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> World War II, The anti-US version
Herschelkrustofsky
post Wed 11th June 2008, 3:09pm
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Wed 11th June 2008, 5:34am) *

QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Wed 11th June 2008, 3:30am) *

The most horrifying feature was that Dresden had no military significance. The bombing was carried out as a macabre experiment in psychological warfare, by the Strategic Bombing Survey (see this article.)


Sorry, I stopped reading that article when I saw this: "hit the nation's that might sponsor them". What motivates writers to put in a possessive apostrophe when they simply mean to construct a plural noun?
I agree, that sucks. The original article is not available on the web -- the site to which I linked is someone's hasty transcription. I found a more grammatically acceptable transcription of the article on other sites that were unfortunately too wacky and conspirophilic for my liking.


QUOTE(thekohser @ Wed 11th June 2008, 6:17am) *

I should also add that, based on the military and civilian death tolls on Okinawa (the Japanese lost 90,000 troops on an island only 460 square miles in area), the U.S. estimates for Japanese home island casualties (were the war brought to a conclusion through traditional amphibious invasion (Operation DOWNFALL)) numbered at least in the several millions. Certainly far fewer died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
This is the common rationalization, and it is utter fraudulent, because no amphibious invasion was necessary. Japan was blockaded tighter than a drum -- all the allies had to do was wait as Japan ran out of supplies. However, waiting was also unnecessary, because the offer of surrender had already been made. Here is another article that is germane to the topic, this time with good grammar.
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Rootology
post Wed 11th June 2008, 3:40pm
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QUOTE(House of Cards @ Wed 11th June 2008, 12:38am) *

As an interesting note, the US Veterans Association a few years ago managed to stop the Smithsonian from presenting an exhibition on the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings, for fear that displaying the true carnage that was unleashed by the bombings would sully their good name. I haven't looked at the WP article on the bombings, but I wouldn't be surprised if similar movements were afoot there too.


Do you have an article on this? I'd be horrified if a group tried to do such a thing--I'd never heard of this (the Smithsonian incident, nothing on WP)
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House of Cards
post Thu 12th June 2008, 7:00am
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QUOTE(Rootology @ Wed 11th June 2008, 5:40pm) *

QUOTE(House of Cards @ Wed 11th June 2008, 12:38am) *

As an interesting note, the US Veterans Association a few years ago managed to stop the Smithsonian from presenting an exhibition on the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings, for fear that displaying the true carnage that was unleashed by the bombings would sully their good name. I haven't looked at the WP article on the bombings, but I wouldn't be surprised if similar movements were afoot there too.


Do you have an article on this? I'd be horrified if a group tried to do such a thing--I'd never heard of this (the Smithsonian incident, nothing on WP)

Here's a few links (the exhibition wasn't completely stopped, but massively whitewashed)
This is not the only time that the Smithsonian has crumbled under pressure. The same happened when they were preparing an exhibition discussing climate change, for example.
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Milton Roe
post Thu 12th June 2008, 7:19pm
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QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Wed 11th June 2008, 3:09pm) *

QUOTE(thekohser @ Wed 11th June 2008, 6:17am) *

I should also add that, based on the military and civilian death tolls on Okinawa (the Japanese lost 90,000 troops on an island only 460 square miles in area), the U.S. estimates for Japanese home island casualties (were the war brought to a conclusion through traditional amphibious invasion (Operation DOWNFALL)) numbered at least in the several millions. Certainly far fewer died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
This is the common rationalization, and it is utter fraudulent, because no amphibious invasion was necessary. Japan was blockaded tighter than a drum -- all the allies had to do was wait as Japan ran out of supplies. However, waiting was also unnecessary, because the offer of surrender had already been made. Here is another article that is germane to the topic, this time with good grammar.

There is a pretty good Wikipedia article on all this, BTW, called Debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The short answer is that starving Japan to death was not very tennable while they held thousands of US prisoners (if you think they'd have starved, while feeding prisoners-- you have the wrong guys in mind). Japan also was in control of hundreds of thousands of what were essentially slave laborers in various terrritories they still controlled: were we to go around all these, one-by-one, and take them against suicidical defenses, while each of the others starved?

