How to Join Member's Area Private Library Search Today's Topics p Login
Main Forums Discussion Tech Talk Mature Content Archives
   Nav Win
 Discussion
 The Alley
 Kucinich Introduces Articles of Impeachm   [ Page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  ]
 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141
Follow us on Facebook

 Moderated by: Ron   (Admins )

 
User Options
Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Admin Print Send ECard
Passions in Poetry

Kucinich Introduces Articles of Impeachment of George W. Bush

 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


125 posted 08-14-2008 11:45 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Repetitions of such statements seldom actually affect their actual truthfulness, though repetition with sufficient frequency, certainty or volume may convince some people . . . .


I agree.

quote:
At best it is a statement of my opinion . . . .


I agree.

quote:
Simply because you think somebody else’s position and thinking about what they think is worth living for and dying for seems irrelevant to you, doesn’t make it actually true for the whole world.


I agree. But then again I never actually said this to begin with. I said they weren’t fighting for freedom. Certainly, there are many things worth fighting for besides, excuse my arrogance in insisting on my definition, freedom, don’t you think?

quote:
You may actually believe that they are obligated to get your okay before devoting their lives to some principle that you think is plain absurd and contemptible, but the odds are they simply didn’t get the memo that day and that they never will.


Yeah, it’d be nice if they asked me, but they never do. I can’t even get people to use the right word or even to stop using the wrong one. Nobody listens to me. Poor me.


quote:
While you may feel they are irrelevant, they will have thoughtlessly returned the favor without having bothered to check with you first.



I’m actually glad that I’m irrelevant to them. It makes my life a little less – um – stressful.

quote:
The most you can actually get away with in practical terms is that they are irrelevant to you.  You can enforce that much.


Ah, hell, I can’t even get away with that.

quote:
Beyond that, I suspect you already know, your powers do not stretch, much as you wish you could enforce them on the unreasonable world.


Yeah, a good Catholic and a good friend of mine once asked me, “Brad, if you believe what you tell me, you think 90% of the world is completely bonkers.”

I was polite, I said that I didn’t think that. I lied. The little secret, of course, is that the rest of the world also thinks that 90% of the rest of the world is completely bonkers. They just believe it for different reasons.

quote:
You may believe that you can enforce a single definition of Freedom and Liberty worth fighting for on the misguided of the world, but they will stubbornly go ahead and fight among themselves because they believe that their own notions of liberty have been traduced.


Traduced? I just don’t know what to say to that. I love it.

quote:
You can insist and complain as much as you want.  It amounts to helpless foot stomping because people have the right to make up their own minds about whether they think you—or I, for that matter— are simply full of volcano ventings, hot air and bull pucky.  The best you have is an opinion and a strong preference and the rest of the world doing what it thinks is best.


They have a right? There you go again: you just can’t leave your Western prejudices behind you, can you?

Uh, no. In many parts of the world, they don’t have that right. They don’t have the right to listen to me, let alone disagree or even ignore me.

quote:
Those pronouncements usually predict best that accurately describe the way reality functions, and not the hopes we have for it.  If your pronouncements insist that people must act in ways that people do not act in real life, they lose all predictive value.


Predictive value? I was making a value judgement. I think they used the wrong word, I think you used the wrong word, I think the media, when they say ‘freedom fighter,’ uses the wrong word. I suppose there might be some predictive value if everybody used the right word, but that’s my argument, not yours. I guess I just don’t understand what you’re trying to get at.

quote:
If you say that it’s irrelevant that a person feels a principle is worth fighting for, then you are at a loss when somebody starts to fight for it.


I don’t see how I would be at a loss. One, I never said that. Two, you’re still confusing my use of ‘irrelevant’. Three, I’m really sorry that that word bothers you so much.

quote:
You also tend to lose strategic targets and populations that you need not have lost.  Whose losses may have been somewhat more predictable than otherwise would be thought to be the case.


Okay, who are you talking to now? I know it’s not me.

quote:
It is in many ways more comfortable to pretend these things are less predictable than they are.  Heaven knows, there are so many things that we don’t have the insight to predict at all...


Uh, okay.

quote:
What do you think they're fighting for?


quote:
I mentioned some answers to this question in a prior posting.  I said that it depended on which people and which situation.


Yeah, okay.

quote:
The label “terrorist” is chucked around very lightly.  The Nazis thought the soviet and free french partisans were “terrorists.”


You mean they were fighting to get rid of the Nazis, right?

quote:
The British thought the Jews were “terrorists.”


You mean they were fighting to get rid of the British, right?

quote:
The Soviets thought the Afghanis were “terrorists.”


You mean they were fighting to get rid of the Soviets, right?

quote:
We disagreed at these times and called the “terrorists” “freedom fighters.”


