as my complaint about injustice in the very organizations which are supposed to protect us. if that doesn't outrage us, then what does?

to use WWII as an example, I suspect that individually, all those killer Germans were mostly good people, but some opportunistic people knew that forced into a crowd, large masses of people could (and still can) be manipulated to do wrong easier than to do good. generalized hysteria such as the Twin Towers destruction lead to very draconian measures that none of us were likely to approve of as individuals.

think about our own Indian Wars... genocide was the approved way to deal with an uncomfortable position we had put ourselves into... "the only good Indian... "

our own fathers and grandfathers must have been (some of them... but which?) among the rapists who brutalized the German countryside and cities during the occupation.

we live with our heads in the sand and become viscous with anyone trying to show us what's happening.

education would help but that is being toned down as we discuss this... and no one is outraged, just like no one was outraged at the Patriot Act until it became undeniably obvious

here is a documentary of WWII but only a link because Scot will not approve of parts of it... I recommend we all watch it... I already have (about once a year)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfRq-JeUCSM

PeterSibley
01-26-2015, 09:31 PM
So Phillip, you find your community basically evil?

Phillip Allen
01-26-2015, 09:38 PM
So Phillip, you find your community basically evil?

if you insist on inserting the word 'community' this discussion will fall apart... is that your aim?

an accusatory post serves no good and only reinforces my point, though most won't see it

PeterSibley
01-26-2015, 09:41 PM
It's an noun that describes a group of people, ones you know well. I'm just wondering if your rather broad brush condemnation of others applies equally to you and yours ?

Peter Malcolm Jardine
01-26-2015, 09:41 PM
Again, I am speaking of behavior. That is measurable - and in the end, that is what we are concerned about. Human behavior over the past several thousand years has gotten much less violent; this is really not open to dispute. As far as human nature, which I suppose is a way of describing how evolution has shaped the way we tend to behave under different circumstances, I'd bet it hasn't changed much, if at all. Biological evolution is too slow for that. But 'how we fundamentally are' is a concept that needs to be approached with some care. Human beings are nothing if not adaptable. We live in paces from the Kalahari desert to downtown Tokyo, and everything in between. We have a wide range of social norms that affect what we get from biology. Human societies vary over a pretty wide range in something, much less in others. We are certainly not infinitely changeable, but we are capable of learning and behaving differently - and we have. Sure, we're still capable of every atrocity our ancestors committed. That doesn't mean we're doomed to behave that way.


I admire your optimism, and I do believe that human beings are more good than bad. I don't share your view of modern history. Despite the fact that no genocide the size of the Holocaust has reoccurred, there have been ongoing sizeable genocides in the last fifty years, notably in Africa. Africa is that last bastion of colonial thought. Western nations look at Africa as people who are somewhat incapable of taking care of themselves, and there is a distinct global racism involved. Quite conveniently, this same lack of modern infrastructure there allows us to ignore much of the incredible hardship and oppression that lives in Africa, out of sight, out of mind. When we do consider African genocides and other created famines and so on, it is with a backslapping congratulatory thought as we dole out aid with lovely pop songs as an anthem for our previous indifference. No one seems to remember how much exploitation western nations have exhibited in Africa, from Cote D'Ivoire to South African, Rhodesia and so on. The number of savage regimes that have been propped up by western nations on the dark continent has result in a far greater number of preventable deaths than the holocaust. The same slow inexorable genocide as a result of this indifference is taking place today. It isn't much better than 50 years ago, and it's worse than 150 years ago.

Anyone know the biggest killer disease in Africa? Cancer? nope, AIDS? nope. Number one, responsible for 800,000 deaths is PNEUMONIA. Some of the other top diseases are measles, tuberculosis, meningitis, syphilis...... There are 300,000 deaths, mostly among children, from WHOOPING COUGH!!!. Tell me that the absence of a five dollar immunization to a child isn't genocide in a different manner, especially when you look at a Deboers diamond in the showcase. The bottom line is we only give lip service to Africa. We have rationalized our indifference, just like the villagers in Auschwitz didn't know what was happening at the camp.

Phillip Allen
01-26-2015, 09:42 PM
It's an noun that describes a group of people, ones you know well. I'm just wondering if your rather broad brush condemnation of others applies equally to you and yours ?

I assume that it does... I would be foolish to consider myself an exception before the test... so would the rest of us

Phillip Allen
01-26-2015, 09:46 PM
I admire your optimism, and I do believe that human beings are more good than bad. I don't share your view of modern history. Despite the fact that no genocide the size of the Holocaust has reoccurred, there have been ongoing sizeable genocides in the last fifty years, notably in Africa. Africa is that last bastion of colonial thought. Western nations look at Africa as people who are somewhat incapable of taking care of themselves, and there is a distinct global racism involved. Quite conveniently, this same lack of modern infrastructure there allows us to ignore much of the incredible hardship and oppression that lives in Africa, out of sight, out of mind. When we do consider African genocides and other created famines and so on, it is with a backslapping congratulatory thought as we dole out aid with lovely pop songs as an anthem for our previous indifference. No one seems to remember how much exploitation western nations have exhibited in Africa, from Cote D'Ivoire to South African, Rhodesia and so on. The number of savage regimes that have been propped up by western nations on the dark continent has result in a far greater number of preventable deaths than the holocaust. The same slow inexorable genocide as a result of this indifference is taking place today. It isn't much better than 50 years ago, and it's worse than 150 years ago.

Anyone know the biggest killer disease in Africa? Cancer? nope, AIDS? nope. Number one, responsible for 800,000 deaths is PNEUMONIA. Some of the other top diseases are measles, tuberculosis, meningitis, syphilis...... There are 300,000 deaths, mostly among children, from WHOOPING COUGH!!!. Tell me that the absence of a five dollar immunization to a child isn't genocide in a different manner, especially when you look at a Deboers diamond in the showcase. The bottom line is we only give lip service to Africa. We have rationalized our indifference, just like the villagers in Auschwitz didn't know what was happening at the camp.

I agree in general and don't believe this is the time to argue small points

PeterSibley
01-26-2015, 09:50 PM
Phillip, you sound depressed. If you try you can find all manner of evil, the newspapers and the net are full of it. But of course goodness and civility aren't newsworthy .... and there are good evolutionary reasons for that. It's much more important to hear about the dangers out there than the normality and the beauty.

But the overwhelming majority of human interactions are mutually beneficial and pleasant. It's called community.

Sometimes it goes wrong, but usually it doesn't.

Phillip Allen
01-26-2015, 09:57 PM
Phillip, you sound depressed. If you try you can find all manner of evil, the newspapers and the net are full of it. But of course goodness and civility aren't newsworthy .... and there are good evolutionary reasons for that. It's much more important to hear about the dangers out there than the normality and the beauty.

But the overwhelming majority of human interactions are mutually beneficial and pleasant. It's called community.

Sometimes it goes wrong, but usually it doesn't.

I wouldn't advise writing me off that easily... however, I insist on liking people... even you :)

PeterSibley
01-26-2015, 09:58 PM
Thanks Phil, keep smiling .Y>

Lew Barrett
01-26-2015, 11:10 PM
I'll argue that war is chaos and that is what existed in Yugoslavia , Rwanda is a complicated case and a situation where a ruling minority manipulated ethnic hatreds very efficiently. Sudan is chaos, a power vacuum.

Otherwise Europe has been quite wonderfully peaceful. Thank the EU.

I just reread this, Peter, and I believe you have the situation in what was Yugoslavia mistaken. There was a very distinct genocide, and if I recall, it's the "war" for which the term 'ethnic cleansing' was devised. They're still hunting some of the bad actors.

PeterSibley
01-27-2015, 12:07 AM
Lew, is the question was the war and the conquest the primary and the ethnic cleansing secondary or the other way around ? Frankly I don't know .

Paul Pless
01-27-2015, 04:56 AM
let's kick this thread down the road into page three or four:

Why is that its basiclly conservative voices arguing that man's essential nature (whatever the hell that is) is essentially barbaic, savage, brutal, even evil; and its the liberals here arguing the counterpoint, that man is basically not those things, and has also capable of evolving with regards to behavior but more often than not as individuals and as society exhibits good, just, civil and even altruistic behaviors?

PeterSibley
01-27-2015, 05:05 AM
let's kick this thread down the road into page three or four:

Why is that its basically conservative voices arguing that man's essential nature (whatever the hell that is) is essentially barbaic, savage, brutal, even evil; and its the liberals here arguing the counterpoint, that man is basically not those things, and has also capable of evolving with regards to behavior but more often than not as individuals and as society exhibits good, just, civil and even altruistic behaviors?

and even more curiously, it is the conservatives ( who believe in man's essential barbarity ) who want less government in their lives , less control, while the liberal side of things, those who have a somewhat rosier perspective on humanity and it's possibilities who find government more acceptable .

Surely freeing the savage beast isn't ideal in a crowded world ?:D

Peerie Maa
01-27-2015, 05:15 AM
I have a feeling that this talk of humanity evolving is missing a trick. Humanity evolved the ability to think and pass on ideas so that we could adapt to changes much faster than the hard wired reflexes of other animals adapt to change. Hence our success. This talk of “Are we evolving to become less violent” is really “Is society, on average, learning to become less violent”. Some cultures are learning slower than others, due to differing speeds of dissemination of ideas through their society. Some sections of society, due to political thought processes, are not learning that lesson. Some societies because of some persistent meme are unwilling to consider becoming less violent. But the evidence is there. In spite of these outliers the Blue Dot is becoming a safer place.

PeterSibley
01-27-2015, 05:24 AM
Agreed, some seem to think our DNA has to change to evolve but man is essentially a social animal. We behave and learn according to the memes around us, language, custom , religion and they change and are changing and seemingly for the better.

Of course if the environment in which we live changed for the worse our behaviour would probably reflect that.

Keith Wilson
01-27-2015, 08:02 AM
It isn't much better than 50 years ago, and it's worse than 150 years ago. Excuse me? Do you know anything about what much of Africa was like before the European empires? Ever heard of Shaka Zulu? The African end of the slave trade, the ones who actually caught the slaves and sold them to the Europeans? I'm not defending imperialism at all, but the idea that it was mostly Europe that caused Africa's problems is a very partial truth at best.

The Bigfella
01-27-2015, 08:20 AM
and even more curiously, it is the conservatives ( who believe in man's essential barbarity ) who want less government in their lives , less control, while the liberal side of things, those who have a somewhat rosier perspective on humanity and it's possibilities who find government more acceptable .

Surely freeing the savage beast isn't ideal in a crowded world ?:D

You really do have a confused, caustic and illogical view of things, don't you? Don't confuse government and government intrusion.

John Smith
01-27-2015, 08:44 AM
It's an noun that describes a group of people, ones you know well. I'm just wondering if your rather broad brush condemnation of others applies equally to you and yours ?

"Gang" also describes a group of people. Is it your opinion all groups are equal?

John Smith
01-27-2015, 08:47 AM
let's kick this thread down the road into page three or four:

Why is that its basiclly conservative voices arguing that man's essential nature (whatever the hell that is) is essentially barbaic, savage, brutal, even evil; and its the liberals here arguing the counterpoint, that man is basically not those things, and has also capable of evolving with regards to behavior but more often than not as individuals and as society exhibits good, just, civil and even altruistic behaviors?

I don't know if this fits, but every ramp onto every highway in my area is a disastrous collection of litter. Empty cans and bottles tossed from cars. I think this says a great deal about human nature. When no one is looking we are far less prone to do the proper thing.

S.V. Airlie
01-27-2015, 09:00 AM
Every road has this problem. People have a strange response to trash land degradation etc. Man's answer in the 19th century was just go west when the land went bust and trash built up. Every year when I was in NC, we had trouble getting to pick up trash. One year we advertised that 3 cans held $100.00 bills. We didn't have to search long for volunteers to pick up the garbage!:)

Phillip Allen
01-27-2015, 09:03 AM
I don't know if this fits, but every ramp onto every highway in my area is a disastrous collection of litter. Empty cans and bottles tossed from cars. I think this says a great deal about human nature. When no one is looking we are far less prone to do the proper thing.

THERE is the connection to my comment about crowds being more likely to commit savage acts than individuals... so long as we can hide behind our neighbor, we are much more likely to do wrong

Sky Blue
01-27-2015, 09:31 AM
liberals versus conservatives in this discussion

That's just here in the Bilge where the same personalities like to engage the same persons on statements. We see this occur on other topics in the Bilge as well.

I would argue that historically, the vast majority of persons that have formally argued the thesis I have echoed in this thread (the writers, philosophers and other thinkers) were in fact "liberal" in orientation as Americans understand and apply that term.

And it is possible that there are liberals here following this thread that agree with my view but are not commenting on it (so as not to appear to agree with Sky Blue or disagree with Keith, for example) and there may be conservatives following the thread who are doing the same, etc.

The Bilge has is relationships and its credibilities and its clubs and buddy systems, none of which should be taken to mean that this discussion is somehow inherently partisan.

devout
01-27-2015, 09:57 AM
Of course the Germans learnt all they needed to know from the British. My surname is also van Zyl, although I don't know if I can claim to be family.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lizzie_van_Zyl

Phillip Allen
01-27-2015, 11:01 AM
That's just here in the Bilge where the same personalities like to engage the same persons on statements. We see this occur on other topics in the Bilge as well.

I would argue that historically, the vast majority of persons that have formally argued the thesis I have echoed in this thread (the writers, philosophers and other thinkers) were in fact "liberal" in orientation as Americans understand and apply that term.

And it is possible that there are liberals here following this thread that agree with my view but are not commenting on it (so as not to appear to agree with Sky Blue or disagree with Keith, for example) and there may be conservatives following the thread who are doing the same, etc.

The Bilge has is relationships and its credibilities and its clubs and buddy systems, none of which should be taken to mean that this discussion is somehow inherently partisan.

thank you for that accurate observation

Lew Barrett
01-27-2015, 11:21 AM
Yes, there are friendships and alliances formed here. That's true in any community, and this one is tighter than most as online sites go. Naturally people of like mind will tend to group together and share common ideas, thoughts and fears. Phillip, you have been a beneficiary of this community when hard times have struck. Just like many of us have.

You've received gifts when in pain, good thoughts and hopes when ill or troubled but not without the commentary and catcalls when you (like on every single thread!) are expressing ideas or bubba-mensas that come along with running contrary to the prevailing opinion. You're touchy and sensitive about a lot of things, but you keep coming back for more and whenever you need some moral support, it's always there for you. Frankly, I'm surprised at how much personal stuff you are willing to express here, but it seems the forum is always willing to lend you an ear when you need it.
Yet you can maintain and add to any political schism with the best of them, overlooking your own built in preferences and biases, just as most people are wont to do.

But when you have some sort of dilemma or event, where's the first place you voice yourself? Right here. I find nothing wrong with that and will do it myself when I'm so moved, but it's a hypocrisy to bitch about the arguments you engage in while expecting the same people to support you when you're singing the blues. Overall, certainly not unanimously, but as a general rule, this is a pretty caring bunch of people who are willing to drop the pretenses when the chips are down.

Sky, the place is indeed a community of like and dissimilar interests. I wouldn't have it any other way and enjoy the discussion and support. Yeah, some people seem always to run contrary to what I consider logical reasoning while others seem to enlighten and educate with their knowledge and perception. I run with the guys that feed my sensibilities. Is it any other way anywhere in the world?

S.V. Airlie
01-27-2015, 11:23 AM
Nailed it Lew!

Harvey Golden
01-27-2015, 11:27 AM
Agreed, some seem to think our DNA has to change to evolve but man is essentially a social animal. We behave and learn according to the memes around us, language, custom , religion and they change and are changing and seemingly for the better.

Of course if the environment in which we live changed for the worse our behaviour would probably reflect that.


This might be of interest to some: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/07/3/l_073_03.html

...Unlike these fellers, we have the capacity to reflect and change our behavior.

Best,
Harvey

Lew Barrett
01-27-2015, 11:28 AM
Thanks Jamie. If the place sucks so much, why would anybody who felt that way hang out here all day long? Don't answer that! :)

Lew Barrett
01-27-2015, 11:30 AM
We're animals. Except for dogs, animals aren't good or bad. They just are. Dogs are special:)

I think we do need to learn to hate. We're not born hating. Love comes easily when it is given freely. Hate needs to be taught.

Peerie Maa
01-27-2015, 11:39 AM
Of course the Germans learnt all they needed to know from the British. My surname is also van Zyl, although I don't know if I can claim to be family.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lizzie_van_Zyl

Would you care to qualify that extremely broad brush statement?

devout
01-27-2015, 11:52 AM
Would you care to qualify that extremely broad brush statement?

It has been suggested that concentration camps was a British invention, during the Boer wars. The British was unable to defeat the Boers, so they went for the women and children. It was also the start of the particularly pesky business of guerrilla warfare. Google it, lots of info around.

MiddleAgesMan
01-27-2015, 11:59 AM
Well said, Mr. . B

Peerie Maa
01-27-2015, 12:21 PM
It has been suggested that concentration camps was a British invention, during the Boer wars. The British was unable to defeat the Boers, so they went for the women and children. It was also the start of the particularly pesky business of guerrilla warfare. Google it, lots of info around.

I know that the use of Concentration camp as a term was coined during the Boer war. I also know that the conditions, probably due to the incompetence of the army were appalling. However if you follow the links through Wiki, you will find this:
This was not the first appearance of internment camps. The Spanish had used internment in the Ten Years' War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Years%27_War) that led to the Spanish-American War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish-American_War), and the United States had used them to devastate guerrilla forces during the Philippine-American War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine-American_War). But the Boer War concentration camp system was the first time that a whole nation had been systematically targeted, and the first in which some whole regions had been depopulated.
The same Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Boer_War#Concentration_camps_.281900.E2.80. 931902.29 goes on to tell the full story.
Your linking the German policy of deliberate genocide to British consequences of incompetence without that intent is offensive.

Sky Blue
01-27-2015, 12:31 PM
I wouldn't have it any other way

Nor would I, Lew. My remarks in response to Paul's observation that things were lining out in this discussion on a partisan basis were not intended to be any kind of a criticism of the Bilge or any forum members, indeed, it is just another observation intended to add color to Paul's thoughts.

PeterSibley
01-27-2015, 04:14 PM
This might be of interest to some: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/07/3/l_073_03.html

...Unlike these fellers, we have the capacity to reflect and change our behavior.

Best,
Harvey

Thank you , that was very interesting and we seem to be somewhere between the two now and moving slowly to the bonobo side .

Lew Barrett
01-27-2015, 04:35 PM
Nor would I, Lew. My remarks in response to Paul's observation that things were lining out in this discussion on a partisan basis were not intended to be any kind of a criticism of the Bilge or any forum members, indeed, it is just another observation intended to add color to Paul's thoughts.

You're good with me. I learn from you in equal measure as we discuss events and I'm eager to consider your viewpoints on any number of issues, agreeing or disagreeing at my pleasure.BY:D The longer one is here, the more one sees that the fellowship of the Bilge can be very concrete. I consider that I have friends around the world who are welcome in my house as I imagine I would be in theirs.

I don't agree 100% on all things with anybody, even my wife! But we're still together in this thing!

Lew Barrett
01-27-2015, 04:46 PM
I know that the use of Concentration camp as a term was coined during the Boer war. I also know that the conditions, probably due to the incompetence of the army were appalling. However if you follow the links through Wiki, you will find this:
The same Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Boer_War#Concentration_camps_.281900.E2.80. 931902.29 goes on to tell the full story.
Your linking the German policy of deliberate genocide to British consequences of incompetence without that intent is offensive.

