View Full Version : A Response From Swift Oceanics

Ken Hall
09-22-2000, 03:51 PM
Believe it or else, I actually got an e-mail from the CEO of Swift Oceanics. It wasn't actually entirely unreasonable. It follows. Please don't flame the poor guy, we don't need any more examples of "no good deed goes unpunished." I'm working on a private reply.


Dear Ken Hall,

Please let me take a moment of your time to soothe some
of your anger towards our new product. I have started
this company with safety in mind, here's how.

1: the 90 mile an hour top speed is what we advertise
the same that any motorcycle, car, boat, ATC company
advertises there products “performance capabilities”.

2: The water craft that our company is building
will all come complete with governers so that they will
not go any faster than the laws of each state will allow
for example 45-60 mph.

3: The wet bike will also will have built in break
away sponsons, made of hard foam rubber so that if
someone does run into an object or person less damage
and more importantly people won't suffer the way they
would from being struck by that of a hard composite

4: These jet boats will come with a snap or bolt on
rudder so that even though the rider is not using the
accelerator or the engine quits they are still able to
steer so as to avoid striking anything or anyone.

5: Our wet bikes will include a very easy to read in
simple English “operators safety manual for dummies”
if you will, and as well safety accessories like
shutoff key if the rider falls off as do many of the wet
out there in the market today.

6: All our craft meet the emission standards to 2008
and have been US coast guard approval.
Because of the fact that we are using four stroke
engines rather than the infamous polluting two stroke
engines that are standard in the industry today.

7: The exhaust that won't be hot to the touch because it
is covered by a water jacket and the sound of these four
stroke engines are not the same annoying sound of that
a two stroke. The reliability of a four stroke versus a
two stroke so that people won't get stuck out in middle
of the ocean or lake.

8: A baffle system will be installed so that there will
be virtually
little or no noise from the exhaust.

Please feel free to give me any other safety suggestions
you may have without the elimination of the peoples
right to enjoy a PWC with the safety features in mind
like ours. I am as concerned as the next person is
about safety and over crowded waterways of
today. Name any other company producing wet bikes that
include safety features safer than ours and for that
matter what about automobiles, motorcycles, boats able
to go 120mph to 180mph and faster without any governers
should we ban them as well? Let's be safety conscience
without eliminating the boating experience. If your
tone of writing was directed with the guidelines or
requirements that
you are looking for rather than just spewing anger about
a product that basically you know anything about,
companies like ours and others would more than likely,
willing to work together rather than declaring war
without merit. Try that approach maybe we all could be
happy together.
I hope that we can talk civil like. I can no more
make the end user of a product drive safer than he or
she wants to. What I can do is to promote and build a
product that does have as many safety features as
possible and that is exactly what we propose to do. The
facts that our products look stealth like and made for
speed does not mean that we want our product to kill
people or damage property and/or destroy the
On the contrary that is precisely why we have installed
the safety
features that we have. We came out with this product to
stay in business and so that concerned people like
yourself and others would see that we are doing what we
can to make the boating experience enjoyable and first
and foremost, safer. I am open to any and all
from persons like yourself as to what I can do to make
the riders more responsible. Throw some ideas on the
table, I am listening!! I want the riders to read my
safety manual and to understand that it is not a joke,
when people get hurt or when the environment is
This will be one of the focal points when the dealers
sell our product. I will see to that myself, that my
dealers do just that! I do not see any automobile
company or
boat manufacturers folding up their businesses and going
back to the days of horse and buggies because the people
using their product are irresponsible, it won't happen.
We all need to promote safety and hope that people will
listen. Let's help each other. Again, I'm reminding
you give me some ideas. how about spreading some of our
features to some of the other PWC builders!!

Thank You,

Darrell Miklos

09-22-2000, 10:29 PM
"I am open to any and all suggestions from persons like yourself as to what I can do to make the riders more responsible."

Well, guys. It's put up or shut up time, eh? Got any constructive ideas that might work for Mr. Miklos?


09-22-2000, 11:36 PM
Sure. Obey the Rules of the Road, local laws, and common courtesy. 'Nuff said?

09-23-2000, 04:21 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Our wet bikes will include a very easy to read in
simple English “operators safety manual for dummies”

Now that's funny

09-23-2000, 06:33 AM
And, more to the point, entirely appropriate...

garland reese
09-23-2000, 07:13 AM
That was a failry nice letter. But I still think that in reality, safety is a secondary concern here. If the bike is in fact as quiet as he states it is, then being that it is black, and given a bit of an overcast day, you could have yourself a torpedo. Don't all PWC have kill switches? Advertisement and packaging is everything, it seems these days, and everything about his product says "go give 'em H!@%". And the market niche that will buy these things will most likely do just that......read the comments pages on their website. "I'm sure that govenor will not last long in the hands of a fair mechanic, and besides, isn't that a bit of false advertisement essentially?
I think that the technology behind this device is pretty impressive and I'm sure that if you strapped one on, you'd be thrilled. I don't like the thought of PWC bans anymore than the banning of any other type of watercraft. BUT, this and some of the other PWC are such seemingly specialized devices, like a motocross bike or an Indy car or drag bike; we don't allow those types of mobiles on the street with the rest of the general public, no matter how many safety features they might have (Indy cars and NASCARs are some of the "safest" cars around, but that does not mean that Joe public can drive one, nor that you could put lights on one and drive it to work everyday).
I'm not saying that these things have no place (though I've NO desire to ride one), they are used very handily for some good things too, like rescue squads and such (maybe the NAVY SEALS will want a few of these STEALTH PWCs.....How 'bout it Gordy). You can place all the yellow safety stickers you want and write a safety NOVEL to include with the device, but that does not mean that it will make things all better. Safety sometimes (too often) takes a back seat when you crack the throttle back..........
If they (PWC of this nature) are going to be used, FINE; give them a PWC waterpark to use them in (I know....the water IS just one big park). What I mean is, give them a restricted area exclusively for use of these kinds of watercraft, like a water motocross park or a water Pocono Speedway. They go there, they play, they have a great time, they don't bother anyone (much), they trash the place, they get drunk, they crash.........oops; but I digress........
Personal reponsibility is THE most important part of using any watercraft, and there are very responsible users and not very reposnsible users, respectful ones and not very respectful ones....no matter the type of watercraft. But a "bike" like this, with advertisement such as it is, is an invitation to irresponsibility......and the first time Joe Hot Rod gets out there and finds that "This thing won't do 90!", he'll haul it home and when it hits the water again, I'd bet that it might just go 90, and there goes TROUBLE.
there.........maybe not a worthy rebutle, but....I feel better

09-23-2000, 08:31 AM
Is there any analogy here to handgun control? I am being very specific here, by the way, I said "handgun." A jetski is, in the minds of many here, a bad thing per se, there is no good way to use one, there is no good place to use one, and many would agree that they should not be built at all. Many say the same about handguns. Lynyrd Skynyrd, for one, or however many of them there were. (I would be interested, by the way, in knowing how much of the gun rights position on regulation is based solely on the slippery slope argument; ie, do you oppose any regulation at all only because of the fear that any regulation will lead to incrementally greater regulation and then banning, or is there a fundamental theoretical problem with any regulation at all?) Anyway, back to jet skis, this guy says this thing will have a governor and a manual and softer sponsons (like a rubber sponson at 40mph is somehow less dangerous). Isn't that about the same as saying "we'll only sell handguns with trigger locks and a "gun use for dummies" handbook (thats even funnier; guns in the hands of dummies, great idea). That argument would not be accepted by one who favors handgun control, is my point. By the way, anyone seen the new book, historical research on gun ownership in colonial period, which basically concludes that there never was any "golden age" of universally armed, self-sufficient heroic forbears who believed that gun ownership is our gurantee of freedom because it gives us the ability, in the end and when pushed, to fight off the yoke of an oppressive government. It says that very few people owned arms then, and the militias kept what guns there were strictly locked up, that when the call when out for armed volunteer soldiers, for example, less than 10% showed up with a guyn. Very often, the good old days, weren't. But I would never bring up gun control per se, of course, because thats a hot button issue, guranteed to cause controversy, I'm talking about jet skis here and just saying that a governor (in the dictionary I think "governor" is defined as "a thing attached by a amnufacturer to an engine to control its speed which the buyers immediately disable") and the other supposed safety features of this thing are about on a par with trigger locks, in the end, and drunks will still kill themselves and others with these things, just as they do with handguns.

09-23-2000, 09:24 AM
Oh, dear, Pat. Now comes the test. I considered bringing up gun control when everyone was being so gentlemanly in the Confederate Flag threads to see if such behavier is truly enherent to our forum.


09-23-2000, 09:30 AM
Hi Pat,

Almost hate to get embroiled in this again, but I think you point to interesting questions of the limits of freedom.

One flaw I see in your analogy is in categorizing both handguns and 90 mph PWC as useless or frivolous personal "recreation" items. Hand guns are in fact a useful tool. For what you ask? Personal defense.

I point to a recent study by a Yale economist who also produced a book titled, More Guns Less Violence. Through extensive analysis of the states and counties that have right to carry laws he demonstrated dramatically lower rates of all violent crimes when compared to those counties and states without such laws. He also demonstrated that the drops could be correlated to the institution of the legislation.

There is a tremendous amount of publicity given to the violence done by criminals with firearms, hardly any given to the estimated 2 million times a year when a citizen prevents a crime with a firearm.

I think the slippery slope fears are not terribly misplaced. After all, I can hear the counter to the arguments above as I write them. Well gee, if there weren't ANY guns then you would eliminate the need to use them for self defense. 'Course you'd have to set to work on knives, baseball bats and garden implements next, but that aside. I believe that many if not most of the anti-gun idealogues hold just such a utopian notion. Perhaps in cultures with a different sense of civil rights -- particularly with regard to search and seizure -- where the police/military could conduct sweeping searches of peoples homes, such a notion could come closer to working than it could here. Even were such police power instituted here (God forbid,) you have to remember that we have these long non-secure borders. We are unable to keep illegal drugs out, and if all or some guns were outlawed tomorrow, and somehow in fact disappeared, a criminal bent on obtaining a banned fire arm would have no problem. Of that I am convinced.

As I've said elsewhere, I don't own firearms. I'm not a hunter, and have never lived in a place where I felt compelled to own one for self defense. But, if I lived near one our crime plagued inner cities, or in a rural setting with a high percentage of yahoos, I would not want to be told what kind of tool I could own to protect myself and my family.

I don't know the answer to the demon water craft question, but I think you've got a false analogy going when you make the gun comparison. Best, Ishmael

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-23-2000).]

09-23-2000, 10:07 AM
hi all, what about those of us who will treat these things with the kind of respect thay deserve? I would love to takeone a try it out, about 1 mile off shore, away from the boats of idoits that would be drawn to the looks of this strange new craft ....bat man is still a big hit here.
all I'm saying is their are some folks who like to drive stuff like this that have the good sense to do so safely. http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

09-23-2000, 10:12 AM
I always thought the most important philosophical basis for gun ownership was the prevention of governmental tyranny. It might be that I personally just find that the most compelling argument. I'd like to know the basis of that study you cite, I heard that two million figure before, and I have to say, that number is higher than the total number of violent crimes in america per year. So, I assume, and I feel pretty safe here, that figure is supposed to represent the total number of crimes which don't occur because of guns, not the number of crimes actually prevented or thwarted by someone brandishing a firearm. And as such, it is a highly theoretical number, at bottom it is based on assumption, the assumption along the lines of "if criminals knew that no-one had a gun, they'd run wild, gee, I assume there'd be at least 2 million more crimes a year, therefore, guns prevent two million crimes a year." So, that raises the question, how do we know that those 2 million theoretical crimes weren't prevented by the death penalty, and not gun ownership? When you get down to it, those 2 million crimes might have been prevented by the "McGruff the crime dog" campaign. When you are ascribing a cause to the non-occurrence of theoretical crimes, you have to be pretty careful, is all I'm saying. By the wasy. did you know that Clinton and Gore have screwed up the economy royally? Yea, you see, as good as the economy has been, it would have been so much better if not for Clinton screwing it up. So you see, he's responsible for each and every one of us losing thousands of theoretical dollars we would have earned in the hypothetically better economy we would have had. I may be projecting here, but so might you, or at least the author of that study.

09-23-2000, 10:36 AM
Okay Pat,

Let's say the real number is a hundred thousand. Isn't that still a good thing? And, if you lived in a place where home invasions, or rapes were common place wouldn't you wish to have the right to defend yourself and family? Isn't that a basic human response?

I dont recall the name of the author of the study I mentioned, but I'm pretty sure of the title. I've only seen him speak on CSPAN. Made a bit of a splash a month of so back. All I can say is that he seemed to know where of he spoke. Perhaps it's only because it makes sense to me that I believe him. Before we argue it further I suppose we both should have a look at the study.

Problem here is, I'm no statistician, so the author who uses statistics to promulgate what I believe to be true about human nature is the one who will get my ear. Same with you I suspect.

Can you imagine a time and place where a handgun might come in handy? Maybe not in your life right now, but can you put yourself in a situation where you would feel more comfortable armed? If so, then no matter the statistics, I think my criticism of your analogy stands. Even if the answer is no (a response I would question, but that's another argument,) the criticism still stands for some of us who can imagine such a senario.

A tool I can use to prevent violence to myself or loved ones is not equivilent to a recreational toy.

Interesting arguing with ya Pat. Best Ishmael

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-23-2000).]

09-23-2000, 10:42 AM
Speaking of the slipery slope. I belive the tax that got the tea into boston harbor was a 3 percenter? Lake Powell National rec area, part of the national park service; in southern Utah is considering banning PWCs they already had limits on up stream travel on the 4 major tributarys. it comes a point where so many items activities and property are controled that one more rule reg or law is enacted and no one hardly notices and the new reg is axcepted because it is " just a little more" ( ie if you have to get a driving liscence why not a gun owning liscence. if you have to liscence a vehicle on the road why not force vehicle that never leave privet ground to be liscenced? if you can tax [take away or steal] one forth or one third of income what is the moral diference if 40% 50% or 90%???) should I chose to build a boat and sail to Hawaii should the coast guard be able to stop me and say your scantlings are to thin? or you can't drive that type of inboard here? ( in the San Juan islands)
Best wishes to all

Ian Wright
09-23-2000, 01:33 PM
Oh no,,,,,,, a gun thread on the WoodenBoat forum,,,,,
Given that this will descend in the way these things do may I take this opportunity to remark that strip planked boats and others (cold moulded, stitch and glue etc)are nothing but cheap substitutes for the real thing, boats built from the plans of a great artist and built from good quality timber by proper skilled shipwrights are the only acceptable type to aim for. Further,,,,, that the more epoxy a boat has in its construction the less desirable it becomes ,,,,and for a cruising boat the best rig is gaff cutter with a yard topsail.

Thank you.


09-23-2000, 01:55 PM
John Lott is the author of "More Guns, Less Crime". Using "john lott more guns less crime" in www.google.com (http://www.google.com) will get you a couple of thousand reviews, comments, critisms, and responses to those critisms. The orginal paper is available as a pdf file, at http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/lott.pdf

The two million estimate is from Dr. Gary Kleck's book "Point Blank"; there's a brief version of this at http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/guns/point-blank-summary.html
www.2ndlawlib.org (http://www.2ndlawlib.org) will get you lots of links to "Pro-2nd" literature.

09-23-2000, 02:12 PM
Hi Ian,

Let me just say that if these discussions are offensive to a large number of people here I will certainly attempt to demure. I just like a good logical argument, no matter the topic. They test, and expand the capacity of, any participant who engages them honestly.

If someone can explain to me what harm it does, even if it's a compelling argument about harm done to the 'tone' here, I'll do my best to desist. I wouldn't want to sour the comraderie I feel here, and certainly don't have any axe to grind over firearms.

There is a parallelism between the PWC issue and guns that is compelling, at least over here where guns are a very emotional issue. What are the boundaries of the power of the state? Should the minority be able to dictate to the majority in the perceived interests of the body politic? In the interests of perceived common sense? Who controls those perceptions these days?

This is a wonderful place to discuss, and argue, and agree to disagree, and simply agree. What are the boundaries of that discussion? Best, Ishmael

P.S Thanks htom. I realized, after a bit of research here today, I got authors and studies confused. The author of the More Guns Less CRIME book is apparently associated with the U. of Chicago. I could have sworn he was hooked up with Yale. Maybe he was or is now. Bad form, even if it doesn't change the thrust of my arguments.

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-23-2000).]

09-23-2000, 02:34 PM
Lott was at Chicago when he published the paper and first edition of the book, and is now at Yale, if I understand correctly. I didn't mean to be critical of you, just provide the pointers to the papers and discussions.

09-23-2000, 02:34 PM
"...to aim for." Bad choice of words, Ian. http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

Lake Powell is part of the National Park System, not part of the National Park Service, the latter being a group of people responsibe for managing units of the system. Small distinction Jeffery but it really galls when kids in the NPS make that error. But what should I expect, they can't even wear their hats correctly.

I don't have an opinion about banning PWC's from all of Lake Powell. If forced to form one I'd probably oppose such a ban but those who prefer quiet, human or wind power should have places where they can enjoy solitude. PWC'ers in Nebraska are fighting exclusion from something like 1% of the Missouri and Niobrara rivers using the slippery slope arguement. In their view, it seems canoes shouldn't have any part of the river free of everything PWC's offer them 'cause the next thing you know they will want it all. Yeah sure!

Snile, don't smarl!


Now Ian, about boats made with wood and googue....

09-23-2000, 02:57 PM
No criticism perceived htom, it's just that if we are to engage in rational discussion of these kinds of issues it behooves us to get the facts straight. Otherwise, good arguments can be refuted by pointing out a faulty grasp of minor issues without ever addressing the gist of the real arguments. In my experience that goes nowhere fast. Just tune in any of the political round tables on the tube these days.

09-23-2000, 03:40 PM
Hey, I just enjoy the good arguments and reasoning that gets thrown up when these discussions get going. I am not out to offend anyone, and even though I am a confirmed pinko liberal, I do believe in the constitution. I am not an anti-gun-nut, by any means, but neither am I a pro-gun nut. I am, however, anti-nut, I am concerned with the damage to civility and democracy itself when ideas and opinions are elevated to idealogies and people start demonizing those who disagreee with them. I have an opinion, but I can also see the point of the other views. I think the danger lies in defining yourself as a human being by the opinions you hold, and as a result getting all hotted up, when those opinions are attacked. I have now built with stitch-n-glue, and with pure, old fashioned solid wood and copper rivets; I think maybe there's room for rational compromise in my future endeavors. I have never gone cruising, but if I did I think I'd like a big, huge diesel engine for my sail.

09-23-2000, 03:58 PM
Good Pat,

I think the exercise of the rational mind around these issues is so important. It is likely the only way the idealogue in all of us -- you know, that hidden dictator we all harbor, even if in small measure -- will possibly be convinced of the reason of opposing arguments.

So Pat... argue with my points. I've yet to see that your analogy is accurate, or heard your opinion on the human right of self defense, and therefore the inherent right to owning a firearm. http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif Best, Ishmael

09-23-2000, 05:21 PM
Cool posts!
Three wheeled atvs are banned, Narcottics are controlled and banned , armor piercing munitions are banned.
I have been on the Niobrara and I lived along the last three miles of the Missouri that look as much like it did when L&C came through. I wish the local folks (mostly farmers) there all the luck in the world in there fight to ban these manifestations of irational self destructive behavior!
I now live in Port Townsend WA and would love to talk to anybody interested in helping extend the ban that encompasses San Juan county to the entire Puget Sound.
If you want to go fast build a dragster, Hell build a wood DRag Boat take it to an event put it on the course and go like a winged banshee. (Hydro racing any one?)I would even buy a ticket to watch!
There is a monumental mountaine of a diference between building it yourself as an expression of your creativity and freedom as an american citizen and being the for profit manufacturer of an unsafe product.
It is clear that the PWC industrie gives a aats rass about preserving the enviornment or being respectfull of local citzenrys rights to legislate against them. There atitudes are manifest in the peoples actions who would buy and operate MANUFACTURED products that are inherently unsafe and for sale at a profit at a cost to the greater good.
There will always be people willing to sell anything to anybody if they think they can make a buck. That includes cigarets, PWC, factory trawlers to mention a few.


09-23-2000, 06:13 PM

Who decides and how? Is commercial exploitation of fools a reason to ban anything? In a free society, are you or I willing to be dictated what amount to questions of value. If a reactionary group gains much power and decides... oh say, the music you listen to is harmful to the culture and strives to have it banned, and have the muscle 'cause of the way power works, how would you feel?

But that's the first amendment you cry. Well, arguably the tenth is already gone and the second and fourth well on their way in the name of good causes. Whose cause and why and by what means?

The questions are just meant make you think. I don't have any real answers. Wish the D*** things were never invented.

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-23-2000).]

Ian Wright
09-23-2000, 06:32 PM
Ok Norm,,,,,
,,delete "to aim for", insert "to die for", or "to insist on" ,,,,, http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/wink.gif
,,,,,,,and Hey, if guns were made of epoxy resin and wood pulp,,,,,,,?

Any hoo this is a domestic spat and non US types should/might just avert their eyes and pass by on the other side while shaking their heads in sorrow.
I'm off to another thread,,,,,,


09-23-2000, 08:23 PM
I can't see the need for a PWC capable of 90mph or a 100mph snowmobile in my life. On the other hand, it would be comforting to know that the masses could afford them, (if only they wouldn't breed before mounting the things.) http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif Let's save the regulations for behaviour, not the implements chosen.

Ken Hall
09-23-2000, 08:49 PM
I made a number of the points you folks made in your responses above. Mainly, what I encouraged him to do was take a strongly proactive stance regarding responsible operation, as a matter of product stewardship. I also mentioned that in addition to advancing a safety message almost unique in the industry, it could serve the product's positioning. Let's face it--when you say "With great power comes great responsibility," you get to make the point that you have great power.

I told him he could have a Harley, the riders of which by and large are responsible (if loud), or he could have a Kawasaki Ninja or something like that, where you inevitably see the morons wheelstanding at 100 mph through bumper-to-bumper rush hour interstate traffic. Beyond that, I gave a few other examples by which Swift could do well in a business sense by doing good (by stewarding the X-2000 in such a way that it gets the respect it ought to have from the user).

As for PWC bans, I understand the slippery slope fear but it doesn't always happen that way. PWCs are banned from the Hatteras National Seashore, but jet skeet and everyone else seemed to coexist quite nicely on the Currituck Sound in my (admittedly limited) experience. In fact, absent more evidence, I'd oppose a blanket ban because it probably would just keep the responsible PWCers off the water; the outlaws would probably still be out there.


09-24-2000, 09:52 AM
Guns, guns.

I'd like to argue PWC bans on the merits of the case. PWCs aren't guns.

Nothing personal, guys, but ...

If you'd like to discuss guns, please start a thread in Miscellaneous called "Guns".

I find it tedious to read, re-read and re-re-read all the ranting (from both sides) as well as the logical argumentation (from both sides) when I'm interested in boats and boating.

"Guns" is sort of like a virus that manages to infect almost every BBS or newsgroup from time to time. let's keep it in the Iso Ward if we're going to have it here.

09-24-2000, 09:57 AM
CEO Response.

I have issues with a lot of the things he says, but I'm not prepared at the moment to argue them. The fella does sound reasonable on the face of it but then again, it's an unreasonable product. Just because it "can be made" doesn't mean it "should be made".

And I'd rather not be hit with a 90mph foam object, thank you.

The site's URL has been passed along to various boating advocacy groups and to the USCG safety folks by a friend of mine, at least in the context of use on the Chesapeake Bay.

Outside the 3-mile limit (yes, I know, that's an old concept) I don't much care. Wm F Buckley can smoke his pot and Miklos can swoosh around on his 90mph PWC.

09-24-2000, 11:08 AM
Ian and Ishmael

Apologies for bringing up the "G" word. Ishmael speaks so much better than I when he boiled it down to the limits on goverment power. are there any left in this country? Or any where else in the world? Read where Bill Clinton was trying to force the leaders of our United States' protecterate, the northern marianas islands to intute the whole gamet of income taxes, minium wages and regulations.

But Ishmael as much as I agree with your veiw I am as worryed with the majority inforcing THEIR veiws on the minority as with a minority forcing their veiws on the majority

To me a boat is a way of travling. as nice to say you can"t use a pwc inside the ( wasn't it three league or 12 mile ) limit, how does one reach the "OK" zone and return to shore with out crossing the no no area?

West Virgina decited it would tax fuil usage on its terrritoral waters tow boats responded by hugging the Ohio shore leading to WV water cops crossing into Ohio waters to detain boat it felt were not paying the taxes they throught they should.

I brought this up to ask. how about limiting the PWCs to one side of the river and canoes to the other?

thankyou for reading this

09-24-2000, 11:27 AM
SelfSinking: I curious about the ban on PWC's at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. As I recall, from yikes! 30 years ago, there is very little water within the bounderies, mean high water on the sea side, not much of the sound and a few fresh water ponds within. Is this a Federal ban or a State ban?