Perhaps atomic bombing per se was not necessary-- we could have simply continued to firebomb Japan to nothing, just as effectively. But the difference is being burned to death slowly or more quickly, or else just as fast. There are a few effects of radiation that are unique, but none of them are particularly more horrible than other effects of war. Being one of the the thousands of Chinese woman in Nanking who had a Japanese soldier thrust a bamboo stake into your vagina (a standard procedure) must have been unique also, if you survived it. But how do you compare one type of unique post-war injury with another?

One more thing needs to be noted. I happen to believe that since empathy is distance-dependent, that there's a difference between somebody who kills an infant child with a bomb, far away, at the press of a button, and a man who bayonets an infant like a pillow, up close and personal. The reason is that more human inhibitions need be overcome, in the second case (even hungry housecats and wolves will stand by while their young eat-- and not only their own personal young; calling the Japanese soldiers "animals" in such circumstances is an insult to many animals). The Japanese attrocities of WW II have far more of the second-case character, if you know anything of their treatment of the Chinese, and their live-human bio-warfare and munitions experiments, using prisoners (which outclassed in scale, and equaled in inhumanity, anything Mengele ever did). So what does one do in the face of that?

By all means, let us have an exhibition of atomic bombings and aftermath. But some % of the exhibit needs to be devoted to putting them into context, without which they are meaningless. For example, along with your photos of radiation burned civilians, keep in mind this image of a Japanese soldier about to decapitate a captured Austalian prisoner of war, just for the hell of it.

IPB Image

This post has been edited by Milton Roe: Thu 12th June 2008, 7:33pm
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everyking
post Thu 12th June 2008, 7:28pm
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QUOTE(House of Cards @ Wed 11th June 2008, 8:02am) *

Any articles involving Eastern European history are an absolute minefield. The Iron Curtain is still very much alive in the minds of many editors.

For another example, have a look at the occasional shitfights that break out at the article on the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Here, editors from ex-Soviet states still stick to the near 50-year USSR doctrine that the Pact never existed and was a Western fabrication.


This is preposterous. Nobody claims that there was no pact. The dispute is whether it was a non-aggression pact (an agreement between enemies that they would not attack each other) or actually some kind of alliance. The latter position is advanced by many who try to use the pact as a means of vilifying Stalin and/or the Soviet Union.
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Milton Roe
post Thu 12th June 2008, 7:50pm
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QUOTE(everyking @ Thu 12th June 2008, 7:28pm) *

This is preposterous. Nobody claims that there was no pact. The dispute is whether it was a non-aggression pact (an agreement between enemies that they would not attack each other) or actually some kind of alliance. The latter position is advanced by many who try to use the pact as a means of vilifying Stalin and/or the Soviet Union.

That said, Poland was dismembered in a remarkably coordinated way for a couple of nations who merely had a non-agression pact with each other, and which was in no way an alliance.

And why would anybody need the pact to villify Stalin, when they merely need to point to byproducts of it, like the Katyn massacre?

This post has been edited by Milton Roe: Thu 12th June 2008, 7:51pm
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Herschelkrustofsky
post Thu 12th June 2008, 9:13pm
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QUOTE(Milton Roe @ Thu 12th June 2008, 12:19pm) *

QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Wed 11th June 2008, 3:09pm) *

QUOTE(thekohser @ Wed 11th June 2008, 6:17am) *

I should also add that, based on the military and civilian death tolls on Okinawa (the Japanese lost 90,000 troops on an island only 460 square miles in area), the U.S. estimates for Japanese home island casualties (were the war brought to a conclusion through traditional amphibious invasion (Operation DOWNFALL)) numbered at least in the several millions. Certainly far fewer died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
This is the common rationalization, and it is utter fraudulent, because no amphibious invasion was necessary. Japan was blockaded tighter than a drum -- all the allies had to do was wait as Japan ran out of supplies. However, waiting was also unnecessary, because the offer of surrender had already been made. Here is another article that is germane to the topic, this time with good grammar.


