Monday, May 09, 2005

School Spirit and World War Three

After going for over a year with out a victory in football, the team from Layton High won a game. It was before school starts, Friday night, a non-league one, when nobody was watching, but it was still a win. The first week of school went by with the regularity of ritual which makes watching it the definition of deja vu. At the opening assembly, the Lancer rose from the mist. It is one of the sweetest bits of luck that the mascot of the school at which I teach is the Roman Lancer. So year after year, with tears of pride starting in my eyes and heart rushing with enthusiasm, I watch the breastplate clad and helmet masked hero rise from the fog covered stage; search out his lance and shield; and mount the steps between the columns to raise his arms in triumph. The strobe light pulses, the music soars, and the crowd roars. On this particular fall morning as we sat, still tingling with “school spirit”, the captain of the football team stepped to the podium. Perhaps I saw him as beautiful because of the way I was feeling at the moment. Maybe it was the result of long weeks of working out under the hot summer sun, but as he stood there with his shaggy mane, shirt stretched tight by muscles, he was beautiful. But more that the way he looked it was the purity of his humility that made a sob rise in my throat. He thanked everyone for their support, and then with quiet dignity he made a promise. “I can’t promise you we will win tonight,’ he said, “but I promise we will do our best.” I thought the tiles would peel off the sealing, torn free by the sonic blast of cheers and applause. I had never felt more pride in being a Lancer. Our team won the game that night. The stands were filled, I was even there, or at least playing with my children on the lawn beside the bleachers. That next week we had a pep rally, again! We cheered and stomped in the gym; and our school’s new, young coach, called “Buns” by the girls in his classes, spoke of the return of the glory days to Layton football. Sure enough, that Friday night brought another stunning Lancer victory. The newspaper referred to us as “that upstart suburban school.” It was good to be alive! And that week; another pep rally. This one much more elaborate – no doubt Buns was earning his keep! This time we met in the auditorium and once more the strobe lights pulsed, the music blasted. But what a wail of anger, boos, and hisses, filled the air as the “Weber Warrior”, complete with red cape and large W painted in red on his bare chest rose from the mist and mounted the “marble” steps. He stood between the papier-mâché columns and shook his sword at us. The wails of anger and dismay turned to a defining shout of joy as a swirl of fog revealed “The Lancer”, muscles bulging beneath cape and plate, rose to defend our honor. Spear raised and shield advanced he marched up the stairs. The Warrior crumbled beneath the Lancer’s advance and, accompanied by an explosive burst of joy and lust, he walked across the Warrior’s prostrate body to turn and lift his arms in weapon brandishing triumph!!!! The shouts of Kill, Kill were straight from Lord of the Flies. Now as our sun-tinted and muscle covered quarterback stood to speak, there was no hint of humility in his delivery. He trumpeted past victories, and punctuated by wild acclamation, described the destruction our superior training and “Lancer Pride” would reek on Weber that night. It was a bit much. I looked about; mine were not the only eyes nervously downcast. But the gods seemed to overlook our hubris. That night the Warriors were trampled; Buns’ head grew bigger than his backside. Monday morning’s announcements brought a play by play description of “our” victory. At the end of