[Home]WarDeclared/BlackAndWhiteness

ec2-34-239-158-223.compute-1.amazonaws.com | ToothyWiki | WarDeclared | RecentChanges | Login | Webcomic

Some of M-A's thoughts:

1) I think this issue is nowhere near as black-and-white as people (on both sides) seem to think.
People seem to assume other people think in black-and-white and haven't thought things through until proven innocent (and sometimes even after).
2) The government will always know much more than the general public.  That's why you have different levels of security clearance...
This is a problem for the government to solve by informing the public.
Woah - are you honestly saying that no information should ever be restricted?  That everything should be told to everyone?
No. I am saying that the government shouldn't unilaterally take major, world-changing action that the public overwhelmingly objects to. If they have good reasons to take such action, they should let the public know them. If the public are not convinced, the government should accept that they are wrong, *or* accept that they are not a democracy. - MoonShadow


Why not?  What is actually wrong with the idea?  Yes, it forces certain notions of privacy to be discarded, but it levels everyone and so might not be an issue.  --Vitenka.
For starters, you don't want (say) Iraq to know everything you know about them. It would put sources (which may be people) in danger; if you've broken their codes they will find out and might change them; and that's only the wartime (or pre-wartime) reasons.
"I want you to fight but I can't tell you why" is inexcusable. They are people just like us - nothing special or magical about them; you or I could run for government.
Indeed we could, and at that point, we would gain the authority to issue such orders.
I would sincerely hope not. Saddam believes he has such authority, which is why there is currently a war to depose him. - MoonShadow
They are there to represent us, not tell us what to do.
If they don't tell us what to do, they have no role.  There will never be unanimous decisions, so they will always end up telling someone to do something that they object to. "Don't mug people." "Aw, but I want to."
This is true.  But going against the wishes of the majority seems a bit.. odd.  To say the least.  --Vitenka
Are you seriously implying you are not aware of the practice of voting on major issues? Do you honestly think orders should just come down from On High? - MoonShadow
Authority they have is only that which people permit them to have. This is an important part of what distinguishes a democracy from a dictatorship.
They have authority.  So what is authority, then?  The right to politely ask people to do things, so long as they don't mind?
No. It's the right to say to the person who says "Aw, but I want to mug people": "Well, all these people don't want you to, and they chose me to come tell you that if you want to live in the same place they do and be a part of society, you mustn't mug them." - MoonShadow
The current government seems to see it more as their role to explain to people why the decisions that they made are right, than to go along with the decisions the country would like to make.  Now, there might be something in that - if you believe that sufficient numbers of people to sway the polls are ill informed or making judgements based on a 'wrong' system of values.  Hence you should educate people.  But educating people with JUST one side of the propaganda is deeply wrong, and seems destined to lead to self perpetuating ruling cabals.  --Vitenka.

3) No-one outside of Iraq (and probably no-one inside) knows all of what's going on there.
This is a reason to find out before thinking about war, not a reason to go to war.
No-one will ever, by definition, know everything.  There will always be more information on both sides of an argument that could be found out. You can't say "Let's wait until we know what's really going on before committing ourselves to anything.
You are misreading my argument and attacking a StrawMan. I'm not saying "you mustn't commit until you know everything". I am saying "the people have already committed to not wanting this war, based on what they currently know, and if you know better and have good reasons, you should tell them - you shouldn't just lead the population blindly into a war that as far as the population is concerned is not wanted, needed or justified. If after you've given what you think are all your good reasons people remain unconvinced, then perhaps you ought to rethink your decision. - MoonShadow

On these three points, I was trying to say that no-one should ever be able to say absolutely, "Yes, it is right," or, "No, it is wrong," about any issue.  None of us are omniscient, nor can we be.  There will always be mitigating circumstances, to some extent or another, of which we know nothing.
I disagree. It is hard to say "this is always right" or "this is always wrong", in general, because as you say we are not omniscient and there are usually exceptions. However, in specific cases for specific proposed actions it can be, and generally is, possible to say "this is almost certainly right" or "this is almost certainly wrong". Moreover, for the purposes of making decisions in the real world, I think the distinction between "the chances of this being right are overwhelmingly minute" and "this is definitely wrong" is an unhelpful and unnecessary one. - MoonShadow
I think it is helpful, though, to distinguish between "I think that this is right/wrong, based on what I know to be true" and "This is right/wrong, absolutely"?  The first gives you room for manoeuvre later if you discover you were underinformed, the second makes you... a (some word like fundamentalist/bigot or something), I think.
I tend to think it is more charitable assume people mean the almost-absolute when they speak in absolute terms (since it's an accepted linguistic shorthand, and after some discussion that is what most people end up saying they actually meant, and it tends to make little or no difference to the rest of the debate) unless they have declared themselves to be a  (some word like fundamentalist/bigot or something) already. Few people are (some word like fundamentalists/bigots or something), and prejudging that they are will generally (a) offend them and (b) fail to take the debate anywhere useful.
I wrote stuff here.  Then I deleted it.  I may come back to this later.

4) Don't let prejudices come before reason (oh, they're American / Iraqi / whatever / "bad", therefore I can slate them without having to think about whether I'm justified this time).
Don't assume people are doing that until proven guilty.
5) There is a difference between a war and a battle, a battle and a command, a command and an action, an action and a reason for that action, and so on.  Don't condemn banket-fashion.
Please elaborate. <--- I take that back - just seen "small cog in a big machine" argument above

OK, in that case I'll just add that I think it's dangerous to say "I think that this war is wrong, therefore everything that is done in the name of this war is wrong.".



Vitenka:
I will agree with the 'almost certainly wrong' being the intended meaning of 'always wrong' here.  Rhetoric gets the better of the best of us, and us here have no hope whatsoever against it.  (Damn!  It got me again!  Right there!)  If I were feeling perhaps less honest, I'd plead abbreviation and avoiding avoidable repetition.




PostFacto? - almost every bit of information given to the public during the campaign to get people to accept the war turned out to be untrue.  Does that change any of the arguments above?  --Vitenka
Oh, the Kurds weren't gassed, the people were happy, the Oil-for-Aid programme was run to the highest standards of fiscal responsibility and the money was spent to benefit the common (or garden) Iraqi person?
Be careful with 'almost every bit' when you mean 'some bits that really should never have been built up to be the lynchpin of the case for war anyway'.  --PlasmonPerson
Quite right - my initial paragraph amended to it being the bits of information that were used to justify the war.  Most of the PublicKnowledge? stuff from before the campaign to justify it is still 'true' to best of PublicKnowledge?.  --Vitenka  (Sufficient?  My question wasn't MEANT to sound snarky - just wondering about, for example, what the ethics would be if more information had been presented (the 'secret reasons' speculated about) that turned popular opinion and that had been shown to be false also?)

ec2-34-239-158-223.compute-1.amazonaws.com | ToothyWiki | WarDeclared | RecentChanges | Login | Webcomic
Edit this page | View other revisions | Recently used referrers
Last edited April 8, 2005 5:32 pm (viewing revision 19, which is the newest) (diff)
Search: