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When will nations cease to matter?

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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10 January 2020 01:29
 

Not culturally. But just in terms of the pure exchange of power.

I feel like there was a long historical epoch where nations truly did represent a locus of power and influence. While there were most certainly internal conflicts and external alliances the concept of a sovereign nation with discrete interests was in fact the dominant paradigm on the world stage.

At some point that lost a bit of traction. Probably when global colonial empires first occurred. Maybe slightly before. Nations persist as symbols of loyalty for people of modest to no means. But the strict interest of a nation is not what compels the heaviest decisions.

In my lifetime I feel like big choices are rarely national choices. They are made to serve a college of varied interests that is almost never isolated to one nation and certainly is not loyal to one nation. Even insular states that don’t tend to go exploring still manage their internal affairs (frequently) in committee with powers from elsewhere. U.S. and Russian foreign policy being the most egregious examples.

If this is true I don’t actually know how to feel about it. I don’t like the idea that most nations still represent nationalistic propaganda, even if it were sincere. Assuming common values and the basis for cooperation can be found I think dissolving borders is good. Geographic or otherwise. I think it definitely means less protracted violent conflict.

I like the idea of finding community in ways that don’t rely on tribalism, of which nationalism seems to be the ultimate incarnation. I would rather have a community based on principles or shared goals or something else that is intrinsically positive and inclusive.

If you had the option would you eliminate nations altogether? I think I would.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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10 January 2020 07:58
 
Brick Bungalow - 10 January 2020 01:29 AM

If you had the option would you eliminate nations altogether? I think I would.

No.  Not until we DO share the same goals and values.  Not when American militarism results in ‘collateral damage’, when political power games devalue human life and are blind to the long-term consequences.  Not when my country is in mourning for innocent students, teachers, families, and children while those responsible rattle their swords.

Maybe some day, but not today.

 

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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10 January 2020 09:42
 
Jan_CAN - 10 January 2020 07:58 AM
Brick Bungalow - 10 January 2020 01:29 AM

If you had the option would you eliminate nations altogether? I think I would.

No.  Not until we DO share the same goals and values.  Not when American militarism results in ‘collateral damage’, when political power games devalue human life and are blind to the long-term consequences.  Not when my country is in mourning for innocent students, teachers, families, and children while those responsible rattle their swords.

Maybe some day, but not today.

Would you then maintain that political boundaries, on balance prevent harm given our current stage of development? I honestly don’t know.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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10 January 2020 10:20
 
Brick Bungalow - 10 January 2020 09:42 AM
Jan_CAN - 10 January 2020 07:58 AM
Brick Bungalow - 10 January 2020 01:29 AM

If you had the option would you eliminate nations altogether? I think I would.

No.  Not until we DO share the same goals and values.  Not when American militarism results in ‘collateral damage’, when political power games devalue human life and are blind to the long-term consequences.  Not when my country is in mourning for innocent students, teachers, families, and children while those responsible rattle their swords.

Maybe some day, but not today.

Would you then maintain that political boundaries, on balance prevent harm given our current stage of development? I honestly don’t know.

Perhaps.  Unless and until we all share common rational and humanitarian goals.  If we ever could evolve to a state where this was possible; I’m not overly optimistic.

Power corrupts and it seems likely that the world benefits from the most powerful nations being somewhat controlled by unified opposition from ‘smaller’ independent nations (e.g. United Nations?). 

Of course this does not work out very well when overt nationalism, religious zealotry or ethnic intolerances come into play.

 

 
 
DEGENERATEON
 
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DEGENERATEON
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10 January 2020 20:20
 
Jan_CAN - 10 January 2020 07:58 AM
Brick Bungalow - 10 January 2020 01:29 AM

If you had the option would you eliminate nations altogether? I think I would.

No.  Not until we DO share the same goals and values.  Not when American militarism results in ‘collateral damage’, when political power games devalue human life and are blind to the long-term consequences.  Not when my country is in mourning for innocent students, teachers, families, and children while those responsible rattle their swords.

Maybe some day, but not today.

Do you attribute the jet shot down by Iranian SAMs to be collateral damage from American militarism?

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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10 January 2020 21:35
 
DEGENERATEON - 10 January 2020 08:20 PM
Jan_CAN - 10 January 2020 07:58 AM
Brick Bungalow - 10 January 2020 01:29 AM

If you had the option would you eliminate nations altogether? I think I would.

No.  Not until we DO share the same goals and values.  Not when American militarism results in ‘collateral damage’, when political power games devalue human life and are blind to the long-term consequences.  Not when my country is in mourning for innocent students, teachers, families, and children while those responsible rattle their swords.

Maybe some day, but not today.

Do you attribute the jet shot down by Iranian SAMs to be collateral damage from American militarism?

Yes.

The U.S. initiates violent conflicts, in this case a political assassination (something most civilized countries don’t engage in), and innocent people die as a result of that conflict.  Instead of diplomacy and working jointly with allies, long-term consequences not intelligently assessed, a myopia that fails to see the chain reaction of violence that always happens and always takes civilian lives.

 

 
 
DEGENERATEON
 
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DEGENERATEON
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11 January 2020 06:50
 
Jan_CAN - 10 January 2020 09:35 PM
DEGENERATEON - 10 January 2020 08:20 PM
Jan_CAN - 10 January 2020 07:58 AM
Brick Bungalow - 10 January 2020 01:29 AM

If you had the option would you eliminate nations altogether? I think I would.

No.  Not until we DO share the same goals and values.  Not when American militarism results in ‘collateral damage’, when political power games devalue human life and are blind to the long-term consequences.  Not when my country is in mourning for innocent students, teachers, families, and children while those responsible rattle their swords.

Maybe some day, but not today.

Do you attribute the jet shot down by Iranian SAMs to be collateral damage from American militarism?

Yes.

The U.S. initiates violent conflicts, in this case a political assassination (something most civilized countries don’t engage in), and innocent people die as a result of that conflict.  Instead of diplomacy and working jointly with allies, long-term consequences not intelligently assessed, a myopia that fails to see the chain reaction of violence that always happens and always takes civilian lives.

 

Why do you consider this a political assassination?  He was a military leader and considered a terrorist.  Could this be a result of Iran’s demand for revenge and their military action?  If they took the diplomatic route then the jet never would have been shot down.  Was the assassination the first domino in this chain reaction of violence?
I don’t consider the United States to be responsible for the destruction of the jet. 
Let’s say there are two families in a neighborhood who don’t get along.  There’s a history of the parents yelling at each other, the kids fighting, and vandalism to property.  One day the boys get in a fistfight and one of the parents shoots the other families boy - killing him.  He is arrested but avoids punishment by some self defense loophole.  The father of the slain child vows revenge, and one night drives by the other family’s house and shoots multiple times at their son’s room.  A friend was staying the night with the boy, and was unintentionally hit by a bullet and killed.  Who is responsible for the innocent friend’s death?

 

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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11 January 2020 07:43
 

brick:

Not culturally. But just in terms of the pure exchange of power.

I understand I’m a little like a broken record on this point, but the shoe continues to fit…

I think that corporations are holding more and more of the power in the world, and nations’ governments are more and more puppets for corporations.

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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11 January 2020 08:47
 
DEGENERATEON - 11 January 2020 06:50 AM
Jan_CAN - 10 January 2020 09:35 PM
DEGENERATEON - 10 January 2020 08:20 PM

Do you attribute the jet shot down by Iranian SAMs to be collateral damage from American militarism?

Yes.

The U.S. initiates violent conflicts, in this case a political assassination (something most civilized countries don’t engage in), and innocent people die as a result of that conflict.  Instead of diplomacy and working jointly with allies, long-term consequences not intelligently assessed, a myopia that fails to see the chain reaction of violence that always happens and always takes civilian lives.