09-24-2000, 12:12 PM
Mr. Ishmael,
The concept of an active loclal citzenry that is active in the political process is not beyond you I am sure. Speed limits and school levys are no more pie in the skie than insisting that minors in your town are not sold alchol or that PWC are banned from operating in your localy moniterd waters. Just like those funny little stickers you have to put on your boat confirm that the local water ways are under state regs as well as the coastie aproved holding tank/port a potti you carry confirms that you are also subject to federal regulatory control, not to mention your running lights, you might like to know that you have been luck enough to be in a country where you, yes you, have the oportunity to change those rules through both direct and indirect methodologies.
Yes it takes effort and, supprise, "The Slippery Slope" might be one twards a more active local citenzry banned together to fight for quality of life issues that they feel(The local citezens that is) are worthy of there time and effort.
Scarry I know, the thought of informed neighbors banning together to make changes to how they are governd and the laws by which they live. Maybe Comunity is what Government is all about?

09-24-2000, 12:14 PM
Well, Jeffery, there is the whole nub of the issue. According to my understanding, we do not live in a democracy, or at least, not a pure democracy. In a pure democracy, government action is determined by consensus, in other words, by everyone agreeing. We live in a modified representative majoritarian democracy. This means that In most cases, "the majority rules." The inherent problem with that system is that the majority can theoretically decide to impose its will on the minority, or even persecute or enslave the minority. For example, blacks make up only 12% of the population, so the white majority could just pass a law taking away all their rights and saying people could buy and sell them like property. Believe it or not, it has actually happened. Some people think this might be immoral or wrong. I do, which I suppose makes me a liberal. But, as a society there is a concensus that we don't want the majority to have this power over any particular minority, is, so we have the Constitution, which places limits on majority rule, in other words, the constitution says you can't do certain things even if a majority agrees on it. So, we can't outlaw guns, even if the majority wanted to, because the constitution prohibits it. So, there we are. I love the constitution, its a good document, it works, most of the time, sorta the way it should. When you are all angry over the imperfections, you should consider the alternative.

You have expressed fear that a minority might take your guns away. Well, that shouldn't happen, and under the constitution, even a majority shouldn't be able to take your guns away.

Now, I'm not naming names, but I hear all kinds of angry arguments about these boogeymen, the liberals, who are coming to take your guns and leave you at the mercy of the criminals, a euphemsism for "minorities," a euphemism for blacks, who, so the story goes, the liberal courts have been coddling and who live of the taxes of hardworking people anyway. Right. There is a well accepted method that the powers that be use when they want to manipulate the public, they tell them that the sky is falling and only they can prevent it, its called demagoguery and both sides are good at it. I don't fall for it from either side. For example, GWBush says that we have to save social security, because studies show that 35 years from now, yes, 35 years from now, its payments will for the first time exceed its outlays. It is more than just solvent right now, it in fact produces so much income that the government steals the money and uses it to buy V-22 Osprey aircraft that plummit from the sky and Stealth Bombers that can't go out in the rain. Social security has over a billion dollars in assets right now, and its revenues exceed its expenditures by over 100 million per year. Yet we have this man telling us that we need to change it, right now, and in a big way, because economists predict that if nothing at all is done over the next 35 years, it will start to operate in the red. Now, as a practical matter, anything thats fine for the next 35 years, from an economic standpoint, is fine forever. We just can't predict out that far ahead, so when truth is known, SS is just fine for as far as we can really see. And if a very small change is made, like changing the retirement age to 68, for example, some time between now and 35 years form now, it will be fine for about 50 years. So why do we have to mess with it? Why are we being scared into thinking that this thing is on its last legs, and that if we don't partially privitize it immediately we are all doomed? (By the way, beware partial privatization, once you give a little money to the wall street brokers, they'll get the taste of blood and won't stop until they have it all.) Well, we are being scared because there are very powerful and very well connected people who want to get their hands on that 100 mmillion a year, and on that billion dollar trust fund. Oh, they'll tell you they'll make you more money than the social security people do, they'll tell you that they'll take it out and drive it on sundays, but they will lie to make money, thats what wll street is all about. Anyway, its just an example of someone telling you there is a problem, when there really isn't one, just so he can claim to be the only guy who can cure the problem, so you'll vote for him, so he can go do whatever the hell he pleases, which might just involve repaying the money boys who put him where he is with some of that social security money. Bet noone knows that the first thing GWBush did as guv of texas is take the state university system endowment fund, which has a couple of billion in assets, and give it to the brokerage firm owned by his ex-partner, a co-owner with Bush of the Rangers. Now, they're not stealing the money, they are simply investing it with his friends (and boy do the commissions on a billion dollar portfolio add up), just like the Teamsters used to put their pension fund money in really sound investments with their good friends.

So my point is, noone is out to get your guns, thats a scare tactic that people use to get elected. And Social security is fine. There are a few lefty do-gooders who screach about gun control,But they are not going to get anywhere unless you let them by not voting. Guns are useful tools, they have their place, but they shouldn't be worshipped (projection is a big problem with guns, Ishmael).

But above all, vote. Only 20% of the population votes in a typical congressional election, if that. The only reason that minorities, whether liberal gun control minorities, or right wing extremeist minorities, are able to impose their will on the majority, is because the majority simply refuses to vote. Oh, you'll say, these politicians stink, why vote for them? Well, beleive me, if you voted, they'd still stink, but they'd do their stinkinjg for you, and not the minority that elected them. They'd crawl through ground glass to get elected, and they'll steal public money and give it to the people who get them elected. And as long as the people who control elections are the minority who knows their way to the polls, the politicians will sell out to that minority. If we all voted, they'd sell out to all of us, and thats exactly what we want.

And I could be completely wrong about all of this. Its easy to be wrong, lots of people are every day. I spent a month struggling to get the frames into my seabright skiff, because I was doing itwrong. See, its all about boats.

So many people

09-24-2000, 01:19 PM
I just went back and read the earlier posts.
You guys get the Hydro analogie and the dragster analogie. Why do you all jump to the license to operate argument? This is just what the PWC publisists spin doctors are going to want you to say " well I dont want to have to obtain a license to go sailing on my haven 12and a 1/2..."
You can't operate an oil tanker with out a ticket, why aren't we saying that you need a license ONLY if you care to operate a PWC on public waterways? Why not put ALL the responsability on them? Why not impose a tax or fee on PWC only that funds enforcement and or education?Make them obtain insurace before a PWC can be licensed in your state. If each of us took the oportunity to just begin to gather signitures for a ballot initiative that would do just this, BOy would these manufactures sweat at night!
Don't forget WE are the good guys!
The nut in seattle should try that in Port Townsend. There was a red porche in town with MA plates and a whale tale the size of a cofee table last summer.
I was coming down the hill he was going up. There were pedestrians walking on the side walk and this phalicly chalenged individual punched it and easily hit 80mph in a 25mph zone. I pulled into the police dep. reported the incident to oficer Greene and They imiedatly put out a call and performed a traffic stop. Not many red porches with whale tailes and MA plates in PT.
Facist you say, no responsible citzenry! I have two small kids and this guy was behaving in a way that was a threat to them and me and my way of life ie=cross walks are sacred and pedestrians always have right of way! I hate cell phones but I bet you or others around you could have made some phone calls & gotten some action. Police and Highway Patrol officers have families to and take there jobs very, very seriuosly.
If not me who? If not now when?
Freedom is more than foriegn policy decisions, and it requires more than service in a foriegn war to defend! Sometimes a polite discusion with a neighbor or a letter to a city council member or attending a school board meeting or placing a 911 call is more important than taking up arms.
Last year My familie and i were sitting at anchor while a kid15-18yr old proceeded to buzz through the state mooring bouys. There were three of us all sail boats on them and this kid was not buzzing us just coming through to the beach back and forth at full throttle. The other sailors were as anoyed as I. I used my canned air horn every time he came even remotley close he would get HOOOONK HOOOONK as I stood and in my cock pit and scowled attempting eye contact the whole time. Soon the other boat did the same! He got the mesage and headed to shore as we loaded the kids in the pram and rowed to shore. I was very ready to be approached by a father tho none apeared. As I was holding my 16 month old daughtter I walked over to where the youth was and directly and confidently stated " You are making it very hard to make friends around here when you do that." Befudled he could only stand and look at me and my children nervously as we walked away to enjoy our state park. I have not seen a PWC there since.

09-24-2000, 02:19 PM
Pat and Robin: I'm with you both. Change can be made when people speak up. I'm a small town "politician"--if holding a non-partisan unpaid office makes one a politician. Many of our town council meetings are completely unattended. When there's a crowd (10-15 citizens), things can happen. If there's no issue, there's no change.

I've often had local folks comment to me on the need to ban or control PWC on the town's waters. I ask them to write a letter or attend a council meeting and speak to their concern. There is almost NEVER any follow-through. Please, please, participate. Especially locally.

Celebrate your citizenship--vote. But more than that, talk to those of us who truly want to represent you. I refuse to attempt to make useful change based on guesswork and my own isolated opinion.

A personal example: I've had maybe 6 or 8 face-to-face meetings with my local state legislator. I've gone to various meetings where he has been in attendance. In nearly each case I've gone up to him after the meeting to speak to him briefly about an issue or two. I had occasion to attend a meeting last Friday night where he was--I hadn't expected to see him there. After the meeting HE came up to ME, greeted me by first name, and I had another opportunity to bend his ear. It works, but you have want to make it work.

09-24-2000, 02:40 PM
Mr Robin Hood,

I have no problem with a local citizenry becoming active and banning PWC from their local waters. Last I checked, local governments have no control over the vast majority of the waters where PWC dash about, the navigable waters. When I asked my questions, I was reponding to your call to BAN THEM ALL NOW. A call that refered, apparently, not only to PWC, cigarettes and factory trawlwers, but almost anything else you don't like.

If I were "king of the forest" I might just do that too, but as we both know it's not the way it works.

Reading your later posts, I can see you're advocating people getting involved with issues they care about. I'm all for that. Perhaps it was my mis-reading of your original post that caused the confusion. Best, Ishmael

09-24-2000, 02:58 PM
This is getting a little personal me thinks.
But in the interest of beieng understood I think it is important for you to understand that i have a lott of time to write today because I am home with a sick 18mnth old and realy am enjoying the thoughtful adult conversation. It is truly not my intention to offend rather I think it is intersting that you choose to not see that it is not what I want banned rather that the colective we have the power and perhaps moral duty, to change the laws, specificaly at the state and local levels.
What I love about boat building specifically about wooden boat building is that no matter how much you talk to a pile of lumber, no matter how persuasive you may be nothing changes until YOU make it happen, and then something magic happens, you have the oportunity to see that YOU are the boat you build, just as each day in your life will eventualy tally into a colective whole so do the sticks you arange into a hull.
I think these kind of disscusions are important like ripples on a pond we have no way of realizing how far they may spread or who they may touch, but if i can humbly complement your contributions I would like to do so. If i have offended In my attempts at humor i appologize Also you may want to find out who in your county has jurisdiction to enforce state regulations, yes even on "navigable waters" before your sherifs department attempts to board your vessel.

[This message has been edited by robinhood (edited 09-24-2000).]

09-24-2000, 03:58 PM
No major offense taken Robin. Just a little tiff I think we both can handle.

Point taken about the sherif being able to board my boat. I think a local government might, however, have a difficult time banning a particular kind of craft from the navigable waters running near or through their territory. No lawyer though so who knows.

Oh and Pat,

I'm a little unclear. Are you suggesting that most or all who feel they have a right to defend themselves, with a firearm if it's appropriate, are white racist dupes of pandering conservatives? I find that odd, and if that's what you imply, more than a little offensive.

For one who claims to not be an idealogue, those statments you made about the gun control debate strike me as, at least, ill thought out and liberally reflexive. They amount to, IMHO, ad hominem absurdity, and don't reflect well on your obvious intelligence. But, we're not 'sposed to be talking 'bout this, and perhaps I misunderstood. That is always a possibility. I am kinda weary of this entire thread. Best, Ishmael

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-24-2000).]

Phil Young
09-24-2000, 07:32 PM
Slow day at work, so why not. To whoever started this thread, I'm surprised you seem to have taken Swift's CEO at face value. IMHO they guy is a dishonest opportunistic dimwit. He doesn't mind patently false advertising. He insults your intelligence with the idea that a governor will be effective. He hops on the greenie bandwagon for a free ride with a 4stroke motor which he claims will be practically silent. Heard those 4 stroke outboards at full throttle? Maybe quieter than a 2 stroke, but still shout to be heard stuff. Foam sponsons? Give me break, would you really be happier being hit by a Volvo at 90mph than by a Buick? And at the end of the day he basically admits the things are deadly, but says so are cars and nobody is banning them so its OK. There is the guys morality and dedication to safety on full display. Feel comfortable? He's going to sell these things to any idiot whose got the cash or the credit to buy one, but he hasn't got the basic honesty to admit that he's in it for the money at any price, and as long as he can sell them he will. The rest is not his problem. That would be the guts of my response to him.

09-24-2000, 08:27 PM
I never meant to get ad hominem, but then the road to hell is paved with good intentions and all that. I only said that I have heard those arguments, and there is a racist undercurrent in many of the things I have heard. Not from you or anyone here, that is certainly true, so it may have been unfair to mention that part of the debate. but I do believe there are more than a few who are, not dupes, but rather have their plausible fears played up and taken advantage of by those who would benefit thereby. And this occurs on both sides of the political spectrum, and I was careful to say that, because I really could care less about the gun control argument, I think its a side show. The same politicians who take the NRA's money to get elected, they don't care about the NRA, they pay lip service and vote against gun control measures, but then they sell the rank and file NRA members down the river when they continue to support anything and everything the megacorporations want in the way of free trade, which in short means exporting good manufacturing jobs. And when we're all working at McDonalds and Wal-Mart we can comfort ourselves with the thought that we have our guns. And those politicians who take the abortion rights groups money, they do the same thing, in the end, when Mobil Oil's interests in somalia are threatened, we have troops there so fast it would make your head spin, and this is a liberal democrat president, and most people never knew Mobil oil has big interests in Somalia; I might be wrong about whether its mobil or whoever, but its somebody. Ever hear of General Smedley Butler? Marine, got not one, but two medals of honor, look up his remarks after he retired. My real point is that your right and my right to own a firearm is not in as much danger as some people would have you think, and it shouldn't make you take your eye off the so many other issues out there that people ignore. Take The Marianas. This US protecdtorate has no local government, its laws are made by congress and its governor is appointed. There is a garment sweatshop industry there. Taiwanese businessmen opened sweatshops there because they get to take advantage of tax loopholes for Marianas businesses. There is no minimum wage there, the people work 12 hour days, women are sexiually abused, but thats not the real issue. Basically, they have indnetured servitude there. The employers sign up desperately poor people from southeast asia, they sign them to contacts, they charge them thousands for transportation, and under a contract, they have to work to pay that off, and in the meantime they live inbarracks and have to pay rent, they are kept behind walls, they have no rights, they can't go out and wlak into town. They cannot quit, they are beaten. This is part of the USA where this is occurring. These people are called "guest workers", a horribloe euphemism. The Marianas only other industry is tourism, it is a tropical paradise, and it is absolutley amazing how many US congressmen have been getting all expensdes paid trips down their, paid for by the sweatshop owners. I beleive that it is Trent Lott who is called "the Senator from the Marianas" because he has taken over ten of these free trips. I could be wrong, but it has been extensively covered. Its wrong, and its not a matter of free enterprise or meddling in Marianas affairs, these US congressmen are selling out to Taiwanese businessmen in exchange for donations and trips, and noone cares. Anyone built any good boats lately?

09-25-2000, 12:30 AM
Pat - I agree with almost all you write here. I cannot follow some of the US political references. I posted a reference to a review, in The Economist, of the book which you mention at the top of this thread, in an earlier thread called "buck Fever". (Sorry for the obtuse grammar!)

I'm not a US citizen so I should not really be posting in this thread, but your point about indentured labour in the Marianas is spot on.

I am a citizen of a nation whose government has banned handguns, to near universal popular approval. Ishmael's "two million crimes prevented" is what is known in East Asia as a "Shanghai loss" - "the money which I might have made if only...."

If Ishmael were right, the level of burglary in the UK would not be, as it is, double the US level, but infinitely high!

Until the 1960's the fleet of merchant ships that I worked for carried, on every ship, 12 Winchester carbines, 10 Smith and Wessons and two sawn off shotguns. These were "anti-piracy" weapons. When piracy became a major problem once more, in the 1980's and 1990's, I polled every officer in the fleet as to whether they wanted the guns back. Had they voted in favour we would have pout them back.

Only two men did vote in favour of guns. This was after three of our ships had been pirated. These men and women were and are at actual risk of armed attack, out of range of any police or military force, not US citizens living in secure, leafy, suburbs, and their decisions were made on the practical grounds that no guns were safer than guns.

Ban PWC's and hand guns.

Ian Wright
09-25-2000, 03:25 AM
encourage use of PWCs, but only if they are carvel built, teak on oak and gaff rigged,,,,

Bring back hand guns (in the UK), but only as sports equipment to be kept at a target shooting club, and after any shooter had spent a year minimum shooting Olympic air pistol with a 90% average. Let's see how many really LIKE shooting,,,,,

IanW, Whittlesea Rifle Club http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/wink.gif

09-25-2000, 04:53 AM

I am an ex pistol club member! Oddly enough, it was one of the few sports (?) that I was reasonably good at.

As to the PWC's, you will recall that the Royal Yacht Squadron, in its very early days, had a rule that steam yachts owned by members "shall consume their own smoke" (!)

I would settle for PWC's that consume their own smoke, noise and wash and do not exceed a speed at which they can stop within their own length.

As we grow ever more crowded together, we have to surrender more and more freedoms. Handguns and PWCs are amongst those that we should surrender, for the greater good.

John R Smith
09-25-2000, 05:07 AM
And amen to that.


09-25-2000, 07:09 AM

Glad you explained yourself. I think there is much common ground here with regard to pandering politicians who are actually in the pockets of powerful interests. I agree wholeheartedly that it happens across the political spectrum.

Not clear what it has to do with our small portion of the debate, and what you said sounded like it was directed at some of my arguments in a logical falacy/debate technique I remember from secondary school. So, I see now those remarks were kinda off the cuff, and not meant to refute anything in particular.


Did you say that the U.K burglary rate is twice the U.S.? That's striking, whatever the causes. The real comparison though, for the sake of this debate, would be between the U.K. rates before and after the draconian firearms restrictions were instituted. I would also comment that organized piracy, and the choice not to defend against it with a few small arms, really isn't relevant to this either. I likely would have voted the same way in those circumstances. For one thing, whose ship is it anyway? Unless of course the pirates had a demonstrated tendancy for the "dead men tell not tales" school of bucaneering.

Well, the debates continue. Best all, Ishmael

09-25-2000, 09:09 AM
I didn't know the UK burglary rate was twice the US; that makes the two million figure a little bit more plausible, Ishmael. I am still not convinced firearms aren't more dangerous than not, however. For one thing, assuming there is a burglary, I bet in britain the burglary isn't as likely to escalate to serious violence. Clearly the burglars are less likely to be armed, so any confrontation is less likely to end in death. Here, if you have an armed homeowener and an armed burglar, someone's likely to die. Also, I know that in my state, committing a crime with a gun is likely to triple your sentence. So now, your armed burglar has a much, much greater incentive to make sure he wins the confrontation and avoids all those years in jail. But, this is one where its all opinionn, there is clrearly no cut and dried answer to that debate. You know, I have often heard guns referred to as an "equalizer." Problem with that is in a heavily armed society, the law abiding and the armed criminals are still equal in a confrontation. I have travelled in several places where the warnings are explicit; the rates of mugging and robbery are high, but the number of murders is minuscule, there are a lot of crimes, but they do not escalate to deadly violence. The big assumption at this point in the line of reasoning is that if we outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns, but that slogan has been chanted so much that it has become an article of faith, challenging it is considered provocative. Ishmael, do you know the figures on the number of handguns manufacturted and distributed in the US in just the last 15 years? The shocking thing is that the total number of guns has skyrocketed lately, the number of guns in circulation now is many times higher than it was 20 years ago, and the more legal guns there are, the more slip over into the wrong hands and turn into illegal guns. 20 years ago, trying to control handguns might have worked, because there just weren't so many in illicit circulation as there are now. I do beleive that as a practical matter, banning handguns would do little good, it would then be true that criminals would have all the guns and it would take many years before they all worked themselves out of circulation. This issue comes up in cruising publications all the time, by the way, and it seems to me the overwhelming consensus is not to arm yourself, even in a confrontation with pirates, you are better off un-armed. Back in 1981, three high school classmates of mine were shot to death, and one crippled, in a stupid bar fight. They were only 19 years old, out at a bar, they got into a confrontation with someone over a remark made to a girl, they followed the guy, one guy, outside, he got to his car, they surrounded him, he pulled a gun and shot all four of them, killing three. They were the kind of guys who enjoyed getting in fights, I had been in confrontations with two of them. They shouldn't have picked on this guy, clearly, but in the end, his life wasn't in danger, these were just dumb kids on a tear, but he felt justified in killing three of them. Dirty Harry movies were popular then. Rambo, first blood. This incident says a lot to me about the way guns escalate things, they raise the stakes, they turn little mistakes into enormous tragedies. I do beleive we would be better off, in a perfect world, without them, but I also beleive that outlawing them now would be spitting in the wind.

09-25-2000, 10:36 AM
Phil, I'm with you on this one.

Slow day at work, so why not. To whoever started this thread, I'm surprised you seem to have taken Swift's CEO at face value. IMHO they guy is a dishonest opportunistic dimwit. He doesn't mind patently false advertising. He insults your intelligence with the idea that a governor will be effective. He hops on the greenie bandwagon for a free ride with a
4stroke motor which he claims will be practically silent. Heard those 4
stroke outboards at full throttle? Maybe quieter than a 2 stroke, but still
shout to be heard stuff. Foam sponsons? Give me break, would you really be happier being hit by a Volvo at 90mph than by a Buick? And at the end of the day he basically admits the things are deadly, but says so are cars and nobody is banning them so its OK. There is the guys morality and dedication to safety on full display. Feel comfortable? He's going to
sell these things to any idiot whose got the cash or the credit to buy one, but he hasn't got the basic honesty to admit that he's in it for the money at any price, and as long as he can sell them he will. The rest is not his

09-25-2000, 10:47 AM
Guns, guns.

A PWC is not a gun. Write on blackboard 100 times.

I like Swift-O's assertion that there willl be a "clip on rudder". I want to see these 90mph clips, I need some for my tarp sails. Anything that says clipped at 90mph must be something.

I'm glad there's someone else (Robin) who reports moron drivers to the town police. I do that too. I'm mainly astonished that more people don't.

I like the horn-blasting idea re obnoxious PWC'ers. As I've said elsewhere, in Maryland you can call the DNR (the water cops) at a toll-free number and they will laugh at you rather than do anything about someone operating in an irresponsible fashion.

A PWC is an obnoxious power craft that is small enough to travel at high speeds in places where, 10 years ago, only paddled boats or rowed boats or swimmers could be. Consequently the danger level in being in such a boat, or swimming off a sandbar, has increased.

A PWC adds noise to the aquatic environment.

A PWC adds pollutants to the waters. The argument "how much" is not relevant. It's another source of crap in the water.

Current PWC users show, by incidental reports from guys like Robin or myself, by stupidity and rudeness, and by a disproportionate number of accidents, that they simply can't handle these boats.

I don't see any great problem in requiring a license to drive a PWC, which is a motor vehicle concept (motorcycle) stuck onto a hull. I don't see any great problem in adding "points" and penalties to any powerboat drivers' drivers license. If it goes more than say 20mph **under power**, it's a motor vehicle, not a "boat".

So licensing is OK by me. Horsepower tax is OK by me. And top speed tax is OK by me. The funds can go back into programs to further Chesapeake and coastal bays ecological education and restoration.

Ian Wright
09-25-2000, 10:53 AM
&gt; am an ex pistol club member! Oddly enough, it was one of the few sports (?) that I was reasonably good at.&lt;

Strange, isn't it, how coincidence works? I gave up just before the handgun ban, my eyes gave out, at least for Free pistol and air pistol,,,, I did try black powder in a Colt Dragoon for a while but it wasn't the same, and you met to many John Wane clones (!). Plenty other stuff to do anyway,,,, r-packing Patiences stern gland and last years varnishng spring to mind,,,,,,,

09-25-2000, 11:04 AM
Hi Pat,

You point to some of the complexities of the issue here in this country...complexities our British friends likely don't really consider much since I don't believe the gun culture there was ever as strong as here.

