Re: MD terrorist blackmail

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Fri Dec 17 2004 - 14:05:06 GMT

  • Next message: Platt Holden: "Re: MD Biological - Terrorism?"

    Dear Wim,

    Regarding your plan to reduce terrorism by extending welfare programs
    across the globe I'm reminded of the following passages from Chap. 24 of

    "Phaedrus remembered a conversation in the early sixties with a University of
    Chicago faculty member who was moving out of the Woodlawn neighborhood
    next to the university. He was moving because criminal blacks had moved in
    and it had become too dangerous to live there. Phaedrus had said he didn't
    think moving out was any solution.
    The professor had blown up at him. "What you don't know!" he had said.
    "We've tried everything! We've tried workshops, study groups, councils. We've
    spent years in this. If there's anything we've missed we don't know what it is.
    Everything has failed."
    The professor added, "You don't understand what a defeat this has been for us.
    It's as though we never even tried."
    Phaedrus had had no answer at the time, but he had one now. The idea that
    biological crimes can be ended by intellect alone, that you can talk crime to
    death, doesn't work. Intellectual patterns cannot directly control biological
    patterns. Only social patterns can control biological patterns, and the
    instrument of conversation between society and biology is not words. The
    instrument of conversation between society and biology has always been a
    policeman or a soldier and his gun."

    I identify with the frustrated professor because I see no evidence that
    welfare programs ("We've tried everything!") reduce crime, i.e. terrorism.

    Further, I disagree with your premise that "resentment breeds terrorism."
    The Islamic terrorism we're combating today is bred from religious
    fanaticism. Bin Laden doesn't suffer from lack of wealth.

    Regarding your answer to my question about why not make the funding of
    Dutch welfare scheme voluntary, I wasn't able to follow your rationale for
    not doing so other than your faith that 99 percent would voluntarily
    contribute resulting in very little savings if enforcement were dropped.
    All I can say is that you have more faith in the charitable instincts of
    the Dutch than I do.

    So, in answer to your direct questions:

    > - Do you concede that a social security system aimed at preventing
    > resentment from breeding terrorists (with the terrorists themselves being
    > treated as criminals) does not imply giving in to blackmail by terrorists?


    > - Do you agree that a social security system -given Dutch experience-
    > cannot be denied some effectivity in preventing crime in general and
    > terrorism in particular?

    >That would leave us to discuss whether there are
    > better alternatives for preventing crime and terrorism. American figures
    > for crime, inprisonment, political assassinations and terrorist actions do
    > not compare favorably with Dutch ones. So on what basis do you oppose a
    > social security system with a wider scope as a way of preventing crime and
    > terrorism? Democracy and free markets are not a real alternative. Dutch
    > government is just as much in favour of them (and promoting them in its own
    > way) as the USA.

    I believe democracy and free markets are a real alternative. That's the
    great experiment now being tried in the Middle East. We shall find out in
    the course of history if I'm right. Those who believe democracy cannot be
    forced on a country only need look at Japan after WWII to see they are

    > The second side issue (c) is about the obligation of the USA (as agreed on
    > by past US governments) to spend 0,7% of its GNP on development aid as
    > defined by the OECD. The contribution to the operating costs of the OECD
    > are irrelevant to that issue. A 25% contribution may well be proportional
    > to the size of the USA economy compared to that of the OECD in general.
    > (The OECD only has rich countries as members, those with a moral obligation
    > to help the poor ones, as recognized before by the USA in the Marshall
    > plan.) Only the Netherlands, Luxembourg and 3 Scandinavian countries meet
    > that obligation at present. The USA only spends 0,13% of its GNP on
    > development aid. Talking about 'American values': you seem to share an
    > emphasis on punishment of crime instead of prevention (only a little bit
    > less among Democrats than among Republicans). Internally the result is one
    > of the highest percentages of the population in prison of the whole world,
    > a perfect breeding ground for more crime. Globally the result is support
    > for authoritarian regimes as long as they don't threaten American interests
    > and turning them (by invasion and occupation) into breeding grounds for
    > terrorism as soon as they seem to do so. That is I think true both for
    > Afhanistan and Iraq, in the sense that both function (together with
    > Chechnya and Palestine, where Russia and Israel do the same) as rallying
    > issues for Islamist terrorism. It's not clear to me at all what statement
    > you think is belied by what happens in Afghanistan. Not the statement that
    > democracy is inflicted upon its former Taliban government. Neither that the
    > USA is losing credibility because of it in the Islamic world. It has still
    > not captured Osama Bin Laden...

    About all I can say is that you have less faith in the yearning of peoples
    all over the globe to be free than I do. Afghanistan people, especially
    women, certainly appear to be grateful for liberation from the Taliban.

    > The third side issue (d) is about the qualifications of the UN and a Global
    > Court of Justice for promotion of world peace. Is 'they do not represent
    > American values' as expressed by a very small majority of Americans really
    > your strongest argument...? To what extent does that vote express
    > prejudices and the result of political propaganda rather than serious
    > evaluation of qualifications?
    Their are plenty of prejudices and propaganda on all sides of political
    issues both in the U.S. and worldwide. Your premise seems to be that if
    everyone doesn't agree with the values you hold, they can't be serious.
    That's like the attitude of liberals here who consider those who voted for
    Bush little more than Neanderthals. Such attitudes are hardly conducive to

    Best wishes for a Merry Christmas,

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