the narrative the voice panting over the intercom intoned, “We’re Layton Football, and we’re back.” The gods rolled their eyes and smiled, and so did I. That week’s pep-rally was something I had never seen at Layton. We all assembled on the football field, packing the “home side” bleachers. The dancing girls danced, the cheer leaders exhorted us to kill the Darts, and the band played on! At last Buns rose to speak to us. Did we really display the awe he deserved? There was no young quarterback with stretched tan skin and a sun streaked bush of hair; this speech could not be trusted to a boy. The coach himself took the mike. Buns told us how much we hated Davis High, how all our dreams of greatness had been trampled by their unworthy deceptions of football glory. He told us how the people who moved to Mutton Hollow just to call their children Darts would soon regret their high priced houses; how truth and justice would at last prevail, revealed to the universe by another stunning Lancer Victory. “And,” he cried, “Tonight, when we have broken their dreams and crushed their team, we invite you all to come down onto their football field and dance our victory dance, and RUIN THEIR HOMECOMING!!!! If the sky could have cracked, it might have. The cheers were that loud. I was at the game that night. My family squeezed into Davis High’s visitor bleachers, among the masses and amid the splashes of brown and gold. By halftime, there was no joy “in Mudville”; not, at least, on the Lancer side of town. The score was 20+ to two, when the Davis Marching band took the field. Every kid in Kaysville must have been in that band; all but the football team. Back and forth and round and round they marched. The west side bleachers rose to their feet as the Darts sang their school song and then the band member executed brown and yellow patterns on the field. A young man began a celebratory lap around the green grass field. He held high a long silken banner, brown and yellow, and it streamed behind him in the wind of his speed. It sparkled in the bright lights of the football field. As he passed the Layton bench there was a flash of blue and blue. The team was not on the field, so it must have been some pep person, a representative in student government, or a Buns toddy that tackled the color bearer and brought him down. Police and sheriff’s deputies rushed the field, every vice principal in Utah converged on the spot, and out of nowhere Mini Cam Five from KSL TV appeared to record it all for the evening news. I can’t remember the final score. It didn’t matter; no Lancers danced that night. The next Monday, the vice principal came to visit me. Rather an honor, as I now look back. He was a good friend; his children had worked for me at camp. He had tears in his eyes as he talked to me. “How,” he asked, “how could anyone embarrass our school like that? On state wide TV?” I replied, “Have you been to our own pep rallies?” To me the embarrassment was not the issue. Even worse than this specific “tackle on the field” was the week after week bitterness and dislike that is routinely spawned between schools and communities in the name of school spirit. I am particularly saddened by the fights that go on after games. Here students who have put no effort into developing skills to make the school and themselves “proud” gather, to pick fights and bully and beat up on kids, always weaker and smaller than themselves; behaving shamefully to redeem their “honor”. I was not, am not, innocent, when debate season came I couldn’t help making my dig – at the football team at least. Hoping Buns was listening, I ended each Monday morning announcements of the Debate Team’s successes of the weekend with the line, “We’re Layton Debate, and we never left!!!!”