If we consider the developments following independence for South Africa, we eventually come to another example of how not to treat our fellow human beings.
As was pointed out by you or Peter (S or PMJ, or maybe all three of you) developments in general for Africa before, during and after the Colonial era(s) have fallen miserably short of any ideal we might aspire to.

PeterSibley
01-27-2015, 04:54 PM
As Professor Whittlebucker once said, it's all a matter of perspective.

I think it takes a special kind of evil to come up with a concentration camp scheme or a willingness to hack off a child's limbs with a machete, but as John (w) said, once you sufficiently dehumanize your fellow citizens, you can do convince yourself to do anything. Himmler, it's said, was a rather unremarkable chicken farmer. I don't think any serious study of the subject yields any reasonable answer but that we are individually and as a species capable of anything. Some do remarkable good in their lives, other unspeakable evil. Most of us can be found capable of both.

I think the trick is to feed the good part and try to starve the beast. A lot of people seem to do that with good success. But if we doubt that we are still capable of being beasts, I think we do ourselves a disservice.

Rereading the thread ( it contains much worth rereading ) and one reading the dehumanisation comment above I thought of bomber pilots in WW2. Ours and theirs bombed civilian cities and burned untold thousands alive. But they were the good guys, even the enemy were honorable pilots and crew ..... but they did things that are beyond comprehension. No word is ever said against them but they willingly killed civilians in shocking numbers.

They did not refuse. They carried out orders to mass murder. War is the excuse .

In this I'm not following the liberal line, in some situations we become diabolical.

Keith Wilson
01-27-2015, 04:57 PM
. . . so as not to appear to agree with Sky Blue or disagree with Keith, for example . . .On this subject, I don't think we disagree nearly as much as it might appear. It may be more a 'glass half-empty / half-full' situation. I certainly agree that our fundamental genetics haven't changed much in the time we've been civilized, which isn't very long at all in biological terms. I also think anyone in his right mind recognizes that under some conditions almost all of us are capable of doing appalling things. History gives all too many gruesome examples. However, almost all of us are also capable of much better behavior, and an accurate look at human history show us making very dramatic improvements. The average level of violence is much, much less that in previous times - and this ability too is part of human nature.

peb
01-27-2015, 04:59 PM
A lot. That kind of thing was once fairly common, although the Nazis did it with unusual efficiency and organization. It's much less common that it used to be (really), and is less often ignored by other countries.



That kind of thing was not fairly common in the past.

PeterSibley
01-27-2015, 05:02 PM
That kind of thing was not fairly common in the past.

Actually , yes.

Deuteronomy 2

2:33 And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.


2:34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:

hanleyclifford
01-27-2015, 05:12 PM
Actually , yes.

Deuteronomy 2



2:33 And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.



2:34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:



Why Peter, you're waxing theological on us; watch out your pals don't excommunicate you.:D

Peerie Maa
01-27-2015, 05:21 PM
That kind of thing was not fairly common in the past.

Look at the Romans in Anglesey and what Boadicea got up to whilst they were away.
When Guillaume le Bâtard was trying to bring Harold Godwinson to battle he laid waste to the area around Hastings, burning farms and so on. But there is only so much you can do on foot. There will be many other examples down through the ages.
You need mechanisation to hit the big numbers.
Have access to infrastructure like the railways and you can gather huge numbers of people with ease.

Keith Wilson
01-27-2015, 05:22 PM
That kind of thing was not fairly common in the past.Actually, it was. Genocide is not even close to being a recent invention. Massacring the inhabitants of a conquered city or territory, (as in the Deuteronomy quote) or just killing the men, children and old women, keeping the young women as sex slaves, was a fairly normal practice. Killing off a minority group within one's own territory was not at all uncommon either; the Turks and the Armenians is one recent example. The Nazis' numbers are large only due to large modern populations. I refer you to a fairly exhaustive discussion in Pinker's book (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature) if you're interested in the stats.

hanleyclifford
01-27-2015, 05:25 PM
Look at the Romans in Anglesey and what Boadicea got up to whilst they were away.
When Guillaume le Bâtard was trying to bring Harold Godwinson to battle he laid waste to the area around Hastings, burning farms and so on. But there is only so much you can do on foot. There will be many other examples down through the ages.
You need mechanisation to hit the big numbers.
Have access to infrastructure like the railways and you can gather huge numbers of people with ease. You need transportation professionals for that: https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRRkn316HUe7VUmb2-7G47IsPiLv1PQ5j-9DgBObGxVg9JYarWqIQ

Phillip Allen
01-27-2015, 05:25 PM
don't forget to include the genocide during the French Revolution... serious head choppers

PeterSibley
01-27-2015, 05:32 PM
Why Peter, you're waxing theological on us; watch out your pals don't excommunicate you.:D

God approving genocide ? No not really, just a bit of ME history and the old testament provides that and a lot of propaganda too..

PeterSibley
01-27-2015, 05:33 PM
don't forget to include the genocide during the French Revolution... serious head choppers

Not genocide Phil, just good old fashioned class warfare.

Keith Wilson
01-27-2015, 05:43 PM
You only need railways and camps if you want to keep the mess out of sight in an age with radio and telegraph. If you don't mind everybody knowing about it, you don't need any sophistication at all even now, and in previous ages communication was bad enough that it didn't matter. In fact, lack of fast communication made it easier in one sense, because people weren't warned so far in advance and didn't have as much time to run away. A bunch of guys on horses with swords and spears and bows going from village to village is quite effective, if messy. Kill the men and children, rape and then kill the women, eat the livestock, steal everything valuable and portable, and burn the rest. That's how war was generally conducted until fairly recently. Standard procedure.

Phillip Allen
01-27-2015, 05:45 PM
Not genocide Phil, just good old fashioned class warfare.

don't fool yourself... genocide

what? Do you want it all laid out for ya so that it's easy to understand? Good luck with THAT pipe dream

Canoez
01-27-2015, 05:49 PM
Kieth, I'd like to believe we are better, but we've still had events in Kosovo, Rwanda and others even with modern communications .

I think in Nigeria and other places in Africa, that type of warfare still exists.

Phillip Allen
01-27-2015, 05:51 PM
think about the term 'Untermensch', and recall people on this very forum denouncing the 'other' political party... as in "none are suitable for elected people... now ask yourself, if untermensch were declared again, would you actually recognize it? I doubt it... all those Germans weren't evil in the terms we think of... they were just people like the rest of us. some saw but were shouted down by people playing political football... JUST LIKE TODAY

it's damn foolish to think that it will be recognizable before it's too late THINK!!!

Lew Barrett
01-27-2015, 05:58 PM
Keeping slaves was a tolerable behavior right up until the mid 19th Century in this country (and many parts of the world, Europe mostly exempted) and was the minimum expected fate for the loser of any battle prior to...name your date. I'll say 450CE to more or less coincide with the end of Rome as a western power. Slavery may not equate exactly to genocide, but it certainly is an unspeakably brutal condition to recognize as a norm. In this sense, we have progressed greatly. Of course we can't say we've eradicated slavery, forms of which exist today in virtually every nation in the world. So it becomes a matter of degrees. Shading degrees is something many of us aren't very good at.

I don't think anybody can argue that life for the average citizen of any first world country is vastly more comfortable, freer from want and considerably safer in a physical sense day to day than it was even two hundred years ago. In that sense and upon reflection I have to agree with Keith.

wardd
01-27-2015, 06:06 PM
Thank you , that was very interesting and we seem to be somewhere between the two now and moving slowly to the bonobo side .

not if the rrw has any say about it

Phillip Allen
01-27-2015, 06:27 PM
Keeping slaves was a tolerable behavior right up until the mid 19th Century in this country (and many parts of the world, Europe mostly exempted) and was the minimum expected fate for the loser of any battle prior to...name your date. I'll say 450CE to more or less coincide with the end of Rome as a western power. Slavery may not equate exactly to genocide, but it certainly is an unspeakably brutal condition to recognize as a norm. In this sense, we have progressed greatly. Of course we can't say we've eradicated slavery, forms of which exist today in virtually every nation in the world. So it becomes a matter of degrees. Shading degrees is something many of us aren't very good at.

I don't think anybody can argue that life for the average citizen of any first world country is vastly more comfortable, freer from want and considerably safer in a physical sense day to day than it was even two hundred years ago. In that sense and upon reflection I have to agree with Keith.

just what percentage of the world's population is in that group of 1st nations?

Sky Blue
01-27-2015, 06:33 PM
Massacring the inhabitants of a conquered city or territory, (as in the Deuteronomy quote) or just killing the men, children and old women, keeping the young women as sex slaves, was a fairly normal practice.

Still is a fairly standard practice, I think, for the ISIS bunch. Boko Haram as well. Citizens gassed in Syria. Officially sanctioned beheadings in SA (3 more today, I read).

In view of these events, some just hours old, it is difficult to see how this discussion is benefitted by an abstract argument that we nevertheless are "less violent" than in the past. Even if we are, what would this recognition mean if, for example, 3 million were killed by a terror nuke detonation in a large city? We are less violent even though more actually are being killed? What is the benefit of such an analysis?

We may congratulate ourselves that humanity is somehow "less violent," but what does it really mean in view of the European genocide? Nothing, really.

If the Bonobo didn't have such easy access to the fiber, could it be said that they would not revert to more violent ways? That they would elect to perish non-violently as a moral matter in lieu of fighting for food? I don't think so.

Lew Barrett
01-27-2015, 06:51 PM
just what percentage of the world's population is in that group of 1st nations?