Sure. Freedom is a powerful word. From a propaganda point of view, doesn’t that make sense? I think it does, but is it right?

quote:
Of course, when the political situation changed a bit, we were known from time to time to change our tune.  The Free French Partisans, the legendary “maquis,” had always been a basically Communist party sponsored organization in large part, with some clear exceptions.  After W.W.II, these same folks moved to organize France, and especially southern France around Marseilles, for the Communist Party.  The Organization that was transitioning between being the OSS and the CIA felt the Resistance was a “terrorist” organization and began a series of covert operations against them in conjunction with the Unione Course.


I don’t know enough about this period to agree or disagree so I’ll take your word for it. But the OSS/CIA were fighting communists and the Resistance was fighting for communists, right?

quote:
The heroic Freedom Fighter Mujahadin in Afghanistan who carried out operations against the soviets, partly funded by Ross Perot and the CIA, quietly became the Taliban with the support of U.S. money funneled through the ISA in Pakistan.  Osama Bin Ladin was one of the brave freedom fighters that answered the call of freedom broadcast indirectly by the CIA against the atheistic Russian communists.  Al Qaeda, the name of his organization, was originally the name of his cover organization for supply of U.S. weapons to the “Freedom Fighters,” soon to become
“Taliban terrorists.” fighting the soviet  invaders.


Yep, but the same group was fighting to kick the Soviets out, right?

quote:
So, in brief, these folks were fighting for liberation from foreign oppression.


I can live with “liberation from foreign oppression”. That’s not the same thing as fighting for liberty.

quote:
In the beginning the oppression, in these cases, were Nazi and Soviet.  The United States showed a certain willingness to replace the original oppressors.  Simply because we decided we wanted to take on the roles vacated by Nazis and Soviets doesn’t make what we are doing better.


You’ve lost me here.  

quote:
I would venture to say that in many of the cases we have been talking about, though surely not in all of them, a similar process has taken place.  We are dumbfounded because we have always seen ourselves as liberators and good folks, which in many ways I dare say we are.  Simply not in enough ways to convince the people on the receiving end of many of our actions that we are as benign as we feel ourselves to be.


But this strikes me as a meditation on the views of Americans and how they view themselves, not on Islamic terrorists. What I don’t understand is why you spend so much time saying that these other guys see themselves as the good guys. I get that. We see ourselves as the good guys, too. I get that. I think that means worrying or talking about who the good guys are, or who they think the good guys are, or who we think the good guys are, all pretty much cancel themselves out.

In other words, so what?  

On my points:

quote:
That’s nice.  Perhaps you can tell me what I must do to get my merit badges as well.


Uh, hell, I’ll make you one if you buy a ticket to Korea.  

quote:
In the meantime, I think I’ll be my own judge of whether I’ve done a decent job of replying to what you have to say or not, thank you very much.


Somehow, I knew you would do that.

quote:
I haven’t noticed that you’ve actually heard much of what I’ve said anyway.



Really? Have I really misunderstood you that much? I don’t know, quoting you extensively is at least one way of showing that I take what you’ve said, for the most part, very seriously.

quote:
I suspect that if I tried things your way, I’d get endlessly tangled up in whether I’d done things to your exact specs or not.


Hmmm, if you tried things my way, I suspect my specs would disappear. It wouldn’t matter to you. They obviously don’t matter to you now, so things would probably be pretty much the same.

quote:
And since I don’t believe you’re making  a point that I’m very good at grasping, at least with my admittedly limited ability to pull a clear understanding of what you’re trying to say together at this hour, I think I’ll muddle through with the fairly clean understanding that I’ll never be able to make everybody agree to my idea of what Freedom is;


When did I say anything about agreeing? I wanted to know what your definition was.

But to be fair, I still make the same mistakes I always have in these threads. I start off trying to be quick and concise. I then see that people misunderstand me, at least from my point of view, and then wax on and on trying to be as absolutely clear as I possibly can be (and that never seems to be enough). The simple fact is that that often just comes off as setting people up. I don’t mean to do that, but that’s how it looks.

My bad.
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


126 posted 08-14-2008 01:49 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

  

     From all of that, you wanted a definition of Freedom?

     I told you that part of the problem seemed to me that an enormous number of people were quite literally willing to die to insist of the primacy of their own.  Actually, I think they're more prepared to kill than die, but the baseball game is probably being played in the same stadium in the same city at the same time.  The rules may be a bit different for each side, but the players are the same.  

     I love stretching these analogies sometimes.

     I like this (from an edition, circa 1800) definition by  Johnson.  I've omitted the examples.  