Let me pose some questions about School Spirit:

1. What role does competition play in developing feelings of love and support for your school? (Think country)

2. Can we have competition without competitors? (Think victories without enemies)

3. How does it improve us to tear down our advisories? (Think France or Russia or China)

4. Are there other ways to promote excellence and school spirit than in picking fights? (Think!!!)

5. What if the kids that attend “Davis” attended our school? How would we feel about them? (What if we lived in Mexico?)

A point of interest might be to note that Layton’s number one rival is North Ridge High – when I started teaching at Layton half the kids at Layton lived in the part of town that would someday attend North Ridge.

Now let’s turn our attention to the hate and rivalry that places the world in daily danger. Some will argue that Nationalism came into existence at the end of the Napoleonic era, others that its seeds were sown during the Hundred Years War. I tend to believe that Abraham was a nationalist; that nationalism drove the Roman Empire; that every Greek City State throbbed with nationalism. Be that as it may; let’s consider Nationalism. My thesis is that there are TWO VIEWS OF NATIONALISM. I will present them in outline form, hoping our readers will fill in all the blanks in dialogue.

I. Nationalism based on Emotional, Romantic, and Relativist Ideas such as:

A. Factors:
1. Religion
2. Race
3. Ethnicity
4. Mythology

B. Examples:
1. Balkanization
2. European History since the fall of Rome
3. Genocide/Ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda
4. France
5. Collapse of the USSR
6. Chechzen separatism
7. Pakistan vs. India since independence
8. Anti- Semitism
9. Palestinian Terrorism
10. Zionism

C. Negative effects on many aspects of history:
1. Crusades
2. Jihads
3. Inquisition/Reconquista
4. Imperialism
5. African Slavery
6. Extermination of the American Indians
7. The failure of the British Empire
8. The disintegration of the USSR
9. Genocide in Tibet

II. Nationalism based on Reasonable, Classic, Enlightenment, and Absolutist Ideas:

A. Factors:
1. Cicero’s ideas that gods and men are all one commonwealth
2. Equality before the law (civil rights) – freedom of religion, speech, assembly, press, etc.
3. Human rights _ Life Liberty< Property, etc. The separation of Church and State; integration of opportunity of all regardless of race, color, creed, gender, sexual preference, etc. See George W. Bush’s Second Inaugural Address.

B. Examples:
1. The positive side of many of the World’s “great religions” Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, etc.
2. Hellenistic Culture
3. Pax Romana
4. The United States of America
5. Free enterprise
6. Scientific advancements – agriculture and medicine
7. America’s sacrifice to save the world from Fascism, Communism, and Islamic Fundamentalist Terror.

III. Conclusion: There has only been one successful multinational (ethnic) state in the modern world – The United States. This was made possible by setting aside the Relative definitions of Nationalism and adopting a reverence for and allegiance to the ideas of the Enlightenment which are universally applicable to all people. We are thus approaching a new world order, Cicero’s Commonwealth of men and gods.

14 comments:

A_Shadow said...

Challenging long standing ideas is what I'm all about, so let me begin this topic with a little bit of my well known "Devil's Advocate"-ness.

What defines a successful multinationn tal state? That on the surface it is held together? Do the actions of the KKK define it? Or the retaliations of various minority groups? Was the United States a "successful multinational state" after 9-11 when our citizens attacked each other based off of race? When those of different skin had their stores attacked based off of something that people they have never known, did?

Now in a bit of understanding, I can understand how we are further along the evolutionary ladder in this respect, that other nations barely even come close. But to say that it's successful is a far cry. We can't even agree when someone is being racially profiled. Anything that is remotely one-sided (no matter how right it is) is immediately pounced on when regarded with race. We are the seeds of a potential future that could have actual understanding amongst its citizens in that regard, but I hope you aren't saying we are there now. So again, what defines a successful multinational state?

But to go on to the broad and sweeping topics presented here, there are two things that I can address here immediately based off of my own value system: 1) Healthy competition is good, 2) Fanaticism is bad. Those are super general and currently in that state exist in a vaccum. Now to expand that and let in a little air...

Healthy competition is good:
I think this is a rather obvious and understandable statement. Basically, you must define what competition is. You raised the question "Can we have competition without competitors? (Think victories without enemies)" With respect to your anotation: victories without "enemies", no. There cannot be a victory without a antagonist. But remembering way back to my creative writing days there are multiple types of antagonism: man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. himself, man vs. an event, etc. Those are that which came to mind immediately. So to have a "victory" you must have an "enemy". But to give you a non-military/history point of view, healthy competition is always found in man vs. himself (at least that I can think of now). An example of healthy competition and an enemy being vanquished is exercising. You're fighting the enemies of flabbiness/obesiety with your weapons of exercise. I don't think you can put that into a negative connotation as it stands there. You can be killed during exercising, but there are other factors present. In my opinion, setting goals is a competition without the form of another person. That's my most used form of competition. Don't set goals that you will beat so-and-so at X. Make goals that you will achieve X. Goals for your future help a great deal. Setting achievable, reasonable, goals are very important and usually don't require competing against someone else. At least not directly.

Moving on.

Fanaticism is bad:

That's a super general statement, as I said. I've been heard saying that "I'm a fanaticist against fanaticism" or something of the like as a joke. Those that hunt the monster become the monster, etc. Anyways, the idea is that anything that causes you to shut off your brain, your sense of justice, your intuition or any other way of divining the truth of the situation is a bad thing. An example would be the Enviro-Terrorists who in their quest to stop logging kill the loggers, or BURN DOWN their mills. Consult me if you don't see the inherent fallacies present there. Another not so common version is what I call "Femme Nazism". Basically when women's rights takes it to the point that men are the evil on the earth and that's all there is to it. That anything remotely degrading relating to gender is a sexist attack. And lastly the most common example is terrorism. But I have yet to find a fundamentalist/fanatic group that has done something inherently good without resorting to something bad. Church groups, civil groups, etc. are all "bad" when taken to the far extreme. I can't find an exception to that rule and all you have to do, in my opinion, is look at their track records.

So inately that includes nationalism. Which I define as basically seeing your country as only doing good, the powers that be, etc. I hope that Lysis doesn't hate me for this, but at times I observe certain zeals when he talks about certain things. I usually tend to try and step back and see why. Of course, getting back on topic, the counter (according to most history teachers that I've had) to nationalism is patriotism. Maybe counter isn't the best term, but by far I believe that the better of the two is the patriot. The patriot is concerned about his fellow man, he's not concerned about what each group does unless it's right or wrong. In my opinion, politically speaking, the patriot is not part of any political party (at least he doesn't see them as mutually exclusive). He believes that when one is right, it is right, regardless of who said it. An example would be that if a Democrat suddenly stood up and said something that the Republicans didn't agree with, but the patriot did, the patriot would go with what is the best. Not with who said what. Sorry for the convoluted example. But that's one of my thoughts on politics that a reasonable person doesn't rely on one party for every decision. I don't, I just find a heck of a lot more reason coming from the "Right" than the "Left" these days.

Anyways, perhaps it's time to let someone else chime in on the topic. But for the conclusion of why I took that approach: I believe that Healthy competition is never bad and is inherently necessary for the growth of anything, and that any form of thought that involves turning off another form is wrong (i.e. fanaticism/nationalism in this case). With those in mind, I think it's rather easy to answer the rest of Lysis' questions. And if you need me to specifically answer your questions, just ask and I will do it.

Dan Simpson said...

Well, I would have to say that while A_shadow has a point, I think it is a little on the hyperbole side.

I think that the U.S. has the chance to be what the British empire could have been if they weren't too busy subjugating their little brown brothers.

The U.S. was a successful multinational state when as a people we denounced the actions of the few who reacted in the way you describe after 9-11. A society cannot be judged as a whole by the actions of a few, only on what the society as a whole chooses to support or denounce. Now, if we had taken the opportunity after 9-11 to put all muslims/middle easterners in internment camps in western Utah. Then I would say that you have a strong and valid point.

I would have to say that the U.S. is on the right track with two dangerous exceptions.

First, as a society, it seems that we hold the life of an American in greater esteem than the life of any other individual. Support: the fact that our policy does not allow war based solely on vast human rights violations. Support: Our lack of intervention in Rwanda, and the Sudan. Support: The widely held (albeit not so much on this blog) stance that immigration from third world countries needs to be slowed to a trickle or halted all together.

Second, the rampant abuse of lesser developed countries by big corporations that are based in the U.S.. It is like a 21st century British Empire in that the people of the exploited countries are being coopted into destroying their own people. Corruption is rampant in these lesser countries and as a result some mega-rich corporations are taking full advantage of the situation.

Case in point. C&H sugar in Brazil. Tobacco companies in almost any other country. Some corporations with plants in Mexico.

A_Shadow said...

Oh and let us not forget Nike in Vietnam, whatever.

I actually have a bit of an issue with this because I've never seen anything documented. Yes, I would likely attribute that to not looking, but just the same we never hear about it in the "mainstream". Of course that can be said about all of our fun little civil wars in Africa...

But anyways.