The short answer is that starving Japan to death was not very tennable while they held thousands of US prisoners
Well, as I mentioned, this point is moot, because the offer of surrender had already been made.


QUOTE(Milton Roe @ Thu 12th June 2008, 12:19pm) *

Perhaps atomic bombing per se was not necessary-- we could have simply continued to firebomb Japan to nothing, just as effectively.
Military leaders proposed dropping a nuke on an uninhabited island, and inviting Japanese leaders to observe, as a "warning shot." But civilian leaders, who wanted to deliver a traumatic psychological shock to the entire planet, insisted that the bombs be dropped on civilians.
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Milton Roe
post Thu 12th June 2008, 11:35pm
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QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Thu 12th June 2008, 9:13pm) *

Well, as I mentioned, this point is moot, because the offer of surrender had already been made.

Well, as I didn't mention, that offer had too many conditionals in it for the US to accept. The US had publically committed on Dec. 8, 1941 to an unconditional surrender. Keeping one's word publically in ONE war helps to prevent the NEXT war. Those people who claim that the US ended up accepting basically the same offer, are just wrong. The US accepted an offer whereby surrender was unconditional, but it was understood (under the table) that the Emperor would be allowed to retain title and role at total U.S. sufference. What the Japanese had offered was that this would be a matter of negociated treaty. Just a matter of face-saving, you say? Yes, but an important matter for those who were willing to start and end wars themselves over such quibbles. It was felt as necessary to break Japan psychologically as physically. Else, where is the guarantee they won't decide they the right to do it again?
QUOTE(Milton Roe @ Thu 12th June 2008, 12:19pm) *

Perhaps atomic bombing per se was not necessary-- we could have simply continued to firebomb Japan to nothing, just as effectively.
QUOTE
Military leaders proposed dropping a nuke on an uninhabited island, and inviting Japanese leaders to observe, as a "warning shot." But civilian leaders, who wanted to deliver a traumatic psychological shock to the entire planet, insisted that the bombs be dropped on civilians.

Hmmm, due to practical considerations, there was never much of a real push for a demo-bomb by anybody, much less generalized "military leaders." Gen. LeMay, who was in charge of the bombing, was gungho for the atom bomb. But of course it wasn't up to him. The Targetting Committee considered various options but the real problem is how do you demo an atom bomb? You can blow up all the islands you like, but until you blow up a city, there's no demoing what it will do to a city. A flash and a bang are all you get, otherwise.

The other big problem with a demo bomb is what happens if you set it up to demo it, and it doesn't work? They'd only tested one plutonium bomb, and only had enough plutonium for one more (the demo) and more would not show up for a few more weeks. So this would mean 3 weeks' delay. They'd never tested the uranium bomb and would never have enough uranium for another one, so that was out as a demo. So that causes a problem. The people at the time thought under the circumstances, and with not a lot of confidence, it was best to drop things without warning, and if they don't work, say nothing about that little smoke-poof in the sky, and that tiny bit of radiation that shows up later.

As for civilian vs. military targets, there weren't any isolated military targets worthy of a bomb left in the Japanese empire, in late 1945. The Nagasaki bomb did take out the torpedo works which had produced the bombs which struck the ships at Pearl Harbor. And there was a troop garrison destroyed in Hiroshima, right at the hypocenter. But the Japanese had mixed military and civilian production together most carefully. Had they deliberately separated it, those who didn't follow the line would have been more culpable. They chose not to. Their problem. You don't use your own civilians as live-hostages, then complain that they're collateral damage.

One option that NOBODY thought of at the time (it's mine, he said modestly mellow.gif ), but which would have given everybody what they wanted, is that the bomb could have been fully demoed by dropping it at the waterline of a harbor, thereby taking out a half-circle. This would have provided full demo (since the Japanese were fully capable of multiplying by two) at the same time as halving the casualties. But as I say, I can't say that this was rejected, because it just was never brought up. Even Oppenheimer, who was on the targetting committee (and who did recommend the bomb be used on on a city), didn't think of doing it this way. sad.gif

That said, Hiroshima served as a demo, did it not? The Japanese still said "no," even then. So as it turns out, any lesser demo would have been totally wasted.

This post has been edited by Milton Roe: Thu 12th June 2008, 11:40pm
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Pumpkin Muffins
post Fri 13th June 2008, 1:05am
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Wed 11th June 2008, 6:17am) *

QUOTE(Neil @ Wed 11th June 2008, 9:04am) *

As I recall, wasn't Dresden firebombed a] in return for Coventry, which was both revenge and as a moral boost for the British people, and b] as a demonstration of power?


There was a lot of revenge and moral justification happening during WW2.

I should also add that, based on the military and civilian death tolls on Okinawa (the Japanese lost 90,000 troops on an island only 460 square miles in area), the U.S. estimates for Japanese home island casualties (were the war brought to a conclusion through traditional amphibious invasion (Operation DOWNFALL)) numbered at least in the several millions. Certainly far fewer died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

All of it was sad and certainly needless, as over 60 years of peace and alliance between the US and Japan since have proven.


Greg, don't be an idiot. That's what humans do; they form groups and kill each other to take their stuff. It's the history of the human race. And if anyone thinks humans are different and past all that now, then they are double idiots.
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everyking
post Fri 13th June 2008, 2:14am
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QUOTE(Pumpkin Muffins @ Fri 13th June 2008, 2:05am) *

QUOTE(thekohser @ Wed 11th June 2008, 6:17am) *

QUOTE(Neil @ Wed 11th June 2008, 9:04am) *

As I recall, wasn't Dresden firebombed a] in return for Coventry, which was both revenge and as a moral boost for the British people, and b] as a demonstration of power?


There was a lot of revenge and moral justification happening during WW2.

I should also add that, based on the military and civilian death tolls on Okinawa (the Japanese lost 90,000 troops on an island only 460 square miles in area), the U.S. estimates for Japanese home island casualties (were the war brought to a conclusion through traditional amphibious invasion (Operation DOWNFALL)) numbered at least in the several millions. Certainly far fewer died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

All of it was sad and certainly needless, as over 60 years of peace and alliance between the US and Japan since have proven.


Greg, don't be an idiot. That's what humans do; they form groups and kill each other to take their stuff. It's the history of the human race. And if anyone thinks humans are different and past all that now, then they are double idiots.


That's what humans do under certain conditions. Changed conditions mean changed behavior. Despite being particularly vulnerable due to being a double idiot, I've never had anyone try to kill me to take my stuff. As a tendency, it appears to be diminishing.
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post Fri 13th June 2008, 4:13am
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Since everyone is sharing, had I been Truman I would have ordered both bombings at exactly the same times in exactly the same way. His reasons have been more than adequately explained. Some people just don't want to listen to them.

Now why is it that Wikipedia can't keep the revisionists from continually pooping all over its articles?
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The Joy
post Fri 13th June 2008, 5:18am
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QUOTE(Emperor @ Fri 13th June 2008, 12:13am) *

Since everyone is sharing, had I been Truman I would have ordered both bombings at exactly the same times in exactly the same way. His reasons have been more than adequately explained. Some people just don't want to listen to them.

Now why is it that Wikipedia can't keep the revisionists from continually pooping all over its articles?


The "revisionists" or fringe theorists have no other platform except Wikipedia. It's the only place where their views will be heard and be taken seriously... and that is no compliment to Wikipedia. dry.gif mad.gif

Point of order: All historians are "revisionist" to some degree. If they kept repeating things already said over and over again, there would be no new PhDs or theses being earned. But all academics have to answer for their theses or ideas by the public and other academics, while Wikipedians do not have to answer to anybody. If they have enough social support and social currency via the WP Community, they'll survive any argument against their fringe ideas and live to carry on their agenda on WP another day.