I must confess to losing fervor over the topic as it has always been completely academic to me. I've never seen a gun brandished or heard one fired in anger and hope I never do. My perspective is largely based on a generally libertarian outlook, and a desire to see the debate kept as rational as possible. I also hate the hypocrisy. Rosie O'donnel comes to mind, getting on her large soap box and decrying all guns as evil, then turning around and hiring an armed body guard. Doubtless there are examples on the right that I'm not aware of.

We seem to agree that banning some or all guns is simply not possible here. I firmly believe that if you banned the legal ownership of firearms violent crime would rise not fall.

You also point to some of the other factors, such as violent media, that I feel are vital to understanding the current levels of all types of violence in the culture. This has been back in the spin cycle of the political season, and I have to say I find most of the debate a bore. There are still expert psychologists being interviewed who get on the tube and self importantly proclaim the lack of correlation between violent video/film purveyed to our children and violence amongst those children. Thankfully, the governing bodies of the pediatricians and child psychologists have finally announced what anyone with half a brain can see: Ya know what, this stuff really isn't good for our kids. Hey doc's how 'bout the rest of us? 'Course then you start stepping on the hooves of whole different sacred cow, the first ammendment. Complex!

Both of these, the current gun debate and the rights of pornographers -- of both violence and sex -- I suspect completely unforseen by the men who penned the Bill of Rights.

It seems to me that so many of our troubles in this country come back to cultural issues: the dumbing down of the populace, the passive soaking of values and sound bite politics pumped over the airwaves, the loss of comradarie in even our middle class neighborhoods, to name a few. I don't think definitive fingers can be pointed with regard to fault. It's OUR fault if it's anyones.

I see it as largely brought on by the unprecedented period of prosperity since WWII. It has created a society of undisciplined libertines. It has also called into question, in my mind, the whole notion of a republic, especially one so large, diverse, and complex.

Okay, that's dark and extreme, but I sense the veneer of civilization here is thinner now than it ever has been. The glue holding that veneer is our prosperity, not a strong social contract and we all know what can happen to prosperity.

Hmm, maybe I should think about that hand gun http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/wink.gif.

I actually think the only answers reside in fighting/diffusing the cynicism and fear in oneself. Instead of pretending that person passing on the street isn't there, say hello, catch their eye, take the chance (a darn good bet) that he really isn't the next Ted Bundy.

And, as Robin suggests, get re-involved politically, the closer to home the better.

Anyhoo, off the soap box Ishmael

P.S. Sorry dada if it feels like the threads been diverted, but maybe all the second amendment talk isn't completely irrelevant. At least two thirds of what I say above relates to PWC also. Courtesy, respect and common sense are all in decline along with so much else. Sometimes it seems the only thing up is credit card debt -- piled up on useless thrill seeking to help people forget how miserable their jobs are.

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-25-2000).]

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-25-2000).]

09-25-2000, 12:58 PM
It just occured to me in reading Ishmael's last post that there doesn't seem to be any absolutist position being argued here about gun control. No one has advocated NO gun control. The US does, in fact, have federal gun control legislation in place which applies to things like full auto, barrel length of both shotguns and rifles, maximum caliber, possession by convicted felons, and so forth. Aren't we just talking about how much control we are willing to tolerate? And aren't we off on that because we are trying to grapple--or avoid grappling--with increasingly complex watercraft questions? Just wondering.

Let's try facing that boogeyman! Who gets licensed? Who does the licensing? Should there be a tax structure of some sort? Should there be PWC-free zones? Just how DO we deal with these questions?

Ken Hall
09-25-2000, 01:12 PM
I started this thread, and I didn't exactly take him at face value. For the purposes of my posting, I am willing to conced about 65% of the benefit of the doubt. Subtle but significant difference.

However, I shade toward believing that he believes he's done the necessaries, and Swift may actually be a step above the other manufacturers, for whatever pittance that's worth, in terms of commitment to safety and responsible operation.

I don't think he's thought the subject all the way through, which is why in my private (well, getting rapidly less private http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif) response to him I raised a number of points and made a number of suggestions having to do with the concept of product stewardship. I shouldn't speak for him, but he strikes me as someone who knows how to make things go fast, not as someone with profound Deming-like business acumen. Evidence is all around us that product stewardship is a fairly esoteric subject, one that few businesses understand.

To Ishmael:
I'm going out on a fairly narrow limb here, and suggest that you (and everyone else who believes we're going to hell in an accelerating handbasket, sorry to oversimplify) try looking at the current state of society in the context of a longer view.

"Undisciplined libertines," for sure. I don't think it's entirely due to postwar prosperity. Your observations are basically on target; however, I remain optimistic about the future. Here's why:

What has happened in the last 50 years? The old symbols of authority/verity, tangible and intangible, have lost much of their meaning. The culture has dumbed down, seeming to be obsessed with juvenilia, scatology, violence and sex. Perhaps the whole notion of the republic has been called into question, along with practically everything else.

Remind you of anyone you know? More to my point, remind you (the editorial you, not Ishmael in particular) of anyone you perhaps once were? Say about the eighth, ninth grade, maybe (for us US types)... http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

Things may be worse than they were 50 years ago, but they're better than they were 150 years ago (institutional slavery, a much wider variety of blood sports, etc.).

The culture is experimenting with abandoning, as a 14-year-old will, the common truths we once held as self-evident. Actually, we say they were self-evident but they were in practice imposed upon the mass culture by authority (the propertied men who made up the original franchise and governing class).

In the postwar era the child/culture realized that authority could be defied. And defy it/they did. Now there is in a sense "no controlling authority," har har, and we're on a cusp. Could go either way, but my gut tells me we're beginning to turn a corner and heading for something better.

One grows up and realizes that their parents were actually right about all the odious stuff imposed upon the kids "for their own good." But one doesn't start doing the right thing as one grows up because one resubmits oneself to parental authority. One does the right thing because one, as one acquires the ability to reflect and to self-analyze, comes to understand that it is the right thing.

The onset of cultural adolescence coincided with massive and rapid population growth, exacerbating the negative associated phenomena. Additionally, there's no guarantee that things will turn out all right--some teens turn out thugs, or dead. It could yet happen. However, my sense is that (partially influenced, perhaps, by the aging of the Baby Boom generation, the rear guard of which I am a member) things are starting to get a little bit better. I've long made a practice of what Ishmael called "fighting/diffusing the cynicism and fear in oneself," and I've observed that it (making eye contact, nodding and saying hello to strangers on the sidewalk) is far better received than during the '70s and '80s.

One of the things that has happened is that the media has discovered how to make money by playing on our fears and insecurities, but then adolescence is a particularly fearful and insecure time, innit? Covered with bravado and bluster, to be sure, and prone to violence because one allows oneself to be backed into a corner where no other response seems possible....

But that's just my take, and I can already hear the potato guns being locked and loaded. I'll stand aside for a brief space; you may fire when ready, Spudley. http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif


09-25-2000, 01:16 PM
The CEO's letter was, IMHO, self serving B.S. "Follow the money" is always good practice when looking for the truth. Or the lack of it. His self justifications would be laughable if the infernal machines were not so deadly to others health and safety.

09-25-2000, 01:54 PM

I'm not sure that there are any really useful "gun control laws". Guns, for the most part, are inanimate objects that don't obey or disobey laws at all.

Laws that require proper labeling of receivers as to the ammunition to be fired in those recievers might make some sense as they might prevent some yahoo from making .38 Specials and labeling them as .357 Magnum, but I wouldn't depend on it.

Scott Rosen
09-25-2000, 02:58 PM
Phew! What's going on here?

We should try to solve one problem at a time. I say let's address jetskeet first, and gun violence later (much, much later).

I hate jetskeet. What I hate about them the most is the infernal racket they make. Being in an anchorage with jetskeet is like having a thousand mosquitoes buzzing right in your ears. They destroy the peace of the water.

I think the pollution and safety arguments against jetskeet are nonsense. If you're concerned about pollution, then why not ban all two-cycle outboards? Are you cruisers willing to do without your Nissans on your Avons? How dirty is that old Atomic-4 or that ancient marine diesel leaking oil in your bilge? And don't you occassionally pump your sewage over the side within the three mile limit? What do you do with the toxic bottom paint that you scrape and sand off your bottom every year? You can be sure that no jetskeet ever had an illegal discharge of sewage or dumped copper paint.

And the safety thing. I've been endangered by other vessels too many times. I've even been hit by one while I was at a mooring. But I've never been endangered by a jetskeet. Frankly, I'd rather take my chances with a collision with a jetskeet than with the 55 foot, twin-engine fiberglass and chrome-plated phallus that nearly cut Patience in half one summer several years ago. Or the Cigarette Boat that crushed Patience's boomkin while the gold-chained, potbellied driver was trying to ease his pride and joy into a satisfactory coital union with his slip. I guess he had a case of premature ejaculation and couldn't help making the turn a little early.

There's no Constitutional Amendment that protects jetskeet. I say if enough people want to ban them, then let democracy work its magic. I'd vote for any law that banned jetskeet. And lets ban Cigarette boats while we're at it.

As to the Swift reply. Don't you know that the only reason those folks exist is to make money? That's the first and last principle for the manufacturers of just about anything. Sure they care about safety. But only as necessary to protect their revenue stream. They say safety because you say you want to ban the things for not being safe. They say clean because you say you want to ban the things for being too dirty. They're good at the PR game, and they know how to use issues like safety and pollution to their advantage. Beware: it's always about the money.

Honesty is the best approach here. Let's all just confess that we hate jetskeet because they annoy the hell out of us. Let's also confess that we don't give a rat's ass for the rights of jetskeet owners and we don't care if they all kill themselves on unsafe vessels. And we wouldn't cry even one crocodile tear if the jetskeet makers all went bust tomorrow. I have even less sypathy for Jetskeet owners and manufacturers than I have for the big tobacco companies. Those jerks have been making a huge profit killing and annoying us for years, and no one is crying any tears for them. If you would ban a smoker from a public restaurant, then why not ban a jetskeet from public waters?

Let's also admit that if jetskeet were banned, there'd be one less reason to own a gun.

09-25-2000, 03:46 PM
I was particularly comforted when the CEO mentioned that this machine is made to break apart in case of an accident - leaving only a few solid objects, like the operator and the engine, to hurtle through your personal space. I guess we should stop complaining about the top speed of 90 mph it's rated for operating at 40-50 mph, so it should'nt cut your boat in half just impale itself. my problem is'nt with the product - it's with the dummies operating them. PWC's don't kill people, stupid people kill people.

Oh Yeah, and "You can have my gun when you pry my cold dead fingers from it". http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/wink.gif


09-25-2000, 05:02 PM
Yeeeaaah, Scott ! ! !

09-25-2000, 08:36 PM
I am amazed at the depth of our colective responses.
I am a little afraid that by continuing to participate I am calling into question the hard earned label the out of touch baby boomin press has handed me and my generation as over educated genn X slacker punks.
This new era of american culture you guys are refering to and have a gut feeling about has a name it is sometimes referd to as Post modernism or what I think is more acurate pluralism.
What does this have to do with PWC and wooden boat building? Let me tell ya.
The I dea off multiple models all holding relevant opinions or perspevctives and the inter mixing of ideas and opinions regardless of the dominate academic or popular opinions currently in fashion frees individuals to activley gather, mix,"sample" and discard information/Ideas/philosophies in ways that would have been considerd blasphomous and culturaly invalid because of there impurity through apropriation rather than natural manifestation even twenty years ago.
This Seems like a good place for an example.
Here on the west coast we are in the middle of what is beieng defined as Northwest Style in architechture. Here on the pacific rim we are aware of Japenese architectural identifiers, craftsman style architectural philosophies, art deco identifiers and even clean Bahaus form folowing function idealogies. We are seing houses and comercial structures being built designed by the likes of Ross Chapin and others that are mixing these together and getting something "new" out of the old.
This is one very measurable place that this philosophie can be demonstrated to be at work. It is so culturaly pervasive that once you begin to see it you soon relaize it is every where.
What does this have to do with PWC and wooden boats? Ok here comes the leap essentialy we are aware-er of our personal freedoms and of the significance of our interconectedness leading to a reawakening and the examination of the ideas of Comunity.
It is common for people of my generation to live were they do because they have made quality of life issues a priority over careers. This new culture impowers us to examine and dicard or embrace values as oposed to blindly inheriting what our parents would percieve as security or culturaly apropriate.
We know we will be changing jobs and careers over our lifetimes and revel in that. We rely on our own connections in our comunities the way people would have relied on families prior to the fifties. Our parents the baby boomers divorced like crazy, focused narcisticaly on themselves and there careers,( that is realy what the sixties were about navel gazing and the 80s"ME")and we gen xers have through compensation recreated what a meaningfull social relationship is and we are continuing to redifine and re invent COMUNITY. Who do you think it is that is swamping these Wooden boat building programs on both coasts and why?
The idea that the Farrels and even George Dyson, for example set examples for all of us in the way they lived/live and interacted with others, spreading there core values, in San Juan County and that same comunity felt impowerd enough to come together as a COMUNITY and out law something that they percieved as a threat to the Quality of there lives PWCS,is no accident.
The values and culture that embraces a Baidarka renasaunce IS fundementaly oposite and must be opposed to the culture that would spon and embrace Pwcs.
We are acting localy and thinking globaly to borow a bumper sticker.
And for the "Pry it from my cold dead hand guy.. If you lived in a place where you new your the names of all your neihbors kids and the names of at least three of the police in your town and waved to fellow citizrns as you drove down the street you would not be so scared and you sure as hell wouldent need a pistol to make you feel safe. Hugs not Glocks
Good luck to us all.

Peter Kalshoven
09-25-2000, 08:47 PM
Scott, there you go again. Injecting common sense and wisdom into a perfectly good emotional issue. (Thanks again)

Pat, I'm a little confused. You wrote: "Back in 1981, three high school classmates of mine were shot to death, and one crippled, in a stupid bar fight. They were only 19 years old, out at a bar, they got into a confrontation with someone over a remark made to a girl, they followed the guy, one guy, outside, he got to his car, they surrounded him, he pulled a gun and shot all four of them, killing three. They were the kind of guys who enjoyed getting in fights, I had been in confrontations with two of them.
They shouldn't have picked on this guy, clearly, but in the end, his life wasn't in
danger, these were just dumb kids on a tear, but he felt justified in killing three
of them." Are you on the drunken 19 year old thugs' side, or on the side of the guy who walked away from four drunks, got in his car, was surrounded by teenagers whose idea of fun was to get into fights, and therefore protected his life with the only means possible? Back in the early '80s, I used to bartend and bounce in a bar where "townies" and "college kids" mixed, drank, and played pool. Do you have any idea how much damage four drunken 19 year olds can inflict, especially if they are spoiling for a fight? On what basis do you figure that the guy who walked away was in no danger? I'd say the only suprise was that one kid lived! Not to seem cold-blooded, but this sounds like Darwin in action. Why my reaction? Because I put myself through college working for minimum wage and getting to throw myself in between bozos like that, to protect the bar, the equipment, and the furniture. Twenty minutes into my first night on the job, some drunk threw a beer bottle at my head. Guess what...when you go looking for trouble, don't be too suprised when it finds you. If your idea of a fair fight is 4 to 1 odds, then don't be to suprised to learn that "God didn't make all men equal, Sam Colt did."


09-25-2000, 09:40 PM
When I got my Pass word I thought "no Way will I ever remember that" well i just typed it in by memorie.
I think this forum under misc. sponsored by WB is the best example I have ever come across. The depth and breadth of these postings are the highest use of the internet that i have ever been personaly a part of. Do you hear what we are doing here ? We are discussing meaningfully what it is of meaning to us. WOW! not a porn site in sight...
Ok I will go Down the killng drunk college students while hiding behind the constitution road.
DUDE you could have driven AWAY! So the car wouldnt start? You gun fanatics dont think what it is going to be like to stand over or look at the bleeding dead body of another person before its to late. I am thinking of that Jack ass in TX who killed that Japenese student who knocked on his door to ask for directions. That "Hero of the NRA" shot through the door without even looking to see who the hell was knocking. Ok you gun toting NRA fellas, you dont get it, IF YOU FEEL YOU NEED A GUN TO MAKE YOU SAFE YOU ARENT! Non of you belong to a malitia' Hell you wouldnt know your neighbors well enough to feel comfortable borrowing a cup of walnuts let alone banning together to defend your neighbor hoods from tyrony!!! Darwin aint gott nothin to do with pulling a trigger Peter, its gott every thing to do with fear.
It is realy to bad that you are more willing to shoot some one in "self defense" than you are willing to go to a school board meeting!
Gorsh hugh huh I dont know how Columbine could happen? Maybe its those darn fangld video games them kids was playin?
Your neigh bor hood is already under attack! Attack from cynisim,Indiference and a lack of involvement! Oh yah makin a difference is hard, **** a concealed weapons permit in south dakota costs five smakers, Thats a hell of a lot cheaper than an after school program and the weapons permit doesnt care if you spend your evenings in a bar with drunk college students.

09-25-2000, 10:22 PM
I have resisted this free-for-all, 'til now, but the last post pushed me over the edge.
Peter, my friend, you make a common mistake that is prevalent in the gun debate, or, more accurately, two.
One, you chose sides, between a group of drunken teens, and an irresponsible armed adult. Neither were in the right, but who has the higher responsibility? The irrational youths, or the supposedly law abiding adult, who had a choice to make? He could have reached for his keys, instead of his peni....er gun, and simply driven away. No one dies, and the kids wake up with hangovers.
Second mistake is assuming that killing is a reasonable response to physical threats. As was stated in the probably apocryphal story, the man was in his car. OK students, what are the possible outcomes, if we take the gun out of the equation? He drives away...that's one. Through some testosterone driven pride, he fights the kids. 3 possibilities there. He gets beat up, but almost certainly not killed. #2, through some skill or luck, he chases the kids away (4 to 1 is not as insurmontable as one might think, especially when the 4 are drunken kids). #3, and most likely, the ruckus causes the bar owner to call the police, and/or sends his bouncers out to break up the fight, or, possibly other bar patrons step in to break it up.
This personal protection mantra of the NRA is patent garbage.
In my opinion, (and feel free to disagree with me) the presence of firearms in civil conflict tends to short circuit the Darwinian "fight or flight" reflex. The adrenalin is there, but firepower assures that the flight reflex will lose. We're all men, right? Men never back down from a fight, right? Bull. The only fight I ever lost was when I tripped, turning the corner, and the bastards caught me. (That was a joke, btw. I haven't been in a serious fight since I left the Marine Corps.)
Abd as for the burglaries in the UK? I don't know about our friends across the water, but burglary in the States is, by definition, unarmed. Add a gun, and it's armed robbery, a much more serious crime. Some of my shadier friends have pointed out this distinction to me, and refuse to carry arms for that reason. Oh, they also NEVER enter a house or business if there is a chance it's occupied. Not so much from fear of guns, they tell me, but because the occupants will call the cops.
There are far too many instances of gun owners shooting first, and thinking later. Remember the Japanese exchange student in Florida, decked out in his tux, knocking at someones door to ask directions? The homeowner snuck up behind him and shot him dead. The shooter was acquitted, btw. We had a similar situation here in Washington, a couple of years ago. Old guy, afraid of the local teens, shot 3 in the back after they startled him, cutting through his yard.
The NRA talks about responsible ownership of handguns, but spend millions trying to stop reasonable controls on gun violence and killings.
How many died by guns in the UK last year? How many in the US?
OK, I'm done for now. Peace

09-25-2000, 10:30 PM
Just a couple of paraphrases that come to mind as I re-read some of the cultural commentary passing at warp speed here. So many active minds nibblin' and chompin' here.

"When I was twenty I thought my old man was a stupid ass. By the time I was forty I was suprised how much the old boy had learned."


"A man who isn't a liberal at twenty has no heart. A man who isn't a conservative at forty has no brain."


Remembering that liberal and conservative had different connotations than they do in our current political environment.

Sorry they aren't direct quotes, but I think they capture the gists pretty well. Maybe someone can help me out with better accuracy?

I think it's important when engaged in these kinds of discussions to go slow, live with all the various images/opinions, and let them stew a bit. I don't always do it right off. Sometimes it takes getting many ingredients, including my own, in front of me before I can reflect. I do find that, unless I'm just trying to maintain an opinion, it's the only way to think and feel clearly about opinions that are strongly felt and powerfully expressed. After all, each of us expresses elements of wisdom sometimes, and at others goes astray.

Then again, I am over forty.

Think I'll go to bed and dream about PWC and potato cannon.

Best all, Ishmael

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-25-2000).]

09-25-2000, 10:32 PM
Sorry, Robinhood. I thought the poor Japanese kid was in Jacksonville, Fla. It was big news up here, because of our ties to the Pacific rim.

09-25-2000, 10:45 PM
Ishmael - there has been no statistically significant change in the burglary rate since the draconian gun legislation was passed. We have had one celebrated case of a man who murdered a burglar with a shotgun since the law was passed - he is now in jail despite some grandstanding by conservative

Burglary when armed with an "offensive weapon" such as a firearm, or with intent to commit actual or grievous bodily harm, or rape, is the crime of "aggravated burglary" in Britain - and it is included in the above burglary statistics but it is incredibly rare. "Armed robbery" in Britain is the offense of holding up a bank, etc., and is also incredibly rare.

Just for completeness' sake, the other UK numbers are one ninth of the USA's murder rate and one fifteenth of the USA's firearms murder rate. Much as I love the USA, and I do, I'll trade double the burglary rate (and I have been burgled, three times!) for that. I can buy insurance and I can buy more stuff, but my life insurance only pays when I'm not around to collect it!

More generally, I think it is far too easy to speak of "preserving our freedoms". We also need to preserve, and if possible increase, our decencies. Otherwise our freedoms are merely the freedom to be hoodlums and thugs.

I am terrified by Hollywood's cult of the thug. Compare, for instance, the sort of hero played by Mel Gibson with the sort of hero played by Humphrey Bogart, and you will see what I mean.

As a better, American, reviewer than I has observed, the one thing that Mr Gibson does not play, in the film of that name, is a Patriot. He acts, not from principle, but from the lowest of motives. The power which these films and the endless TV series made in their image wields over our culture is immense. Once, the likes of Frank Capra wielded it for good. Today it is wielded with no regard for decency and much attention to the bottom line.

Phineas T Barnum's observation that no-one lost money by under estimating the taste of the public is the only rule now followed. Heroes are no longer "acting in society"; they are "outside" society, and they kill and injure others in pursuit of their selfish goals.

If it's OK to be like Mel Gibson, it's OK to drive a PWC at 90 mph....

[This message has been edited by ACB (edited 09-26-2000).]

09-26-2000, 12:25 AM
Thanks for the stats, ACB, and I couldn't agree more about the decline in scruples of modern movie "heroes." They disgust me, an American veteran, with their irresponsibility, and low motives. Add Stallone, Schwartzeneger and Willis to to Mel, who's latest effort really disappointed me. Loved Braveheart, though. LOL
And BTW, I believe the quote was from H. L. Mencken, not Barnum. (Not being pedantic, but Mencken was one of my heroes.)
PS. I'll be 47 Saturday, and am now, always have been, and always will be a Liberal. Age and (relative) wealth promotes expediency. Fortunately, I've avoided wealth. LOL

[This message has been edited by noquiklos (edited 09-26-2000).]

09-26-2000, 12:37 AM
http://smilecwm.tripod.com/paladin/uzi.gif http://smilecwm.tripod.com/ut2/rocketwhore.gif

09-26-2000, 12:59 AM
Roy, sorry about H.L Mencken. I believe I should have known that; I am a fellow admirer but less well read in him.

I have rather a soft spot for historical accuracy, so cannot share your liking for Braveheart; besides, I suspect that chaps who flay their enemies and use the skin to bind their sword hilts may not be very nice people! The truth of the situation was that Edward was drawn into the internecine Scots conflict as the result of being asked to arbitrate; he was more like a modern US President intervening in Somalia or Kosovo.

Funnily enough, I will be 48 on Saturday, and, like you, I have been a liberal all my life. There is another quote from Churchill, in extreme old age, which may give us comfort. As everyone knows, he wandered across the floor of the House from Conservative to Liberal to Conservative again. Late in life, he was asked where his allegiances really lay. He said, "I am an English Liberal. Always have been. Always will be!"

09-26-2000, 07:58 AM
While I aprove of any advance in decency. I advocate some apathy also. IMHO in northern Ireland more apathy and a live and let live attatude. might have avoided several decades of serious unhappyness. I should like to ask again if you say ban the use of PWCs with in three miles of the coast or sections of a lake how does one reach the areas where they have not been baned?

What do you meen when you say Mel in the patriate acted from the lowest motives? Is it lower to put love of family above love of freedom? I have when I chose to sell out and leave a town insteed of staying and fighting burocrats who thing they have some right to dictate how I used my home.
That He was drawn into the fight for revenge when his son killed and another son about to be hanged. sometimes that happens we had goverment adgency who wanted a guy to become an informant, intraped him on a technicality and eventually shot his son in theback and killed his wife not to mention shooting the family dog. two cases where the goverment wanted property for national parks in one they found marijuana plants on the guys ranch and offered the man a choice sign over the property for spend the rest of your life in jail and we'll take the land any way. in the other an informant lied about drugs in the house. they busted in and when He walked downstairs to check out the noise shot him dead. Your RIGHT! the goverment should not have guns because it escalates the vilence. what say do you think we'd still be a colony had the fellows sent to Concord to take the peoples wepons been unarmed themselves?
A few years ago there was much in the news about shooting on the freeway in southern california in one weekend there where 13 shootings reported and one person wounded. intrestingly it was reported that courticy became markedly better between driver as the summer went on.
Can you imagion say we ban all motorcycles from the highway their noisey they drive too fast ect. Oh they can still drive other places and we will set up places for them. heck they have already tried that with skate boards in down town area and even on college campuses. happyness and best wishes to all on this forum

09-26-2000, 08:03 AM
Noquiklos, the story is not apocryphal. Three kids who graduated from high school with me were killed in a bar parking lot, and another was shot in the head. They were not college kids, they were rednecks, they liked to fight, it was sport to them, and they were not little guys, one was the quarterback on our football team, one was the wide receiver. I had been in fights with two of them in school, little confrontations, no friends of mine at all. Happened in fort pierce, florida. They followed the guy to his car, he got in, got his gun, and then got back out and confronted them. Thats why he is in jail, or was, for a while at least. I am on neither side, Peter. The point is that the presence of the gun didn't help anything, it only made a bad situation worse. It takes two to fight. People who know they have a gun, a little "equalizer," might tend to be a little more cocky, more provocative. This guy, the shooter, could have backed down, could have driven away. Instead he went back and taught those guys a lesson. If he were a judo expert and taught them a lesson by kicking their collective butts, I would applaud him, but he wasn't. Again, the point is that the gun uppsed the stakes, took a situation, a public confrontation between males, one in which the best of us start to let the testosterone do the thinking, and made it infinitely worse. Its like nuclear war. Arming everyone only sets up a "MAD" situation, in any conflict, you have mutuially assured destruction. To my knowledge, noone has ever been too comfortable with that situation; the stakes are too high when someone makes an error in judgment.

09-26-2000, 08:12 AM
There was one thing I did want to mention and had a great long reply written yesterday but computer ate it

This country was set up as a republic. and the founders belived that the best people would naturally be the one running the goverment. in modern psychology 'those who were self actuated.' People who respected property rights and understood that it isn't morally right for the goverment to take from one citizan to give to another. privet charity freely given is vastly different than my taking from you to give to someone else. Not to be ajoke ( Why some of my best friends.....) but if I were to chose the leader of america they would be men like Dr Walter Williams, Dr Thomas Sowell, Mr Bruce williams and Michael Reagan. I don't care about the color of their skin but of their ideas and princibles.
Is it because we are crowding more and more people closer together freedom is a luxuary we can no longer aford?
Thankyou for the info on the Norther marionus islands. I had understood that there was local goverment there to take care of local matters as there is in porta ricko, [yes I know one is a commonwealth and the other a protecterate] and that its tiny and non intrusice goverment suported its self through a modest sales tax.

09-26-2000, 08:20 AM
This is good, really good. Don't know if it's gonna' change anyone's mind, but that's okay. You're all good people. Best, Ishmael

Peter Kalshoven
09-26-2000, 09:07 AM
Thanks for the additional details, Pat. When I studied karate, my sensei taught us the difference between defense against battery, and battery. If you take away the stick your attacker is using, it's defense. If you then pick it up and beat your opponent with it, it's battery. The way I read your scenario, the punks came after the guy in the car. The minute you get back out of the car with a gun, you become the aggressor. Guys, don't read too much into the Darwin remark. Despite my background in Philosophy, I learned most of what I know about human behavior working in a bar. I repeat, if you go looking for trouble... IT will find YOU! This "looking for a fight" mentality is stupid, and not one I share. I don't even go to bars anymore...the old bouncer reflexes make it un-fun. But before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, and blame everything on the guy with the gun, please remember that guns are used to defend people against real, physical threats every day... you just don't hear about many of them on the news because they don't BECOME news. The mugger who is thwarted by a legally armed citizen isn't going to report it. The licensed, Concealed Weapons Permit holding, armed citizen probably will tell the police. But this is not reported in the media, because it is not news. Nothing happened.

I am most concerned with one comment that someone made earlier in this thread... that it is acceptable to give up freedoms as the world grows more crowded. Which freedoms do you wish to give up? In China, they don't have the right of free speech, peaceable assembly, freedom of religion. This is the role model? I don't think so. It is very dangerous to give up freedoms for the "common good." As Orwell said, "All animals are created equal, but some more equal than others." Who decides which are the pigs, who get to be more equal? That is the strength of the American Constitution, that the Bill of Rights became the cornerstone for all other laws. These are not rights that I am willing to give up lightly. I worry about the willingness too many of my fellow citizens exhibit to give in to, for example, illegal search and siezure (ie, the DEA or the IRS) for some greater good. I don't see that much good about it. I really have a problem with banning jet skeet for the same reason, even though I find some of the riders obnoxious. As has been said earlier, we have laws on the books, let's enforce them for a change, before we start banning a particular class of boat. If we start banning for the "common good", what do we do when a group of environmental purists say that there are too many sails cluttering the natural beauty of Puget Sound, causing "visual pollution", and therefore we should ban all sailboats? Precedents are dangerous things to set. Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

Then again, I could be wrong.


09-26-2000, 10:32 AM
In the USA, "assault" is threatening or attempting to hit or injure someone; "battery" is succeeding in doing so. Hence the old-fashioned crime of "assault and battery". Taking an attacker's or batteryer's weapon away from them is not usually a crime (unless the attacker or batteryer is a member of a protected class, ie a law enforcement officer.) Using that object to then threaten or strike would be assault or battery or both, depending (and disasterous if they were a member of that protected class; ignorance of their status is not an excuse.)

Thugs, drunken or not, teenagers or not, who threaten others pretty much are seeking violent interactions, and sometimes discover that others can hand them more violence than they desired. They should have thought about that possibility before they started down that path. I can have sympathy for their survivors, but see no reason to further attack their victims.

The idea that some of you seem to have that the NRA is somehow cheering for these incidents to occur is even sicker than the image you appear to have of the NRA.

Again, in the USA, "robbery" is usually a crime against a person, "burglary" is a usually a crime against a place. Both can occur at the same time; burglars confronting persons on or in the place frequently become robbers (sometimes unintentionally.)

That the farmer outside Manchester was even tried for a serious criminal act I find truely incomprehensible. At first I thought that story was some kind of sick joke.

Ken Hall
09-26-2000, 10:37 AM
Beautifully said, Peter.

Alan D. Hyde
09-26-2000, 11:20 AM
Well said, Peter and htom.

It is an ancient maxim of logic that abuse does not argue against use.

Self-defense is the first among all human rights, without which none of the others may be enjoyed.

It is a natural right, meaning that it is inherent to the human condition. It was not granted by governments, nor may they rightly withdraw it.

Governments which infringe substantially on the rights of their citizens lose their legitimacy. As Jefferson said so well, (in the Declaration of Independence) there is a right to revolution at that point.

Governments have no rights. They are a utilitarian construct, erected by the consent of and for the convenience of their citizens.

Like cars, when they no longer reliably take us where we want to go, it is time to repair or replace them.


ACB--- I agree that there is a tension between the increasingly crowded conditions in many countries, and the continuence of long enjoyed rights and privileges. I would prefer to see this tension resolved not by reducing the character of citizenship, but by increasing the character of citizens.

09-26-2000, 11:23 AM
Scott said:

Let's all just confess that we hate jetskeet because they annoy the hell out of us. Let's also confess that we don't give a rat's ass for the rights of jetskeet owners and we don't care if they all kill themselves on unsafe vessels. And we wouldn't cry even one crocodile tear if the jetskeet makers all went bust tomorrow. I have even less sypathy for Jetskeet owners and manufacturers than I have for the big tobacco companies. Those jerks have been making a huge profit killing and annoying us for years, and no one is crying any tears for them. If you would ban a smoker from a public restaurant, then why not ban a jetskeet from public waters?

I don't have problem one with admitting this much and more, Scott &lt;chuckle&gt;.

Now if this bunch would give up on the "gun gun gun" stuff.... I actually don't mind the discussion, but I don't at all like it invading every other thread in the Forum. It would be nice to hear a consensus on Skeet without the additional junk.

As far as someone's question "getting a jet ski to where it ain't banned" I can think of a few alternatives.

-- Davits on your sloop

-- Towed behind a power boat (most jackass-skeet around here, the Northern Chesapeake, come from PA and Joisey and other places in Maryland, and they are either lugged on trailers -- in which case ban launching 'em -- or towed behind boats. People do not drive from New Jersey to Annapolis on jet skeet.

-- Helicopter

-- Fit skeet with oarlocks and row it.

-- Wear scuba gear, sink skeet, and play "Run Silent Run Deep"

09-26-2000, 11:52 AM
Or better yet, Das Boot.
And, yes, enough with the guns. The paranoid penis envy is embarassing to read, and has been beat to death. If you want to wax rapsodic about rubbing your gun with your cold dead fingers how about a thread called Gun so we who'd rather do boats can avoid it if we wish. It could be a general purpose Gun, Smoking, Gummint Gonna Git Ya thread.
Just a suggestion http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

[This message has been edited by TomRobb (edited 09-26-2000).]

09-26-2000, 12:33 PM
Sorry guys, just got back after writing this and while the intention was to talk responsibility I do mention guns here and there. I rarely rant, but some things are worth ranting about. http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

HMMM...That guy from TX...HMMM. Actually that's a quote from a belt buckle that was real popular in the 70's.
My issue is with the owners and not the guns themselves. In the hands of responsible people guns
are nothing more than another tool. A lot of this has to do with personal responsibility. The imperfect logic of the anti-handgun
lobby is understandable "If we ban guns then ther should be less crime or gun accidents or school shootings". Yes in
a perfect world this would be true, but of course we are not in a perfect world. There is a black market in guns and they will always
be available to those who are willing to pay or kill for them. I can assure you that if hand guns were banned in the U.S.
those who wish to commit crimes will switch to sawed-off shotguns/rifles, oh and don't forget the home made hand guns.
Unfortunately, whether you agree with the gun lobby or not, what's at stake is personal freedom. As much as I dislike PWC's
it's because of how they are used, not the product itself. It's our responsibility as CITIZENS of the U.S. to participate in out
governance. That does'nt mean that 29% or less of us should vote for a government that will "take care of us"
and "do what they think is best". Robinhood is right to infer that it's the relative anonymity that has allowed us (especially in
larger metro areas) to become less sensitive to those around us. If you knew everyone well would you be so quick to be rude to
the driver that just cut you off in traffic or let the door slam shut in your face? Again it's not a perfect world, and we can't really retain
that kind of "community" as the populace grows. You can't convince me that banning guns would make the world a better place
any more than disarmament will prevent war. The problem of gun violence stems from the violence itself, how we deal
with interpersonal communication. Parents spend less time teaching and raising their children then they ever have - try going to a
school board meeting, considering the number of students in the system, how many parents are there? Teachers can no longer
maintain disipline in their classrooms for fear of the parents. When I was young, the teacher would disipline you, then you'd
get it again at home from your parents. Now the parents complain when their children are disiplined (and I mean toungue lashings
and time-outs not swatting) so teachers just do the best they can. Has anyone noticed the increased number of high school grads
who have trouble reading and writting? We are failing our children and our community by allowing our government to lull us to sleep
with "facts and figures" based on imperfect data. We have more kids graduating because the system lowers the bar to produce
the "positive spin", to attain it's goals. We are taking a backseat when it comes to the rearing and education of our children. When
you allow this type of atmoshpere to develop in schools, no leadership from the staff, what you have is a "Lord of the Flies"
social structure that promotes violent interaction. This makes for violent adults, have you wondered why "road rage" is such
a problem these days? We solve our problems with violence, and don't blame Hollywood for it they just make what sells,
if we stopped buying Hollywood would stop selling.

I guess what I dislike is the ease with which people are willing to blame an inanimate-unthinking object for causing harm.
Suddenly a gun,PWC, knife, whathaveyou, is an evil animate object bent on the death and destruction of the populace.
Oh! it's not our fault it's the guns fault! Quick, Mr. president protect us from guns! I see it in my nephew and the kids in
his classroom, the lack of responsiblility for their actions and how the parents react to poor grades, "it's the teachers fault for
not reaching the child".

Our values are backwards, the highest paying local civil service jobs should be teacher, police officer and fire fighter not
the mayor and city council members.

In the end the gun issue sounds more like a parent disiplining a child , "Well Johnney, if you can't play with this ball safely than
I'll just have to take it away from you". In other words "If you can't take your freedoms seriously then we'll just have to take them
away from you".

Without responsibility you canot reasonably expect to maintain a democracy.


[This message has been edited by redjim777 (edited 09-26-2000).]

09-26-2000, 01:55 PM
Jeez, this is like watching a train wreck. Most unpleasant but hard to take your eyes off of it.

NOBODY is going to convince the cold dead hands crowd that guns are a problem.

NOBODY is going to convince the ban and confiscate eastern running dog elitist crowd that they are not.

What a waste of electrons and server memory.

Careful boys, yer gonna put yer eye out. (paraphrased from Christmas Story)

09-26-2000, 02:31 PM
It is a question of philosphy and values. As George Carlin once remarked, "What would you do for a dollar, and what would you do with one?"

Here's one for all of us, while we're on the topic of outright bans.

I had occasion to make a long drive today, and whilst tuning through the radio came across the Green Party convention. What a melange of intelligent, bent, firebrands. I actually agreed with two of there planks (just to show that my knee jerks neither right nor left) : 1)Eliminate the war on drugs, essentially by controlled legalization ala parts of Europe. 2)Stop the buying and selling of our political process by corporations. Not clear just how.

Anyway, what caught my ear was a call to end all, yes ALL, old growth timber cutting. Whatcha think all you crusty, salty, boatwrights?

Ian Wright
09-26-2000, 02:34 PM
When I was an internet newcomer and I found that most users were from the US I often found it amusing to log into a forum or newsgroup shout "Gun!" and log off,,,,,
A day later the thread would be 50 or 60 messages long.
However, once I found that the same arguments ,pro and con, were produced automatically like saliva from Pavlovs dogs it became much less fun to argue on either side,,,,, and not very sporting either.

Now then ,,,,, did you know that the war of 1812 was not a war but a punitive expedition and that once we had slapped your backsides we went home with the satisfaction of a job well done and fought the French,,,,,,

Also ,,, it's still a bloody daft idea to lay good teak on top of good plywood to make a bad deck.


Ken Hall
09-26-2000, 03:30 PM
As far as the idea of banning all old-growth timber cutting, I'd want to see convincing evidence of the necessity and the benefit arising therefrom. There's an interesting website,

founded by one of the old Greenpeace grognards who became disenchanted (I'll let him explain why, for those who are interested).

I'm still in the very early stages of sifting the arguments and counterarguments, comparing the unique tones of each axe as it is ground, and not ready to think about what I think about it all. I am thinking about it, and I did see a video in a business ethics class I took last fall about old growth, logging and the spotted owl.

The thing that struck me most (and perhaps I'm misinterpreting what I saw) was that much of the conflict was between the environmental activists and small "mom-and-pop" logging operations. The Georgia Pacifics of the world had already moved back to the Southeast where the ground is flat and you can grow trees in rows, literally lumber/pulp farming.

But these small mills would get dirt-cheap leases or rights or whatever the term is from the federal government, go in and cut absolutely titanic old Doug firs...and turn them into 2x4s.

My inclination is against "no touch pristine;" call me speciesist, but I don't really see what is accomplished by that. But I haven't made up my mind yet. On the other hand, when I hear someone talk about the need "to preserve a traditional way of life," it's usually someone with a hand out looking for the taxpayer/consumer to subsidize their inefficiencies.

For Ian W--don't make me start an Oliver Hazard Perry thread. http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/wink.gif

Best regards,

09-26-2000, 03:40 PM

He eh, hhe ha ha, so good. I like the wrestle of mind. Mine with yours, mine with history, mine with mine, but at a certain point...well, it's all a chimera.

So, with regard to the 'spanking' of 1812, who is it that has a decaying empire now, answer me that? So there, you, you, Achhoah...words just fail me, but I'm sure you are properly chastened.

Alan D. Hyde
09-26-2000, 04:33 PM

Of course, there was that little matter in New Orleans.

Trained, well-clad, professional King's troops defeated by a rag-tag (but straight-shooting) amalgam of militia led by Andrew Jackson.

How embarrassing for the B.E.

(Yes, I know the battle came after the official close of the War, but it may be persuasively argued that no war's over until the shooting's really stopped.)


Ian Wright
09-26-2000, 04:44 PM
&gt;For Ian W--don't make me start an Oliver Hazard Perry thread.&lt;

Oh go on, anything rather than guns and jetskis,,,,,,,

&gt;who is it that has a decaying empire now, answer me that?&lt;
You do,,,,,, we managed to get rid of most of the important bits of ours years ago, the lease even ran out on Hong Kong two years ago,,,,,,,


09-26-2000, 04:49 PM

I'm about to launch into something I may regret, only for it's self disclosure. But hay, what've I got to lose?

So yes, I want to see the figures too, but how do you account for the life of a tree? Is some accounting necessary? Is it okay that we've been using trees for our prideful and ugly reasons for years? Are trees a commodity?

Your exposition of our moving out of adolescence is relevant here. Focusing on your image, what does the adolescent know of adulthood? Assuming your image is correct, might I co-opt and amplify it.

I believe we are indeed, as a species, on the verge of growing into adult form, or at least some new form unrecognizable to the worm and chrysallis. I sense that in many areas, from physics to economics, from politics to psychology we are, as I write, struggling with what looks like a breaking free from history, but which actually has a range of unknown implications.

To take what the western mind assumes is the cutting edge, physics, we now question quite seriously the nature of our very form. Are we earth or sky, matter or energy? The eastern religions have long recognized the essential illusion of form when measured against the ocean of time, but these awarenesses are relatively new to us. That is where some of the danger lies.

If all is essentially empty, and as Nietzche proclaimed, "God is dead", then really, anything goes. This is precisely where a shallow understanding, taken out of context from western science, has given 'US' a transparently fatuous and damaging license...a license to kill any tree we want, build any monstrosity we want, for any purpose we want.

To be more complete, before our western God 'died', he gave us liscense to rape and steal and 'develope' all over the world. And, of course, he never completely died in our minds, and in fact sits, still propped like a puppet, a kind of silent (or not so silent) member of the board, all over America. Some still bow down, as if he were very alive. They are probably the least harmful of the bunch at the moment. At least they hold to some sense of moral responsibility. All in all, I'd rather argue with a moralist than a nihilist.

So where does it leave us? Are we to succumb to an empty moral relativism where anything goes? Is there the possibility of realizing a moral nature growing out of our own soil, mind, hidden mind, soul?

All I know for sure, is that just such a soil has been experienced and described by mystics and sages from all traditions forever. It's not a morality handed down by a set of rules, but one springing out of a natural compassion of the mind experiencing what is. From what I've read, that mind has compassion for everything, EVERYTHING, and wants only a bowl of food and a warm dry place to shelter.

Nice rant, huh? Good ramble!

I don't know nuthin' bout nuthin', but I'd like to. I'm quite sure it's not at Walmart. Best all, Ishmael

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-26-2000).]

09-26-2000, 05:07 PM

I hope you realize the sillyness of my 1812 post. I re-state: it is one of the major difficulties of these cyber intimacies that we can't see each others faces, and have not a history or a solid relationship, or a basis for cajoling, laughing, stickin' it to the other, for these wildly intimate intimacies. It feels like the ground of my ancestors has lost my feet.

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-26-2000).]

Alan D. Hyde
09-26-2000, 05:17 PM
Two of the places where nihilism was widely popular were in 1917 Russia, and in Germany at the time of Hitler's rise.

Let us hope we do not suffer similar consequences.


P.S. Question: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: Fish.

Greg H
09-26-2000, 06:00 PM
"How am I any different from a tree..... the stone that I stumbled over or the garden that I planted? ...who did the planting...who stumbled?....who can answer?" (anon)

09-26-2000, 06:50 PM
"Trees like to be made into boats." An old friend

09-26-2000, 07:41 PM
About 14 years ago we bought our first real house. It is situated in the NW metro Atlanta, GA area. We were fascinated by the trees on our lot. One in particular, a huge white oak, had been "topped" by the previous owner. The topping caused it to send out large horizontals which then reached skyward. I had often gone out to marvel at the ideal place to put a treehouse. All was well in the midst of our forest in the city. The oak, along with the un-topped one in the back yard, gave forth a bounty of acorns last year, as it did every 2nd or 3rd year. Come April we noticed the death of more than the usual limbs. As the weeks progressed more death became evident. Last Month, since it was threatening ours and our dear neighbors houses, we sought professional help for it's removal. I chose to go with a firm that had a good reputation for removing such hazards. The freight came to $3100.00. Last week our septic tank showed signs of failure. We have county sewer available so I got quotes to have it hooked up. Going to be another $5000-$6000 or more. The most recent one came with the caveat that, because of all the trees in our front yard, we can expect to pay an additional large fee for "Roto-rooting" every few years. All this leads me to believe that, the best way to co-exist with them, is to go out in the deep woods and live in a jungle hammock. The septic system for #1 will be the 1st tree on the left. #2 will be a bit furthur out and will change location periodically. http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif #2 tree will always be placed well away from our guest hammoc, of course.

[This message has been edited by John058 (edited 09-26-2000).]

09-26-2000, 08:05 PM
Don't know John, maybe shoulda had a talk with that tree, and with its leave built a house in it long ago. http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/wink.gif

09-26-2000, 08:21 PM
have had many a talk with the departed Ishmael. Some days would just go out and gaze up into it's magnificence. The cad never revealed to me it was about to commit sebbuk. Had it done so, I may have been able to noose myself to one of the ample lower branches. All this being said, I subscribe to the "use the trees but leave enough for future" school of conservation. The recent events in the Pacific NW have reinforced my belief that we cannot live anywhere near a forest without managing it. We can ban road construction into it, but, we must be prepared to let it burn then and resurrect itself long after we're gone. It won't stay the way we want it otherwise.

09-26-2000, 08:54 PM
I used to spend time in northern southern Michigan. The vast expanse of white pine forest previously extant, previously alive with scanty pious Indians, previously beautifully silent in its vast five needle softness, long gone to build Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit. I used to wander out to a steep knoll, and there stood- proudinmyeye- a couple of old white pines, maybe left from the oldy time before. "Too steep, leev'em till later," and later never came. Sitting under, wondering all those strange images of wick-i-ups, and sturgeon spearings on the lake, and sweat lodge meditating on the ONE who has become me, and birds and such things I never felt any pain, or fright, or anything 'cept peace.

09-26-2000, 10:33 PM
The last frontier's between your ears.

P.S. What is wrong with language? Has anyone else noticed that it goes from full to flat sometimes? Like, I'll write about so and so, or what and what, and I'll think I've said or captured it, and then, I re-read it, and...well I feel lost, without truth.

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-27-2000).]

Scott Rosen
09-27-2000, 08:31 AM
A tree is a friggin' vegetable. You plant a seed and it grows in the soil. Plywood--frozen mixed vegetables. You cut 'em down, use 'em and plant new ones.

Trees are good. I like them standing in the forest. I like them pulped into paper. I like them chopped into firewood. I like them quartersawn into decking. I even like mixing fresh and frozen, like teak over plywood for your deck. Some of them even go well with glue. And almost all of them look good when they're properly dressed with spar varnish.

Life's way too short to worry about hurting a tree's non-existant feelings. Something is beautiful only if we can use and enjoy it. Isn't that why we like wooden boats?

What do you think would happen if we took all of the tree-huggers and all of the gun-nuts and locked them in a decayed urban environment together?

09-27-2000, 09:34 AM

Tree-hugging used to be a good thing. Little children were taught that if they became lost in the woods, they should choose a Christmas tree and hug it until they were found.

This made life much easier for searchers, as the children were not running about becoming wet, exhausted, and then dying from exposure, as the underside of the conifers was usually a fairly dry, out of the wind place for a child (or an adult) to seek shelter.

How this survival skill became corrupted into its current demonizing name for people who usually act like idiots if they're ever in a forest I don't know.

{end rant}

Ken Hall
09-27-2000, 10:57 AM
htom, that's absolutely brilliant! I think I'll teach my son that when he's old enough to understand.

Ishmael, are trees a commodity? I know what Tolkien would have said on that topic, but he also (through one of his sub-creations) said "Nonetheless they will have need of wood."