Why do you consider this a political assassination?  He was a military leader and considered a terrorist.  Could this be a result of Iran’s demand for revenge and their military action?  If they took the diplomatic route then the jet never would have been shot down.  Was the assassination the first domino in this chain reaction of violence?
I don’t consider the United States to be responsible for the destruction of the jet. 
Let’s say there are two families in a neighborhood who don’t get along.  There’s a history of the parents yelling at each other, the kids fighting, and vandalism to property.  One day the boys get in a fistfight and one of the parents shoots the other families boy - killing him.  He is arrested but avoids punishment by some self defense loophole.  The father of the slain child vows revenge, and one night drives by the other family’s house and shoots multiple times at their son’s room.  A friend was staying the night with the boy, and was unintentionally hit by a bullet and killed.  Who is responsible for the innocent friend’s death?

It was a political assassination because it was a targeted killing that was not done during battle or proven imminent threat.

To be clear, the responsibility of the Iranian government cannot be minimized or excused.  But it shouldn’t be up to the U.S. to kill whoever they decide are the bad guys of the world, without trial and law, outside their borders.  This can create martyrs, unite terrorists, promote hatred, lead to more violence.  And the question of ‘who started it’ that has been used as an excuse is the argument of children and will not lead to a less violent world but a never-ending tit for tat.

Your analogy over-simplifies the circumstances that surround politics and war, the many players and the fallout that occurs.  However, you ask “Who is responsible for the innocent friend’s death?” – ALL who chose to escalate and resort to violence rather than seek alternatives.


(Brick Bungalow, my apologies for the side-track.)

 

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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11 January 2020 10:32
 
Jan_CAN - 11 January 2020 08:47 AM

(Brick Bungalow, my apologies for the side-track.)

I think it circles back to the OP.

By stated principle U.S. military and intelligence operations should be executed to preserve the safety and security of U.S. citizens. There are some contemporary cases where this seems to hold water. Intervention into active terrorist cells might qualify. At the same time much of this activity seems like profiteering. Asset management. I realize that there exist elaborate justifications for this but I haven’t heard a compelling one yet. I think most of our foreign wars are essentially cash grabbing turkey shoots.

I think global colonialism makes us less safe in a few ways. It compromises our political capital on the world stage. It commits far more American citizens to military service that is practically necessary. The sheer number of friendly fire fatalities highlights this to me. It has had the effect of flooding many parts of the developing world with free and cheap weaponry. Sometimes by design other times by sheer haste lack of foresight. Finally I believe a case can be made that pragmatic improvements at home are neglected for the direct benefit of a top heavy war machine. First because so much of the federal budget gets diverted into military contracts. And second (my speculation) many broad improvements are denied because they would be a detriment to enlistment. If we had national healthcare and functionally subsidized higher education, for instance, many young adults would be less motivated to sign up.

Of course this is all motivated speculation on my part and I don’t pretend otherwise.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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11 January 2020 10:42
 
Brick Bungalow - 11 January 2020 10:32 AM
Jan_CAN - 11 January 2020 08:47 AM

(Brick Bungalow, my apologies for the side-track.)

I think it circles back to the OP.

By stated principle U.S. military and intelligence operations should be executed to preserve the safety and security of U.S. citizens. There are some contemporary cases where this seems to hold water. Intervention into active terrorist cells might qualify. At the same time much of this activity seems like profiteering. Asset management. I realize that there exist elaborate justifications for this but I haven’t heard a compelling one yet. I think most of our foreign wars are essentially cash grabbing turkey shoots.

I think global colonialism makes us less safe in a few ways. It compromises our political capital on the world stage. It commits far more American citizens to military service that is practically necessary. The sheer number of friendly fire fatalities highlights this to me. It has had the effect of flooding many parts of the developing world with free and cheap weaponry. Sometimes by design other times by sheer haste lack of foresight. Finally I believe a case can be made that pragmatic improvements at home are neglected for the direct benefit of a top heavy war machine. First because so much of the federal budget gets diverted into military contracts. And second (my speculation) many broad improvements are denied because they would be a detriment to enlistment. If we had national healthcare and functionally subsidized higher education, for instance, many young adults would be less motivated to sign up.

