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Posts by Restorer

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  • NAZIS ASK FOR THREE-DAY CEASE FIRE;

    08/08/2006 5:15:58 AM PDT · 30 of 33
    Restorer to subterfuge

    Absolutely that is one of my points.

    We can comfort ourselves by self-righteously denouncing our enemies methods, while ignoring the inconvenient fact that we have ourselves used similar methods in the past.

    Unfortunately this is unlikely to convince our enemies or neutrals, as they are all perfectly well aware of our past history and how it clashes with our present position that such methods are never acceptable.

    Or we can recognize the facts of our past and attempt to demonstrate why our use of somewhat similar methods was appropriate, give the situation at the time, and those of our enemies today are not acceptable. This alternative has at least some chance of changing other's minds.

    The alternative has no chance of doing so. Pretending that everything America has done is beyond criticism may make us feel better about ourselves, but it will certainly not convince anyone else that what we are doing now is right.

    What I am talking about is that most Americans today seem to fall into one of two camps: 1. America is and always has been wrong in everything it does; 2. America is and always has been right in everything it does.

    Since that is the position, nobody seems to want to discuss particular policies, as minds are already made up in advance.

    I am attempting to argue for a middle position. America has been on net a very positive influence in the world. Which does not mean that many of our policies and the methods we have used were not wrong, on occasion.

    I believe the most effective approach to making us an even more positive influence is to recognize our past missteps and misdeeds as the most efficient way to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. This approach is a balancing act, and carried too far it leads directly into the Clinton approach of traveling all over the world and apologizing for everything we have ever done (or not done).

  • NAZIS ASK FOR THREE-DAY CEASE FIRE;

    08/08/2006 4:40:56 AM PDT · 26 of 33
    Restorer to samm1148

    My point is that the Allies chose to intentionally attack cities as such rather than military targets within those cities. The civilian casualties that resulted were not collateral damage that was a byproduct of attacks on military targets, which were inevitable given the highly limited accuracy of the munitions of the time.

    Causing the maximum number of civilian casualties was the purpose of this particular strategy. America has largely chosen to forget about this aspect of our past.

    My point is that the Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel, intended to cause civilian casualties, are not different in type from tactics we used ourselves in WWII. IOW, we cannot credibly denounce this method unless we are willing to admit that we ourselves used terroristic methods in the past and denounce them equally.

    It is entirely possible to make a case, one that I happen to agree with, that the cause in which such methods are employed makes sufficient difference that our methods were at least partially justified, whereas those of Hezbollah are not.

    But that is an argument about goals, not about methods.

  • Burying the Big Myth

    08/07/2006 1:38:42 PM PDT · 2 of 14
    Restorer to JSedreporter
    why your Coke is made from high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar

    There is increasing evidence that this switch is a major factor in the obesity epidemic in America. All so a few sugar farmers can be paid much above the world price for sugar and in the process come close to destroying the Everglades.

  • US court hears Iraq rape case (Al Jazeera)

    08/07/2006 1:31:10 PM PDT · 12 of 14
    Restorer to seutonius1234

    Calling this atrocity a "rape case" rather understates things.

    If the soldiers are found guilty, I think the death penalty is appropriate.

  • NAZIS ASK FOR THREE-DAY CEASE FIRE;

    08/07/2006 1:27:07 PM PDT · 23 of 33
    Restorer to AmericanDave

    I guess it depends on your definition of "accurate." Most of these bombs were considered "on target" if they hit within one-half mile of where they were supposed to hit.

  • Truly Inconvenient Truths: "What we’re loath to talk about when we talk about Israel and Lebanon."

    08/07/2006 10:35:53 AM PDT · 39 of 46
    Restorer to brazzaville

    The Syrian regime is not explicitly religious or sectarian, just as Saddam's wasn't.

    However, as with Saddam's regime, most political power is held by members of a minority group. In Iraq these were the Sunnis.

    In Syria they are the Alawites, a Shi'ite group that believes Ali was actually an incarnation of God. Given the general Muslim belief that God never was incarnated and that Mohammed was the last prophet it is not surprising that other Muslims consider them heretics.

  • NAZIS ASK FOR THREE-DAY CEASE FIRE;

    08/07/2006 8:46:18 AM PDT · 15 of 33
    Restorer to Turbo Pig

    Area bombing was supposed to make the Germans stop fighting. It didn't do that.

    The invasion and conquest of Germany by the Allied and Red Armies did accomplish it.

    Area bombing helped to some extent, but its contribution to Nazi defeat was not even close to being in proportion to its cost in dollars and in flight crew and civilian deaths.

  • Media attacked for 'climate porn'

    08/07/2006 8:40:13 AM PDT · 9 of 13
    Restorer to Kenton
    Last week it was more hysteria on how New York is due to be destroyed by a hurricane any time now, and this week we're being warned about how the New Madrid fault in Missouri is due for another earthquake, which will destroy the entire industrialized midwest.

    Given enough time, all these things will indeed happen. For instance, the New Madrid fault appears to have been causing major earthquakes every 100 to 200 years for quite a long time.

    We're closing in on 200 years since the last one.

  • Denmark : Immigrant population tumbles downward

    08/07/2006 7:38:44 AM PDT · 5 of 6
    Restorer to Republicain

    Birth rates are falling amazingly rapidly almost everywhere on earth.

    The Population Bomb has become the Population Dud.

  • A barbaric kind of beauty

    08/07/2006 7:37:18 AM PDT · 19 of 60
    Restorer to Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

    Not inherently very different from a blood transfusion.

    If you don't kill the baby to get the cells. Otherwise-discarded umbilical cords pose no huge ethical dilemma.

  • NAZIS ASK FOR THREE-DAY CEASE FIRE;

    08/07/2006 7:25:00 AM PDT · 11 of 33
    Restorer to Frances_Marion

    But it was disproportionate payback. Can't have that.

  • NAZIS ASK FOR THREE-DAY CEASE FIRE;

    08/07/2006 7:24:05 AM PDT · 10 of 33
    Restorer to WilliamWallace1999
    The stated goal of "area bombardment" was to "break the German will." It failed in this. It had other military effects that contributed to the shortening of the war, as you note.

    Every dead German was one less to pick up a gun.

    True. Except that since most German men were off in the military, those affected by the area bombing were primarily civilians, mostly women and children.

  • NAZIS ASK FOR THREE-DAY CEASE FIRE;

    08/07/2006 7:15:55 AM PDT · 6 of 33
    Restorer to AdAstraPerArdua

    The military effect of The Bombs were almost entirely on morale and psychology. The actual destruction and deaths they caused could have been (and were being) duplicated by firestorm raids on the Japanese cities. More people died in the firestorm raid on Tokyo than in either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

    However, the psychological impact of a single plane dropping a single bomb and destroying an entire city must have been immense.

  • Globe Columnist: Shamed by Hiroshima, America Was Awaiting 9/11 Payback

    08/07/2006 6:54:26 AM PDT · 48 of 88
    Restorer to governsleastgovernsbest

    A while back I lived in Los Alamos, where the first bombs were built.

    The local paper often reprinted stories from other papers, usually but not always from overseas, in which the reporter visits the town and describes the constant sense of overwhelming guilt the residents of the town suffered under. We were apparently all walking around with our shoulders slumped and unable to look a foreign reporter in the eye.

    Quite amusing, actually.

  • NAZIS ASK FOR THREE-DAY CEASE FIRE;

    08/07/2006 6:46:57 AM PDT · 4 of 33
    Restorer to spartagroup
    “Hundreds of civilian men, women and children have been killed by what seems to be indiscriminate Allied bombing,”

    It didn't just seem to be. It was indiscriminate.

    Both the Americans and (especially) the British used an area bombardment strategy in which cities were attacked intentionally, with the explicit goal of killing as many civilians as possible.