If forced to haul stone tablets around, I guess I'd come down with the pronouncement that it's the forest that matters more than the individual trees (I'm not being metaphorical, I'm strictly talking about forests and trees). It comes back to stewardship. I think that's the "best" (in the sense of promoting the best outcome) interpretation of man's being given dominion over the earth by God (if you go for that sort of thing--in my own way I do, but to each his own; the closest I come to "sharing the Good News" is to say that it works for me, your mileage may vary but feel free to check it out if you like. Or not).

Back to the main topic...stewardship is critical. Use it wisely, use it well, use it so that your great-grandkids will have forests to walk in, see a spotted owl or two with, and fell a great big tree to turn into a boat. Part ofmy stewardship vision is "appropriate (maybe even reverent) use." A huge old growth tree should be quartersawn and used for high-end joinerwork or boatbuilding, not pressure-treated 2x4s and oriented strand board. Not very scientific, perhaps, but at least if it dies it dies for something good, hopefully.

But I wouldn't go too far ascribing too much to individual trees, because of the can of worms it would open. The arguments could apply equally to individual wheat or corn (or worst of all, barley and hops) plants, if you really wanted to carry them out past their logical limit.

Hmmm, I think I'm getting out of my depth. Wonder how long I can tread water? http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif


Ron Williamson
09-27-2000, 11:58 AM
Waste not! Want not!

09-27-2000, 12:07 PM
This story is ment to cause laughter not gross out.

the other night I noticed the toilet in the house we are selling had not flushed completely and hit the button again. then proceded down stairs to pack more boxes. heard water runnning what ever damage the first 5 gallons had done I'm fairly sure the second 5 gallons had shot out the washer stand pipe.
YUP Tree roots.
but I'd rather getthe shade every day for 5 minutes with a $400 dollor rotorooter type machine every two months or so ( it has easily paid for its self, brand I use is ridged from home depo)

in the mid 80s the forest nearby granted tree thinning permits you cut the treees marked and could salvage the wood. If it wasn't for the requirement that graded certified wood be used in home building it could save some home building costs

just to prove that trees are some of my best friends I'd guess I've planted at least 100,000 trees and some have actually lived.

09-27-2000, 12:47 PM
Just to be clear, I'm not a 'tree hugger' Was a professional woodworker for 10 or 12 years and hung up my spurs for reasons other than philosophic. I haven't time right now to get more detailed, but asked the original question to point out the complexity of all these different view points trying to make sense of the world, of the law, and of civility. I do find the use of anything as a commodity offensive, yet still eat store bought chicken so...

That whole western notion of dominion and power over what are percieved as meaninless objects has led to the strip mall madness many of us drive through regularly. I think it's only accelerated in the worst sorta kitschy way since the "death of god."

I believe that all matter has a form of consciousness, (yes Scott, even vegetables,) and hence deserves respect from we who choose to bend it to our will. The loss in our awareness around this consciousness can be directly tied to our myth of the fall, and subsequent exile. The image speaks clearly. We are not part of things, but wandering criminals. From what I've seen of the born again crowd, the supposed new adam and all that, I find little to feel sanguine about around these issues there. The way we treat the earth, and all it's inhabitants, is directly tied to these and other primal images in the psyche.

Hope I didn't offend anyone's religious nature. I bought the 'good news' years ago. Just a different brand than any of the vendors out there are selling. Best, Ishmael

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-27-2000).]

Ian Wright
09-27-2000, 12:47 PM
Ishy baby,,,,,,,,,,
Not to worry, I LIKE silly posts,,,
,,,,,but I don't understand why this written medium should be any harder to understand than any other written medium, only differance I can see is that it's hard to read a computor under the sheets by torch light,,,,,, http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/wink.gif

Trees and so forth,,,, I took a holiday job about twenty five years ago thinning out an oak forest. We had to cut the nurse trees, Maple and such, for pulp, and leave the oaks to mature for another fifty years or so. The local branch of FoE stopped us working for two days 'cos "No tree should be cut down, leave the natural forest alone,,,,," We don't HAVE any "old growth", the Navy cut the last remnants down two hundred years ago.
In this country woodland is a crop like any other, except you can't sow this year and harvest the next!


09-27-2000, 01:11 PM
I'm still waiting for those stupid fires to eat the protected forest!

Alan D. Hyde
09-27-2000, 03:39 PM
Much of the waste, and the "consumer" mentality, is the result of changes in the way most people live.

Some examples. When I grew up, if you were male, and something around you broke, you were expected to fix it yourself. If you didn't, you were either lazy or stupid.

So I have the same 16 horse lawn tractor I used as a boy. I grease it, change the oil regularly, change the belts occasionally, re-
build the carburator every 15 years or so, etc. Everyone in my family takes good care of this equipment because we have figured out how to, and because we have something of ourselves invested in it. As someone said above, we are "good stewards."

This is not because we are more moral than the next guy, it is because lawn tractors are not cheap, and there is no reason not to maintain the one we have (which, by the way, is better built than the new ones).

The same involvement leads to similar results with wooden boats, with gardens, with farm woodlots, with houses, etc. When we work on something a lot, and do a good job, we can't help but care about it.

Now we know that mass production enables each worker to be far more productive, and thus to be more highly paid. It also offers economies of scale, and of centralized management.

But there is a point of diminishing returns, or at least of offsetting disadvantages.

People who have one good car over twenty years, and one good house over forty or more (which they add onto themselves as need be) may end up much happier than people who run through dozens of disposable cars and houses (and several spouses) over the same time period. Statistics do seem to indicate that such people live longer.

We have way too many laws that discourage people from widening their knowledge and experience by doing a variety of things for themselves. We are becoming a nation of specialists, who can't and won't change our own oil, or flat tire, or even the filters in our furnaces.

This is unfortunate. The knowledge of specialists is ignorance distilled. Common sense comes from a wide exposure to a number of different kinds of work, and to the people that do those kinds of work. Repairing our own plumbing puts us in the plumber's shoes for a few hours, and makes us appreciate what he does every day to make a living. (It also reminds me that the plumber knows a lot of stuff that I don't).

There is honor in any kind of necessary work when it is done well, and there is no dishonor in getting one's hands dirty. A few generations ago, these thoughts were widely accepted. They are a part of what make a free country, and a democracy, work.

Some of this is being preserved whenever a wooden boat is built, particularly when we can involve our children. There is a lot to be said for self-reliance, and the wide competence and respect for resources it eventually instills.

OK, I'll get off the soapbox.


Q. What did the salmon say when he ran into the concrete wall?

A. Dam!

09-27-2000, 04:34 PM

That love, or respect, or maybe just economic need, that keeps a lawn tractor running over twenty years is a whole different kettle of fish. he he. No matter the skinned knuckles, that lawn tractor and you are brothers in some way. Words fail, but I think you know what I mean. Something the buy it, break it, throw it away crowd has lost with regard to the material world.

09-27-2000, 04:48 PM

The difference from other printed matter is quite clear to me. We have these cyber conversations, and there is no precedent for it. Nothing. If I respond and you are closely listening, all we have are my poor words, and yours. It is not really a conversation at all, is it? More something else, some fantastic pen letter between marchers on the moon and marchers on venus.

Still good though, just confusing to long histories of different ways.

Greg H
09-27-2000, 05:33 PM
I am a Tree hugger...ok
That doesn't mean that I believe every tree should be protected at all costs or for that matter every old growth tree.
But, their are few stands of old growth left and we do not need to cut all of them. Whats wrong with leaving some stands of old or even secondary growth just out of respect for what they are, or for that matter just for aesthetic value? Does economics always have to be the bottom line?
Extremists of all kinds are necessary to wake up the people and make them think.
thanks g.

09-27-2000, 06:04 PM

All I can say is I wish I could walk the land that I love, in Michigan, with the virgin forest still there. The voracious appetite of this modern, disjointed, lost, sad world ought to be stopped somewhere. Old trees and their forests are a cathedral.


Ya never know. I looked and saw you half way around the world. I'll take it as a standing invitation for a sail.

09-27-2000, 06:36 PM
...I found it!!...many days late...and more than a few dollars short...perhaps it was back in the original thread that prompted this one. There was a query about any wooden PWC's out there. I noted that one was found and I thought it was a GlenL design. Well, sho' 'nuff. On their site: http://glen-l.com/ can be found the "Wild Thing" #505 in the Special Purpose section of the boat design catalog. It's 10' in length and will carry the driver and a tail gunner if necessary. And it's "stitch 'n glue" so you can get it combat ready in no time.

[This message has been edited by John058 (edited 09-27-2000).]

[This message has been edited by John058 (edited 09-27-2000).]

09-27-2000, 11:01 PM
I enjoy watching where these things end up, as much as anything. Now, on the subject of old growth....
They are going to disappear, and not because someone cuts them down. Forests have life spans, like any living thing, and even if we try to preserve existing stands, eventually they die. The problem lies, as someone said earlier, with stewardship. The timber companies up in the upper left corner do replant, and recut after 40 or 50 years. The biggest problem is that they only plant Douglas fir, because in open areas, (like clearcuts) they grow quite fast, for trees. This is called monoculture, and has some serious hazards. Many of these firs come from the same small genetic circle, of the fastest growing firs, and lack of genetic diversity is a known cause of vulnerability to disease, and eventual extinction. (Remember Dutch Elm Disease? Got elms?) A healthy forest not only has wide species diversity, but wide genetic diversity within a single species. It's only a matter of time until some bug evolves to take advantage of this weakness in managed forests. Add to this, that there is little economic incentive to plant healthy diverse forests, and allow them the time to grow to maturity. Humans, (with a few rare exceptions) don't think in terms of centuries, so no more old growth will be allowed to mature the necessary length of time, about 3-400 years in the Northwest, and over 1000 in the Redwood forests of California. Some of the local Indian tribes are doing a good job with their trees, but it is only a matter of time until those forests reach a level of value, or the Indian populations percieve an economic need, to mirror Weyerhauser's practices.
Makes me feel gloomy, just thinking about it.
Save them as long as you can, because when they are gone, we'll never see their like again.

09-27-2000, 11:41 PM
First, some catching up. Jeffrey - my point about the motivations of the Gibson character in "The Patriot" is that revenge is a base motive, as compared to acting out of principle, and his particular motivations do not seem to be those that we usually label "patriotic", whether we approve of patriotism or consider it the last refuge of the scoundrel. The film is of course utter tosh, depicting events which never occurred and which are not remotely like those which did occur.

Htom - as we should expect, given their common origin, the crimes of burglary, robbery, assault and battery are almost identically defined in all Common Law jurisdictions.

Peter Kalshoven - it was I who advanced the proposition that as people crowd closer together, they inevitably lose some liberties, and I offered China as an example of this hypothesis on an earlier, related, thread. We don't have any choice in the matter - the more we share limited space, the more freedoms we surrender.

As it happens, I am typing this in Beijing, because I have been working here for the past four years and will be here for another few weeks. This does not make me into an apologist for the current Chinese political system, nor does it lead me to demonise it. It does give me a greater understanding of the country and its people than I had before I lived here. I am here for the sound western reason that I get well paid for the job I do.

I actually referred to the limitations on the freedom of the Chinese farmer, of whom there are now some 700 million, as they have existed for the past several hundred years, regardless of who has been in power here.

In my experience the Chinese people, like the people of the English speaking nations, are very attached to freedom, are somewhat anarchic in their general behaviour, hold highly individual opinions and so on.

The Chinese, because they developed agricultural and other technologies earlier than the western nations, have been more crowded together on finite resources, in the tiny portion of China that can be farmed, for longer than other nations have been. When you are crowded together your rights to privacy, etc etc are eroded.

At the other extreme, the USA lives with the myth of the frontier, where you are free to do as you please. This is a fundamental strand in the American world view, from the Pilgrim Fathers via the Mormons to today's nutty survivalists. If you want to be free, you just go to the frontier and carve yourself a bit of new space to dwell in.

But there is no frontier. There is no more space. So we all have to start making space for each other, if we are to remain alive and enjoy what rights remain to us in peace.

A general increase in the wealth of a static population has the same effect. We are all taking part in an activity which in the days of Nathaniel Herreshoff was confined to Thorstein Veblen's "lesuire class". But there are many more of us with boats sharing the same water space. So we can no longer do as we please on the water.

The American "frontier spirit of rugged indvidualism" has no more place in the 21st century than its avatars, the horse, the steam locomotive and the six gun. Those who cling to it are dangerous dinosaurs. Better think more about town meetings, being good neighbours, including making good fences, and community spirit.

09-28-2000, 01:23 AM
As my old dad often said, "Your rights end where the other guys nose begins."

09-28-2000, 02:55 AM
Well said. Actually, it's a beautiful day here, with a light breeze clearing the traffic smog. As you know, in this socxiety the Governmnet decides when it is officially cold enough for coal fired central heating and coal fires, and that date has yet to come round so we have a clear, blue, sky.

I'm off for a week's holiday next week because the Government is giving the whole country seven days off, to boost the economy byu encouraging consumer spending.

Unless we suceed in bringing human numbers down to something reasonable, like a tenth of today's levels, by the very serious exercise of birth control, an activity which gets China a very bad press for "infringement of human rights" in the USA, we are in very big trouble.

We must, we really must, be very much more careful with resources and with energy. Nobody at all needs a jetski; hardly anyone needs a snomobile, few people need SUV's. And so on. And we can all use less energy and recycle more. Unless we do this voluntarily, it will, inevitably, be imposed on us by the need to survive.

The same goes for using timber, a renewable resource if taken in moderate quantities, of course. And I have no patience with "traditional ways of life", be they mom and pop sawmills, fishermen, miners, whalers, scrap dealers or whatever. We can no longer afford them if they are destructive, and no-one inherits a right to make a living as their parents did, if doing so damages the interest of the many.

Thought - China's oil imports rose 30%, or 400,000 barrels a day, in the past year. China has one car per 600 people at present. What will happen when China's energy consumption reaches American levels?

[This message has been edited by ACB (edited 09-28-2000).]

Scott Rosen
09-28-2000, 09:20 AM
Hmmm. No one picked up on Brian C's point. Everyone agrees that stewardship is an important counterbalance to man's selfish and destructive instincts. But nature is more destructive and more arbitrary than man will ever be. I'd hate to see an old growth forest burned down as a result of drought and lightning, at least before I had a chance to use some of the timber for boat building. And by the way, it would not be far fetched to replenish old growth. Designate a portion of timberland for it, prevent harvesting, and have the patience to let our children's children enjoy the benefits. Imagine if in two hundred years, you could responsibly harvest sections of old growth, without worry of depletion.

Ish, I think your religion is called animism, the belief that all objects are endowed with "spirit." It was a profound response by primative man to a world in which man was completely dominated by the apparently arbitrary forces of the environment. In that system of belief, man was at the bottom of the heap, and had to appease the various spirits to be kind to man--keep the rain spirit happy in the spring, the salmon spirit happy in the summer, you get my drift. If the spirits got mad, man suffered and died. I don't think that type of belief makes the transition to our modern world very well. Today, we find ourselves in the position of man dominating the spirits; you're advocating that we develop a kind of bill of rights for the spirits of the trees, forests, etc. If trees have consciousness, when is it okay to chop one down? Why should one tree suffer and not the other? How do you measure their suffering? Do some forms of consciousness deserve better treatment than others? I know religion is not necessarily supposed to be rational, but I don't see how animism can work now that we're able to understand and harness some of forces that dominated us in our early years.

By the way, nothing personal here. I join the discussion, because you brought it up. I'm not advocating any particular beliefs, and you won't find me promoting any religion in this forum.

09-28-2000, 09:32 AM
Rights do not have responsibilities attached; they do not have them because rights are absolute; they run until they meet another right.

Privileges have responsibilties; privileges are not absolute, they run until they meet rights or the bounds of responsibility.

That's the two-sentence distinction between "right" and "privilege".

In the good old USA, we have (supposedly) the right to keep and bear arms (among many others.) There is no right to discharge those arms, nor to use them as clubs, amoung other possible actions.

We have a right not to be forced to incriminate yourself. There is no responsibilty to do so because you're guilty.

We have a right to publish what we want without government interference (no Official Secrets Act yet in the USA, although they keep trying.) However, if you damage someone by what you publish, you can be hauled into court for damages, just as you can be hauled into court for shooting someone's barn.

People are responsible (or are supposed to be responsible) for the consequences of their acts, whether or not those acts are legal.

Art Read
09-28-2000, 09:53 AM
ACB... (Off topic) I wonder if anybody else is curious about your access to the internet in Bejing? I am. Not having any personal experience of daily life in the People's Republic other than what I remember from news coverage during the Tianamin Square situation, I remember the discussion at the time of the government's attempts (mostly unsuccessful) to control access to the then state of the art means of mass comunication... The fax machine. I understand you work for a foriegn firm doing business there? Is that where you log on? Can anybody with the means subcribe to their own service? Any "restrictions" on access to "undesireable" sites? You see where I'm going here... Not trying to be judgemental or xenophobic... Just curious. Must be interesting, watching the World Wide Web from the "Forbidden City"...

09-28-2000, 10:26 AM
Hi Scott,

Actually, it's not a religion, but part observation, part intellectual construct, part the measure of the heart. I'll grant you it has elements of animism, but would only ask where did that term come from? Isn't it a paternalisic and essentially condesending label, sorta like 'primitive,' attached to people we don't understand? Is it possible that those 'primitives' see things and have understandings that we moderns, with our rational blinders, have lost? I find it interesting that modern physics begins to talk in odd metaphors, like, "well when you get down to it the universe looks more like a thought than a machine." In other words, consciousness.

Just to be clear, I'm not one of the crowd out drumming up the 'primitive' in some muddy dream of lost innocence. And, I don't wish to see a bill of rights for animals or trees. Those kinds of odd gestures cut against my grain. I would like, and think I see, a shift in consciousness, one person at a time. I'm not saying don't do this or do that, just asking that anyone who sees what I'm saying pause...pause and ask, do I really need that new car, or the new addition on the house, or are they projections out of a hunger that can't be answered in that way? A raven that will never be satisfied by cutting down more old growth trees.

Complex stuff, eh? I don't get too worked up around these things. So long as you're straightforward, say what you want, I won't be offended. Best, Ishmael

Speaking of offense, I do hope I haven't stepped on other's religious toes. I think they're all true, just largely misunderstood in the translation to large organizantion, with all the issues of power and greed that go along with that. They're the magnificent poetry of the human spirit. Problem is so many read them as prose.

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-28-2000).]

Alan D. Hyde
09-28-2000, 10:51 AM

Your informed and literate comments are most thought-provoking. Of course, I don't always completely agree.

Your most recent remarks (re: crowding and loss of liberties) smack a little too strongly of determinism to suit me.

It is true that the rivers of history are in flood, and push inexorably at our backs. We cannot resist them. But if we are resourceful and determined, we can divert them to our ends.

The Chinese have long admired what one determined individual can do: your own General Gordon and the American General Smedley Butler are examples.

I believe that an educated and responsible society can cultivate enough civility that liberty can be preserved despite crowded conditions.

In American grade schools in the 1950's and 60's, classes of forty students were not uncommon, yet discipline was not a problem for teachers. Generally, the biggest problem was gum-chewing in class. Nowdays, twenty-student classes can be a difficult challenge for teachers, and the problems can be far more frightening than gum-chewing in class.

The difference, of course, arises from the character of the students then and now. Matters like this can be addressed. We can learn from our experience, and do better in the future, if we have the intellectual discipline to find solutions, and the social determination to apply them successfully.

No nation can be better than the people who comprise it.

Are we to descend from lion-like creatures to tenants of an anthill? And call it progress? Such a devolution is neither desirable or inevitable.

Your own Benjamin Disraeli said it well: "Is man an ape or an angel? Now, I am on the side of the angels."

If I am mistaken,I would rather be wrong with Washington and Churchill, than right with Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.


09-28-2000, 11:00 AM
I think Ishmael makes a valid point. So much in our society is "disposable", rather than repair we prefer to replace. I'm not sure that we could nail down the exact cause. I can, however, testify that we throw away tons of perfectly servicable consumer goods without much thought. U.S. 59 South runs through Houston and will shortly become U.S.69 a trade corridor between Canada , the U.S. & Mexico. NAFTA basically changed the laws regarding how, what and by whom goods could be shipped to and from Mexico (I am just addressing this on a local level). Trucks loaded with salvaged goods - cars, trucks, ovens, refrigerators, etc. - leave Houston daily for Mexico. What we consider junk they repair and use.

I have learned to repair things in the past because of a severe lack of funds to replace them. Now that I have more money I still repair if at all possible, I can make a penny scream! http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif There are times though when it would cost me more in terms of time (and because of the tech advances in communications time has become a valuable commodity) to fix than buy new.

I think, IMHHO, that this is my motivation, what has gotten me to take a moment to reflect on how we view or enviroment as a whole. I've never taken fish that I would'nt eat and I'll never trophy hunt. You won't find me chained to a tree but you will find me supporting groups who promote stewardship of our resorces.


09-28-2000, 12:16 PM
Ishmael, I'm not too sure we have a right not to incriminate ourselves, or, as it is more strictly worded, the right not to be compelled to testify against ourselves. Long ago the Supreme Court decided that any written records we keep may be used against us, that this is not testimony. Going even further behind the looking glass, the court then decided that we can be forced to turn over our papers and records, and even though those records can be used against us, compelling us to turn over those records is not the same as compelling us to testify against ourselves. So if you keep a diary, you may be forced to turn it over to the prosecutor, and it may be used against you. But it gets worse; we are required by law to keep certain records, and these recortds can be used against us, and it would be illegal to destroy those records, as that would be obstruction of justice. It is illegal to pay for large purchases in cash in order to avoid the creation of a paper trail. Banks and stores and professionals are required by law to fill out a form (creating a record) and turn it over to the IRS (inform on you) if you mpay for anything, ever, with cash over a certain amount. If you make several installment payments so that no one payment exceeds the threshold (I think its $5,000.00) you can be thrown in prison for evading the reporting law. This is no joke, ask Henry Cisneros, former Agriculture Secretary. But the scariest thing of all is this new law the president has been trying to get passed, the one dealing with the "clipper chip." As I said, if you keep a diary, or any records, they can be used against you. Well, with computers, anyone can buy an encription program that would put our records in pretty much unbreakeable code for us. The government doesn't like this, cause then they wouldn't be able to unconstitutionally compel us to testify against ourselves. So, The FBI has proposed legislatioon, I don't know where its at now, that would make it illegal to use secret codes for your own private information, unless you agreed to give the government the key to that code in advance; that key is the thing they call the "clipper chip," of which you may have heard, every computer would have one, it would be like a "back door" the cops could use to get into your computer. And of course, you would go to jail if you kept your diary in an un-authorized code. Big brother? Ever heard of Omnivore? The FBI monitors what we say here, they admit it. Hope they like this rant.

Alan D. Hyde
09-28-2000, 01:03 PM

Well said.

Last I knew, it was a $10,000 limit.

The law was passed as a way to track illicit drug money.

One more way in which the "war on drugs" is undermining our once-free society.

Drug abuse, IMHO is not a disease, but a symptom of other diseases. Treating the symptoms rarely works. Consider our disasterous experiment with prohibition, for example.


09-28-2000, 01:39 PM

If I may ask two things about China?

Have you visited the three georges area of the Yantsee?

You mentioned the limited area able to be farmed? just looking on the map what about damming the rivers in the west ( like the head waters of the Mekong but the map shows several) and use the hydro power and water to water the western deserts of china as was done with the colorado river project?

Alan D Hyde

Who is general Smedley Butler?

Thankyou for consideration of this question

09-28-2000, 02:01 PM
Good rant Pat. I think it's pretty scary too. I think you wanted to address it to someone else (htom?) but that's okay.

So ya think the Feebees are watching huh. Wouldn't suprise me, wooden boat people have always been a subversive lot. Look at Noah. http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/wink.gif

Alan D. Hyde
09-28-2000, 02:04 PM

Major General Smedley D. Butler is a Marine Corps hero, kind of the ninety pound weakling who joined the Marines as an enlisted man, got into OCS, won two Medals of Honor, did all sorts of remarkable things, but was as absolutely fearless of stateside desk admirals as he was of the enemy.

Interesting character. Do a web search and you will find a long piece on him in a Marine Corps site.


09-28-2000, 07:41 PM
Hi Tony,

Somewhere, deep in the societal psyche of we yanks, is a rebellious spirit. And, some of us take quite seriously the belief that the rights oultined in our Bill of Rights are inviolable -- not contained in any particular government or time -- but divinely recognized by a few wise men who articulated them. I wish I had a copy of them to post, but if you look them up, I think you will find a brilliant articulation of what you believe too (with some exceptions, obviously.) They are an embodiment of something quite fine, even if we now have a difficult time with the divine part of it. They attempt to limit the power of the state, not promulgate special rights or priviledges of individuals over and against responsibility. They are a recognition of the insidious nature of governmental power, a nature that has largely undermined some of their basic principles as we speak.

I don't know the answer to the gun debate, but I think it was Alan who said a bit ago in a different thread, the spirit of the constitution can be summed up as: When in doubt, decide for liberty. Just my take, Ishmael

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 09-29-2000).]

09-28-2000, 07:49 PM
...and so..all this chagrin over a plastic and foam appliance...the Four Horsemen may well be unleashed and one may be running to and fro...why so much consternation?...the end of it all is only the beginning

09-28-2000, 08:11 PM
After Smedley Butler retired as a marine corp general with two medals of honor, he wrote a little memoir published in a magazine in which he says that he realized after retirement that his entire career has been about making the world safe for the money boys on wall street, quotes along the lines of "we invaded guatamala to make the world safe for united fruit" and "we invaded Venezuela to make the world safe for Standard Oil. Most shockingly, he was approached some time in the very early thirties by some big wall street types, famous names which elude me right now, and asked to lead a military coup to oust Roosevelt. He went straight to the authorities, a congressional investigation was held, but the whole thing was hhushed up in the interest of national morale. The story has recently been rediscovered and I beleive someone is making a movie about it, maybe Oliver Stone, but not sure. He is my hero. Him and Warren Buffet, anyone catch what he said last night? That rich kids with trust funds are no different from people on welfare, yet ironically, the people who set their kids up for life with trust funds also whine all the time about how evil welfare is because those no good bums on it don't have to work, and what kind of lesson is that. He also said he feels he is under-taxed. he is worth 28 billion. What a guy. he siad he plans to leave his kids enough that they can do anything, but not enough that they can do nothing.

09-28-2000, 09:27 PM

We all love to have a soap crate occasionally. It may be interesting to look at our embarassment around it. Why? Our Bill of Rights put that soap box first on the list. It's used so much more fully and better here, on this forum, than anywhere else I know. Not that some of the statements made from it aren't worthy of embarassement, but here in this new forum of human expression, we shouldn't be afraid. It ought to be reveled in, this right to speak and suffer the consequences. If we also listen, then so so much the better.


I haven't reviewed your comments, but some of them with regard to Communist China, stick in my craw. It sounds like you are unwilling to take a stand on the nature of the regime you find yourself somehow allied with. Is it possible that "judge not lest yea be judged" can be taken too far?

I am strongly critical of the genocide and treatment of Indians by my country after its incorporation. I happen to think it was a terrible mistake, crime, flouting of the principles we attempt to embody. Same with slavery. I also think the swallowing of Tibet by China, and so many other examples of cultural hubris around the world, fall to the same just judgement. They are criminal, yet that honesty so often falls victim to a strange cultural blindness. This, not to mention, the cultural revolution of Mao, with its uncounted dead, somehow hauled to the grave by an intellectual not cultural construct. The list could go on.

How, as an educated man, do you still cling to the primacy of the state? Isn't that, after all is said and done, the first love of the liberal? Isn't there example enough, out your pleasant doorstep in Bejing, to sway the mind to at least a posture of questioning?

Power, and its love mate greed, and their first cousin, political expediancy have by no measure gone lost. As I said earlier, I happen to feel there is a shift happening in the human spirit, but a personal revelation does not a general change make. There is so much to be done, and the gut resistance and work of we little people means so much. Be careful to look, really look, and not imagine out of your own desire.

09-28-2000, 11:07 PM
If I may disagree with you on rights not being absolutes but only human constructs

there are three rights which are absolutes and underlie the bill of rights they were broadened in a latter document but origionaly consicely put in the Virgina constution. IE they are life liberty and property. with out each the other two can not be. life is needed to enjoy

( just relised that we have blured the english language so much that while the words are there to read the idea had been lost. at the time of the founding fathers the word 'enjoy' was the same as the word 'use'. another example is the word 'regulated' were it written today would have been 'equiped')

both liberty and property. Property at that time ment any means of sustaining life eg like a farm, tools,. and with out the liberty to use said property to its best extent then it was unlikley life could continue.
early on there was a wiskey rebelion over a tax on the more easily transported liquid insteed of the origional corn. and another over the forclosures of propertys in the state of mass. George Washington was horrified at the prospect that the people who had thrown off the tyrrany of king george seemed about to do it again aginst president george. Thomas Jefferson's reaction was that a little revolution now and then was a good thing and needed to keep goverment from getting to big for its briches. He also said the tree of freedom is watered with the blood of tyrants and patriats.

I sugest that you also read of Tom Pane. He wrote Common Sense. some of his greatest thought included" these are the times that try mens souls...that the sunshine solger will never know..." I would recimend a one man play written and preformed by Hans Peterson produced by the university of Utah.
In latter life he wrote aginst exicuting the french royalty saying" People may have any goverment they chose, even a king and if that king becomes a tyrant, and he will they have the right to overthrow that king. Jefferson wrote" when a goverment becomes opressive the people not only have a right to overthrow that goverment they have a duty ( to their childern and fellow citizans ) to overthrow that goverment." he also wrote and said in his second inogeral adress that" the proudest achivemnet was that he had reduced the federal goverment to the point except for the mail man the average citizan had not been in contact with any part of the federal goverment in over a year." In 1870 the head of the IRS said that he could think of nothing ruder than to ask a man the contents of his purse( once again how the language has changed " contents of his purse" is today called anual income) if only the goverment would return to it former leavel of descency

Would also like to sugest reading of John Locke

One other idea of Jefferson when the country was established it consisted of thirteen states and the un orginized lands west of the Apalation mountians. he proposed that each new state be the average size of the 13 existing states. this would have created 14 new states and the easter seaboard congress men freeked at the idea of losing power to so many new states that trend continues all the way acrost the contenant and explains why the western states are dramaticly larger. intrestingly Utah is just less than 1/50th of the current USA were the state reorginized in to 50 equell states all of new england and long island would become one state and alaska would be 8 states definitely would be a intresting change. the other way I have not tried ie finding what the averaye size of the first 13 were and then deviding the whole by that wonder how many states we would have then! think it would make congress and especally the senate very much better ( or possably worse...nah

09-28-2000, 11:39 PM
John Perry Barlow, Grateful Dead lyracist, wrote this piece about the current state of the Bill of Rights a few years ago; things have gotten mostly worse since then:

The idea was that the laws would protect the people from the mob, and the rights would protect the people from the government's laws, or something. It worked for a long time.

09-28-2000, 11:47 PM
Tony, Jeffrey, et al,

Could someone please post these rights we bandy. I know they are available, but haven't the computer savvy to get them in front of us.

Are they arbitrary, or was something more happening when they were written, some recognition we've misplaced? They certainly have captured the imagination and lives of untold millions. If I was called to make them differently, I would be hard pressed.

Don't forget, we are men of good will also, still trying to make sense of a complex world. Best, Ishmael

Wayne Jeffers
09-29-2000, 08:04 AM
ishmael asked "How, as an educated man, do you still cling to the primacy of the state? Isn't that, after all is said and done, the first love of the liberal?"

I can't speak for other liberals, but for this liberal it is primarily a question of the state being better than any known alternative. When the state was passive, in the late 19th century through the 1920's, we saw the primacy of the corporations (trusts, as they were then called). I don't trust (let alone love) the government much at all, but I trust the Standard Oils of the world even less. Follow the money, again.

As Thoreau said, (Civil Disobedience) government is at best but an expedient, but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. While he wished for no government, (in many ways he shared your libertarian bent, ishmael, as do I) he recognized that men were not prepared for no government. I think that was his way of recognizing that men were not prepared for the full scope of responsibilities that such absolute freedom requires.

Since men were not then prepared for "no government," he suggested that men should, instead, demand at once a better government.

If the corporations and other non-governmental abusers of our liberties are not regulated by government, we (the people) will be regulated by the corporations once more. Show of hands: Who wants to go back to 12/7 work weeks for wages below the poverty level and working conditions that make it unlikely that we will live past 40?

There's a good arguement to be made that if the government had not reduced (not yet eliminated) the abuses of the corporations, Marx' predictions of revolt and proletatian dictatorship would have come to pass.

Our challenge is to prevent our liberties being unduly restricted by our watchdog.

I also subscribe to Thoreau's maxim that I am not here primarily to make the world a better place, but to live in it whether it is good or bad.

Just a thought. I'll retreat back to my hole, now. Actually, we're off for a weekend of camping in the mountains of West Virginia, where I expect I will see virtually no manifestation of the government.

Best to all,


[This message has been edited by Wayne Jeffers (edited 09-29-2000).]

09-29-2000, 08:37 AM
The constitution is a set of laws, they differ from the statutes in that most of the laws in the constitution deal with the structure and powers of the federal government. There is no limitation on alterations to the constitution, its just a lot more difficult to do than passing a statute. The Bill of Rights is just a list of rules setting forth restrictions on federal government power. It is in no way a list of inherent "natural" or "moral" rights of individuals. Some of its provisions are what we think of as "natural" rights, but its not intended to be a list, and in certain areas, it doesn't even apply to what your state government can do to you,it only prevents the federal government from doing things to you. Ie, it only protectys you from the federal government interfering with your rights, but the state government can do whatever it wants. Recently, conservative jurists, in the interest of "federalism" (a philosophical position akin to "states rights" and a favorite of the secessionist states) have been interpreting parts of the Bill of Rights in ways that give the state government even more power over the individual. So much for it being a list of natural rights or liberties of the individual. For example, the tenth amendment, I beleive, says no state can be sued in federal court. A recent Supreme Court decision has used this to uphold flagrantly illegal conduct by states against their own citizens, saying, in effect, "thats too bad, but you can't use the federal courts to do anything about it."

I think we would all agree that there are certain things we call rights which are moral imperatives, the right to freedom, self-expression, privacy. But its a constant struggle to ensure that our governments do not encroach on these rights. And that is not to say the government is evil or bad or anything else, it is a good thing, but its human, and therefore it is full of flaws, but it is necessary and the only thing to do is vote, vote, and vote, and stay informed so your voote is meaningful, and don't beleive what they tell you. And yea, as someone said recently, there is a real good argument that the liberalization of capitalist democracy is what prevented Marx's predicted revolution. How many know what the Russions are celebrating when they march and roll their tanks down the streets on May 1 every year? They are celebrating a massacre of labor union members which occurred in Chicago in the late 1800s. It could have happened here, but Roosevelt saved us. But, I could be wrong, in the end, I beleive it takes both kinds, liberals and conservatives, each pulling toward their goal, and this keeps us safely in the midddle. I am a liberal, but would not want to live in a world controlled completely by liberals, I hope conservatives can admit that complete control by conservatives would be just as bad, Ted Kennedy balances out Jesse Helms and we have a sane society as a result. Kind of dialectical, kind of yin and yang.

09-29-2000, 10:23 AM
The “Bill of Rights”
The first 10 amendments to the
Constitution of the United States
Ratified December 15, 1791

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

09-29-2000, 01:54 PM
Personally I like being in the US

Somehow the idea of a tank running over SWIFTWOOD doesn't appeal to me

Tiananmen 1989 (http://www.christusrex.org/www1/sdc/tiananmen.html)

as far as Mexico is concerned, if they coul just straighten out thier government they'd be all set. A lot of people don't understand that Mexico is rich in oil!!!. But the red tape is so deep it's rediculous. I worked on a phone billing system down there, and we constantly had to account for "pay offs" left and right. Our government has it's problems, but at least folks hear don't have to rely on foriegners donating goods so we can make it through the day.

my 2c

09-29-2000, 02:19 PM
Thanks Maguire, good to read what we debate here. Some of them seem a bit provincial in their concerns, others timeless in their clear statement of the natural fears of we little folk.


I don't presume to know what passed through the hearts and minds of these right's authors. My limited knowledge of history points to their being a sop, thrown in the absence of Jefferson, (in Paris during the meeting) to the anti-federalist crowd who did not want a strong federal government without equally strong strictures.

Are they somehow divine, because they come from the yeast and fight and struggle of men trying to come to terms with a new nation? My vote would be yea, but I have a very different, let's say broader, notion of divine than most people. It is clear to me they are not 'simply' anything...at least anything worth pointing a finger at or labeling this or that.

I agree with your observation about the yin yang, give and take, of opposite ends of the spectrum. My only addition would be: struggle with those opposites in yourself (I sense that you do.) It may be the evolution of politics in our lifetime to move away from the need for spokesmen seated in the opposites. Any free man or woman doesn't want a saviour on a white horse.

Are we children, who need to be told what to think? In the depths of the psyche, those opposites roil and vie for our attention. Aren't they both true, in a way that we as individuals must begin to take responsibility for?

Just some thoughts, Ishmael

Scott Rosen
09-29-2000, 03:51 PM
The older I get, the more I am in awe of the genius of the Bill of Rights. I don't think any of them are provincal, it's just that we take some for granted. After all, the government could save a lot of money if it could force us to give quarters to the entire military.

Reading the Bill of Rights is one of the things that makes me proud to be a lawyer. The authors of the Bill of Rights were practicing lawyers and saw first hand the evils that resulted from government's abuse of power. It's not mere chance that so many of the provisions deal with judicial procedures.

The philosophy of the rule of law and the rights of man makes for sometimes interesting discussion. But the beauty, genuis and holiness of it all can only be seen fully in the day to day workings of our Constitution.

09-29-2000, 04:50 PM

I can only say that, from the sound of things, I'm glad we have you as one of our cadre of lawyers. Intelligent, literate, and looking to the complexity of things, not the bottom line.

I hope you hold on to your idealism and optimism, and resist strongly so much that has become a cynical joke at expense of a profession whose honor is only recently lost to the confusion of the times. Though, to be honest, the disparagement goes back at least as far as Shakespeare.

The practice of the law needs more of your kind. It is, in its root and heart, a VERY honorable profession.

Just a side question, how long in school, with a bachelors degree in pocket, does it take to become a lawyer?. It's a fantasy, likely never realized, but I'm curious

09-29-2000, 07:39 PM
3 years, and its great, harder to get in than to do it.

09-29-2000, 08:13 PM
How many grad students does it take to change a light bulb?
Just one, but it could take up to six years and a hundred grand or so.
With out the Government it would be a lot harder to redistribute wealth.
Take from the rich give to the poor, it aint just a slogan.
Mr. Hyde,
Wonderfuly focused and concise replys.

[This message has been edited by robinhood (edited 09-29-2000).]

09-29-2000, 09:48 PM
Hay, Robin!

Thought you might have left for some other pasture, but glad you're back.

I would really like to hear you speak more fully to the debate here. You seem a bit of a firebrand, but don't let that worry ya, I start fires every day. Ishmael

09-30-2000, 08:48 AM
Come to think of it, Ishmael, law school is the only other place where I have seen such good, well reasoned, intelligent discussion about complex issues as you get here on this message board. I get the feeling you'd enjoy it. Few do, most kids go straight from college and they spend all their time feeling sorry for themselves because they actually have to work at it and study; I worked a few years between, so four or five hours studying each day was more like a vacation. Also, too many have seen "The Paper Chase" and "one L" and they think its some grand dramatic ordeal. It isn't, its like college, but better. I loved it. Hated practicing, though.

09-30-2000, 10:51 AM
Hello all,
This pasture is plenty green. As I have stated earlier in the thread the breadth and depth of the postings are amazing!
I havent felt this confident that America is not going to hell in a walmart laundry basket ,since my wife and the kids and I went to a triple A baseball game and watched the Everet Aqua Sox play!I believe synicism is a symptom of cancer of the soul, and I want everybody to know that there is a cure!
I get realy realy worked up when talk and action get equal footing, for example try typing KENETIC SCULPTURE RACE into a search engine and you will find examples of what I mean.
I can say from experience that Grad schools and academia in general have no understanding of the basic rubber hitting the road concept. It is about the most uncommon occurence in a college or University that you will find, except for the monthly pay day pilgramage to the tavern of choice by both faculty and students alike. Self medicating liberaly seems to help one forget that the reality of the paper chase is one of chasing retirement portfoliois, monthly paycheck stubs, student loan checks and earnings potential upon graduation graphs.

09-30-2000, 11:52 AM
Please alow me to offer the view that your name sake who rather coined the term steal from the rich and give to the poor. had as a main target the evil sheriff who was getting rich on taxes taken from the productive farmers ( people) to build an ever stronger goverment to better opress the people. Robin of lockeley would steal from the tax colecter and give back to the people who were productive in creating the wealth in the first place
t borrow a bumper sticker if it ain't grown its mined.
So I guess Robin of lockley today would be a republican and Gore the evil sherrif :)
who is not quite sure himself how strongly he belives the last, but sure wish a man of princible with a straight arrow could in the space of a two hour movie rein in the goverment

10-01-2000, 03:38 PM
Jeffery them's fightin words! (ok maybe a food fight with Only small bits of green jello)
Interesting take on ol Robs political views. I rather think he was a bit of a direct action revolutionary or a pro-active socialist. I believe the tax colector was working to fund defense spending for the crusades under the orders of a sitting king the people had no regard for?
I would invite you to think of the things that daily alow you the quality of life that you enjoy, like... Good roads, public schools, liberaries, sewage treatment plants, fire departments, police departments, emergancy medical attention, navagable water ways, reliable charts, building codes, consumer protection, street lights, safe medicine, meat inspectors,The list is long.
If robin hood were around today he would be as appaled as I that over 90% of the wealth is controlled by 2% of the population. You might look at how other countries that enjoy a higher quality of life than most Americans manage it.
First off they tend to believe that all of their citzenry deserve a few basic rights or privliges, like, clean drinking water, afordable housing, clean and nutritous food, an oportunity to earn a livable wage, raise a family and Health care.
Republicans say they are for less government and they are, less liberaries, less public education, less enviornmental protection, less health care.
What is the motivation behind modern republicanism? I have not met many republicans working for nonprofits. I mean, who the hell would want to cut funding for Seasame Street? What kind of person would it take to not care about the children in this country enough to want every child to have access to health care regardless of how much momy and daddy earn in a year? I had to buy some antiobiotic for my baby girl about three months back, it was a little bottle and when the girl at the register said that will be sixty dollars I about fell over! That is about sixty percent of a days wage for me imagine if my child was seriuosly ill and i was spending sixty percent of my income on perscription drugs.
Health care is not discretionary spending. What kind of people are inerested in profiting and price gouging from childrens ear infections? I am tired of being profited from! The little people BUILT this country and so we **** sure should get some rent from the rich bastards that are borrowing it from us. I would also put it this way, If republicans and rich americans could be trusted to do the right thing with wealth, every school in the country would be well funded, and every child bright enough to get in would go to coillege and or graduate studies on a scholar-ship (preferably built of wood)or on a grant.
I would think that as Americans we would want to take care of our owne better than we do, god knows we or you and the Bushs can afford it.
I would strongly suggest that you investigate for yourself George li'll bush Jr. record in TX. I lived there for a while and I will politley say I have never seen the kind of class seperation and evionmental rape as I did when I lived there.
To borrow a bumper sticker,
Earth first we'll mine the rest later! I believe in prioritizing the use of OUR resources for highest use first.

10-01-2000, 05:25 PM
Geze, Robinhood. You are going to give bleeding heart liberals a good name. Well said and I can't agree more. Too bad the fuss about Gore's story about the cost of medication for his grandmother and her cat is known for the details of presentation rather than the truth of the point he was making.

Now if only something could be done about the price of bronze turnbuckles....

(Ya notice the weak attempt to bring this back to boats?)


10-01-2000, 05:47 PM
I'll agree with you that the cost of medisin is shocking mine is about 25 % of my wifes take hope. and I'll kindly point out that as part of Clintons plan to reduce medical expences was to pay hospitals in new york state 100K for each docter they did not train. when I was working for wages I figure I neted about $30 a day after taxes.

Oh but the building codes are my hot button. far from making me life better they are a constant bother and agravation. I want to add a storage usit to my garage it isn't go to store come home and build it no its draw plans submitt them ( don't know if I could of aforded the cost of the permit at that time when I was paying for my dayly gas out of piles of pennys) then two weeks latter the inspecter calls back and says" well I don't know if it will stand and we want you to get it engeneered" recent read that one half of the cost of housing is due to goverment regs that have nothing to do with health and safety. Most housing is running near $100 doller a square foot to build yet those out side of code area or skirting their way around it are building some home for $10 a square foot.

Its one of the great pleasure of boat building that if I get up at 7 one morning and decide to days the day to build the boat I can get started right then not have to wait an hour to get a permit or days to get it aproved or hold up the work to get it inspected...

I read a Leter to the editor who also sigested we should not chance the schools because " the system has worked well for nearly 400 years there wasn't public schools in utah as we think of them till 1906 and I definitely could do with out the keeping records and filing taxes each year or worse quarterly if I start to make a proffet.

Embarased to find myself shouting from my soapbox By the way did you know the green jello is the most popular kind in only one state and that is Utah because it shows the grated carrots best

10-01-2000, 07:42 PM
Boy I really don't like to sound condescending, but it seems to me that it is very difficult to make accurate political or sociological analogies over any significan period of time without an exhaustive knowledge of history; ie, people say "the founding fathers thought this way," or "they'd hate this", when in fact, the world has changed, the policitcal vocabulary has changed, the belief system has changed, so much that its hard to say just what they would or wouldn't have thought. Lets leave aside the issuse of what Jesus would think of the fundamentalists. Thats why we all disagree so much on these issues. Given that, I really think its really hard to get anything of value out of an anlysis of what a 13th century fictional character would think about todays political issues. Just as soon discuss whether Paul Bunyon would vote for Bush or Gore. Sorry, had to say it. Do I just have a bad sense of humor?

Scott Rosen
10-02-2000, 09:13 AM
One point, Robin, rings true to me: that we don't do a very good job taking care of one another. Problem is, most folks on both sides of the spectrum agree with that. Where folks differ is in the solution. Liberals tend to think centralized government and taxation need to be a part of solution. Conservatives don't.

Who's right? Beats me. Big government has its evils--mainly the loss of liberty. Less government means more personal liberties but also means that more needy people will slip between the cracks and not get the help they need.

My solution is the ulitmate cop-out. I ignore the big questions and just try to do the right thing one person at a time, one problem at a time. I try to look at the big picture when I vote, but I have no confidence that my vote makes any difference.

Alan D. Hyde
10-02-2000, 11:56 AM
"Of Plymouth Plantation" by William Bradford is the one American classic to which most Americans have not been exposed. (Available from Plimoth Plantation).

The reason I bring it up, is because I agree with much of what Robinhood says, and with where I think he is coming from, but I don't see big government as the answer.

Part of the reason is that I had a government job in the early 1970's and I "saw how sausages were made." The other reason goes back to "Of Plymouth Plantation." See Bradford's discussion on "the common course and condition."

When people can't keep most of what they make, their incentive to work hard is greatly reduced, even when they may starve if they don't.

It also takes a lot of the pleasure out of life.


10-02-2000, 12:29 PM
Yes Scott and Robin,

It is one of the universal imperatives of the human spirit to wish to help those less fortunate, and we lose some vital part of ourselves when we reflexively turn away. The debate has revolved, unfortunately, away from personal responsibility for this 'divine' imperative, and toward letting 'someone else' do it.

My objection to governmental control of these issues is two fold: They tend to work either not very well, or, after entrenched governmental servants, (who have other motivations, such as greed, or ivory tower understandings) get ahold of them, are at cross purposes to their original intent. And, secondly, they inevitably serve to further take responsibility away from thee and me.

We are no longer encouraged to live with the problems directly: by talking to and helping the homeless person, or teaching a new friend how to read, or, as Ed Harrow has done, bringing orphans/lost children into our homes. Instead, we must go through a welter of red tape if we choose to get involved, and more often than not, for a variety of reasons, we choose not to. Someone else will do it. We choose, instead, to just pay our taxes, and if liberal, ask for more taxes, and beat our chests in mis-placed righteousness, or if conservative, ask for fewer, and decry the bill extant.

There is a terrible loss of human dignity involved in either scenario. For the good swimmers in this strange sea--both conservative and liberal who turn a blind or cruel eye, or congratulate themselves on a theoretical humanity--and for those who glaze their eyes in hopelessness, or turn away in envy, hatred, and native cyncism from those who seem not to care.

Personally, I still look for good answers. I currently live in a town, once prosperous in a middle class way, that now is a major home to society's unfortunates and the new state programs grown up to take care of them. (I must add, without endorsement, that the town was middle class because of corporate developement due largely to governmental largesse during the war, but now both are retrenched. I've yet to look at the next last reason for its being)

I've had occasion to walk its depressed downtown at night--in my curious way of innocently rambling where angels fear--and to speak to the schizophrenics who now attempt to make a new life in a group home, and the totally disjointed alcoholics, who even I couldn't talk to for long. I've also stepped into the churches and synagogues, where the hopeless and wounded still sometimes go for succor. In my wanderings, I've often sensed what I can only call a cold indifference, a frightening suffering, a lost humanity, in both the swimmers and the drowning. Interestingly, perhaps not suprisingly, I've found the schizophrenics and the drunks much more open to a gam than the shop keepers or the casual walkers on the street.