1.  Liberty; exemption from servitude; independence.

2.  Privileges; franchises; immunities.

3.  Power of enjoying franchises.

4.  Exemption from fate, necessity, or predetermination.

5.  Unrestraint.

6.  The state of being without ant particular evil or inconvenience.

7.  Ease or facility in doing or showing any thing.
     Such modern differences as may be offered are possibly due to linguistic drift.  The single definition that you suggest is the only possible definition may or may not have a place, but it would have to be carved out of several other distinct and distinguishable meanings available in Johnson's time alone in the English language alone.  I suspect that the notion would have very different meanings in Chinese, where it would have to be carefully disentangled from notions of disorder and chaos and such concepts that have a highly negative connotation there and ( I bow to your superior knowledge of eastern cultures)I believe in Japan as well.  How different is Korea, especially North Korea, but also South Korea when it comes to dealing with order/disorder, and how does it work with your single definition notion of Freedom?

     Would you think that a North Korean notion of Freedom would  be something that your average cowboy would really agree with?  Your average Italian?  Your average New Yorker or Angelino?  

     I've got to say that I suspect that there'd be a translation problem from the Rome of 300 B.C.E. to the Rome of 50 C.E. for that matter, even though Freedom was an apparent concern in both eras.  Freedom at the time of The Magna Charta and of James I would have been very different things; as would have been Liberty, not to mention what it would have been in France in 1792 and in 1870 and again in 1960.
Grinch
Member Elite
since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


127 posted 08-14-2008 05:32 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Terrorists? Freedom fighters?

They’re all fighting for what they believe is right. If you agree with them they’re freedom fighters, if you don’t they’re terrorists.

Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


128 posted 08-14-2008 08:19 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Grinch,

          Makes perfect sense to me.

Sincerely,

BobK.      

Balladeer
Administrator
Member Empyrean
since 06-05-99
Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


129 posted 08-14-2008 09:27 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

and if what they believe is right is not freedom, does that still make them freedom fighters, Grinch, or just fighters?
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


130 posted 08-14-2008 09:30 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Grinch,

"The best . . ."

You can fill in the rest.
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


131 posted 08-15-2008 01:10 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




Dear Balladeer,

quote:

and if what they believe is right is not freedom, does that still make them freedom fighters, Grinch, or just fighters?



     This is a sentence that appears to make sense but does not.  

     That is because it is incompletely specified.

     For example, you do not specify when you say, "and if what they believe is right is not freedom. . ."  because you don't say who "they" are.  Most importantly, you do not say if the "freedom" you are addressing is your idea of freedom (which I suspect it probably is) or their own idea of freedom (which I suspect you discount as being unworthy of your consideration).  

     Because you have not been kind enough to specify any of this, it would be very difficult for me or for many other people to be able to make such a determination from the information you have supplied.

     If they are in fact fighting for what they believe to be freedom, as I suspect they would probably tell you they are, then you are simply using language to conceal reality rather than to explore and understand it.  You would be sweeping the understanding at least one party—the "freedom fighters" or "terrorists," depending on your view of the current middle eastern conflicts among parties in Iraq with each other and the United States as one example, or between Pakistan and Iran as another—under the rug, like an incompetent housekeeper, trying to pretend that everything was really clean and neat when it was actually exactly the opposite.  There are so many others that I'll limit myself here, unless you wish to go into other specific examples.  Happy to do so, if you want.

     In engineering or physics or science or areas of study where people are actually trying to understand reality and deal with it, it's generally considered to be cheating when you ignore half the data.  You can't get very much traffic, for example, across half a bridge, or watch much CSI on half a television set.  And when you try to sweep half the data on an international problem under the rug, all you get is extra crispy confusion and sometimes extra crispy casualties.

     Why make things more difficult by pretending that people we don't agree with and often don't like can't have legitimate points of view?  We don't have to agree with them, and can even fight with them if absolutely necessary—I disapprove on general principle, but I don't have to like a course of action to acknowledge it's a way to think about things.  

Sincerely, BobK.


    
Grinch
Member Elite
since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


132 posted 08-15-2008 02:29 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
and if what they believe is right is not freedom, does that still make them freedom fighters, Grinch, or just fighters?


Neither Mike - it makes them terrorists.

Grinch
Member Elite
since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


133 posted 08-15-2008 03:46 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Brad,

I was never convicted.

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


134 posted 08-15-2008 04:10 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

And I'm full of it!
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


135 posted 08-15-2008 04:43 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Grinch:

quote:
They’re all fighting for what they believe is right. If you agree with them they’re freedom fighters, if you don’t they’re terrorists.


Mike:

quote:
and if what they believe is right is not freedom, does that still make them freedom fighters, Grinch, or just fighters?


Isn't that the same 'they' Grinch used?