    This was supposed to "break the German will to resist."

    Didn't work.

  • 'Truth' Hurts: Chair Hits Redner On TV

    08/07/2006 4:08:30 AM PDT · 17 of 43
    Restorer to Cincinatus' Wife

    Redner is the owner of several local nudie bars. This type of establishment appears to be the highest-growth industry in Tampa.

  • Letters tell of Mary Todd Lincoln's fight for release from asylum

    08/07/2006 4:02:47 AM PDT · 6 of 39
    Restorer to lunarbicep
    She walked the streets with $56,000 sewn into her petticoat

    Considering this is about $900k in today's money, this can't be considered fully normal.

  • Truly Inconvenient Truths: "What we’re loath to talk about when we talk about Israel and Lebanon."

    08/06/2006 2:55:46 PM PDT · 10 of 46
    Restorer to dangerfield
    In general, not a bad article, allowing for the leftist bias. There are no easy answers in the Middle East.

    Some factual errors.

    Syria and Hamas (and most of the Palestinians) are Sunni

    Actually, the Syrian regime is controlled by Shi'ites. A splinter group that even other Shi'ites consider weird.

    is there any Hillaryesque Democrat who would cheer retroactively about our Christian nation and its Army of the West defending white settlers by exterminating Native Americans?

    For a group that was exterminated, there seem to be quite a few of them around.

    I contend that words like "exterminate" should not be used casually.

  • Pakistan: Muslim Cleric Marries Off A Three Month Old Baby Girl

    08/06/2006 2:19:04 PM PDT · 14 of 14
    Restorer to Colonel Kangaroo

    Good point. The outrage is a trifle excessive for this one.

    The year-older prospective bridegroom isn't going to be functionally able to consummate the marriage for quite a few year.

    FWIW, these types of arrangements were almost universal in Europe till a few centuries ago, especially in aristo and royal circles. King Henry II turned a very young French princess engaged to marry his own son into his mistress.

  • Matriarch of In-N-Out Burger dies at 86 (A MOMENT OF SILENCE....)

    08/06/2006 2:09:21 PM PDT · 73 of 148
    Restorer to BunnySlippers

    I see no reason it would be impossible to expand the chain greatly while still maintaining the quality.

    But they would have to maintain private ownership while opening additional packing plants, keep the high comparative wages for employees, and all the other things that allowed them to build to where they are today. IMHO, this just isn't possible in a standard fast food franchise setup.

    However, whoever owns the company could make a lot of money very quickly by going public, franchising and letting the quality go to hell. Here's hoping whoever is in control isn't thinking only about dollars in their pocket.

    This is, BTW, one of the drawbacks of capitalism. Somebody can almost always make a lot of money by cheapening a superior product. It takes the market a while to catch on and during the lag you can get very, very rich.

  • We’re Losing World War IV ... How to get back to the road to victory.

    08/04/2006 2:46:46 PM PDT · 89 of 123
    Restorer to Alberta's Child

    We will have to disagree, I'm afraid.

    The Mongols conquered and ruled Russia for centuries with a great deal less power than the Germans had available to them.

    Yugoslavia and Russia are a little apple and orangish. Yugoslavia - rugged heavily forested mountains. Russia - extensive plains, nowhere to hide.

    While the Germans might not have been able to rule the Russians and exploit their labor, I think there is little doubt they could (and probably eventually would) have exterminated them.

  • We’re Losing World War IV ... How to get back to the road to victory.

    08/04/2006 1:22:05 PM PDT · 80 of 123
    Restorer to Alberta's Child

    I don't believe the Germans ever had any thought of taking over the entire USSR. I believe they could have conquered and held the European portion, west of the Urals. I don't think they would have had that much trouble crushing resistance once their formal enemny had dispersed. You must remember the Nazis had no problem at all with worrying about collateral damage. If they had to kill the "multiple racial and ethnic groups" of this area, that was doable for them.