Large. That would by definition be North America absent specific swaths of Mexico, virtually all of Europe, Australia, a decent percentage of SE Asia, Japan, most of the world's wealthier islands, and if you were feeling generous (and I don't really want to engage in a debate over this so take these or leave them) you could include China and Russia and certainly a decent percentage of South America. The last are not technically all first world, and as I said, I'd leave it to others to defend them against a determined assault. The ME and Africa (again, broadly speaking) are the places where there are the largest quantities of man made misery and India/the sub continent has a goodly share of unhappiness as well. You can fill in the remaining hot spots according to your sense of what constitutes a wholesome environment.

It should be clear that I'm a fence sitter when it comes to a sanguine view of the condition of man on this orb, feeling there is an unholy amount of work to be done before we might declare heaven on earth.

hanleyclifford
01-27-2015, 07:09 PM
God approving genocide ? No not really, just a bit of ME history and the old testament provides that and a lot of propaganda too.. Actually He not only approved it; He ordered it. Good to see you consulting reliable source.:)

Peter Malcolm Jardine
01-27-2015, 08:15 PM
Excuse me? Do you know anything about what much of Africa was like before the European empires? Ever heard of Shaka Zulu? The African end of the slave trade, the ones who actually caught the slaves and sold them to the Europeans? I'm not defending imperialism at all, but the idea that it was mostly Europe that caused Africa's problems is a very partial truth at best.


You're talking history, I'm talking prevention. Even the history you're talking about is different in terms of numbers. In the entire slave trade I believe it was about ten million Africans actually taken from the continent to various parts of the world. In modern Africa 900,000 people a year die from Malaria. We can quite easily prevent that. We have the technology to do so. All the other top ten disease related deaths, such as Tuberculosis, Diarrhea, Whooping Cough, and even HIV are treatable, or can be eliminated by modern medicine. There is very little moral defense against these deaths, and the numbers are large.... over two million deaths per year. Just one year is more than the estimates of deaths during Shaka's reign. Christ, Leopold directly or indirectly killed TEN MILLION Congolese at the turn of the 20th century. Africa has always been ignored, and continues to suffer under diseases we no longer even think about. Like I said, out of sight out of mind. The holocaust was a terrible systemic and premeditated desire to eradicated the Jewish race. Africa has lost ten times the amount of people in the last 75 years just because we don't give a ****..... not a great endorsement of modern humanity if you ask me.

Phillip Allen
01-27-2015, 08:47 PM
good point, Peter

PeterSibley
01-27-2015, 08:54 PM
God approving genocide ? No not really, just a bit of ME history and the old testament provides that and a lot of propaganda too..


Actually He not only approved it; He ordered it. Good to see you consulting reliable source.:)

You know something Hanley, that psychopath you have chosen as your personal god is really the pits.

Keith Wilson
01-28-2015, 05:53 AM
In view of these events, some just hours old, it is difficult to see how this discussion is benefited by an abstract argument that we nevertheless are "less violent" than in the past. Even if we are, what would this recognition mean if, for example, 3 million were killed by a terror nuke detonation in a large city? We are less violent even though more actually are being killed? What is the benefit of such an analysis?First the argument is not abstract in the least. What I'm speaking of is the chance that any given person - you, for example, or me - will die nastily. This is about as un-abstract as it's possible to get. That chance is much lower now than it has been for pretty much all of human history. That fact is very important to me personally, because I have a considerable aversion to being killed. I expect you feel much the same way.

The benefit of such an analysis? I dunno, what is the benefit of knowing that the Confederacy seceded to preserve slavery, or that the assassination that triggered WWI was done by a Serbian nationalist? That the modulus of elasticity for steel is about 30*10^6 PSI? That a phosphorous atom has 15 protons, not 16 or 17? That bats are mammals, not birds? What is the benefit of knowing accurately what actually happens in the world? I'd say that accurate knowledge allows us to make decisions on the basis of reality, not what we imagine to be true, and that such decisions are more likely to turn out the way we want them to. While there's still plenty of violence, and the world is a very long way from utopia, human beings are currently behaving much less violently than we did in the past, and the trend has been going on for a long time. This is a fact. We are not only capable of doing this, we are doing it. Ignoring it is not a good idea, and is not likely to lead to good decisions.

As far as a terrorist with a nuclear weapon - yes, that would be very bad. Increasing knowledge (how to build nuclear weapons, for example) allows more sophisticated technology, which allows us to do more things more easily - like blow things up. Technology increases our power, and a nuclear weapon in the hands of a nut is sort of an extreme case of that. But it hasn't happened.

Keith Wilson
01-28-2015, 06:14 AM
In modern Africa 900,000 people a year die from Malaria. We can quite easily prevent that. We have the technology to do so. All the other top ten disease related deaths, such as Tuberculosis, Diarrhea, Whooping Cough, and even HIV are treatable, or can be eliminated by modern medicine. There is very little moral defense against these deaths, and the numbers are large.... over two million deaths per year.All true. This is bad. But Peter, why aren't the Africans doing it themselves? They're no stupider than us, and the technology (knowledge) is available to all. Why do you think it's our responsibility to do something about malaria? Why do you care what happens in Africa?

Understand, I'm being deliberately provocative here. I do NOT think we should just abandon the Africans to their fate. My point is this: the fact that you and many other people think we have a responsibility here, that it's wrong not to put resources into keeping people from dying of these diseases, is a moral triumph in itself, a perfect example of our standards increasing as fast as our behavior improves, or faster. For most of human history, the idea that you had any responsibility whatsoever for diseases affecting people halfway around the planet, people who you will never meet, who don't speak or look or think like you, would be inconceivable, or at least wildly unrealistic, something for saints, not ordinary men - as inconceivable as, say, not having slaves, or not beating your children when they get out of line.

Peerie Maa
01-28-2015, 06:14 AM
Kieth, I'd like to believe we are better, but we've still had events in Kosovo, Rwanda and others even with modern communications .I think in Nigeria and other places in Africa, that type of warfare still exists.I think the issue discussed by Pinker is a general trend across history and all of the globe. It is not that we are changing in a genetic evolutionary sense, but that the meme is evolving towards a less violent society. The spread and effectiveness of this changing meme is dependent on the efficacy of communication, education and the media. That is why it is extremely patchy in its effect. So until next year’s Rwandans have access to the same communication, the same web, the same TV debates on morality, we may still get local aberrations.

Canoez
01-28-2015, 07:15 AM
I think the issue discussed by Pinker is a general trend across history and all of the globe. It is not that we are changing in a genetic evolutionary sense, but that the meme is evolving towards a less violent society. The spread and effectiveness of this changing meme is dependent on the efficacy of communication, education and the media. That is why it is extremely patchy in its effect. So until next year’s Rwandans have access to the same communication, the same web, the same TV debates on morality, we may still get local aberrations.

Perhaps.

I guess my concern in regard to this thread is the "never again" mentality by the rest of the world after the Holocaust regarding ethnic cleansing. Has the world gotten safer? Maybe. Do we see less conflict in certain places? Yes. However, as a global community, we have yet to live up to that commitment fully. Our response is patchy, at best.

Keith Wilson
01-28-2015, 07:17 AM
Progress, not perfection.

Canoez
01-28-2015, 07:19 AM
Progress, not perfection.

Maybe I'd like to see more progress.

The Bigfella
01-28-2015, 07:28 AM
Never again? Yeah, sure.... 2 residents of 3,157 in Ba Chuc survived... in 1978.

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Vietnam%20and%20Cambodia/IMG_2019.jpg (http://s240.photobucket.com/user/igatenby/media/Vietnam%20and%20Cambodia/IMG_2019.jpg.html)

Keith Wilson
01-28-2015, 07:30 AM
Maybe I'd like to see more progress.Me too.

devout
01-28-2015, 08:33 AM
Well said, Mr. . B

I replied to the wrong quote. Apologies.

devout
01-28-2015, 08:35 AM
I know that the use of Concentration camp as a term was coined during the Boer war. I also know that the conditions, probably due to the incompetence of the army were appalling. However if you follow the links through Wiki, you will find this:
The same Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Boer_War#Concentration_camps_.281900.E2.80. 931902.29 goes on to tell the full story.
Your linking the German policy of deliberate genocide to British consequences of incompetence without that intent is offensive.



Feel free to be as offended as you like. My Great Grandmother who lost more than half her siblings in one of those camps also felt a little offended till her dying day. If you truly believe that abducting the civil population from a country that you are at war with, and intern them in camps where you could not possibly feed or protect them from the weather, nor provide proper sanitation, and they die like flies, is incompetence rather than a cynical execution of a deliberate policy, feel free. Quite efficient incompetence, that was. Of course all of this was done to protect them, rather than get at the men that you failed to beat in a war. Don't make the mistake of just reading history as written by the victors. I have a few links to send you, but I doubt it will change your mind, which is fine with me. I also seldom change my views.

hanleyclifford
01-28-2015, 08:47 AM
You know something Hanley, that psychopath you have chosen as your personal god is really the pits. Why not tell Him personally?

Phillip Allen
01-28-2015, 09:17 AM
Never again? Yeah, sure.... 2 residents of 3,157 in Ba Chuc survived... in 1978.

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/Vietnam%20and%20Cambodia/IMG_2019.jpg (http://s240.photobucket.com/user/igatenby/media/Vietnam%20and%20Cambodia/IMG_2019.jpg.html)

El Mundo Salincio... for Keith who's narrow focus is on the commercial news

Keith Wilson
01-28-2015, 09:35 AM
. . . for Keith whose narrow focus is on the commercial news . . .Ah, there goes Phillip, making stuff up again. I don't watch or generally read 'commercial news', unless you count The Economist or The New Republic. What in the world is el mundo salincio? Might you be Sarah Palin's speechwriter, by any chance? "Salincio' isn't even a word in Spanish, as far as I know. Even google doesn't help me with that one.