Of course this is all motivated speculation on my part and I don’t pretend otherwise.

Or you could say, “because oligarchs” (or I suppose “because parasitic corporations”).

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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11 January 2020 12:57
 
icehorse - 11 January 2020 10:42 AM
Brick Bungalow - 11 January 2020 10:32 AM
Jan_CAN - 11 January 2020 08:47 AM

(Brick Bungalow, my apologies for the side-track.)

I think it circles back to the OP.

By stated principle U.S. military and intelligence operations should be executed to preserve the safety and security of U.S. citizens. There are some contemporary cases where this seems to hold water. Intervention into active terrorist cells might qualify. At the same time much of this activity seems like profiteering. Asset management. I realize that there exist elaborate justifications for this but I haven’t heard a compelling one yet. I think most of our foreign wars are essentially cash grabbing turkey shoots.

I think global colonialism makes us less safe in a few ways. It compromises our political capital on the world stage. It commits far more American citizens to military service that is practically necessary. The sheer number of friendly fire fatalities highlights this to me. It has had the effect of flooding many parts of the developing world with free and cheap weaponry. Sometimes by design other times by sheer haste lack of foresight. Finally I believe a case can be made that pragmatic improvements at home are neglected for the direct benefit of a top heavy war machine. First because so much of the federal budget gets diverted into military contracts. And second (my speculation) many broad improvements are denied because they would be a detriment to enlistment. If we had national healthcare and functionally subsidized higher education, for instance, many young adults would be less motivated to sign up.

Of course this is all motivated speculation on my part and I don’t pretend otherwise.

Or you could say, “because oligarchs” (or I suppose “because parasitic corporations”).

.  Yep. Having senior White House advisors and congressional lobbyists doing double duty as corporate executives leaves little doubt of this. Not to mention. President who won’t freeze or even disclose his assets.

 
BarfootSage
 
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BarfootSage
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11 January 2020 16:41
 

It seems more rational to eliminate boundaries between Nations than to eliminate Nations.  My Brother and his family immigrated to Canada (I tried and failed) my daughter is Canadian born (eligible for U.S. citizenship but does not have it).  Everywhere I have traveled overseas has been with the frame of reference of being an immigrant in their Country as opposed to an American.  I strived to learn something from every culture and all people.  Sometimes the most amazing experiences were with the extreme poor who exhibited a wealth that far surpassed those in middle class western Nations.  Being land locked as a country, with no hopes for significant improvements to their natural resources is what perpetuates a vicious cycle of global Capitalism.  Cuba recently redrafted their Constitution to include Gay Rights.  Personally I’d love it if the U.S. brought Puerto Rico into the Nation without any debt repayment obligation.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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12 January 2020 00:31
 

I think this transition occurs gradually. More because of blind market forces than any kind of deliberate activism or legislation. I think we can encourage with it by practicing plural humanism and making a general effort to inform ourselves about other people directly rather than simply accepting propaganda.

 
BarfootSage
 
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BarfootSage
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12 January 2020 04:16
 

Sounds good Brick.  I am not sure if you are a father but I am learning about the New Millennial generation and how might be the best way to stop gobbling up their future (of opportunity) by manhandling it before we hand it over them mangled.

 
 
icehorse
 
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12 January 2020 09:03
 
Brick Bungalow - 12 January 2020 12:31 AM

I think this transition occurs gradually. More because of blind market forces than any kind of deliberate activism or legislation. I think we can encourage with it by practicing plural humanism and making a general effort to inform ourselves about other people directly rather than simply accepting propaganda.

I don’t think that there are 197 importantly different sets of values in the world, but there are a handful. (We are after all, on the Sam Harris forum.) For example, there seem to be a couple of billion people who think theocracy is a good idea.

I agree we shouldn’t accept propaganda, but I also think we should be really honest about core values.

 
 
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