    I realize the Soviets coulnd't control things all that tightly, but the Nazis were a good deal more efficient than the commies at everything, especially killing.

    To "conquer" the USSR, all Hitler would have had to do was disrupt its ability to continue to fight. The highly centralized nature of a Commie dictatorship makes it peculiarly susceptible to an attack on its nerve center. Many respected analysts believe the USSR would have collapsed had Moscow been occupied.

    I agree that a more likely scenario would be an Africa and Eurasia controlled by the Axis, and Americas controlled by America. However, Latin American dictators would have been a fertile field for Nazi diplomacy and sooner or later it would tend to wind up with the US and Canada vs. the rest of the world. Such a confrontation could only end in one way, although it would probably have taken much longer than my speeded-up version posted earlier.

  • A Man, A Plan, A Canal [Suez, 1956]

    08/04/2006 11:33:40 AM PDT · 10 of 24
    Restorer to Fiji Hill
    Eisenhower had wrecked the trust between the United States and its former World War II allies for a generation; in the case of France, for all time. If anyone wonders why French politicians are always willing to undermine American initiatives around the world, the answer is summed up in one word: "Suez."

    This is just stupid. The French were undermining and backbiting the US long before this.

    The idea that they were loyal allies prior to 1956, and would be still, had we not "blundered" at Suez, is just too ridiculous for words.

  • We’re Losing World War IV ... How to get back to the road to victory.

    08/04/2006 11:24:54 AM PDT · 68 of 123
    Restorer to Alberta's Child

    OK.

    Let's assume Hitler conquered USSR in 1941. He came very close, you know. Then he spends three or four years building up his navy and air force using all the resources of Europe. Following which he crushes Britain.

    He spends another five years building his fleet, then attacks the US in conjunction with the Japanese, who have meanwhile conquered everything from India to Australia.

    The Nazis ally themselves with various Latin America dictators to acquire bases and support. It isn't much of a jump from Peronism to Nazism.

    With such a scenario the Nazis could have realistically invaded and taken the US by perhaps 1955, by which time it would have been the US and Canada against the rest of the world. It would have been a heck of a fight, but we would have lost. Unless we had politicians come to power who "made peace" at the cost of the US becoming essentially fascist itself.

    Obviously this is only one of many scenarios. Most critically it leaves the Bomb out of the equation. However, I will bet you anything you like that I can come up with a more realistic scenario by which the Germans invaded and conquered the US as part of an extended WWII than you can come up with one by which the jihadis invade and conquer us.

    It is quite important to remember that Arabs, as such, haven't been a conquering people since about 800. Muslim medieval and later conquests were almost invariably made by Turks, Berbers, Kurds, Afghans, etc. rather than by ethnic Arabs.

  • We’re Losing World War IV ... How to get back to the road to victory.

    08/04/2006 8:22:00 AM PDT · 17 of 123
    Restorer to aculeus
    This poor lady is hyperventilating. WWIII (or IV) hasn't started yet. We're still in the equivalent of the late 30s, with the various crises in the Rhineland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, etc.

    We don't want to fight a war, so we keep hoping it will go away if we refuse to recognize that it's approaching.

    Luckily the jihadists pose no real threat to America as a nation. They do not have and will not develop the ability to defeat us.

    Hitler, OTOH, came very close to winning his war, which could probably have resulted int the eventual conquest of the US.

  • We’re Losing World War IV ... How to get back to the road to victory.

    08/04/2006 8:18:04 AM PDT · 15 of 123
    Restorer to Alberta's Child
    1953, when the Eisenhower administration supported a British effort to topple the duly-elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh and install the Shah as the head of state.

    The Shah was already head of state. Mossadegh, until losing out in the competitive coup business, was head of government.

    The 1953 events are much more complicated than just the evil Americans removing a democratic leader. There was plenty of indigenous opposition to the guy.