Phillip Allen
01-28-2015, 09:55 AM
Ah, there goes Phillip, making stuff up again. I don't watch or generally read 'commercial news', unless you count The Economist or The New Republic. What in the world is el mundo salincio? Might you be Sarah Palin's speechwriter, by any chance? "Salincio' isn't even a word in Spanish, as far as I know. Even google doesn't help me with that one.

sorry if I misspelled a word... it means The Silent World... borrowed from a title not related to BF's picture of the now silent people who would disagree with you saying that we now live in a gentler, kinder world (that's another borrowed term)

Keith Wilson
01-28-2015, 10:00 AM
FWIW, the world in this case would be silencioso. Silencio means 'silence'.

And again Phillip, I am not certainly NOT claiming that atrocities never happen anymore. My point is that they are rarer now, and affect a smaller percentage of people than they ever have before. The evidence is overwhelming that humans, on average, now behave much less violently than they did in the past.

Phillip Allen
01-28-2015, 10:08 AM
FWIW, the world in this case would be silencioso. Silencio means 'silence'.

And again Phillip, I am not certainly NOT claiming that atrocities never happen anymore. My point is that they are rarer now, and affect a smaller percentage of people than they ever have before. The evidence is overwhelming that humans, on average, now behave much less violently than they did in the past.

and you remain wrong about it

no one could 'prove' it to you because of your deep seated denial of the obvious so I'll quit trying to be 'Democraticly reasonable' at this point

Sky Blue
01-28-2015, 10:19 AM
This is a fact

Keith, you have stated your argument (that humans are less violent) as "fact" several times and quite eloquently. I don't see how such a proposition can be proved. It is a nice thing to say, a wonderful thing to believe about ourselves, but I remain unconvinced that the "fact" is true apart from the civilizing effects of society, culture, government, and perhaps religion. I argue that if you take these civilizing forces away, man will show himself to be as violent as he has ever been.

Facts are not facts simply because you say so repeatedly, nor because a psychologist writes a book arguing the same. Like religious faith, I understand why persons would want to believe as a species we are capable of evolution and change from what our culture tells us is undesirable or ugly about ourselves.

Explaining why such a "fact" matters, Keith, in the context of "what we've learned" since the European genocide, is what this thread is about. If we truly have become less violent, and in your view that is relevant to the issue of genocide, then you need to tell us why it is relevant. If it is to argue that the same makes a future genocide less likely, well, we will simply have to disagree on that point. The whole weight of history runs against that argument.

Finally, I struggle to understand what "decisions' might be made or not made simply on recognition that humanity may be less violent that it had been in the past. That argument too, is unhelpful. Decisions made by whom? Decisions to do what? In what context?

S.V. Airlie
01-28-2015, 10:32 AM
don't fool yourself... genocide

what? Do you want it all laid out for ya so that it's easy to understand? Good luck with THAT pipe dreamNo. Class warfare. Yes, lay it out so we can understand YOU! Hint; Nobility vs the common man. The haves vs. the have nots.

Keith Wilson
01-28-2015, 10:53 AM
. . . you have stated your argument (that humans are less violent) . . . I remain unconvinced that the "fact" is true apart from the civilizing effects of society, culture, government, and perhaps religion.But Mr. Blue, that's not my argument. I have said that human behave less violently. I'm reasonably sure that our essential biological/genetic nature hasn't changed much, if at all. My point is that history shows that the same old hairless large-brained apes can learn to behave much less violently.


I argue that if you take these civilizing forces away, man will show himself to be as violent as he has ever been.I'm pretty sure you're right. I suggest we do our best to keep them in place.


I struggle to understand what "decisions' might be made or not made simply on recognition that humanity may be less violent that it had been in the past.I'm going up to Pisco Elqui for lunch in about ten minutes, so I'll take a brief stab at this. Consider the alternatives: that civilizing isn't really possible, for example, and that people will inevitably be as violent as they have always been. Or, alternately, the idea of the 'Noble Savage', that civilization corrupts, and that all we have to be is 'natural' and all will be well. Or the idea that human beings are a 'blank slate' and that all of our behavior comes from learning, nothing innate, and we're infinitely malleable? What sort of laws would these ideas lead us to implement? How might they influence how we structure society? What we do is very much influenced by what we believe about the nature of human beings and about how they will behave under different circumstances. If those ideas are wrong, our actions will not have the results we want.

Sky Blue
01-28-2015, 10:59 AM
Enjoy your lunch, Keith. If you are going to stab anything, make sure it is with your fork.;)

Keith Wilson
01-28-2015, 03:49 PM
I had a lovely lunch in a very Zen restaurant overlooking the plaza and didn't stab anyone, even with my fork. I toldja the world is getting less violent! :d


http://bechile.cl/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Plaza-e-iglesia-pisco.jpg

PeterSibley
01-28-2015, 04:30 PM
Feel free to be as offended as you like. My Great Grandmother who lost more than half her siblings in one of those camps also felt a little offended till her dying day. If you truly believe that abducting the civil population from a country that you are at war with, and intern them in camps where you could not possibly feed or protect them from the weather, nor provide proper sanitation, and they die like flies, is incompetence rather than a cynical execution of a deliberate policy, feel free. Quite efficient incompetence, that was. Of course all of this was done to protect them, rather than get at the men that you failed to beat in a war. Don't make the mistake of just reading history as written by the victors. I have a few links to send you, but I doubt it will change your mind, which is fine with me. I also seldom change my views.

Ah, referring obliquely to the USA and Australia and our ''treatment '' of the native peoples of our respective continents ?

Well done.

Lew Barrett
01-28-2015, 06:50 PM
Ah, referring obliquely to the USA and Australia and our ''treatment '' of the native peoples of our respective continents ?

Well done.

Isn't Devout's commentary in reference to the camps the British set up during the Boer War? And I do believe he's correct in that it was the birth of the term "concentration camp" as the women and children of the fighters were 'concentrated' there. I'm not expert in the events of that war as I have not studied them except very cursorily in passing.

purri
01-28-2015, 09:07 PM
^Yes. There is a BBCTV series "The White Tribe of Africa", very well done and very nuanced.

devout
01-28-2015, 11:25 PM
Ah, referring obliquely to the USA and Australia and our ''treatment '' of the native peoples of our respective continents ?

Well done.

My writing was in response to the quotation from Peerie Maa included in it. If you are trying to make a connection from what I said to the USA and Australia’s ''treatment '' of the native peoples of their respective continents, you will have to make it a little less “oblique” to me. It is a really big word. And thank you for the “well done”, but although I am not really a smart guy, I believe it was meant to mean something else. Why don’t you just say what you mean?

hanleyclifford
01-28-2015, 11:54 PM
If the Afrikaners had decimated the black population the way the United States and Australia did their respective indigenous peoples, they would still have their country. The hypocrisy of the US and Australia towards South Africa has always been obvious.

Glen Longino
01-29-2015, 12:04 AM
If the Afrikaners had decimated the black population the way the United States and Australia did their respective indigenous peoples, they would still have their country. The hypocrisy of the US and Australia towards South Africa has always been obvious.

They do still have their country.
The hypocrisy of hanleyclifford has always been obvious.

hanleyclifford
01-29-2015, 12:06 AM
They do still have their country.
The hypocrisy of hanleyclifford has always been obvious. You're quite the gadfly tonight, Jester (or is it night crawler?):)

PeterSibley
01-29-2015, 12:07 AM
My writing was in response to the quotation from Peerie Maa included in it. If you are trying to make a connection from what I said to the USA and Australia’s ''treatment '' of the native peoples of their respective continents, you will have to make it a little less “oblique” to me. It is a really big word. And thank you for the “well done”, but although I am not really a smart guy, I believe it was meant to mean something else. Why don’t you just say what you mean?

I apologise for suggesting you could be capable of an oblique reference ! I shan't assume that again.

What I mean is that your post below,

"If you truly believe that abducting the civil population from a country that you are at war with, and intern them in camps where you could not possibly feed or protect them from the weather, nor provide proper sanitation, and they die like flies, is incompetence rather than a cynical execution of a deliberate policy, feel free. Quite efficient incompetence, that was. Of course all of this was done to protect them, rather than get at the men that you failed to beat in a war. Don't make the mistake of just reading history as written by the victors.''

applies perfectly to the American treatment of the various Indian nations who died before it's onslaught and on it's reservations and the Australian aborigines rounded up after unacknowledged wars to rot on reserves .

PeterSibley
01-29-2015, 12:10 AM
If the Afrikaners had decimated the black population the way the United States and Australia did their respective indigenous peoples, they would still have their country. The hypocrisy of the US and Australia towards South Africa has always been obvious.

So your proposition is that if a nation has once committed a sin it can never at any time thereafter criticise another nation for doing the same .... though the first has seen the error of it's ways ?

By that logic the USA must always turn it's back on reports of slavery because to speak of it would be hypocritical.

You make a strange case Hanley.

purri
01-29-2015, 12:16 AM
The Oz experience is more nuanced than what many believe.
I apologise for suggesting you could be capable of an oblique reference ! I shan't assume that again.

What I mean is that your post below,

"If you truly believe that abducting the civil population from a country that you are at war with, and intern them in camps where you could not possibly feed or protect them from the weather, nor provide proper sanitation, and they die like flies, is incompetence rather than a cynical execution of a deliberate policy, feel free. Quite efficient incompetence, that was. Of course all of this was done to protect them, rather than get at the men that you failed to beat in a war. Don't make the mistake of just reading history as written by the victors.''

applies perfectly to the American treatment of the various Indian nations who died before it's onslaught and on it's reservations and the Australian aborigines rounded up after unacknowledged wars to rot on reserves .

Glen Longino
01-29-2015, 12:28 AM
You're quite the gadfly tonight, Jester (or is it night crawler?):)

And what the hell are you?
I tell you what, you call me "Jester" or "night crawler" or anything else other than my name one more time in an attempt to denigrate me, I will complain to our administrator.
You cannot treat me like a Jehovas Witness wannabe without consequences, Lord Hanley.
I will not tolerate your superior stance.
You are Not my superior, so get off your high horse.

devout
01-29-2015, 12:29 AM
If the Afrikaners had decimated the black population the way the United States and Australia did their respective indigenous peoples, they would still have their country. The hypocrisy of the US and Australia towards South Africa has always been obvious.