Hmm... You are on the right track, I think, with your pointing out that lives of Americans are of paramount importance to our society. To tell you the truth, next to oil, that was the largest counterpoint to the war. Why should we send our children/brothers/sisters/fathers/mothers to liberate someone elses fathers/mothers/etc? It is an interesting question, liberating the blood of one nation at the cost of our own... But in correction, didn't we act in Kosovo without something more than Geonocide? Sorry to bring up one of the only instances that Clinton did something with backbone. But we didn't enter Kosovo for any other reason that comes to mind right now.

Ok, but you're right that it's a general rule sort of thing. I don't like the selfish attitude in that regard, but alternatively you can't say you blame them for it. In life you need to watch out for the most important person first. That's you. If you aren't healthy, physically or mentally, then you can't help others. Since I would argue that we are the most "fit" nation in the world, we can't rely on an excuse like that. We then have the responsibility to lift up our neighbors and help them out. My two cents, my opinion.

As for using other countries in evil ways, etc. I'm not so sure about that. It's a tough call in my opinion. Oft times it's simply that they will gladly work for less. Point: India. Why is tech being outsourced to India? They have billions of people that will work for dollars cheaper an hour. That gives US more money in our pockets. Before you run off and say how evil that we won't pay them the same that we pay our own workers, let's think about the standard of living and the cost of living in India compared with America. I'm not thinking that it's nearly at all on the same level. Something in the back of my mind tells me that it's cheaper to live in those countries. I think that every time I hear that a certain countries standard pay is hundreds of dollars a year. Yes, they definately need to be taken care of. Yes, they most definately are below our poverty line. But how much do they make, and how much do they need? That's, I think, how we should measure the injustices there. That we are paying them much less than they are worth, than they need to live. I'm not convinced we are doing that, and even further more I'm convinced that we are giving them jobs that without those, they would have nothing.

Dan Simpson said...

Let me clarify. I am not talking about so called "sweatshop" labor. I have no problem with people making like 25 cents a day. No problem whatsoever. My problem is with the corporations that exploit the country as a whole. For example. Many countries are willing to sell their peoples health and well being down the drain for a lucrative opportunity from a multinational corporation.

I will refer you to a book entitled "Death Without Weeping". It is an ethnography about what has happened in a small town Bom de Jesus, in Brazil. There is a large C&H sugar plantation there.

There are also some SEVERE medical problems that have sprung up in parts of mexico (including widescale birth defects) that are tied to chemicals that are not allowed to be released in the U.S., but there is no such rules in Mexico.

Lysis said...

Let me begin by reiterating that I maintain, not that nationalism is bad, but that there are two types of nationalism One based on true universally principles; the other on ever changing opinions.

I have carefully and grateful read both Shadow and Dannyboy’s comments. I find that we are pretty much in agreement on this topic. To Shadow, I would like to point out that I said the U.S. was a successful multinational state; not a perfect one. Just compare American’s level of success to that of Turkey or Russia (later the USSR) or Austria-Hungary or the US of SA or as Dannyboy pointed out the British Empire. Even Great Britain seems to be falling apart along the arbitrary and surely out-of-date lines of Scotchman vs. Welshmen vs. Englishman. In America we agree on many things and when we don’t we use law or civil disobedience to steer our ship of state without either jumping ship or throwing the undesirables overboard. I would like to point out that we weathered the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement; we will handle the ignorance that bates prejudice against Muslims (attacks on “Curry in a Hurry” not withstanding). I would agree with Dannyboy that, in spite of all the grousing on the left, we have not rounded up Muslims or Middle Easterners who have not committed crimes; and none of those we have rounded up have had their heads chopped off on the internet.

I also admire “healthy competition”, but I do not consider “competition” based on differences in Race, Religion, Ethnicity, or Mythology healthy. Let’s compete with those who would deprive men of their unalienable rights. That is a just cause worth fighting for, worth seeking common ground, nationhood, to support. We do grow by competition, but our success must not depend on tearing down others. Consider those who have risen to power by exploiting hate and fear, the children of ignorance. I am a zealot in my support of those ideas which I called the “reasonable” ideas on which to found a nation. I believe in fighting for the commonwealth of men and gods, equality before the law, freedom, and human rights. Let all who would deny any people these just conditions of all humanity beware “my nation”.