  • Pakistan : Dress code for quake aid workers

    08/03/2006 5:06:04 AM PDT · 23 of 24
    Restorer to Right Wing Assault

    The double standard of which I spoke is not a Muslim one, although you make good points.

    I was speaking of the multicultis, who expect us to adapt ourselves to any culture we visit so as not to offend them, and simultaneously expect us to adapt ourselves to the culture of anyone visiting or immigrating here to avoid offending them.

    It has nothing specifically to do with Islam, it is rather a somewhat mysterious allergy to Western (especially American) culture. An allergy which deems our culture invalid in comparison to any other culture.

    For instance, if I visit someone in Mexico I would be expected to try to speak Spanish. If a Mexican visits me here, I am expected to try to speak Spanish to him rather than expecting him to try to speak my language.

    This has gone on so long that the people of other cultures have come to expect it.

    If you think about it, the whole idea is highly patronizing and condescending to people of other cultures. It treats them like little children who must be handled carefully by the adults to avoid damaging them.

  • Guilty Plea for Claude Allen [This is just sad]

    08/03/2006 4:59:13 AM PDT · 4 of 26
    Restorer to Maceman

    Anything is forgivable, with proper repentance, by God.

    Us humans can be less forgiving, if we choose.


    The guy should at the least voluntarily pay back the value of anything he stole.

  • Ohio Man Claims Right To Have Sex With Boys

    08/03/2006 4:35:54 AM PDT · 4 of 118
    Restorer to Abathar

    The sacrament of my religion is the killing of pedophiles.

  • Pakistan : Dress code for quake aid workers

    08/03/2006 4:34:39 AM PDT · 19 of 24
    Restorer to Right Wing Assault

    What I don't understand is the double standard.

    When we go to their country, we are expected to change our behavior to avoid offending them.

    When they come to our country, we are expected to change our behavior to avoid offending them.

    Somebody please explain why.

  • America struggles with its own evangelical Taliban (Left wing labeling alert)

    08/03/2006 3:56:23 AM PDT · 38 of 38
    Restorer to metmom
    But the problem was the government, not the Christian part.

    I partially agree with you. The only problem is that this verges a little too close to the attitude of those Muslims who claim that any Muslim behavior of which they disapprove is by definition not "really Muslim."

    During something like 75% of the history of Christianity "proper belief" was legally enforced over most of the area it controlled.

    No other religion that I'm aware of, except Islam, for which it is 100%, has a record even close to that.

    Obviously I agree with you about this being a misuse of the teachings of Christ and his immediate followers. However, I don't think Christianity, with its almost unique history of forcing belief on others, can be let off quite that easily. We really ought to examine what it is about our belief system that contributed to its being led astray for so long a time.

  • Officers escape bullet barrage (Semi-autos used in Memphis crime)

    08/02/2006 2:47:54 PM PDT · 9 of 21
    Restorer to Sybeck1
    Are there cases of major crimes in which assault-style weapons were used in this country? Yes. Snipers John Calvin Muhammad and Lee Malvo used an AR-15 to kill 10 people in the Washington area in 2002.

    Given their MO, they could have achieved exactly the same kill rate with a single-shot rifle.

  • America struggles with its own evangelical Taliban (Left wing labeling alert)

    08/02/2006 2:38:50 PM PDT · 29 of 38
    Restorer to metmom
    I don't ever recall any nation being a *Christian Theocracy*.

    Depends on your definition. But for a great many centuries many nations enforced varieties of Christian belief.

    And they were indeed all bloody and barbaric.

    The problem was, of course, the enforcement of doctrine, not the nature of that doctrine.

    Government-enforced monopolies of religion are bad for all concerned, including most especially the particular religion involved.

  • Employers must act to stop workplace bullies

    08/02/2006 2:14:33 PM PDT · 9 of 9
    Restorer to Millee

    Allowing such a culture to develop doesn't sound either professional or productive to me.

    Possibly employers/managers shouldn't be liable for large sums of money for allowing this to occur, but they should certainly be subjected to intense ridicule for not doing their job.