Here is an example:

quote:
While I am not fond of Osama Bin Ladin, my understanding of his original quarrel with the United States is that he objected to having American troops stationed on Saudi Land because both Medina and Medina as well as the presence of the Qa’aba (if I’ve spelled it correctly) and other holy sites were felt by many Saudis, and not just Osama Bin Laden, to be insulted by their presence.

--Bob

I don't see freedom used anywhere. Is fighting for the purity of the Holy Land the same thing as fighting for freedom even when Bin Laden doesn't use the the word?  He could have, of course, I don't know. I don't speak Arabic. I don't even know if this word:

حُريَّه

is an accurate translation of English freedom.

One of the problems, at least to my mind and if I remember correctly, is that the terrorist/freedom fighter distinction wasn't an attempt to understand the views of Islamic fighters, it was an attempt to avoid offending a certain group of Associated Press readers.

[This message has been edited by Brad (08-15-2008 06:16 PM).]

Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


136 posted 08-15-2008 07:40 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Brad,

          When you say, as you did in # 135 above, "Here is an example:" and proceed to quote me (accurately, too, thank goodness) following a discussion by me of the confusion sewn by failing to specify (in this case, predication), I begin to wonder if anybody is actually bothering to read what I say before they disagree with me.

     I do understand that my prose is an example of many things, so of which I may even be happy to acknowledge, but exactly which of them you are pointing out is something you haven't yet confided to me.   I would very much like to join you in applauding your brilliance, and may even do so if you'd bother to tell me what example you draw from my words.

     My Arabic is non existent.  You suggest yours may be as well, so the exact translation of the word I would even hope to transcribe seems beyond both of us.  The cultural anthropologist Edward T. Hall does have an interesting write up on arab culture, however, in either The Silent Language of The Hidden Dimension, one of which is his book on cross cultural perspectives on Time and the other on Cross Cultural perspectives on space.  I believe it's in the Space book.  My copies are buried in our garage in boxes.  They might add to the discussion.

     In this case, however, while muslims are required to learn Arabic to be able to read the Qurran, other linguistic problems get in the way, as I'm sure you know as well as I do.  Not all muslims are Arabs, nor do they all have the same background cultures with the same attitudes toward such basic questions as freedom.

     And since you did ask me to specify my own definition of freedom and I went considerably out of my way to do so, I'm curious as to why this seems to have suddenly disappeared from your discussion.  Has this stopped being important?  Or have you, once I've given you something you've asked for, simply decided that all that pressure wasn't really worth your bother, as I speculated you might  a few exchanges back?  

     At the risk of being a spoilsport, when last we spoke I was asking you to talk with me about some stuff I thought might prove fruitful.  I offered Dr. Johnson's good-enough-for-me definition of freedom, all seven parts of it, pointed out it might have some differences from your notion, and then went on this way—

quote:

Such modern differences as may be offered are possibly due to linguistic drift.  The single definition that you suggest is the only possible definition may or may not have a place, but it would have to be carved out of several other distinct and distinguishable meanings available in Johnson's time alone in the English language alone.  I suspect that the notion would have very different meanings in Chinese, where it would have to be carefully disentangled from notions of disorder and chaos and such concepts that have a highly negative connotation there and ( I bow to your superior knowledge of eastern cultures)I believe in Japan as well.  How different is Korea, especially North Korea, but also South Korea when it comes to dealing with order/disorder, and how does it work with your single definition notion of Freedom?




     I chose to use the oriental exemplars, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean because you have repeatedly made reference to them in this thread and in prior threads and suggest you have some knowledge that I do not have.  I thought you might teach me something.  I still think so.
I am puzzled as to why you would offer, instead, a piece of Arabic.  

     Not only don't I know if it's an accurate translation of the word "freedom" into Arabic, if such a thing is possible, but I'd thought all along that Arabic was written from right to left, like Hebrew.  Goes to show what I know.

     I don't think it matters all that much where the terrorist/freedom fighter comment came from.  It may in fact be from A.P., though I personally tend to think not.  I happen to think that the observation, no matter where it came from, is a cogent one, and if A.P. invented it, so much the more insightful for the A.P.  If it made readership happy, I guess I'd have to muse about who those readers might be.  The Anti- Freedom fighter crowd?  The pro-terrorist crowd?  The folks who were  being called terrorists by the British when they blew up The King David Hotel in 1948 or thereabouts never thought about themselves as terrorists, you know, and they never presented themselves that way when they came around to the synagogues of the world looking for money to keep doing stuff like that and, in the end, they said, get freedom for Israel.

     And the PLO has always thought of themselves as Freedom Fighters, back from the time they were founded.
Other people disagreed, but most of the Palestinians who lived in refugee camps thought of them as Freedom Fighters, sure enough.  I had friends who went to Jordan in 1967 and 1968 and came back radicalized and pro-Palestinian.  They called the Israelis "terrorists," and told stories I didn't enjoy hearing.  Some of them I'm certain were propaganda, but I doubt all of them were.