Well, just some obervations for now. I don't know any answer except one. If you feel an impulse to help, even if just with a conversation, DO IT. The strange, disjointed suffering of the drugged, mentally ill, or the jacked adolescent, or the lost soul of any stripe, might find suprising resonance in your own mind's suffering, if only you open to it. They will know it too. They will at least know that you care enough to say hello. Don't be proud of it either, it's just a natural human response, or ought be. Best, Ishmael

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 10-02-2000).]

10-02-2000, 03:27 PM
Ishmael, there's a song by James McMurtry, Larry's son, called "where's johnny," about a boy who was a genius, superstar, going to be president, but he wound up living at his mother's house in his late thirties, on the porch, drinking and reading, because
"he opened up his eyes and he snapped out of the groove
He saw both sides of everything and he found he could not move"
So, sometimes I fight more against seeing both sides and synthesizing than I do against taking one side and fighting. I used to go to court and I would have to argue my client's side, when I knew the other side had merit, too. And thats not rare, whats rare is when you're client is 100% in the right, thats so rare that I don't know for certain if I ever saw it. the point is that I could not do it.

10-02-2000, 04:55 PM
Hi Pat,

Long strange road from John's lament to some action in the world. I can't say it, or know it, or be it, but that I DO it. All TALK of spriritual stuff really is meaningless; the fullness of the spirit, ironically and paradoxically, is in the doing (whether that doing is sitting in meditation, being a lawyer, or deciding to live ones life in a tension of unknowing.)

Looking at the one pole of the stasis in the song... POWER. 'He could have been President!,' and such fantasies.

I wrestle every day with the issue of power in the mind, compared to what falls to me in the moment and what I choose to grasp, and what fails me. I think most who look will see a similar set of questions and patterns. I mean after all, how important is what the 'world' considers power? How important what the 'world' ignores? How much of either do I have? How important is that kind of power? How powerful are you or I: in the measure of the 'markets', in the measure of the hidden soul, in the measure of our love, in the measure of enemies, hates, family traditions.... the list goes on. How do we know?

Is it perhaps, power enough, that we feel our life moving, (or know it isn't, unlike the songs anti-hero?) I think it is.

I don't want to be president of anything. I would only add, that movement comes from love, and compassion, for ourselves and others, not from the grasping after it.

I suddenly feel like some vacuous, yadda, yadda-seminar leader, hired to keep the employees complacent. Ah well.

My only idea that compares to the image of 'your' song, is that we should do little things when it is given us to do them, and wait for the fullness of time. Not speaking specifically of anything, but to the general problem you raise. I think, movement in small ways may be the only solution to a stuck complex mind. And patience. Best, Ishmael

10-02-2000, 08:22 PM
Ishmael, I was referring specifically to your suggestion to "struggle with the opposites within yourself" which I took as a suggestion that one needs to synethesize opposites, so, since I do see all sides of everything, I saw the objection to that in the form of one consequence of seeing both sides of everything, the one expressed in the song. I too believe that being is doing, so I am doing this boat thing. But then what are thoughts? Nothing? Thoughts are what separates good from evil, the same action accompanied by good will is a mistake, the same action with malice is evil. Love is a thought, the ultimate good, so what good is doing? The semantic problems of twom little people don't amount to a hill of beens in this crazy world, anyway.

10-02-2000, 10:07 PM
Hi Pat,

I've, just tonight, been accused by a friend of having an irritating, pedantic style. At least I think that's what I heard in the e-mail from her when I distill it down.

I can see it, if not ackowledge it as a fault. Okay, perhaps a fault of the time, coupled to an arguably provincial intellect, but I refuse to ackowledge an absolute failure.

Yes...yes...yes..we must see the various sides, and we also must act in this world. Opposites? They go on, in an Escheresque tableau of crocodiles eating their own tails, trailing up illogical stairways that lead to themselves.

I think I took your post for what it was, an observation. My reply was an attempt to say, yes, we are brothers in arms, in a fight without an enemy.

Jung said something like this: When the opposites manifest, the way to deal with them is to focus on them. It hurts, emotionally, because we want to live in the completion and fullness of one opinion, and yet we are faced with this opposition. But, if the opposition can be bourne in the psyche, both sides held, embraced, yes loved, long enough, then some synthesis arises. He called it the transcendant function, a fancy word for a joining and letting go of the opposites, in new understanding and action.

This kind of realisation of the opposition usually escapes me, I think largely because I avoid it. It hurts, usually takes long work, and means really living with the images in my own soul. Mostly, it hurts. See, it's the opposite of sittin' drinkin' on momma's porch.

Best to you, fellow seeker, be not dismayed, look to your dreams. Courage, Ishmael

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 10-02-2000).]

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-03-2000, 02:27 AM
Hello again; this post comes from our home in England as I'm on holiday (read, playing with boat) this week.

Jeffrey - I have'nt visited the Three Gorges, although many who have say that the scenery is attractive, despite suffering under a colossal influx of tourists - mostly Chinese tourists.

Just about every river in China that can be dammed for hydropower and irrigation has been dammed - as have many rivers that really should not and/or cannot be dammed. The Yellow River no longer flows to the sea as all its water is abstracted. Most of China is a high, arid, desert that makes Utah look green and lush by comparison.

Ishmael - before ****ing me for apologising for Chinese Communists, please read my posts, and if you can find a place where I have done so, I'll send you a dollar.

Having said which, I am constantly amused by the American assumption that General Cash My Cheque (Chiang KaiShek) and the Kuomintang were in some sense "the good guys" and were committed to truth justice and the American way. Read real history, not Time/Life. The Kuomintang was formed in Moscow as a Leninist party. Slaughtering the entire 100,000 strong middle class of Formosa was not the act of my kind of democrat.

Enough of all that. No, Alan, I'm not a determinist, I'm and English liberal and attached to my liberties. My concern is how best to preserve and enlarge them, and no, it was not Disraeli who made the remark about man being an ape or an angel and being on the side of the angels.

It was the Bishop of Bath and Wells, in debate with Thomas Henry Huxley ("Darwin's bulldog") over the theory of evolution, and the Bishop lost. This was 50 years or so before the Scopes monkey trial.

Back to scrubbing the bilges out now. Cheers!

Alan D. Hyde
10-03-2000, 01:21 PM

I thought I had posted a response, but it appears to have been lost in the ether.

Hope you enjoy your holiday.

With respect to the Disraeli quote, the Bishop may have said it too, but "The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations," Second Edition, p. 180, attributes it to Benjamin Disraeli. So,if I have erred, I am not in bad company.

Did not mean to label you a determinist, only meant to apply that term to the argument you were making at the time.

The give and take of friendly discussion is not much helped by labels, which tend to be inaccurate and misleading.

Every keg must stand on its own bottom.

Best regards,


10-03-2000, 02:05 PM
Wow guys I still say this is the best use of this media I have ever seen.
Pat I saw James Mcmurtry in of all places TX in a small venue just after he was on Letterman. There were about seven people ther including our two week old daughter. This was her second concert/ private show, her first being with the late great Townes Vansandt a month before he passed away.
Mr Hyde, I intend to read the reference you posted earlier. Thank you for taking the time to give such rich input. As soon as I am done I would love to disscuss it.
your writing about your town is POETIC!! Your insights are personal and read like prose poetry.
What a privlage to hang out with you guys and muddle over Ideas!
I had a college proffesor who taught art and has also been on Letterman. He used to tell a story about being at the dump where he would colect objects for art projects. Some one asked him "Mr Marxhausen, what are you looking for?" and his replie was "Ask me what I'm finding!"
Are we ready to try a real problem?
I ahve a very real situation that I would like some advice on. It deals with everything we have been talking about and puts it in a real situation thta my wife and I must deal with.
If you fellow poet warriors are ready I will post my quandrie. I promise it is in keeping with the integrity of our previouse posts.

steve sparhawk
10-03-2000, 03:36 PM
Now, THIS thread is what I REEEALLY like about boats. Would someone please hand me that plane.

Ed Harrow
10-03-2000, 05:13 PM
No! You can't have my plane as I just got it and haven't even had a chance to make a shaving with it yet! http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

Robinhood, post away, it's a long way from Swift Oceanics! Don't you just love this place. http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/biggrin.gif

10-03-2000, 07:51 PM
Robinhood, go ahead, as if you can't tell from my postings, I am always gald to offer my probably flawed opinion on any topic, but I am at least sincere.

10-03-2000, 08:08 PM
Well now, Ed Harrow, your "Don't you just love this place" sure sums it up for me. Have never seen so much historical perspective, on any given topic, than I have been witness to in here. I give most of it more credence than any of the other sources on this vast cyber linkage. Hope it continues for a long time to come.

10-03-2000, 10:33 PM
I admire your bravery in walking the mean streets,( I'm curious what town or area it is but maybe I should not ask) have you read about Jung and his building his own home?

Hope the holliday is working happy.

If you can not discuss an idea or sitiuation with the good minds here , is there anywhere better?

10-03-2000, 10:48 PM
Do you like power planes? at least a little?
ps maybe out of my head from a 12 hour day first part quietly screwing vinal siding on the north end of the house and finishing the day painting.

10-04-2000, 01:24 AM
I love this forum, in part, because one never knows where a thread will end up. The China diesel thread, as well as the confederate flag thread really opened my eyes to the quality of the minds, as well as the knowledge of history, philosophy and politics that I have never found on any other forum. I must add that the civility of posters with differing views has been a breath of fresh air, after 2 years of flame wars on those sites I used to frequent. I feel that I can count as friends many on this site whose views and politics I don't share, because I have been allowed to see where and how these views came to be. We may not agree on everything, but the respect for other's views has made this my favorite political forum.
Shucks, and I thought this was all about wooden boats!
So, guys, who won the debate? LOL

10-04-2000, 09:10 AM
None of the above!



10-04-2000, 10:07 AM
Arrrgh! I'm supposed to vote for one of those two?

May we please have Mr. Browne, Mr. Nader, and Mr. Buchanan face the same moderator and his choice of appropriate questions for their candidacy?

10-04-2000, 10:12 AM
Hi all,

Havn't much time here this morning, but wanted to touch base.

The debate, hmm. I think something has to change. The fact that the two more intelligent men, with different ideas, were kept off the stage speaks volumes. Not to mention some of the other candidates like Harry Browne of the libertarians. Perhaps they should be included in at least one of these joint press conferences trying to be debates? It would at least give us something other than the tired two parties to mull over, and would definately liven things up. Watching most of it last night, I could really see why there is so much apathy 'round national politics out there.

Robin, if you still wish, do tell us your dilema. It's good to have a variety of other views to chew on when trying to make a decision. Depending on what it is, I'll throw my thoughts into the ring. Well, I gotta run. Best all, Ishmael

Ed Harrow
10-04-2000, 11:19 AM
Jeffery, what is a power plane? http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif The one I just got is a Stanley 7C of indeterminate vintage

Roy, for a second I thought you referred to this thread, but the others, I guess, caught your drift. I missed the greater portion as I'm on an emergency tire shopping spree. Seems one of the GY's on Sheryl's Jeep has developed a split all around the circumferance of the rim. I don't know what the story is, but you just can't find 15" tires for the dang thing...

10-04-2000, 11:25 AM
Hi, Robin

How bad could it be? Is it as bad as, say, you and the Missus having actually bought a Two-Seater from Swift Oceanics and you are trying to find a way to explain why and get some absolution?

Is it as bad as that?

10-04-2000, 12:04 PM
Good News! I convinces my wife of the importance of voting.

Bad news :-( after the debate she said I have to vote for one of THOSE? and now I remember who I hate polotitions.
BTW like bush but he sure could have done a better job

garland reese
10-04-2000, 01:20 PM
I'm tryin' to like Bush, but he sure ain't making it easy........not that I'm liking Gore any more......seems a fairly dreary choice.

This has been a good thread. Lots of viewpoints. Shows our diversity. That is good. Diversity does bring with it sometimes though, complexity. There seems to be an ever growing diveristy in our culture. Have a look at the Philosophy/religion section in your local book seller.....geez! With every differing view, is brought a different or at least a variant of standard of behaviour. Is this good? Or bad? Indifferent maybe?
I have my opinions of course, of which many would disagree. But that is my freedom.
I seems simple to me that, our freedoms here, our standards here that were set forth in our country's infancy were based on an inferrance that there is a Devine design. I don't wish to make this a religious argument, but our forefathers saw fit to include this in our judicial system, our money even our constitution. Whether to believe in this is your freedom, and time will tell of truth and value. But the basic biblical standards and principles set forth for new testament christianity are quite remarkable and quite useable for mankind. Even if you have no beleif in the devine nature of biblical instruction, the principles of behaviour are quite sound.
Freedom without a sense of responsibility to those other than ourselves, turns out to be not freedom, but chaos.
I listened to some individual interviews this a.m. regarding the dabatelast evening. The bottom line for thise interviewed was basically that they did not like what the present administration had done to their personal stock portfolio of late. One was disheartened because her microsoft stock had dropped and she'd not be able to take the 6 mos. to a year off from work that she'd hoped for......tragic.
I suppose that it is both wonderful and Horrible that answers to the world's woes have not been mandated to us. That's the thing about free will............it still comes at a price.
I probably haven't made much sense here, my eloquence is suspect. This has indeed been a thought provoking thread and I have not seen this much constructive conversation (it's funny........"seen conversation"...hhhmmmnnn, Maybe I need to get out more.) in a good while.


10-04-2000, 01:55 PM

It's not that I hadn't read your post, I just hadn't re-read it. Re-reading it now, I think I sensed the first time a sort of praising by faint ****ation. Given what has happened in China since 1949 I would have thought something a bit more vociferous would be in order from someone who knows a thing or two about the country. Maybe I'm misreading, or reading too much between the lines.

And yes, from what I've read, Chiang KaiShek was no prize. A nation, (actually a proto-nation), that struggled with disorder for most of the first half of this century, was bound to turn to demagogues, either on the left or the right.

For years in this country, and I suspect in Britain, there were apologists for the communist regimes in both the U.S.S.R. and China. The stark suffering of the peoples of those countries, under Stalin's purges and Mao's twisted 'cultural' revolution, either glossed over, or decried as right wing propaganda. To be fair, much of that suffering has only come to light in fairly recent revelations about the millions upon millions murdered by the state in both countries. Perhaps I came on kinda strong because I came of age during the turbulence of the sixties, had a brother refuse to go the Viet Nam, was taught sociology in college by a Marxist, and only in the last ten years have come to terms with a different awareness of the world's last fifty years.

Anyway, I hope your holiday is a fine one. Regards, Ishmael

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 10-04-2000).]

10-04-2000, 08:29 PM
Mr. Reese, your suggestion that christian moral philosophy is a good thing regardless of whether you believe, in the sense of having Faith, is probably, and ironically, closer to the position of the founders of this nation than you might believe. Many of the founding fathers were very much men of the "enlightenment," and not particularly christian. Before I go on, I will point out that I am a christian, a real, practicing christian, so I have no anti-christian agenda here. But the enlightenment is the source of that philosophy lately demonized as "secular humanism." More than a few of the founding fathers were not christian at all, rather they were something called "deists," which I gather is something like a twelve step faith, you don't have to believe in any particular doctrine, you just have to beleive in some god, any god. They tended to think of a stand-offish god, who set things in motion and doesn't meddle. The United States Senate in 1802 ratified a treaty with Tripoli which states, this is aord for word, "the United States, being in no sense a christian country. . ." , this indicates some sense of where the founders were at. Myself, I wonder if the abandonment of "christian" values was actually a prerequisite to creating this selfish society we live in. Jesus preached to the destitute, not just the poor, he spent his timke among the abjectly poor. He said that the rich would have a hard time getting into heaven. But more than anything else, he said judge not, forgive, and love your neighbor. Well, we don't know it, living inside our society, but we live in a particularly un-forgiving society, filled with blame and hate. Forgiving, by the way, is not something you do to the innocent, it is something you do to the guilty. But maybe the most jarring contrast between american values and christian values which I see has to do with property. Somehow everyone seems to think that capitalism and private property are christian values, while socialism, on the other hand, is evil and godless. These same people don't know that Marx took the expression "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" from the Bible; the New Testament, from the Acts of the Apostles, the popular sequel to the Gospel According to Luke. It is apparently a fundamental but unspoken modern christian value that one can ignore certain selected passages from the revealed word of god in favor of other which better suit one's agenda. These often ignored words are as follows:
"Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
and laid them down at the apostles feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."

In another passage, it is stated that " and all that believed were together, and had all things in common."

Yup, communism. But there are exegetes who will explain that was a special case, and we are not in the same circumstances, and we should all grab as much as we can keep for ourselves, its the american way.

I personally pay my taxes gladly, and consider it a convenient way to share what I have. And if the government is not always exactly correct in who it gives my money to, hey, I would be wrong a lot of the time, too.

10-04-2000, 08:57 PM
Hi Pat,

Interesting observations. Perhaps some of the principles of Marxism share the same problem with Christianity in never having actually been tried? I would only observe: if the Deist/Christian roots of this nation have grown a somewhat twisted trunk and fruit, the only places Marxism has been attempted it has grown abominations. Perhaps it's as simple as the essential 'not knowing' of the Deist's--and the state's defense of that ignorance--compared with what quickly becomes a secular state religion of Marxism wherever it's planted?

One other thought. The only place in history I can see some Marxist priciples at work in a positive way, are in small tribal cultures that never heard of old Karl. The attempt, by intellecutal and state fiat, to impose communism, based on Marx, from the top down, has always ended in human disaster.

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 10-04-2000).]

10-05-2000, 12:14 AM
Hi Tony,

Interesting to hear your observations on China. It makes me wonder how pervasive the cultural revolution was. When the average 'joe' talks of the decadence of the west, it sounds like diatribe handed down by the state. But, I can also imagine, in the way of human interaction, that in the hinterlands of China there is, and has always been, an organic relationship of land, people and local government. Likely hidden, more or less, during the regular visits of the party officials. The common folk in an agrarian culture always just endure, and go about their business as well as they can. Who's in power? Where's the rain! I confess, I don't know if this image is correct, but I wonder.

All that said, the places where Marxism took root, and formed itself into revolutionary states, must be decried for their treatment of their own people, especially their intellectuals.

Marxism, if I remember correctly: the sythesis arising from the clash between capital and the proletariat, giving rise to a utopia, where neither reign, there is a common ownership of the means of production, all have what they need and everything is owned by everyone (forgive my fuzzy synopsis, someone here, I'm sure, can do better). It was never what those states were about. They were about power, as Mao said, by the barrel of a gun.

Okay, any one have a lesson in what Marx actually said? Not the words, but a less fuzzy synopsis?

I'm not convinced about socialism -- which for the sake of this argument, we're taking for a watered down Marxism? Is it possible to water down dialectic materialism? Hmm Socialism. Hmm. It would be interesting, to measure one area of controversy, and run a poll amongst middle class folks, in this country, in Australia, Canada, Sweden, and see what they think about their medical care. Also to attempt some un-biased measurement of that care. Not sure that's a very accurate measure, but it is on everyone's mind. Especially me, since I hain't got no insurance.

I don't know the answers. I do know the atrocities committed in the name of the Marxist revolutionary states, rival and surpass anything the world has ever seen. Hitler was a piker compared to Stalin and Mao. In this country, we commemorate Hitler's holocaust with amazing regularity, yet we still hear very little about the other members of the centuries bad boy club. And, let's nominate and elect Pol Pot, by unanamous approval, while we're at it. Best, Ishmael

10-05-2000, 07:47 AM
Ishmael, interesting to get into the philosophical permutations of Marxism and socialism. Maybe someone can clear this up better, its been a long time I'm out of school, but I understand socialism to predate Marxism. I understand Marx to have been more of a sociologist or historian than a leader of revolutions. His philosophy, dialectical materialism, is a means of analyzing and understanding history and its a great thing, it actually works as a scholarly means to understanding socio-economic forces. I think, and I could be wrong, that Marx predicted communism as the inevitable eventual result of an un-regulated industrial capitalist society. I think Lenin is the one who decided that a cultural elite can force communism down the throats of an unwilling or otherwise un-ready group; ie, under Marx's theory, Russia would not have been ripe for revolution yet, because it was actually a few stages behind western europe, being largely fuedal still in 1917, and hardly industrialized. Lenin came up with the theory that the revolution could be accelerated by an intellectual cadre (I just wanted to use that word). If my understanding is at all correct, I would think that most of the evils of Marxism you speak of are actually the evils of Leninism, whereas the kind of socialism seen in western europe and australia might be closer to what Marx foresaw, though, again, Marx thought they'd come as a result of violent revolution, not democratic choice. I wonder how much Marx was influenced to that by recent events in europe, the paris commune, etc.

10-05-2000, 09:34 AM

You are a scholar and a gentleman. I think your point about Marxism, (from my much more limited remembrance of things never learned as fully) is well taken. Perhaps what I decry is the growth of a theory into a rigid belief system, carried forword by ruthless idealogues? I don't know my history well enough to speak to how Lenin, and Stalin, and Mao co-opted Marx to their own ends, or how sincerely they actually believed in Marx. Egotistical ends, in the name of high ideals, are always a major danger of the concentration of power.

The question still rises, and demands an explanation, why did the Deist understanding lead to a comparatively self-reflective and humane system of governance, and the Marxist model lead to arguably the greatest trampling of human rights ever? What would you say seperates the two?

10-05-2000, 11:46 AM
Maybe the answer lies in the very secular humanism which many now decry; it is from secular humanism, I think, someone correct me if I am arong, which springs the idea of individual rights and liberties. There were christian kingdoms in european history which gave as little thought to individual rights as did Lenin and Stalin. The belief that the individual has any value outside of his or her place in the society is I think a humanistic thought. Remember St. Paul's advice to the slaves, to be obediant to their masters. Many religions look for the individual to be rewarded in heaven, and therefore aren't too concerned with his or her lot here on earth. Further, religious based governments, as opposed to secular governments, may tend to beleive that there is no fundamental limit to their powers over the individual, no individual human rights which trump the governments authority, because if your government beleives it is acting on mandate from God himself, well, how could any single human say his rights are greater than God's government's rights? So as a result you have crusades and the English civil war and the persecution of the jews down the ages. Maybe this is the real reason the fathers erected what they publicly called "a wall of separation" between church and state (some try to argue that there was never meant to be a separation, posh and balderdash.) Maybe it was from the realization that there is no stopping the power of a government which feels that its actions are divinely justified.

Another reason is that our forefathers first and foremost goal in setting up the structure of our government was to avoid what they called "tyranny." They used this term a lot, and I think it meant more than king-like, or the particular abuses of the British government against the colonies. I think they understood this term in the way you used the phrase "human rights abuses" when talking about the ussr and china. Jefferson would have said those governments are tyrannical, and he would have meant that they don't value the rights of the individual. So they set everything up to avoid that sort of thing.

Also, democracy itself prevents tyranny; and we are the worlds oldest democracy, and therefore we have avoided being so bloody for a good amount of time, though we are not perfect. Remember that historically, tyranny and genocide are the rule, not the exception, so this form of government is doing a good job for us, though, again, like all things human, it is never perfect.

Finally, I think there are cultural things going on I don't understand fully, suffice to say that some cultures seem more innured to suffering, more likely to bear it, some of the places where genocide has occurred are going through different phases in their cultural and/or economic development then we are, ther e are places in the world today where the social system was hunter-gatherer tribes until ver recently, then there is the result of the interaction between us and them, there is colonialism, even the advanced societies which have for a long time recognized human rights seemed to make exceptions for their colonies, just as we have a much lower minimum wage in Puerto Rico and indentured servitude in the Marianas Islands. So, still, the biggets things are probably separation of church and state and democracy; I never thought of thie before, very interesting.

10-05-2000, 11:53 AM
Tony H., your quote about complex problems having simple, easy to understand, and wrong answers, I believe that forms the basis of a political philosophy in the U.S., I understand its called "Reaganism." I remember well his speech when he said "some people say there are no simple answers to the worlds problems; well, there are." Too bad they're wrong, because they are awfully easy to understand, they even fit in a sound bite.

Ed Harrow
10-05-2000, 12:22 PM
Wow, this is great! "The sign of a true genius is the ability to make the complicated simple", or something close to that. I can't remember who said it, but his name begins with "C" not "R"! http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/biggrin.gif

Francis Bellamy, a socialist, worked for a company that made flags. (I should add this is allegedly true.) In the ever-and-always desire to increase sales, he wrote "I Pledge alliegence, to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Note the subtle difference.

Anyway the rest is, as they say, history.

Wayne Jeffers
10-05-2000, 12:23 PM
I take issue with the assertion that Hitler was a piker regarding atrocities. While Stalin and Mao have gained increased notoriety (and deservedly so), they can't rival the six million Hitler killed in his death camps, plus all the other death and misery in the big war he started. Totalitarian governments of the right are no better than totalitarian governments of the left.

It is not a matter of the Deist roots of the U.S. Constitution vs. the Marxist roots of Stalin and Mao. Russia (even under Stalin) was and is more of a Christian country than the U.S., if one judges by church membership and attendance, even though the Communists always tried to discourage this. (Assuming we can agree that the Russian Orthodox Church qualifies as Christian.)

The U.S. comes from a tradition of enlightened democracy, on the British/Western European model. Neither Russia nor China ever had such an advantage. In those instances, a totalitarian form of communism replaced a different totalitarian form of government. In fact, the ONLY instances where communists have come to power are in nations WITHOUT a tradition of democracy AND where a right-wing totalitarian government existed. No democratic nation has ever turned communist.

Which makes it all the more unfortunate that the U.S. has had such a pitiful record in promoting democracy in other countries. Our history has mainly been in supporting the right-wing dictators (often in the guise of anti-communism), and mainly for the benefit of the U.S. corporations who were profiting from relations with those dictators.

On a cultural level, in a country as densely populated as much of China has been for so long, I believe conformity comes to be valued more than freedom or self-reliance.


10-05-2000, 12:51 PM
I don't understand that reference about the flags and the pledge of allegiance, but isn't it true that the pledge, which dates from before WWI, never contained the words "under God" until some time in the 1950s, when it was added after lobbying by some religious group? I don't think that means anything, just wondering whats up. Are socialists supposed to be godless? By the way, speaking of the guy whose name starts with C, he is facing disbarment in Arkansas because a conservative legal group, the Southern Legal Foundation, filed an action against him. The head of this Foundation is a lawyer named Glavin. According to an AP report which hit the wires at 8:00am yesterday, Glavin was seen by undercover cops in an Atlanta Park, um, I'll just say with his pants down, and then groped the undercover officer who came over to see what he was up to. Charged with public indecency. Big media outlets are not picking it up, I don't know why. Funny how things go. Karma, anyone?

Scott Rosen
10-05-2000, 12:59 PM
You all are letting the language get the best of you.

A solution is only "complex" as long as you have difficulty understanding it. The moment you "get it," it becomes simple. My point: if your "solution" seems complex to you, that tells me that you are still struggling to understand the problem.

I've either had too much liberal education, or I've become much too cynical, but I think there are no winners in the "Battle of the Isms." Communism, socialism, totalitarianism, humanism. These are philosophies, the creation of imperfect humans. They all can give you useful insights into the human condition, but not a one of them will eliminate human suffering when used as the basis of a system of human governance. Marxism tells you lots about Marx's view of the universe, but it doesn't offer meaningful solutions to the basic human condition. Same with any other ism.

For better of for worse, the most valuable commodity in our culture is freedom: the right to choose one's own isms; the right to define one's self. The price of our commodity is chaos, because when you introduce freedom in to an imperfect system (humanity), there must necessarily be some chaos. Chaos is a cause of human suffering--it's easily seen in the failure of our nations to organize efficiently enough to solve even the basic problems of hunger and war.

But lack of freedom is also a cause of human suffering. Another word for lack of freedom is slavery. You can be a slave to an idea, a government, an ism. And you can be a slave to money.

Salvery and freedom live in a precarious balance. I wouldn't trade places with the Chinaman, nor he with me. He would resist my attempt to make his country "decadent" as I would resist his government's attempt to enslave me. I'm satisfied so long as he doesn't try to "reeducate" me. And I'm perfectly content not to try to "liberate" him.

As you can tell, I distrust anyone who claims to have "the solution." Especially, since most of the people in history who have done so have been greedy power mongers. If "the solution" is THAT good, you won't have to work too hard to persuade everyone, and you won't have to cram it down their throats. And you shouldn't have to kill too many innocent people in the process.

On the other hand, we could all just get smart and attack chaos with C.O.N.T.R.O.L. Better '86 that idea, huh 99?

And what does any of this have to do with the price of copper roves?

Ken Hall
10-05-2000, 01:02 PM
Jeez louise, lookit whut I done started! http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

Two things come to mind from reading Page 5; I'll address them both in my usual slapdash, shortcut-filled way.

First: Why Deism Worked (more or less).
I believe the primary reason that we got "a comparatively self-reflective and humane system of government" out of the Enlightenment-guided thinking of the Founders is that the underlying principles of that system are based more on taking human nature--at least the best part of extant human nature--as it is and trying to harness it for good ends (life, liberty and property for all), than on trying to change fundamental human nature (upon which both Christianity and Marxism would seem to depend).

Adam Smith expressed the idea best in The Wealth of Nations when he said (and I'm paraphrasing) that "a man may accomplish more general good by pursuing his enlightened self-interest (than he would if forced down a more altruistic path by external authority, if I remember right)."

Obviously Smith wasn't one of the founders himself, but was of a similar intellectual tradition and clearly exerted a profound influence on the early political/philosophical development of the Republic. In fact, Smith's premise is pretty much the argument made by the followers of Ayn Rand today, although they tend to carry the argument to a hard-to-swallow extreme, at least in a rhetorical sense. I'll touch on this again in a minute.

Thus, whether deliberately or no, the Founders created a system that unleashed enlightened self-interest to do what it does best. I must point out, at the same time, that the "enlightened" part is both the most critical element and the most difficult to define and sustain (and sometimes it appears to be what we've lost to some degree).

Second: What causes theory to grow into rigid belief systems, carried forward by ruthless ideologues? There are about three, if not more, factors at work here. Two are based in what I'll call organizational psychodynamics, and the other I don't know what to call, but it's based on my theory that systems/organizations can be described as mimicking the growth and aging processes of individual persons.

The first and simplest argument comes from Robert Michels in his book Political Parties (I knew that poli sci degree would pay off some day! I made it, Ma! Top of the world!! http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/biggrin.gif) Michels' Iron Law of Oligarchy is based on the observation that decision-making power quickly becomes concentrated in a few hands in any organization, or at least any organization of a certain size. There's an excellent synopsis at

that provides background, but the short form is "Who says organization says oligarchy."

Second, and nearly as simple, is the unfortnate fact that idealists have always been vulnerable to the depredations of charismatic, ruthless, opportunistic adventurers. Like, oh, I dunno, Stalin for instance (not to defend Marxism, I'm an enlightened self-interest man myself, but you see my point).

Finally, I can't remember who it was that said (and this might have come up earlier in this thread itself, in fact) that people in their old age tend to become parodies of whatever it was they were in their youth: The brave man becomes a bravado-ridden blowhard, the patriot a "love it or leave it" crackpot, the open-minded flexible thinker incapable of making a decision in less than a month, the clear-eyed rationalist a cold-blooded, utterly ruthless practitioner of the expedient, etc. Perhaps it is so with organizations: certainly, the Randites (and my apologies to any of you who are of that persuasion if I've misread your group's views) sometimes come across as a parody of Adam Smith's views.

Ishmael, you have a real knack for crystallizing the questions in a way that lets other folks get at them. Salud!


[This message has been edited by SelfSinkingFlatiron (edited 10-05-2000).]

10-05-2000, 01:51 PM
Perhapse no democracy has become comunist, but this republic, it seems to me, is in a death grip of tyrannical petty beurocrats. perhapse they do not have the ultimate power to kill you physicaly instantly. but piles layer on layer they eventually kill the free part of you mind the self relaient part of your soul. till eventually they have stiffled ini****ive to the point that while the physical shell tives on, paying taxes going through the motions of " living" and even ocasionaly having flashed of happyness but through the outside looks pretty inside they are dead and only wait for the physical shell to stop functioning and hope there is a god and a heavan and there it might be better.

if there were enough plane good manners and respect to allow the neighbor to live his life and not try to either force him into what you consider right and stop all the stealing from one another... was about to write we would need such a huge smothering goverment. but I don't thing we need it any more than my parrents needed the cancers that killed them. while many people don't need the bureocrats their first imparitive it to grow and protect themselves and by going they do so.

EG some one wrote a letter advocating the abolution of the IRS and another wrote back concerned about the 113,000 employees . That we waste aropund 800 bilion $ a year and worry over 1/10th of 1 percent of the workers? alas

sorry to be such a downer maybe building a boat this weekend will make a flash of happyness

Alan D. Hyde
10-05-2000, 02:20 PM
I like Aldous Huxley's saying: "The means are the ends in the making."

The road to paradise does not (and cannot) lead us to resort to compulsion or concentration camps.

Marxism, despite its many decorative superficial attributes, is at its heart an excuse to compel or co-erce people. This creates ill-will and conflict, (and in the last century, over 100 million innocent victims).

This forum teaches us many things at many levels, but, at one of the higher levels, it teaches us that intelligent people of good will have widely varying opinions on many topics.

In a world in which so many things are uncertain, it seems best to me to let people make their own judgments and steer their own courses. We may even reach the same destinations steering by different stars.

Voluntary cooperation is akin to love; coercion to rape. One is a desirable as the other is despicable.

Shall we compel Galileo to state that the Sun revolves around the Earth, or Columbus to recant his geographic beliefs, or the Wright brothers to agree with the eminent scientists of their time that heavier-than-air flight is impossible?

Intellectual and material progress flourish and grow in the sunlight of personal liberty.
Our founders grasped this. Despite our many and disturbing faults as a nation, who in the world is better off than we are? And we are free to do better tomorrow.

When in doubt, decide for liberty.


P.S. Christ never endorsed compulsory repentence or salvation. It was always a matter of divine grace and individual choice.
There is no romance in repression.

No Red Army Officer was following Christ when he went into the Katyn Forest with a machine pistol.

For an early Christian experiment in communal ownership, read "Of Plymouth Plantation," by William Bradford (S.E. Morison, Ed.) available from Plimoth Plantation.

[This message has been edited by Alan D. Hyde (edited 10-05-2000).]

Ken Hall
10-05-2000, 02:55 PM
I'm sorry, Alan, I certainly didn't intend to imply that compulsion was an element of Christ's message. You're absolutely correct, salvation is a matter of grace and individual choice. My point is that it involves a fundamental change in the human nature of the saved. This is a difficult thing upon which to build a society (as the sweep of history demonstrates, I would say).

Best regards,

10-05-2000, 03:18 PM

I wish I'd said that, it was beautiful. Ishmael

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 10-05-2000).]

10-05-2000, 05:00 PM
Why do we ask these questions, wrangle here, with these emulsions of the mind?

Wayne Jeffers
10-05-2000, 07:53 PM
Dang -- Six pages and 200 posts and counting. I've been trying to stay out of this fray, because I've come to be very non-political in recent years. I vote in elections, but am hardly convinced that it matters for the most part, beyond the local level. I feel myself getting pulled in to this discussion because of statements regarding history, which is something on which I do have a number of strong opinions.

Pat -- When I learned the pledge of allegiance, about 1955, it did not yet have the "under God." I was too young to question why it was soon added.

Alan -- "No Red Army Officer was following Christ when he went into the Katyn Forest with a machine pistol." My remarks about Russia were in regard to the people, not the leaders or henchmen. We in the U.S. tend to think of ourselves as a Christian country, and think of our enemies as godless (it makes it easier to hate our enemies.) We should not attribute the superiority of our form of government to our being more deserving due to being more spiritual than the citizens of other countries. Even in the Bible belt, not more than half our population is regular in attendance. Many years ago, I heard (from a reliable source) a percentage for citizens of Russia that was much higher, even in the midst of communist repression. I now forget the percentage.

I believe separation of church and state to be a very important principle. Many of the most tyrannical regimes have been based on religion. Ask any Irishman about Cromwell and the Puritans. Heck, ask the English who were only too happy to bring back Charles II. Remember Khomeini? Lots of examples. No one religion has any particular advantage here. I prefer my religion separate from my politics.


10-05-2000, 09:28 PM
perhapse why we wrestle with convolutions of the mind is because the people here are rather more inteligent than say the cross section hanging at the mall or riding the bus. It is a mental areana and I am continually amazed by that which I learn Though I doubt Pat Cox practices in Utah he seems of the quality one would definitly want as a lawyer. and I can think of any number of people on this forum who I prefer to have along on a fishing trip on a day the fish were not bitting

Hope you do not mind my asking for further information but on the world atlas maps I have of china it seems that in the centrat part of china where the meking rises and the salween and the read and the black rivers and also the yangtze kain around the 100th maridian east. are the stream there too small to usefulls devert proably my maps are to large a scale to show the dams.

hope your holliday is going well

10-05-2000, 10:02 PM
I do it to learn, Ishmael, I do it for fun, I do it for, I don't know, mental exercise, I like to re-examine my opinions, and I do change them when something I didn't know or never thought of is pointed out to me. I'm not sure why humans seem to like discovery, seem to like knowing things, why we get that "ah ha" feeling when things click, seems to be one of the things about us. Its a better instinct than aggression. I also like learning what everyone else thinks if for no other reason than to learn more about people. I am not practicing law right now, and I miss the learning and the writing I used to do, though I do not miss practicing law. By the way, I am finishing this boat, the sea bright skiff. I have all the frames in, I put the little floors in today, but I have not fastened them, and then there's just the risers, inwales, rub rails, stem hook, knees and thwarts. A question; should I put some kind of bedding compound between the bottom board and these little floors that fill the gaps between the frames and the bottom board? They're little, some are a foot long, some only three inches.

Phil Young
10-06-2000, 02:00 AM
Some musings from down under if I may. Someone up there described Australia as a socialist state. There's also some doubt about the efficacy of democracy. I feel a little humbled by some of the intellects around here, and the great knowledge of history and philosophy. But as has been noted, the worst that might happen is that I'll be politely ignored, a flaming is unlikely.
On Australia-I haven't seen the US coverage of the olympics, I gather from our press that it has been on the bad side of ordinary. I'd be interested to know if it has changed anyone's views of Australia.
Is Australia socialist? I don't think so. It has an essentially 2 party democracy. Most industry is privately owned, indeed most of the large corporations I think are overseas owned. In the past there has been greater state ownership of infrastructure and utilities, ie roads, bridges, hospitals, railway, telephone, water , power, gas and sewrage. As in many countries many of those have been or are being put into private /corporate ownership. Australia is perhaps accurately described as a "welfare state", in terms of the availability of free health care, free education, old age, unemployment, supporting parent and disability pensions. But at its heart Australia has a free and vibrant capitalist economy. I guess I think it has the mix of free enterprise and state intervention more or less right. I tend though to think the state intervention is a little on the high side, benefits too generous, and public infrastucture of too high a standard. In a way all of that is nice, but it is paid for by taxes, and therefore limits my freedom to spend my income as I choose. Close to half my income goes straight to the guvmint to spend in a way that it says is good for me. But in the past 3 years I've seen the other extreme in Papua New Guinea. Crumbling infrastucture, no social security payments, barely fuctioning medical and education systems, poverty, crime and corruption.
I know where I'd rather be. I'm going back to Australia at the end of this year.
What I've seen of England and the US (not much) tells me neither of those has the mix very close to right either.
On Democracy. What a croc. Rule by the noisy minority. Rule by mediocrity. Rule by and for the lowest common denominator. Rule by sound bites and by money. Rule by ignorance and fear. At best its pretty abysmal, but maybe no-one has come up with anything better. I tend to think a good solid monarchy is the way to go. So solidly entrenched that it need have little fear of overthrow, and little need to supress pretenders. OK monarchy in times past has been responsible for many bad things. But maybe what passes for democracy would have been as bad in the same circumstances in terms of economic development. I know too little about histry to press that any further. Or to suggest how it might be achieved.
I think the guvmint should ban 90 mph PWC's, or limit their use in the same way that serious race cars are limited. Out of areas accessible to the public.

Ken Hall
10-06-2000, 08:23 AM
Well, it's a point of view, and an honestly held, cogently stated point of view at that, and as such must be respected. In fact, I remember briefly thinking in college that some form of technological feudalism/Bushido might be the way to go. However, I soon concluded that such a system depended on personal honor, especially among the rulers.

And who hath honor? He that died o'Wednesday. So it would be for a "good solid monarchy," I fear me.

No system is better, ultimately, than its people. This is as true of governments and societies as it is of businesses. The genius of the Founders, perhaps, was that they established a system that rewarded the people for exercising their best impulses and energies (i.e., their enlightened self-interest).

Still, there's a certain accuracy in some of the things Phil says about democracy. But...

"...but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."

Jus' cain't help myself. Somebody stop me before I post the Gettysburg Address! http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

[This message has been edited by SelfSinkingFlatiron (edited 10-06-2000).]

Keith Wilson
10-06-2000, 09:41 AM
Democracy is messy, inefficient, and no better than the people practicing it. Unfortunately, all other forms that have been tried eventually devolve into tyranny.

I think the problem we are facing is how to balance freedom and justice. It appears difficult to have a high degree of both (although, God knows, there are plenty of places that have neither). Benevolent socialism tends to emphasize justice and equality over freedom, capitalism emphasizes freedom over equality and justice. A pity that the ideals of the French revolution seem to have been mutually exclusive. Balance is hard.

Note, I'm using "justice" and equality" somewhat interchangeably, which is something of a devious rhetorical device - I mean "justice" in the sense that it is manifestly unjust for some to starve while others accumulate billions, and that it is unjust that accidents of birth should have a great deal to do with one's quality of life.

[This message has been edited by Keith Wilson (edited 10-06-2000).]

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-09-2000, 05:24 AM
First an apology to Alan - you were right about Disraeli and the "apes or angels" - I was confusing it with Bishop Wilberforce's crack about T.H. Huxley being decended from a monkey on his grandfather's or his grandmother's side.

I am also rather an admirer of Australia; someone somewhere has observed that, despite the similar origins of Oz and the States, the national myths developed differently, in the States it's the rugged individualism of the frontier spirit, in Oz its "mate-ship".

I share the view that totalitarian capitalism cannot work in the long run, although it may work well as a transition state between the planned economy of totalitarian socialism and the free market economy. South Korea and Taiwan are both just emerging from a "totalitarian capitalist" stage. Japan for the 20 years leading up to WW2 was certainly a totalitarian capitalist sort of place.

Now I have found the quote I was looking for...

"The only purpose for which power can be exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant".

John Stuart Mill, "On Liberty", 1859 chapter 1.

[This message has been edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett (edited 10-13-2000).]

10-09-2000, 12:40 PM
(Phil -- In my opinion,the broadcast coverage of the Olympics, here in the USA by NBC, was horrible. I won't subject you to my usual rant about how they did not cover sailing, shooting, fencing, or modern pentathalon at all, and how they did a very poor job of covering what they did show. I thought what we -did- see (not much) of the opening and closing ceremonys was delightful; from what I saw, Austrailia presented a wonderful Olympics, and NBC blew it. They got their bad ratings the old fashioned way -- they earned them.)

10-09-2000, 12:45 PM
An excellent reference, ACB. It is the basis of the only workable definitions of ethics and justice, both terms now hpoelessly confused in most dictionary definitions.

Ethics is the principles which the individual adopts for themself to guide their conduct and interactions with other members of society. It usually comes from the moral codes which society develops in order to survive. Justice is what society does to the individual when that individual cannot keep their ethics in.

Imperfect in practice by imperfect people and governments, it yet stands head and shoulders above any alternative.

Art Read
10-09-2000, 12:56 PM
Re: The Pledge of Allegience... (Does anyone else have a problem with the "allegience" part of that?) Interesting. I didn't know that the phrase originaly included "indivisible". Perhaps the Civil War was still a recent enough event in our national phsyche that it was included? Personaly, I find it less condescending than "under God"...

Greg H
10-09-2000, 06:22 PM
Wonderfull thread.
Allegience to what is just and fair,but not to a nation state. The fact I was born in the US, is nothing I had anything to do with (at least as far as I remember http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif) those that choose to come and live here may have a better claim to being citizens than I do. How about world citizenship? Does anyone see it as inevitable that (assuming that we survive as a species) we will eventually have some form of world government? Not this "new world order", black helicopter stuff, but a way of looking at and treating the earth and its inhabitants as a single entity?

Greg H
10-10-2000, 09:35 AM
Hi Tony, Are you familiar with Wollombi Falls and the New england national park area?
I was thinking pretty far out into the future. But then again if and when we discover that we are not the only planet with sentiant life, something like that could cause us to change our world view and make it workable. I agree that their is a max size to any organization (I'm a bit of a recluse myself) so it would need to be rather loose, maby more of a judicial type body to weigh the effects of local actions and the world impact. Of course govt. only functions with the consent of those governed, and it looks like we are going through a period of withdrawl of consent, the human inclination to divide and catagorize is comming to the fore again.

Greg H
10-11-2000, 09:00 AM
No, I'd have used a bigger pump.
What a beautiful area,... and the birds and wild life... especially the birds..

10-11-2000, 10:13 AM
Re: size of nation-state.
Does the quality and pervasiveness of communications affect the maximun size of nation-states? Such that the common origin and national personality myths that allow us to see ourselves a people can be readily communicated, understood and internalized?
Just wondering.

10-11-2000, 11:49 AM
Hi, Tom

It seems logical that it would, and the quality of its communication and the coherence of any of its threads in any Usenet group with what we have here with this software (Ultimate Bulletin Board, UBB), seems to bear this out. I commented about this point in another current thread, "I like this place!"

This country is being tied together at the moment with high-bandwidth information exchange capability that exceeds what we had fifty years ago by more than a thousand-fold for industry, and more than a million-fold for individual consumers. Other of the developed countries are proceding similarly.

The rapid giving and receiving of information allows appropriate responses by those at a distance, to some local situation, and the prompt correction of false data. Prompt and effective control, and the maintenance and restoration of such order as the public desires, is the result of effective and accurate communication.

I think you see this also in many third world countries, where communications are poor, and the government is unable to unite the citizens with a common purpose. Criminals take over random territories, become the local governments by fear or being the only money source, and steal national resources [The diamond fields of Sierra Leone come to mind in this context] or use the territory for the production of drugs [The golden triangle of southeast asia and the cocaine plantations of Peru, etc., come to mind].

Because we as Americans have such extensive and efficient communications, and because we are extending those communication lines over the world, I think the future holds more of a coming-together than a breaking-apart.

I recently got an email from a guy in Omsk, who found my name in a small local business directory, and was wondering what business opportunities there might be. He had a crude computer which could get email but not the web, and it cost him a dollar an hour to communicate to me. The average wage there, he tells me, is fifty dollars American per month.

I recently had some email correspondence with a fellow in Finland, whose english was so bad that he was almost incoherent, with only one word in ten maybe making sense. He had no clue as to how bad his english was, but he wanted to communicate. I emailed him the web page addresses for a dozen children's english books he could get from Amazon.com.

I get many other communications, but these are typical. Given the opportunity, I think people around the world want to communicate, and only go crazy when denied the opportunity to communicate and suppressed beyond tolerance. As the planet continues to develop and install more advanced and extensive communications infrastructure, I think this will be the glue that brings us as a species of mankind closer together. Those that make such communication illegal or censor it, those will be the groups or areas that will remain sources of trouble.

Scott Rosen
10-11-2000, 01:59 PM
It's too easy to be seduced by the notion that good communication and mutual self-interest will bring about world peace. Too bad it doesn't work.

The last time the world had a communication and commerce revolution, there was much optimism and hope for the future peace among nations. Many of the best and brightest of that time said that international commerce and travel, and instant communication, would break down the barriers between peoples and nations and usher in an age of peace and understanding. That was in Europe in 1913.

It's okay to dream, but . . .

10-11-2000, 03:13 PM

Greg H
10-11-2000, 05:44 PM
Keep in mind that to the people of 1913 radio and telegraph were new. They were looking at it from a prospective of their own expierience, esentialy a 20mph world. Just like my parents grew up in a world without tv, and I grew up when computers used punch cards.
I believe that as new forms of communications come along the first result is to fractionalize groups, because it allows a new way for us to project or re-inforce our preconceived notions. The next generation just see's it as part of everyday life, so in the long run the world becomes more familier and the differences less important. Sort of like looking at a boat from 20', the imperfections sort of just disappear. (pardon my spelling please, I Work with my hands)

[This message has been edited by Greg H. (edited 10-11-2000).]

10-11-2000, 05:48 PM
The last frontier's between your ears.

Greg H
10-11-2000, 05:58 PM
cowabunga !

Phil Young
10-11-2000, 06:15 PM
Andrew will probably know the source, but I am reminded of a quote to the effect that the measure of a civilised society is the way it treats its most disadvantaged.
On communication, PNG, with a population of around 4 million, still has some 700 quite different languages. People born of a marriage between parents of different villages are referred to a "mixed race". The terrain is generally mountainous and there is no national road network. Telephone communications are sparse outside of the major centres. Many, many people here still genuinely live a stone age existence, and neighboring tribes regularly kill one another in turf wars (OK sounds like the Bronx) I think communication must help acheive some common purpose and peace.

Scott Rosen
10-12-2000, 03:32 PM
There's no gizmo that's ever going to change human nature. Making peace takes hard work and requires dilligence, sacrifice and compromise. Always did. Always will.

Hatred is a disease that if not cured will lead to much death and suffering. Communication is a tool that is used as effectively by people who promote hate as it is by people who promote peace.

Those who ignore history's lessons are doomed to repeat them. (As some wiseguy, er, wise man, once said.)

[This message has been edited by Scott Rosen (edited 10-12-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Scott Rosen (edited 10-12-2000).]