Re: MD junk or politics on this list

Date: Wed Mar 31 2004 - 00:28:23 BST

  • Next message: Leland Jory: "Re: MD What have you freed lately?"

    In a message dated 3/30/2004 2:15:26 PM Central Standard Time, writes:
    It's a fascinating metaphor to see the USA, the American Civil War and the
    conquest and attempt to democratize Iraq as scientific experiments, testing
    the idea of freedom from social hierarchy against monarchism (?), an economy
    based on slavery respectively terrorism (28 Mar 2004 17:55:22 -0500).
    'Science' as a metaphor in that context is another 'science' than what David
    B. is writing about a battle between 'science' and the Bush administration,
    however. If you would mean literally what you write, it would be immoral
    science, using the people that are being fought without their consent as
    guinea pigs in an experiment.

    You conclude:
    'Iraq has become the testing ground ... because not only are our troops
    there, our IDEA has been planted there, and it's the IDEA they've been
    attacking all along.'

    To what extent is sending troups a good way of planting the idea of freedom
    from social hierarchy in Iraq and to what extent does it enforce the global
    social hierarchy with the USA at its top?
    Wim, I'm not a history major, but when I dig back and research the first 100
    years of American history, I notice a trend: from the beginning in 1776,
    America and its system of government was referred to as an "experiment." The
    founding fathers were, in a very real way, scientists. Indeed, much of the world
    around us has been directly influenced by American scientists. It was Benjamin
    Franklin who did some of the earliest experiments involving electricity.

    Pirsig says in LILA that we didn't need to know the Sundance Kid had many
    characteristics in common with the American Indian. Pirsig says the movie-goers
    knew this on an instinctive, intuitive level. There's an Indian within ALL
    Americans. Well, let me add my own insight: there's a *scientists* within all
    Americans. As with the Indian, it's so deep most of us aren't aware of it. And as
    with Indian traits, we do our best (some of us) to seem as UNscientific as
    possible. Scientists aren't as exciting to most people as, say, basketball stars
    or movie actors. But I maintain there's a scientist within every American
    mind, along with the Indian.

    It's hard for politicians to use this kind of terminology, just as Pirsig
    says in LILA. They struggle but most of them don't possess the metaphysical
    vocabulary to express the virtues of, for example, the dynamic nature of the free
    market. But they sense it intuitively. And Iraq is something they sense
    intuitively as well. It is a continuation of the America experiment. You comment
    about guinea pigs is well taken, but Pirsig addresses this in LILA, about nations
    being higher forms of evolution than individuals. I'd have to look up what
    pages this is on, but if memory serves it's in the section where he mentions the
    American Civil War. And I would point out that in the Iraq War, the American
    soldiers are all volunteers, and the Iraqis were already guinea pigs to Saddam.
    America freed the Iraqi people, a moral action. I liken it to having a rotten
    tooth extracted. It hurts, but the poison is removed. And thanks to science,
    bombs land with a precision that could not have been dreamt of a few decades
    ago. Science has made it possible to destroy a regime without destroying a
    people or their city. Compared to the truly apocalyptic devastation of Nazi
    Germany and Japan, Baghdad was barely scratched. Such does not justify war, but
    anything that minimizes the number of civilian casualties is well worth mentioning
    when discussing the impact of science on humanity. If this war was waged in
    the same manner 30 years ago, Baghdad likely would have been completely

    I have always looked at this as a battle of ideas. Some have questioned how
    attacking a tyrant makes us stronger against terrorists. I think this nation
    was founded in a battle of ideas. Freedom against Tyranny. Freedom happened to
    be symbolized by the United States in 1776, and Tyranny happened to be
    symbolized by England. In ZMM, near the end, the very concept of Good (Quality) was
    personified by Pirsig himself and the very concept of Truth was personified by
    the Professor at the University of Chicago. If people can, for brief moments,
    literally become the personification of a concept, I contend that so can
    nations. The concept of Quality had a showdown with the concept of Truth in ZMM. In
    Iraq, the concept of Freedom had a showdown with the concept of Tyranny.
    America is founded upon this fundamental struggle. When we strengthen our
    foundations, it makes us stronger to defend all that has arisen upon these foundations
    (affirming our dedication to fight terror and REaffirming our dedication to
    fight tyranny and demostrationing this dedication with the war in Iraq).
    America's foundations are strong. Iraq is the beginning of a new foundation for the
    entire Middle East. Quality will evolve. The static patterns that have
    dominated the Middle East for decades will not last. Mosquitoes and flies thrive over
    stagnant ponds, and terrorists thrive over static patterns in much the same
    way. Saddam was like a huge turd that clogs a toilet, preventing it to flush
    properly. America flushed him. Here comes the fresh water.

    I hope to hear your insights, and let me know if I am being unclear.


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