     There's enough guilt in the middle east for everybody to gag on it, with a fair amount of justification all around, near as I can tell.  Pick your conflict.  Fighting is not going to establish the basis for a stable peace.  At best it may provide temporary assurance of survival until a reasonably fair settlement can be negotiated.  But the price is very high, and includes the risk of mutual destruction. And I would include almost all the quarreling parties within the region in my evaluation here.  There is a risk that outside parties, such as China and the U.S. and even Russia could be dragged in.


Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


137 posted 08-19-2008 01:09 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Brad,

          I have a few minutes.  Since you haven't responded in a few days, I thought I'd return to our discussion and cover a few points you raised that I think deserve addressing.  To begin with, I'd like to quote an exchange you've brought up, and try to answer the question you raise at the end of it:

quote:


Grinch:

[quote:]
They’re all fighting for what they believe is right. If you agree with them they’re freedom fighters, if you don’t they’re terrorists.
[/quote]

to which Brad  quotes Balladeer in reply:

Mike:

[quote:]
and if what they believe is right is not freedom, does that still make them freedom fighters, Grinch, or just fighters?
[/quote]

To which Brad himself then responds:

[quote]
Isn't that the same 'they' Grinch used?




     Actually, I don't know if you can actually tell from that exchange.  Nor do I see how you could.  The groups in Grinches statement are all members formally of a single group specified in Grinch's original statement, and "they" are defined by membership in that group, which is, "They’re all fighting for what they believe is right."  You may disagree with the aptness of the definition now, but in picking this particular area for discussion you had no objection to it.  You thought those terms were not worthy of remark.  No remark was visible, at any rate.

     Balladeer wants to broaden out the grounds of the discussion.  He says: "and if what they believe is right is not freedom, does that still make them freedom fighters, Grinch, or just fighters?"

     But for Balladeer actually to be talking about the same "they" as Grinch is talking about, he would be required to be talking about the "they" that are all fighting for what they believe is right." Instead he uses, "If," a word indicating the statement of an uncertain  proposition.  Part of the uncertainty that is possible here is of course how many of Balladeers folk fit his definition of "they," or of Brad's definition.  There is some decent possibility that not all of these folk would fit this definition.  In Grinches statement, at least the way it's phrased, all of the folk fit the definition of "freedom fighters" or "terrorists."

     Therefore, in a formal sense, the answer to the question Brad poses and disposes of without careful consideration is most likely, most reasonably, a  "no," and not the hasty "yes" that Brad would have us accept on the basis of his authority; unexamined, and without actual consideration.

     Now Brad quotes me:
quote:
:
     While I am not fond of Osama Bin Ladin, my understanding of his original quarrel with the United States is that he objected to having American troops stationed on Saudi Land because both Medina and Medina as well as the presence of the Qa’aba (if I’ve spelled it correctly) and other holy sites were felt by many Saudis, and not just Osama Bin Laden, to be insulted by their presence.



And here is Brad's somewhat puzzling response:

quote:
:
I don't see freedom used anywhere. Is fighting for the purity of the Holy Land the same thing as fighting for freedom even when Bin Laden doesn't use the the word?



     For those of you who may not understand why I am puzzled by Brad's response, let me point out that Brad is responding to my account of what Bin Ladin's quarrel with both the Saudi government and the United States government happens to be.  At no point do I say or even suggest that I am quoting that somewhat unusual Islamic leader's words.  The nature of the quarrel may be checked out by others for their own research purposes; I believe I have the gist of the thing right.  Whether Bin Ladin believes it a matter of Freedom or not, I don't know; though I wouldn't be terribly surprised to find citizens of what's passing close to an absolute monarchy to have some real and basic concerns about freedom.  

     Frankly, to see this sort of statement flow from the mind of the same mind of the man who threatened to quote Voltaire to me about supporting someone else's notion of freedom even when one disagreed with what that notion might be has an element of slapstick to it.  The Doctor in Spite of Himself, perhaps, a Molière comedy.  Voltaire would probably approve.

Sincerely yours, BobK.

[This message has been edited by Bob K (08-19-2008 10:57 AM).]

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


138 posted 08-20-2008 08:45 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
The groups in Grinches statement are all members formally of a single group specified in Grinch's original statement, and "they" are defined by membership in that group, which is, "They’re all fighting for what they believe is right."


I think that is correct.

quote:
But for Balladeer actually to be talking about the same "they" as Grinch is talking about, he would be required to be talking about the "they" that are all fighting for what they believe is right."


I think that is correct.

quote:
Instead he uses, "If," a word indicating the statement of an uncertain  proposition.


Well, no. It’s a conditional used to ask for clarification. What ‘uncertain proposition’ could it possibly refer to? No one is questioning whether they think they are fighting for what they think is right.

quote:
Part of the uncertainty that is possible here is of course how many of Balladeers folk fit his definition of "they," or of Brad's definition.


quote:
There is some decent possibility that not all of these folk would fit this definition.


I think that is correct. But you turn it into a false dichotomy.

quote:
In Grinches statement, at least the way it's phrased, all of the folk fit the definition of "freedom fighters" or "terrorists."


Of course they do. The reason they ‘fit’ is that it adds nothing of substance to the conversation. That ‘terrorists’ incite acts to create terror in populations, that ‘freedom-fighters’ fight for rule of law and civil rights for all citizens and so on are curiously left off the table.
They have become synonyms for good guys and bad guys -- yet again. What Mike is doing then is changing the “freedom” referent. It does not refer to the same thing as “freedom” in “freedom-fighters” but to either my definition of whatever his may be.

You know, I always giggle a little bit at the end of “Braveheart.” When Gibson screams freedom in that smoke-altered voice of his, I always think:

That’s freedom? Trading one corrupt king for another?

quote:
Therefore, in a formal sense, the answer to the question Brad poses and disposes of without careful consideration is most likely, most reasonably, a  "no," and not the hasty "yes" that Brad would have us accept on the basis of his authority; unexamined, and without actual consideration.


You have not demonstrated that this is accurate. If I understand you correctly, and I hope I don’t, you are saying that if anybody asks for a clarification by using a conditional, it changes what the same pronoun refers to – by definition.

Are you kidding?

quote:
For those of you who may not understand why I am puzzled by Brad's response, let me point out that Brad is responding to my account of what Bin Ladin's quarrel with both the Saudi government and the United States government happens to be.  At no point do I say or even suggest that I am quoting that somewhat unusual Islamic leader's words.  The nature of the quarrel may be checked out by others for their own research purposes; I believe I have the gist of the thing right.  Whether Bin Ladin believes it a matter of Freedom or not, I don't know; though I wouldn't be terribly surprised to find citizens of what's passing close to an absolute monarchy to have some real and basic concerns about freedom.


I think you have the gist right, too. My point was simply that being free from ‘infidel pollution’ or whatever euphemism you wish to use doesn’t fit comfortably with your list of “freedom” definitions. That it can be goes without saying.

I just did it.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Reading through these posts, it’s hard to see what is causing you so much confusion. You seem desperate to generate sympathy for a group of people (not Muslims, not Iraqis) but a specific group of people who have used violence and consider violence as a legitimate path to political change. My only guess is that you are writing to me, but you actually have other people in mind.
So, one more time, let’s go through the agreements and clarifications:

quote:
And the PLO has always thought of themselves as Freedom Fighters, back from the time they were founded.
Other people disagreed, but most of the Palestinians who lived in refugee camps thought of them as Freedom Fighters, sure enough.  I had friends who went to Jordan in 1967 and 1968 and came back radicalized and pro-Palestinian.  They called the Israelis "terrorists," and told stories I didn't enjoy hearing.  Some of them I'm certain were propaganda, but I doubt all of them were.


Fine. But one can have sympathy for the Palestinians without necessarily supporting the PLO. And there are many reasons not to support the PLO that have nothing to do with terrorist acts – the Oslo accords come immediately to mind. One need not support Israel either.  

quote:
My Arabic is non existent.  You suggest yours may be as well, so the exact translation of the word I would even hope to transcribe seems beyond both of us.  The cultural anthropologist Edward T. Hall does have an interesting write up on arab culture, however, in either The Silent Language of The Hidden Dimension, one of which is his book on cross cultural perspectives on Time and the other on Cross Cultural perspectives on space.  I believe it's in the Space book.  My copies are buried in our garage in boxes.  They might add to the discussion.
     In this case, however, while muslims are required to learn Arabic to be able to read the Qurran, other linguistic problems get in the way, as I'm sure you know as well as I do.  Not all muslims are Arabs, nor do they all have the same background cultures with the same attitudes toward such basic questions as freedom.


They may indeed be required, but they do not learn Arabic. What they do is memorize the sound and recite. As far as pointing out the two books, if you’re going to give a review, you might at least mention what interested you.  You don’t say what they say (Time and Space are great concepts, aren’t they? But hardly enough to interest me).

quote:
And since you did ask me to specify my own definition of freedom and I went considerably out of my way to do so, I'm curious as to why this seems to have suddenly disappeared from your discussion.  Has this stopped being important?  Or have you, once I've given you something you've asked for, simply decided that all that pressure wasn't really worth your bother, as I speculated you might  a few exchanges back?