Hanley, I really cannot support this statement. South Africa is a country that belongs to all in it. Some huge mistakes were made during its rather sad history, but those mistakes didn’t start in 1910 when the disenfranchisement of black people started, and neither did it end in 1994 when the first democratic elections took place. There remains much to be done to normalise our society, end we work on it daily. It is a rather robust debate and not for the oversensitive and faint hearted. Unlike the USA and Australia (here is your opportunity, Peter) white people in South Africa, being a minority, could not just say “Oops, sorry, let’s move on and all be friends”. Huge difference in those sets of circumstance.

I also believe we have drifted way off the original thread, and think we should leave it here.

PeterSibley
01-29-2015, 12:59 AM
Happy to leave it there, I actually have some considerable sympathy for the Africaans position especially in relation to Britain.

Glen Longino
01-29-2015, 01:13 AM
[QUOTE=devout;4432510]Hanley, I really cannot support this statement. South Africa is a country that belongs to all in it. Some huge mistakes were made during its rather sad history, but those mistakes didn’t start in 1910 when the disenfranchisement of black people started, and neither did it end in 1994 when the first democratic elections took place. There remains much to be done to normalise our society, end we work on it daily. It is a rather robust debate and not for the oversensitive and faint hearted. Unlike the USA and Australia (here is your opportunity, Peter) white people in South Africa, being a minority, could not just say “Oops, sorry, let’s move on and all be friends”. Huge difference in those sets of circumstance.

I also believe we have drifted way off the original thread, and think we should leave it here.[/QUOT

Thank you, Sir!

Phillip Allen
01-29-2015, 10:32 AM
this thread (for me) is about genocide and human nature... just like California killing Indians for sport (like shooting prairie dogs)
Ishi The Last Yahi Indian

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishi

hanleyclifford
01-29-2015, 10:39 AM
And what the hell are you?
I tell you what, you call me "Jester" or "night crawler" or anything else other than my name one more time in an attempt to denigrate me, I will complain to our administrator.
You cannot treat me like a Jehovas Witness wannabe without consequences, Lord Hanley.
I will not tolerate your superior stance.
You are Not my superior, so get off your high horse. Just wanted to save that BS for the Administrator to look at. Name calling for name calling you got me beat by a mile.

Phillip Allen
01-29-2015, 10:42 AM
Just wanted to save that BS for the Administrator to look at. Name calling for name calling you got me beat by a mile.

sociopath
troglodyte
stupid
... and many, many more

if you can't take it, don't dish it out, Glen

hanleyclifford
01-29-2015, 10:42 AM
Hanley, I really cannot support this statement. South Africa is a country that belongs to all in it. Some huge mistakes were made during its rather sad history, but those mistakes didn’t start in 1910 when the disenfranchisement of black people started, and neither did it end in 1994 when the first democratic elections took place. There remains much to be done to normalise our society, end we work on it daily. It is a rather robust debate and not for the oversensitive and faint hearted. Unlike the USA and Australia (here is your opportunity, Peter) white people in South Africa, being a minority, could not just say “Oops, sorry, let’s move on and all be friends”. Huge difference in those sets of circumstance.

I also believe we have drifted way off the original thread, and think we should leave it here. I would not expect or want you to support it. But it had to be said, and by a non-Afrikaner with some familiarity with the area. Besides, it's years too late to have that discussion (again).

Sky Blue
01-29-2015, 11:13 AM
Hanley, you put up with a lot of antagonism here. It's not right. On several occasions I have felt bad about hurtful things said to you. The offending party has even been requested by one of his buddies, publicly, to cease from doing this but the offending party can't seem to stop. It goes way past kidding around at times, and takes some of the fun out of the Forum even for those not the target of the remarks. I congratulate you on not being drawn in to it too much or allowing it to cause you to do something that would get you banned. You set a good example in this respect. A joke or crack now and then is one thing, the constant antagonism quite another.

Phillip Allen
01-29-2015, 11:40 AM
Hanley, you put up with a lot of antagonism here. It's not right. On several occasions I have felt bad about hurtful things said to you. The offending party has even been requested by one of his buddies, publicly, to cease from doing this but the offending party can't seem to stop. It goes way past kidding around at times, and takes some of the fun out of the Forum even for those not the target of the remarks. I congratulate you on not being drawn in to it too much or allowing it to cause you to do something that would get you banned. You set a good example in this respect. A joke or crack now and then is one thing, the constant antagonism quite another.

tell me about it... of course I fight back so sometimes it looks like I'm the instigator, depending on when one dials into the threads

hanleyclifford
01-29-2015, 06:21 PM
Hanley, you put up with a lot of antagonism here. It's not right. On several occasions I have felt bad about hurtful things said to you. The offending party has even been requested by one of his buddies, publicly, to cease from doing this but the offending party can't seem to stop. It goes way past kidding around at times, and takes some of the fun out of the Forum even for those not the target of the remarks. I congratulate you on not being drawn in to it too much or allowing it to cause you to do something that would get you banned. You set a good example in this respect. A joke or crack now and then is one thing, the constant antagonism quite another. Thanks, Sky; the key AFAIK is to not take yourself or others too seriously. The individual of which you speak is very quick to dish it out but, as I am learning, too sensitive to take it. We have to remember that none of us has any power to change anything--we just talk about it.

Chip-skiff
01-29-2015, 07:20 PM
Dogs will bark.

I would be very careful about using Auschwitz as an example for any tribal/nationalist argument. It's too great a horror and a crime for that.

If you care about Auschwitz, read Peter Matthiessen's last novel: In Paradise.

pila
01-29-2015, 08:36 PM
Everyone could visit Dachau, and form their opinions after that. I was there in 1953.....

Phillip Allen
01-29-2015, 08:57 PM
Everyone could visit Dachau, and form their opinions after that. I was there in 1953.....

most of us live in a sort of denial... we want to believe that the earth is a kinder, gentler place

purri
01-29-2015, 09:01 PM
My late FIL (a Serb) was there 43 onward. He was not impressed and stated it was amazing what some would do to others in order to survive.
Everyone could visit Dachau, and form their opinions after that. I was there in 1953.....

Lew Barrett
01-29-2015, 09:22 PM
Everyone could visit Dachau, and form their opinions after that. I was there in 1953.....

I've been there. It's sobering enough as is, but impossible to imagine it prior to having been sanitized. I hear Auschwitz, (Birkenau) is the really tough spot to visit. Dachau technically speaking wasn't an extermination camp.

Phillip Allen
01-29-2015, 09:32 PM
I've been there. It's sobering enough as is, but impossible to imagine it prior to having been sanitized. I hear Auschwitz, (Birkenau) is the really tough spot to visit. Dachau technically speaking wasn't an extermination camp.

I met a man who was there at the liberation of Dachau. He tried to tell me about but it still oppressed him... 1988

PeterSibley
01-29-2015, 09:34 PM
Thanks, Sky; the key AFAIK is to not take yourself or others too seriously. The individual of which you speak is very quick to dish it out but, as I am learning, too sensitive to take it. We have to remember that none of us has any power to change anything--we just talk about it.

On the contrary, we have to be changed . Nothing else will do it. Mythical deities don't give a damn, apparently they even order genocides .

The Bigfella
01-29-2015, 11:32 PM
I've been there. It's sobering enough as is, but impossible to imagine it prior to having been sanitized. I hear Auschwitz, (Birkenau) is the really tough spot to visit. Dachau technically speaking wasn't an extermination camp.

A friend of mine, European Jewish heritage, visited there a year or two back on a trip back to Europe.

He went straight from there to the Killing Fields in Cambodia. Whether it was just a release of the build-up, which is me wondering, not him - he said that as bad as it was in the German extermination camps, he just stood there in Cambodia with tears streaming down his face.... he said that it had so much more of an impact on him than the German camps. The savagery of it all, I guess... such as the tree where babies were killed, simply by smashing their skulls into the tree... and this went on across the country, with millions (around three million) killed. Without refreshing my memory, it was near on a third of the population. In Germany, it was in the hundreds of thousands - of Germans - and the rest were "the enemy".

The interesting thing in Cambodia is that the locals don't like to talk about it. The main reason is that they don't understand how it happened. In Germany, the vast bulk of those in the camps were foreigners... "the enemy" - and where there's an enemy, its easy to justify. In Cambodia, there was no enemy... they did it to themselves... and they really don't know why it happened. I guess they are scared of it happening again.

The Bigfella
01-29-2015, 11:36 PM
I met a man who was there at the liberation of Dachau. He tried to tell me about but it still oppressed him... 1988

My father was affected / oppressed or whatever you want to call it for the rest of his life. Whilst he was in a relative holiday camp (Prisoner of War) - and a good one at that - he saw what was done to Russian PoWs - which wasn't good. To survive an extermination camp is an order of magnitude worse, of course. There were still plenty of western PoWs who didn't survive - and plenty were killed, some executed, during escapes. My father said that he was involved in one where every second man in the line was executed. I still don't know whether that was true or not.... but reading some research, it may well be

Phillip Allen
01-30-2015, 05:39 AM
A friend of mine, European Jewish heritage, visited there a year or two back on a trip back to Europe.

He went straight from there to the Killing Fields in Cambodia. Whether it was just a release of the build-up, which is me wondering, not him - he said that as bad as it was in the German extermination camps, he just stood there in Cambodia with tears streaming down his face.... he said that it had so much more of an impact on him than the German camps. The savagery of it all, I guess... such as the tree where babies were killed, simply by smashing their skulls into the tree... and this went on across the country, with millions (around three million) killed. Without refreshing my memory, it was near on a third of the population. In Germany, it was in the hundreds of thousands - of Germans - and the rest were "the enemy".