In fact, I remember when Lir was here, he told us a story about his professor rejecting his thesis because Wikipedia had a different take on Operation Torch (the American landings in Africa during WWII). Poor Lir, poor academia. Despite the disclaimers, people just take WP's information as true and never bother considering that it could be wrong.
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Pumpkin Muffins
post Fri 13th June 2008, 5:18am
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QUOTE(everyking @ Thu 12th June 2008, 7:14pm) *


That's what humans do under certain conditions. Changed conditions mean changed behavior. Despite being particularly vulnerable due to being a double idiot, I've never had anyone try to kill me to take my stuff. As a tendency, it appears to be diminishing.


Maybe it's been the other way around for you; maybe your standard of living is based, in part, on cheap raw materials flowing our way that was secured through warfare, or the threat of force. The Pax Americana hasn't been without bloodshed, it's just a calm in the storm. A few generations of peace is all any large civilization seems to be able to handle.
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everyking
post Fri 13th June 2008, 5:44am
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QUOTE(Pumpkin Muffins @ Fri 13th June 2008, 6:18am) *

QUOTE(everyking @ Thu 12th June 2008, 7:14pm) *


That's what humans do under certain conditions. Changed conditions mean changed behavior. Despite being particularly vulnerable due to being a double idiot, I've never had anyone try to kill me to take my stuff. As a tendency, it appears to be diminishing.


Maybe it's been the other way around for you; maybe your standard of living is based, in part, on cheap raw materials flowing our way that was secured through warfare, or the threat of force. The Pax Americana hasn't been without bloodshed, it's just a calm in the storm. A few generations of peace is all any large civilization seems to be able to handle.


Actually, I think capitalism and imperialism are all that are keeping us from having world peace right now. Progress and cooperation are far more fundamental to the human condition than warfare. Every human being should be insulted at the notion that killing and pillage is just "what humans do".
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post Fri 13th June 2008, 5:56am
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QUOTE(everyking @ Fri 13th June 2008, 5:44am) *

Actually, I think capitalism and imperialism are all that are keeping us from having world peace right now. Progress and cooperation are far more fundamental to the human condition than warfare. Every human being should be insulted at the notion that killing and pillage is just "what humans do".

A false dichotomy: cooperation with and generosity towards one's own kin - in primitivity this is equivalent to an ethnic group, plus whichever other groups, if any, with whom one trades wives - and hostility towards everyone else is the norm.

This post has been edited by Proabivouac: Fri 13th June 2008, 5:58am
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everyking
post Fri 13th June 2008, 6:02am
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QUOTE(Proabivouac @ Fri 13th June 2008, 6:56am) *

QUOTE(everyking @ Fri 13th June 2008, 5:44am) *

Actually, I think capitalism and imperialism are all that are keeping us from having world peace right now. Progress and cooperation are far more fundamental to the human condition than warfare. Every human being should be insulted at the notion that killing and pillage is just "what humans do".

A false dichotomy: cooperation with and generosity towards one's own kin - in primitivity this is equivalent to an ethnic group, plus whichever other groups, if any, with whom one trades wives - and hostility towards everyone else is the norm.


I don't understand your point. Are you trying to say that is the "natural" state of mankind? We used to rub sticks together to make fire, too, but as time passes we figure out better ways of doing things.
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Pumpkin Muffins
post Fri 13th June 2008, 6:15am
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QUOTE(everyking @ Thu 12th June 2008, 11:02pm) *

QUOTE(Proabivouac @ Fri 13th June 2008, 6:56am) *

A false dichotomy: cooperation with and generosity towards one's own kin - in primitivity this is equivalent to an ethnic group, plus whichever other groups, if any, with whom one trades wives - and hostility towards everyone else is the norm.


I don't understand your point. Are you trying to say that is the "natural" state of mankind? We used to rub sticks together to make fire, too, but as time passes we figure out better ways of doing things.


Yes, and we've figured out better ways of killing each other (tell me that's not true!), and we've figured out better ways of stealing (enron, for example)...

QUOTE(Proabivouac @ Thu 12th June 2008, 10:56pm) *

QUOTE(everyking @ Fri 13th June 2008, 5:44am) *

Actually, I think capitalism and imperialism are all that are keeping us from having world peace right now. Progress and cooperation are far more fundamental to the human condition than warfare. Every human being should be insulted at the notion that killing and pillage is just "what humans do".

A false dichotomy: cooperation with and generosity towards one's own kin - in primitivity this is equivalent to an ethnic group, plus whichever other groups, if any, with whom one trades wives - and hostility towards everyone else is the norm.


I have to agree with this. And I believe that any groups of people that live among each other but forbid intermarriage eventually end up trying to kill each other - Palestine/Israeli, Irish Catholics/Protestants, Hutu/Tutsi, American Blacks/Whites (until recently). It's just the way we're wired.

This post has been edited by Pumpkin Muffins: Fri 13th June 2008, 6:24am
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post Fri 13th June 2008, 6:39am
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QUOTE(everyking @ Fri 13th June 2008, 6:02am) *

I don't understand your point. Are you trying to say that is the "natural" state of mankind? We used to rub sticks together to make fire, too, but as time passes we figure out better ways of doing things.

And how does this work? Through the development of ideology and a specialist class of propagandists to promulgate it, the development of law and a specialist class of its enforcers who, let's not forget, use violence to ensure that others don't - without their permission, that is. This is not people becoming more peaceful, but the imposition of hegemony. One indispensable element of these systems is the appropriation of surplus wealth through the threat of force - taxation. Basically a protection racket.

Today, the propagation of ideology consumes a greater portion of production than ever. This is because the things people are supposed to do are further and further from what we will naturally do. The length of childhood has been doubled, for example. The state pours vast resources in order to ensure that children are socialized to do various things - sit in chairs for long periods of time, staring at and interpreting symbols, for example. And not hitting one another. Even so, people still resort to violence, because neither the inculcation of propaganda nor the power of the state is total. Take the police away for a year - how would society change? Actually, we know the answer - small local groups form in the manner of street gangs, protecting one another and behaving hostilely towards outsiders…

…and we're back to normal.
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post Fri 13th June 2008, 1:16pm
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QUOTE(everyking @ Fri 13th June 2008, 1:44am) *
Every human being should be insulted at the notion that killing and pillage is just "what humans do".

Homo Politicus has been killing off his fellow adversaries and enemies at the rate of about 2 million violent deaths per year since the beginning of the 20th Century. Note, by comparison, that the Holocaust claimed 6 million lives in 3 years. In other words an unabated distributed Holocaust has been underway on Planet Earth for the past hundred years.

QUOTE(Pumpkin Muffins @ Fri 13th June 2008, 2:15am) *
It's just the way we're wired.

It's the way Homo Politicus is wired. Homo Scientificus and Homo Ludens are wired differently.
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post Sat 14th June 2008, 4:41am
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QUOTE(The Joy @ Fri 13th June 2008, 12:18am) *

The "revisionists" or fringe theorists have no other platform except Wikipedia. It's the only place where their views will be heard and be taken seriously... and that is no compliment to Wikipedia. dry.gif mad.gif

Point of order: All historians are "revisionist" to some degree. If they kept repeating things already said over and over again, there would be no new PhDs or theses being earned. But all academics have to answer for their theses or ideas by the public and other academics, while Wikipedians do not have to answer to anybody. If they have enough social support and social currency via the WP Community, they'll survive any argument against their fringe ideas and live to carry on their agenda on WP another day.



Yes they have to keep themselves in business, I suppose. Still, I'd have more respect for the great thinkers on Wikipedia if they caught doozies like this one:

QUOTE( Wikipedia "World War I")
Berlin was almost 900 miles (1,400 km) from the Western Front; no Allied soldier had ever set foot on German soil in anger, and the Kaiser's armies retreated from the battlefield in good order. Thus many Germans, including Adolf Hitler, were convinced their armies had not really been defeated.


source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...oldid=218411348 (bold emphasis is mine)

For those unfamiliar with WWI, angry Allied soldiers actually did invade parts of Germany during the war.

Of course it's easier to obsess about Allied bombings and to social network and so forth, rather than correct factual errors.
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