I appreciate Dannyboy’s recognition that the misbehavior of a few in America does not “tar” the entire nation. I agree with you, that we need to move toward a way of solving the problems in Rwanda and the Sudan. I would add Tibet and Russian as well. We need to extend multinationalism across the entire Western Hemisphere. Free markets, mutual success, and open boarders would create a wonderful world for us all. I am grieved by the exploitation of any person – but such abuses come in defiance of the truths on which our nation is founded. Like the racial bigots and slave owners of the past, these unjust criminals must be rooted out if we are to move our successful nation toward that perfection that will unite the world. As Shadow points, and Dannyboy agrees, American companies provide much that more that counterbalances these problems world wide. Those who abuse the trust of those they should serve are criminal and should be rooted out. Like Shadow, I like to dwell on the enormous good America has done for the world, as a counterbalance to the evil done by those who misrepresent our interest throughout the world. Think of the gifts we gave or attempted to give the world by great sacrifice in ending WWI, and WWII. in defeating the Evil Empire of Soviet Communism, in our ongoing stand against Islamic terror- which kills far more Muslims than any other force. We feed the world, relieve its disasters, advance medicine and agriculture, and stand by those who fight for their own freedom. The 250,000 Georgians, who cheered President Bush for two hours, indicate that many around the world appreciate the sacrifice Americans give for world freedom. American spends in most precious treasure, the lives of its heroes, for people of all colors on all contents. When the misbehavior of so many companies and individuals is done away, it will be the work of true not relative nationalism.

A_Shadow said...

Before I begin, I would like to plug a comment that I'm going to post in the previous thread. No, no temporal fluxuations there. I just haven't written it yet, but will when done with this post... It's about the faith of God...

I think that there are all great points there. Not accusing you of doing so, but let's not dwell on just the things that we've been accused of doing or have actually done to/for the world. We need to continue our good works. One of the things that has always bothered me was the story of how many American farmers are paid off to NOT grow food.

I think in all of our attempts to "solve" world hunger, that we should continue production until that doesn't need to even be considered a force in the world. Just a two-cent rambling...

But you both had very poigniant answers to the "bad apples" scenario. Basing the deeds of a nation off of the few that spite it's face isn't ever a wise action. It's really the same argument that I use for dealing with the innumerable attacks on our country these days.

" We do grow by competition, but our success must not depend on tearing down others."

That comment made by Lysis and it's surrounding context was very much on the point. To me, the specifics of the truth of God aren't ever worth a bloody competition. Of course, very few things are, and those that are in my opinion are usually the result of the previous existence of a bloody competition.

Anyways. I am curious as to why you chose your title as such. Making it of the third world war, and all... Is it your guess that nationalism will lead to that end? Or was it just an attention getter?

RealFruitBeverage said...

First I would like to comment on Shadow's comments.

I completely disagree with the assertion that healthy competion is good. Healthty competion is only good when you have a worthy goal. An instance of this is would be a nuclear arms race. Suppose we had a nation in the world that could produce nuclear arms as well as us. We decide to have a contest on how many we can make. Competition has never been good or bad, it has only been a bench marking system
to establish what kind of gains are being made at a paticular endevor. For instance we could have the absolute standard of making 13 RFB
worshipping machines in the period of 2 days. We could meet this benchmark all the time. It isn't until another group makes 15 RFB worshipping machines do we realize that there might be a better way to reach the same benchmark or obtain a higher benchmark. But that still doesn't answer the question, "do we really want 15 RFB worshipping machines a day?" I know I do!