  • Gibson reaches out as photos surface

    08/02/2006 2:06:25 PM PDT · 54 of 109
    Restorer to pissant

    Well, you're welcome to your opinion.

    One of them was perhaps the horsiest-faced female I've ever seen, even more than that broad on Sex and the City.

  • Coulter smacks down kudlow and New Republic

    08/02/2006 1:56:32 PM PDT · 20 of 63
    Restorer to rcocean
    An upscale homosexual men's magazine, Genre, surveyed 1037 readers in October of 1996. Here are some of the results: " One of the single largest groups in the gay community still experiencing an increase of HIV are supposedly monogamous couples." 52% have had sex in a public park. 45% have participated in three-way sex. 42% have had sex with more than 100 different partners and 16% claim between 40 to 100 partners. Source: LaBarbera, Peter, " Survey finds 40% of Gay men have had more than 40 Sex Partners," The Lambda Report, January-February 1998, p.20.

    Of course they might have just been bragging!

    If I remember correctly, the average number of partners in a lifetime for straight American men is around six.

  • Armageddon Again

    08/02/2006 12:19:56 PM PDT · 8 of 9
    Restorer to EQAndyBuzz

    I have never understood the point of negotiating with someone who has repeatedly broken previous agreements.

  • Armageddon Again

    08/02/2006 12:00:32 PM PDT · 5 of 9
    Restorer to JZelle
    "At this time of great crisis in the world, we should be looking for nuclear disarmament, nuclear abolition -- saving the world, not ramping up for Armageddon by nuclear proliferation," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Ohio Democrat.

    Good idea, DK.

    What exactly do you suggest be done about North Korea and Iran in this regard?

  • Högsby killer loses deportation appeal (honour killing in Sweden)

    08/02/2006 11:18:05 AM PDT · 4 of 10
    Restorer to gridlock

    Sweden has always been known for very short sentences, even for murder.

    At least in this case it appears they didn't kill his sister.

  • Last call for a union town

    08/02/2006 10:32:39 AM PDT · 14 of 25
    Restorer to gcruse

    Okay?

  • Last call for a union town

    08/02/2006 9:22:53 AM PDT · 3 of 25
    Restorer to 2banana

    Unionized companies were essentially a conspiracy between the unions and the companies to fleece the consumer. As long as the consumer did not have an alternative to the artificially high prices necessary to support profitable business with union wages, the conspiracy could go on.

    Once consumers had an alternative, due to deregulation of airlines, importing of cars, non-union firms entering the field, etc.; the artificially high prices could not be sustained and the foundation necessary to support the high wages and benefits of the union workers disappeared.

    IOW, union workers did quite well for several decades by shifting the costs to everybody else. In the process they reduced everybody else's standard of living by at least as much as they increased their own.

  • New Findings (Dan Simmons on Global Warming).

    08/02/2006 8:54:26 AM PDT · 6 of 7
    Restorer to Paradox

    It is a fact that the methods proposed for dealing with the "crisis" invariably line up with the proposers ideas of what is desirable anyway.

    Generally this consists of instituting a command economy and giving much more power to the government.

  • New Testament Fever: Liberal Media Use Gospel to Bash Israel Over Qana

    08/02/2006 8:05:13 AM PDT · 15 of 21
    Restorer to frogjerk

    Cana, however, was definitely in Galilee. Not across the mountains in Lebanon near Tyre.

  • New Testament Fever: Liberal Media Use Gospel to Bash Israel Over Qana

    08/02/2006 7:37:40 AM PDT · 4 of 21
    Restorer to governsleastgovernsbest
    As reported here, during a recent Good Morning America, Chris Cuomo noted that the Gospel of John denotes Qana as the place where Jesus turned water into wine. Who would have thought that Adam Shatz - of the far-left Nation magazine - would be a New Testament maven?

    Wrongo!

    Cana is only 2 or 3 miles from Nazareth, which is east of the Sea of Galilee and well into Israel.