The interesting thing in Cambodia is that the locals don't like to talk about it. The main reason is that they don't understand how it happened. In Germany, the vast bulk of those in the camps were foreigners... "the enemy" - and where there's an enemy, its easy to justify. In Cambodia, there was no enemy... they did it to themselves... and they really don't know why it happened. I guess they are scared of it happening again.

I've been aware of that sentiment for years. I doubt the German's understood how it happened so why should WE understand that. Bearing that in mind, I tell people that the police/politicians are out of hand or that someone is far too radical for his chosen party and they're just like the Germans/Cambodians... they can't connect the dots ahead of time and don't understand how it 'happened' after the fact.

That's the reason I get so interested in these discussions. I watch for those who will blindly support such atrocities (even if unknowingly) and those who might even lead such behavior.

People need to stop lying to themselves about their own human nature and actively try to prevent themselves from being party to bad behavior.

Phillip Allen
01-30-2015, 10:20 AM
?...

Phillip Allen
01-30-2015, 03:23 PM
genocide by the British... the Boer war and the concentration camps

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8bhm7Gngkg

PeterSibley
01-30-2015, 03:31 PM
I'm equally interested in how little violence there is, how well a type of social ape is adapted to living in vast concentrations , suffering intimate contact without too much aggravation. The way we have developed entire branches of government to short circuit militarised violence while other arms prepare for it.

With the numbers of humans living and cooperating, the level of violence and atrocity is remarkably low.

The key word is cooperating, in almost all of our interrelations cooperation is the key, be it day to day interactions, travel, business, even military training, cooperation is the dominant trait of human relations. Thus our shock when the dominant pattern is disrupted and non cooperation disturbs the day to day normality, be it a murder or some atrocity. They are so far from the norm that they rivet our attention.

When that fails it is shocking, literally. We have a huge capacity for violence but a greater capacity for mutually cooperative trade and casual interaction.

The social darwinists are living in a false world, one based on primitive 19th century interpretations of evolutionary theory . The dominant characteristic of our species is cooperation, without it we would long ago ceased to have existed.

Lew Barrett
01-30-2015, 04:23 PM
My father was affected / oppressed or whatever you want to call it for the rest of his life. Whilst he was in a relative holiday camp (Prisoner of War) - and a good one at that - he saw what was done to Russian PoWs - which wasn't good.


They received the worst treatment of any POWs of the war. I know you're interested in the events of the Eastern Front and we share a common notion (knowledge of the fact, actually) that it was the Russians who pulverized the Nazi war machine and made victory possible on all fronts by eating the bulk of Germany's manpower in the meat grinder, so I suppose it only makes sense that their POWs were gifted the worst treatment of the war. It was said you could hear the columns of Russian prisoners coming for miles. The grunting and moans rose to the level of a din, punctuated by the sounds of distant rifle shots as the stragglers were dispatched. Once they arrived in camps, often areas set aside in the same concentration camps used to house the slaves of the Reich, they frequently were not assigned housing. No clean water, no food, no sanitation facilities. With the exception that they were not gassed wholesale, their treatment was usually no better than that of Jewish prisoners. Three million Russian POWs died in German captivity, and the most terrible irony was that if they did manage to escape alive, they were treated to terrible conditions or shot outright after interrogation when they were repatriated. Stalin was unrelenting in his unwillingness to understand their plight.

PeterSibley
01-30-2015, 04:29 PM
Their plight reflected directly on his unpreparedness and paranoia .

johnw
01-30-2015, 04:30 PM
The Germans didn't have the logistics worked out for their own troops, let alone for the POWs. If they'd done as much planning for the logistics of the Russian invasion as they did for the Holocaust, perhaps they'd have seen the futility of it.

Phillip Allen
01-30-2015, 04:33 PM
They received the worst treatment of any POWs of the war. I know you're interested in the events of the Eastern Front and we share a common notion (knowledge of the fact, actually) that it was the Russians who pulverized the Nazi war machine and made victory possible on all fronts by eating the bulk of Germany's manpower in the meat grinder, so I suppose it only makes sense that their POWs were gifted the worst treatment of the war. It was said you could hear the columns of Russian prisoners coming for miles. The grunting and moans rose to the level of a din, punctuated by the sounds of distant rifle shots as the stragglers were dispatched. Once they arrived in camps, often areas set aside in the same concentration camps used to house the slaves of the Reich, they frequently were not assigned housing. No clean water, no food, no sanitation facilities. With the exception that they were not gassed wholesale, their treatment was usually no better than that of Jewish prisoners. Three million Russian POWs died in German captivity, and the most terrible irony was that if they did manage to escape alive, they were treated to terrible conditions or shot outright after interrogation when they were repatriated. Stalin was unrelenting in his unwillingness to understand their plight.

yep, Hitler wasn't the only monster

consider, however, that to be a monster to 50 people vs 3,000,000 people doesn't diminish the monstrosity... it's just a difference in scale

stealing a dollar or stealing 100 dollars is a difference but the thief is STILL a thief

so... a perfect storm of thieves or a perfect storm of monsters doesn't change the basic affect on the victims

human nature remains... human nature

hanleyclifford
01-30-2015, 06:33 PM
I'm equally interested in how little violence there is, how well a type of social ape is adapted to living in vast concentrations , suffering intimate contact without too much aggravation. The way we have developed entire branches of government to short circuit militarised violence while other arms prepare for it.

With the numbers of humans living and cooperating, the level of violence and atrocity is remarkably low.

The key word is cooperating, in almost all of our interrelations cooperation is the key, be it day to day interactions, travel, business, even military training, cooperation is the dominant trait of human relations. Thus our shock when the dominant pattern is disrupted and non cooperation disturbs the day to day normality, be it a murder or some atrocity. They are so far from the norm that they rivet our attention.

When that fails it is shocking, literally. We have a huge capacity for violence but a greater capacity for mutually cooperative trade and casual interaction.

The social darwinists are living in a false world, one based on primitive 19th century interpretations of evolutionary theory . The dominant characteristic of our species is cooperation, without it we would long ago ceased to have existed. Rarely have I read anything so diametrically wrong.

PeterSibley
01-30-2015, 07:25 PM
Rarely have I read anything so diametrically wrong.

I take it from that that you are a Somalii Hanley.

Lew Barrett
01-30-2015, 10:05 PM
Back to the topic. My mother's family, both sides, was liquidated in the tragedy. Only one cousin we know of survived and somehow managed to get to Israel. That represents something on the order of seventy people all told if both of my mother's parents' families are totaled. On my father's side, there are no living direct descendents except me and my cousin, and our (combined) five daughters. My father's parents were both from Romania so their families had virtually no chance at all. The town they lived in was called Baratz, which gives a clue to my name. It was the Romanian equivalent of a shtetl. When looking for it a few years ago, I couldn't find it on a map of Romania. Just gone.

Phillip Allen
01-31-2015, 03:29 AM
Back to the topic. My mother's family, both sides, was liquidated in the tragedy. Only one cousin we know of survived and somehow managed to get to Israel. That represents something on the order of seventy people all told if both of my mother's parents' families are totaled. On my father's side, there are no living direct descendents except me and my cousin, and our (combined) five daughters. My father's parents were both from Romania so their families had virtually no chance at all. The town they lived in was called Baratz, which gives a clue to my name. It was the Romanian equivalent of a shtetl. When looking for it a few years ago, I couldn't find it on a map of Romania. Just gone.

years ago, I would have said, It's hard to imagine that. Now, since I have worked on trying to understand, I CAN imagine it... a good part of that understanding is a growing understanding of human nature and the firm knowledge that we are NOT a kinder gentler world... no matter what others here may say

PeterSibley
01-31-2015, 04:23 AM
The fortunate thing is that abominations like this are very rare, thus we are horrified . Were they common we would hardly notice .

Phillip Allen
01-31-2015, 04:32 AM
The fortunate thing is that abominations like this are very rare, thus we are horrified . Were they common we would hardly notice .

it's that 'rarity' that I take exception to... I think it happens much fore frequently than is widely known... remember scale is important... a dead man in the back woods won't smell up the town, and can be ignored, but a large enough number will... still, for the victims, it is far too great of a number where they are laying

PeterSibley
01-31-2015, 04:40 AM
If you insist on a negative view of humanity Phil, nothing I say will change your mind.
However I see humanity as frankly a remarkably cooperative species .... otherwise we wouldn't be here.

Peerie Maa
01-31-2015, 05:32 AM
it's that 'rarity' that I take exception to... I think it happens much fore frequently than is widely known... remember scale is important... a dead man in the back woods won't smell up the town, and can be ignored, but a large enough number will... still, for the victims, it is far too great of a number where they are laying

Philip,
I can understand your pessimism, as you live in one of the most violent of the English speaking nations. However you should consider the arguments put forward by Pinker. From a Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature

Pinker identifies five "historical forces" that have favored "our peaceable motives” and “have driven the multiple declines in violence.”[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature#cite_note-Steven_Pinker_2011-2) They are:


The Leviathan – The rise of the modern nation-state and judiciary "with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly_on_violence),” which “can defuse the [individual] temptation of exploitative attack, inhibit the impulse for revenge, and circumvent…self-serving biases.”
Commerce – The rise of “technological progress [allowing] the exchange of goods and services over longer distances and larger groups of trading partners,” so that “other people become more valuable alive than dead” and “are less likely to become targets of demonization and dehumanization”;
Feminization – Increasing respect for "the interests and values of women.”
Cosmopolitanism – the rise of forces such as literacy, mobility, and mass media, which “can prompt people to take the perspectives of people unlike themselves and to expand their circle of sympathy to embrace them”;
The Escalator of Reason – an “intensifying application of knowledge and rationality to human affairs,” which “can force people to recognize the futility of cycles of violence, to ramp down the privileging of their own interests over others’, and to reframe violence as a problem to be solved rather than a contest to be won.”[5] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature#cite_note-ReferenceA-5)



and

Pinker writes: "To give some coherence to the many developments that make up our species' retreat from violence, I group them into six major trends", namely:


The Pacification Process – Pinker describes this as the transition from "the anarchy of hunting, gathering, and horticultural societies … to the first agricultural civilizations with cities and governments, beginning around five thousand years ago" which brought "a reduction in the chronic raiding and feuding that characterized life in a state of nature and a more or less fivefold decrease in rates of violent death."[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature#cite_note-ReferenceB-6)
The Civilizing Process – Pinker argues that "between the late Middle Ages and the 20th century, European countries saw a tenfold-to-fiftyfold decline in their rates of homicide". Pinker attributes the idea of the Civilizing Process (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilizing_Process) to the sociologist Norbert Elias (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norbert_Elias), who "attributed this surprising decline to the consolidation of a patchwork of feudal territories into large kingdoms with centralized authority and an infrastructure on commerce".[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature#cite_note-ReferenceB-6)
The Humanitarian Revolution – Pinker attributes this term and concept to the historian Lynn Hunt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Hunt). He says this revolution "unfolded on the [shorter] scale of centuries and took off around the time of the Age of Reason and the European Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries" (though he points to historical antecedents and to "parallels elsewhere in the world"). He writes: "It saw the first organized movements to abolish slavery, dueling, judicial torture, superstitious killing, sadistic punishment, and cruelty to animals, together with the first stirrings of systematic pacifism."[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature#cite_note-ReferenceB-6)
The Long Peace – a term he attributes to the historian John Lewis Gaddis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lewis_Gaddis).[7] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature#cite_note-7) This fourth "major transition", Pinker says, "took place after the end of World War II"; in it, he says, "the great powers, and the developed states in general, have stopped waging war on one another".[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature#cite_note-ReferenceB-6)
The New Peace – Pinker calls this trend "more tenuous", but "since the end of the Cold War in 1989, organized conflicts of all kinds — civil wars, genocides, repression by autocratic governments, and terrorist attacks — have declined throughout the world".[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature#cite_note-ReferenceB-6)
The Rights Revolutions – The postwar period has seen, Pinker argues, "a growing revulsion against aggression on smaller scales, including violence against ethnic minorities, women, children, homosexuals, and animals. These spin-offs from the concept of human rights—civil rights, women's rights, children's rights, gay rights, and animal rights—were asserted in a cascade of movements from the late 1950s to the present day…".[8] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature#cite_note-8)



There is a lot there drawn from all of humanity not just your part of the US, backed up with data drawn from a long time scale across all societies.

Keith Wilson
01-31-2015, 08:22 AM
Phillip, on one point you have it exactly backwards. It's far, far harder to do violence unnoticed today than at any previous time in human history. We have speed-of-light communication to almost everywhere on earth, and even in the most godforsaken backwaters, news gets out. 200 years ago, nobody outside the immediate area would have know about the Rwandan genocides. Now it was on the front pages, and a quick Google search will get you more information that you ever wanted.

I suggest a thought experiment. Ignore what you hear on the news; that's already been filtered by what they think will sell. Total up the interactions with other people you've had over some period - a year or so. What percentage of those were reasonably friendly and cooperative? What percentage consisted of people actively trying to do you serious harm? Now this isn't completely definitive; one murderous psychopath can ruin your whole day, but it shows how people today mostly behave.

I'm making no claims at all about 'human nature'. Our biological/genetic nature hasn't changed much since the days our ancestors lived in caves, and history shows us that most of us are capable of awful behavior under some circumstance. However, history also shows very clearly that we also have the ability to behave in much less violent and more cooperative ways, and that over the centuries we have done so more and more of the time. The evidence for this is very good, and pretty much impossible to refute. We are doing something right, on a very large scale.

George.
01-31-2015, 09:36 AM
Human nature is to cooperate... in order to beat the competition.

Modern technology and ideas can increase the scale of cooperation, but not replace the antagonistic competition that is a large part of what drives it. A single state with no antagonists is unstable and will split into factions, leading either to fragmentation or civil war.

There will never be One World. At least not for long.

Phillip Allen
01-31-2015, 09:41 AM
If you insist on a negative view of humanity Phil, nothing I say will change your mind.
However I see humanity as frankly a remarkably cooperative species .... otherwise we wouldn't be here.

it's not a negative view though saying that I have one is a good ploy to 'negate' my argument and a listed logical fallacy. I try to be open eyed about my view... sure there are plenty of better views but that doesn't wipe out the bad or even off set it, it simply adds to the mix.

Kieth thinks there's a news team standing in the 'killing fields' these days. that's why scale is important. scale is what makes the news and the rest can be safely ignored... as always.

Bush's and Kieth's kinder-gentler world is for the more simple Pollyannas ... my personal Pollyanna view is a bit more pragmatic. I like people and if in the presences of some monster, without an immediate motive to kill me, will find a friendlier monster but monster none-the-less... we live in a giant petting zoo full of tigers, pet them if you like but don't turn your back

George Jung
01-31-2015, 09:50 AM
Great thread, Lew - I had avoided it, initially, as a topic a bit more serious than I was interested in engaging. But 5 pages? Gotta check it out!

A few asides - with no intent to derail. First, PMJ's observations/assertions regarding Africa - that likely deserves its own thread. I would only say, the assertion that 'we' ignore Africa, withhold aid, refuse mass immunizations etc., is just so off base. From what I've read, from what I've heard (a friends daughter practiced in the villages of Liberia) - the class structure, the tribalism, the societies in Africa are a bit different than what we're familiar with - and approaching their problems with 'our' mindset is doomed to failure. Many of the governments there, the 'ruling class', seemingly have little concern for their poorer citizens; any outside efforts to 'help' are likely to run counter to what those in charge/power are interested in. It's a bit of arrogance for us to think we can bridge that.

Secondly, I'd offer this consideration. From what I've read on AGW, and rising sea levels, the world is in for a shrinking, supportable landmass - with the result of mass migrations to areas perceived more habitable. What do you think that will do to our levels of cooperation?

Lew Barrett
01-31-2015, 10:18 AM
The fortunate thing is that abominations like this are very rare, thus we are horrified . Were they common we would hardly notice .

Stalin is attributed an observation about mass murder that suggests another possible conclusion.

"The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic."

Given, he was a bit of a cynic.

Harvey Golden
01-31-2015, 10:55 AM
Cooperation is probably the reason the more recent Homo species have language. Although, perhaps we developed language to insult each other? Like with fire, it can be used for good and bad.
Best,
Harvey

George Jung
01-31-2015, 11:52 AM
Saw this - on topic.

http://journalstar.com/news/opinion/cartoons/cartoon/image_69942f55-b111-53ef-a088-63dd57cce970.html


http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/journalstar.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/99/69942f55-b111-53ef-a088-63dd57cce970/54cab4344e6e7.preview-300.jpg (http://journalstar.com/news/opinion/cartoons/cartoon/image_69942f55-b111-53ef-a088-63dd57cce970.html)

Peerie Maa
01-31-2015, 12:09 PM
Cooperation is probably the reason the more recent Homo species have language. Although, perhaps we developed language to insult each other? Like with fire, it can be used for good and bad.
Best,
Harvey

all social animals have language, we are just better at it.

Stone-age humans mastered the art of elegant hand-toolmaking in an evolutionary advance that boosted their brain power and potentially paved the way for language, researchers say.
The design of stone tools changed dramatically in human pre-history, beginning more than two million years ago with sharp but primitive stone flakes, and culminating in exquisite, finely honed hand axes 500,000 years ago.
The development of sophisticated stone tools, including sturdy cutting and sawing edges, is considered a key moment in human evolution, as it set the stage for better nutrition and advanced social behaviours, such as the division of labour and group hunting.

from http://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/nov/03/language-hand-toolmaking-evolution.

Humans can cooperate socially and teach basic tool making to their children by demonstration without any spoken language.

"The advance from crude stone tools to elegant handheld axes was a massive technological leap for our early human ancestors. Handheld axes were a more useful tool for defence, hunting and routine work," said Faisal, whose study appears in the journal PLoS ONE. "Our study reinforces the idea that toolmaking and language evolved together as both required more complex thought, making the end of the lower paleolithic a pivotal time in our history. After this period, early humans left Africa and began to colonise other parts of the world."

PeterSibley
01-31-2015, 05:04 PM
it's not a negative view though saying that I have one is a good ploy to 'negate' my argument and a listed logical fallacy. I try to be open eyed about my view... sure there are plenty of better views but that doesn't wipe out the bad or even off set it, it simply adds to the mix.



Phil, saying your views are negative in no way diminishes them or you, it is merely a reflection on the nature of your observation. It is not positive or neutral, it is negative . That's OK.

Lew Barrett
01-31-2015, 08:20 PM
Thanks, George.

Sky Blue
02-01-2015, 11:27 AM
saw this, on topic

And this: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/01/29/254867/europes-jews-ponder-is-it-time.html

Lew Barrett
02-01-2015, 01:09 PM
After discussing the notion that Jews leaving France was a trickle, I looked up the latest count for emigres to Israel and found the same number; 7,000. I didn't research enough to find the additional 3,000 that left to go elsewhere and I didn't feel any need to comment (again) on it at the time, but using just that 7,000 count to Israel as a baseline, we're near enough to call it 2% of the total population on a current basis. That's a big number.

Sky Blue
02-01-2015, 01:49 PM
that's a big number

Yes it is, especially considering that it also is the highest annual percentage, I believe, since the percentages leaving annually during and just after WWII, and also in view of the fact that possibly more than twice as many are projected to leave in 2015. Thousands of people. Every year.