About the side note of growing food; it has never been the amount of food that has been the problem it has been access to food. Case in point Somolia. We had enough food to go around. However warlords would make food distribution points so
dangerous that nobody could get food without dieing. Or the warlord would simply take the food. (this was paticularly effective because said warlords would even starve their own groups to make it look like the UN/US was playing favs with the other side, instilling more hate.). So
the production of food would do nothing for these people. Since this market would be closed the only market effected would be the ones that don't need an increase in supply. Thus your closed system would get a big deflation effect that would seriously hurt the stability of the market
for sometime. Eventually the market would recover and go to homostasis. I personally however wouldn't want a sector crash in the food production industry.

Second I would like to take a shot at one of Lysiss' questions. 3. How does it improve us to tear down our advisories? (Think France or Russia or China)
Point one, anyone that tears down France is doing a good deed and thus improving their moral character.
Point two, I think this is a bad question because it does not ask what the endevor is that we are tearing down for. Suppose our endevor is destruction. We want to destory X and X wants to destory us. If X is evil, tearing down our advisories makes us much better. Even if it is a contest for the minds and hearts of people and X is evil tearing them down is a good thing. Referance back to point one.

I also find something out of place with Lysis' distinction between the two kinds of nationalism. I can't quit figure it out yet so I'll let the smarter people of this blog flush it out.

One last note, fanaticism can good. Think Gandhi, he was a fanatic. Sometimes you can't compermise and you have to be closed to all other options. I think there is a differance between fanaticism being dangerous with fanaticism being bad.

A_Shadow said...

Main Entry: fa·nat·i·cism
Pronunciation: f&-'nat-&-"siz-&m
Function: noun
: fanatic outlook or behavior especially as exhibited by excessive enthusiasm, unreasoning zeal, or wild and extravagant notions on some subject

Seems to be my favorite reference here... The dictionary. I just thought it interesting that you think that Ghandi is a Fanatic. Being unflinching in your ideals is a tad different from being blindly zealous, I think. For instance if Bush believed, blindly and unthinkingly, that all evil need perish; he would then be evil. Like if he decided to pave over North Korea by nuking it, for instance (as well as Saudi Arabia, etc).

Being as that he hasn't done that, I don't think we can call him a fanatic, someone who won't acknowledge any reason, just action. I'd like to see how someone being blind to reason would ever be a good thing. You spoke of uncompromising. A saint should never compromise himself to a devil, indeed. But that's a far cry from fanaticism.

I suppose the definition of healthy competition needs be addressed then. I would say that healthy competition, to me, is that there is an outcome that is mutually beneficial. Or at least won't hurt one of the parties. That's not to mean that one of the parties doesn't get "hurt feelings" or something equally lame. It means that they aren't phyisically harmed, or emotionally devestated. If you can't stand losing, don't enter into competitions that you won't win. Of course it's also not acceptable to do any unreasonable boasting/remeniscing of your victory. If someone wanted to build RFB worshipping robots, more power to them. Especially if they wish to compete for their esteem. I would hope that we all might suffer that inconvenience someday. But if it is forced on them, or created and done with abandone to something infinitely more important, then I don't see how that could be a good thing. But if someone just ups and decides "Hey, we need an RFB worshiping machine." Who's right is it to tell them not to? Your's perhaps.

More seriously, though. If a country is having an arms race, I can't see how that would be a healthy competition unless it is in some improbable venture (i.e. we are racing to build as many nuclear weapons as possible to defeat an invading alien force/deflect an asteroid, which I don't fear to hope will happen in our lifetime's). But in historical instances it has never proven itself beneficial, although perhaps we have had fifty years of no world wars by policing ourselves with the fear that we may in fact destroy the world (several times over, even).

I think it would be apt to say that "healthy" competition be known by its fruits. If those are simply to gloat over the vanquished, or to add more to the death tolls of previous victories, it isn't a sound and reasonable (i.e. just) competition. But having competitions that benefit humanity won't hurt. And I dare say even having competitions of building RFB worshipping machines (building out of reasons, not out of zealousy/with abandone) is a potentially acceptable competition.

As for the food responses that you had. Indeed I have heard allegations of the same from around the world. North Korea has a similar policy, I hear. I suppose I will have to yield to the "accessability claim" with one thing: If we had the resources (which I believe we do), but more the desire, I believe we could quite possibly coat the face of the planet in food. That's assuming that the numbers that I've heard are correct...

I'll have to research that last claim more, of course.

Ares said...

If fanaticism is so bad, why aren't we doing more to exterminate it? Surely we are doing a lot in such places as Iraq, Afghanistan, we did in Japan and Germany, etc. But why not in places like North Korea, Vietnam, China, etc? Perhaps we are just doing the Truman doctrine there, huh? Speaking of the Truman Doctrine, I'm pretty sure that there are some Communist fanatics out there, but its been a while since we heard anything from them. But as Lysis has pointed out many times in class, the Communist leaders such as Uncle Ho, Mao, Castro, Lenin, etc, were not really communist, just were using that as a ride to power. I would argue that they were fanatics about power, and that deserves to be destroyed.
Just a question I would pose, is nationalism about the United States bad? Is hoping for a Pax Americana bad?
Answer that and I will be able to understand where this is coming from.

Ares

A_Shadow said...

The answer to your question, my answer at least, is "Yes."

This is a very simple thing in my view. Yes, America may be the furthest along in the race when it comes to what I want to see from a moral stand point, but by no means is it the finish line. Pax Americana should be a step ladder, not a roof, not an end all, be all.

You ask about why we don't do something about N. Korea, China, et all? My answer is that we haven't found the best answer to that yet. Do I see it happening? Yes. But to demand it happen right now while we're holed up in the Middle East is asking for the draft, asking for WW3. I would love to see us enter N. Korea from a moral/ethical/freedom standpoint. But we don't yet have the ability. I'm not talking about a military victory, I'm talking about a lasting one. Sure, we can bomb the hell out of N. Korea nuclear or otherwise, but China, Russia and a few others aren't likely to just let that happen.

On top of that is the supposed ability for the N. Koreans to fire back. They have nuclear weapons and the last estimate I heard of their range would allow them to Nuke the West coast. That's enough millions of civillians to make our government reconsider just running in there with the all American sledgehammer. That's Sacremento, L.A., San Diego, Seattle and Portland (potentially all of them). Right now, it's not tactically/ethically responsible to target N. Korea with our military machine. If our anti-missle shield was at 100%, then I could see our administration risking it. Last I heard, we were far from that.

You also ask why we don't do more to eliminate fanaticism. When you hunt the monster long enough, people begin to wonder who's really the monster. The United States can't actually police the world. We've been accused of it, but it wouldn't be feasible. We have assistance in our economic powers, but we don't really have the strength necessary for it. I've thought that we've not done enough, too. The thing we need make sure of is that something is always going on, then eventually we will start making noticable differences. Right now the Middle East is our project. We are already spreading our existing military quite thin in that area. If we did have to open up another front in the War on Terror, there would be a draft. So I'm thinking that for the time being, it's enough that we have let the world know that we won't stand by while this is happening. If you want more, prepare for a war that would pit the US against just about everyone... But yes, we do need to do more.

support_trondheim_bomb said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A_Shadow said...

Post something that you regretted?

I hope not, if you have any input it would be appreciated.

Aia Kerr said...

I've wanted to get involved here but I have nothing intelligent to say. I got all my hopes up when such an ordinary thing as school spirit was mentioned.. and then it fades back into politics. Why I wasn't blessed with a political mind I have no idea. But it looks like fun.

This comment had no point to it.

Medicine said...

The strobe light pulses, the music soars, and the crowd roars. On this particular fall morning as we sat, still tingling with “school spirit”, the captain of the football team stepped to the podium.