  • 'Potentially incendiary' at the Brooklyn Public Libraryn [Banning 'Londonstan']

    08/02/2006 7:21:15 AM PDT · 18 of 46
    Restorer to tdewey10
    Brooklyn wants to remove a book that protrays the UK as sucumbbing to dhimmitude (i.e. tells the truth). ACLU is nowhere in sight.

    To be fair, the Brooklyn library wasn't removing the book, it was refusing to purchase it.

  • America: From Freedom to Fascism (The right finds its Michael Moore and Oliver Stone)

    08/02/2006 6:51:36 AM PDT · 9 of 17
    Restorer to NaughtiusMaximus

    Excellent point.

    As they say, three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead.

    Most of the conspiracy theories out there require the willing and carefully organized efforts of hundreds or thousands of people, all of whom keep the secret, in many cases for decades or even centuries.

    Not something on which a wise person would bet a large sum of money.

  • America: From Freedom to Fascism (The right finds its Michael Moore and Oliver Stone)

    08/02/2006 6:49:00 AM PDT · 8 of 17
    Restorer to PDR

    That such theories are popular is not proof of their truth.

  • America: From Freedom to Fascism (The right finds its Michael Moore and Oliver Stone)

    08/02/2006 5:48:23 AM PDT · 3 of 17
    Restorer to PDR

    The best argument against such theories is that movies and books "exposing" the conspiracies continue to be produced and distributed freely.

  • Indian Fetishism: Year 515

    08/02/2006 5:44:17 AM PDT · 5 of 13
    Restorer to SJackson
    Excellent review of a pretty good book.

    One quibble with the review.

    But disease alone, though it exacted a fearsome toll, does not explain the outcome in the New World. Even if as many as half the Inca were wiped out by disease, as Mann speculates, Pizarro still had fewer than 200 men, and was thus outnumbered by hundreds to one.

    I believe the reviewer misunderstands Mann's thesis.

    How much resistance would Europe have put up if invaded by technologically superior forces immediately following an epidemic that killed a larger proportion of the population than the Black Death? Especially if Europe had never had an epidemic before and thus had no explanation for it.

    Mann's explanation for the ease of conquest is not that disease killed off sufficient Indians to sufficiently reduce their numerical advantage. It is that the indigenous societies were so utterly disrupted by massive losses from disease for which they had no explanation that they collapsed internally, losing the will to fight back.

    Look at Europe of today if an entire society giving up and losing the will to fight seems hard to believe.

  • Habits of the Mind: "A Mind for God"

    08/02/2006 5:33:12 AM PDT · 43 of 46
    Restorer to Popocatapetl
    People who are less like you are less sympathetic, less able for their lives to be seen as equal to yours.

    Probably. Which is why absolute moral values are necessary. They remove the element of my having to make moral judgements based only on my feeeeelings.

    Being human, I will have a less powerful emotional reaction to the murder of 3,000 random Rwandans than I did to the murder of 3,000 in America on 9/11. That does not mean that the 3,000 African lives have less value in an absolute sense, only that I can empathize more easily with those more like myself. You seem to be arguing that we should indeed make final moral judgments based on our feelings. I argue that we must rise above our emotions to make such judgments.

    An unknown villager has offended the emperor, but no one knows who he is. But unless someone is put forward as guilty, then killed by his village, his entire village will itself be killed. So they choose someone by lottery.

    The classic overloaded lifeboat scenario. Someone must be chosen to die or all will die.

    Surely you must see that this is very different from the situation in the story?

    The issue is not one of the method by which someone is chosen to die. It is the unforced, cheerful and festive participation of the villagers in the story that is obscene. Not to mention that they are no longer even aware of any rational reason for their actions. The people in the story are under no immediate threat.

    I assume the Japanese villagers in your example would participate, but unwillingly and with regret. That is very different morally. It is the difference between a bank teller handing someone the cash from the till freely instead of at gunpoint.