You “went considerably out of your way” to give me your definition of freedom? I’m terribly sorry that it caused you so much trouble. I tend to think that you can either give me a definition without a lot of work, or you haven’t thought about it enough yet. You are implying that you had to do research, aren’t you?  

quote:
At the risk of being a spoilsport, when last we spoke I was asking you to talk with me about some stuff I thought might prove fruitful.

Honestly, I don’t see how my East Asian experience is relevant to the current discussion. I use them as examples because that’s what pops into my head first. It may indeed be interesting (it is for me), but I don’t see the point of bringing them up here.

quote:
I am puzzled as to why you would offer, instead, a piece of Arabic.


Why does that puzzle you?  

quote:
Not only don't I know if it's an accurate translation of the word "freedom" into Arabic, if such a thing is possible, but I'd thought all along that Arabic was written from right to left, like Hebrew.  Goes to show what I know.


As far as I know, that is correct.

quote:
I don't think it matters all that much where the terrorist/freedom fighter comment came from.  It may in fact be from A.P., though I personally tend to think not.  I happen to think that the observation, no matter where it came from, is a cogent one, and if A.P. invented it, so much the more insightful for the A.P.  If it made readership happy, I guess I'd have to muse about who those readers might be.  The Anti- Freedom fighter crowd?  The pro-terrorist crowd?  The folks who were  being called terrorists by the British when they blew up The King David Hotel in 1948 or thereabouts never thought about themselves as terrorists, you know, and they never presented themselves that way when they came around to the synagogues of the world looking for money to keep doing stuff like that and, in the end, they said, get freedom for Israel.


So, the Isralis were terrorists. They still are. I get that.

quote:
There's enough guilt in the middle east for everybody to gag on it, with a fair amount of justification all around, near as I can tell.  Pick your conflict.  Fighting is not going to establish the basis for a stable peace.  At best it may provide temporary assurance of survival until a reasonably fair settlement can be negotiated.  But the price is very high, and includes the risk of mutual destruction. And I would include almost all the quarreling parties within the region in my evaluation here.  There is a risk that outside parties, such as China and the U.S. and even Russia could be dragged in


I agree. There is no basis for a stable peace on the horizon.

quote:
Frankly, to see this sort of statement flow from the mind of the same mind of the man who threatened to quote Voltaire to me about supporting someone else's notion of freedom even when one disagreed with what that notion might be has an element of slapstick to it.  The Doctor in Spite of Himself, perhaps, a Molière comedy.  Voltaire would probably approve.


Threaten?

quote:
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.


quote:
Monsieur l'abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.


--V.

And of course the one he didn’t actually say:

quote:
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.


Bob, I don’t see what’s so absurd here. I guess that you think you are following V and I am not, but this is another false dichotomy. I got involved in this thread because I think “freedom-fighters” is the wrong word, a malapropism.


Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


139 posted 08-22-2008 02:32 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Brad,

         There’s so much to respond to, and I understand so little of what you’re saying.  

     You believe the phrase “freedom Fighters” is a malapropism?  It sounds nothing like Mrs. Malaprop; nor like Dogberry, a true personal favorite.  There is no linguistic pratfall or playfulness.  It seems you dislike other people who disagree with your right to be the sole arbiter of definitions, even when your definitions don’t agree with more commonly accepted ones.  I can’t stop you from asserting to that right.  Anybody has it.  To call somebody else’s disagreements names is an attempt to overpower reason by force.  Not being entirely certain where the levers of power are here and how to manipulate them, I bow to your superior experience and suspect you could do that, but it does the discussion itself no good.  It simply shows you are better at exploiting power than I am.  It doesn’t mean that people I dislike who blow up people whom I feel an attachment for can’t or don’t consider themselves “Freedom Fighters.”  I don’t need to like that they do so.  In fact, I don’t like that they do so.  I think they are wrong to do so because I am against anybody blowing anybody up.

     “That’s Freedom?  Trading one corrupt King for another?”

     That’s you talking, by the way, in that one line paragraph just above.  It’s a decent question.  If it were me, I’d have to say, no, not the kind of freedom I’m particularly up for, and from the way you made your comment, it sounds that you agree.  And I’m not thrilled with Gibson’s politics, so I suspect he did some minor tinkering with events for them to come off a little bit more cinematically.  And he is always a guy who seems to want to slip in some sort of torture into his movies, though not I think for sadistic fun but more for the sense of masochistic identification it can generate in audiences.  For a lot of people, though, I think the answer to the question of one corrupt king for another can be answered with a resounding “yes!”  I think that what they’re looking at is the possibility of them having the chance of choosing, where they’ve not had the chance to choose before.  But what matters more is that it matters to them, even if we think it’s a pretty pitiful choice.  So in the terms that matter, the terms of the people who are trying to define their own freedom, the answer would be a “yes.”  That’s freedom.

     The way you see her in all the pictures is after she’s been to the beauty parlor, when she’s wearing the off the shoulder greek revival designer gowns and she had a chance to work out with the trainer at the gym for a while.  Mostly she’s not so gussied up in her everyday street clothes.  That’s what I see.  That’s what I hear.


     Now maybe we can get back to the examination of the logic of Balladeer’s statement.  I maintain Balladeer’s statement is illogical.  Rather than taking a position on the logic or illogic of Balladeer’s statement, which, to my mind is the crux of the matter, you are trying to focus on critiquing my comments about Balladeer’s statement.  I need to follow through on my comments about Balladeer’s statement anyway.  It is incorrect and confusing and pretends to be a cogent comment when it in fact is a way of confusing the issue, and it needs to be exposed as such.  

     Before I continue to do this, I would like to ask you straight out, do you believe Balladeer is making a logical statement here or not?  

     I will simplify things.  I will just look at balladeer’s statement.  There is no need to overcomplicate by going through more steps than needed, when Balladeer has kindly given us all the information we need in his statement, short as it may be.

     Grinch says, “They are all fighting for what they believe is right.”

     Balladeer says:” does that still make them freedom fighters, Grinch, or just fighters?”

    Logically, I believe that Balladeer is attempting to make an If/Then statement.  Given condition A, the follows situation B.

     Grinch’s original statement defines the activity that his group is pursuing.  They are in fact fighting.

In Balladeer’s statement, we know the thing that defines a certain group of people is that which this particular group of people does not believe is that which is right.  Why Balladeer would make the formulation so difficult is anybody’s guess.  My summary is as close as I can get to it while still preserving its wonderfully convoluted and negativistic formulation, almost as if it were designed to confuse.  From this information, Balladeer then wants to know from Grinch if this makes them Freedom Fighters, or just fighters.   Balladeer's statement is logically unconnected in the middle.  It literally does not follow.  It is nonsense being offered as an explanation, when in fact it serves to obscure the truth.    

     For Grinch even to attempt to assemble a rational response to this, however, Balladeer would first have had to offer a a question that was identifiably rational not only in form (which he fails to offer here) but in substance, a barrier Balladeer has yet to attempt.
      Grinch cannot offer a well formed answer to an ill-formed question.  it is impossible to offer a great answer to questions such as, How many times did you beat your wife this week?  or to the perrenial traffic policeman's, "Are you calling me a liar?" when you dispute the speed he wants to write down on your ticket.  The questions are formally ill formed.  They are being passed off as real, when they are meant to obscure rather than clarify.  

     If Brad agrees that Balladeer is actually asking a kosher question here, I have some friends who will quietly make a point of never eating at his table.

     How many of Balladeer’s folk who would actually be terrorists is more an issue of the emotion of terror whipped up as a political red herring than as a serious political consideration.  Though terrorists and Freedom fighters certainly do exist.  As this example may illustrate, myriad sins may be hidden under the unspecified “they.”


quote:  Bob:

There is some decent possibility that not all of these folk would fit this definition.


quote: Brad:
I think that is correct. But you turn it into a false dichotomy.

query from Bob:

     If this is so, I need you explanation to understand how I am doing so; I am unaware of this entirely.  

Also, it’s on the late side, and I need to get beauty sleep.  I’m tired of cracking mirrors in the morning and the mirrors are starting to complain.  They say I’m bad luck.


All my best,

BobK,

[This message has been edited by Bob K (08-22-2008 11:33 PM).]

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


140 posted 08-24-2008 10:44 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Before I continue to do this, I would like to ask you straight out, do you believe Balladeer is making a logical statement here or not?


No, I think he was asking a question.
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


141 posted 08-24-2008 07:39 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Since you don't seem willing to take the extra step and go beyond one of the most lawyerly examples of literalism I have seen in months, I suppose I must then ask you if you believe the question is well formed and logical?  To avoid being taken to task for not actually asking the question itself, then, I do ask, Is Balladeer's question well formed in substance, and it it a logically answerable question?  Also, Do you find it a question designed to illuminate or obfuscate?
 
 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
All times are ET (US) Top
  User Options
>> Discussion >> The Alley >> Kucinich Introduces Articles of Impeachm   [ Page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  ] Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Print Send ECard

 

pipTalk Home Page | Main Poetry Forums

How to Join | Member's Area / Help | Private Library | Search | Contact Us | Today's Topics | Login
Discussion | Tech Talk | Archives | Sanctuary



© Passions in Poetry and netpoets.com 1998-2013
All Poetry and Prose is copyrighted by the individual authors