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The Temple of Huitzilopochtli

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Huan Yi
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0 posted 11-04-2004 08:01 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Was the fall of the Aztec empire
a good thing?

John
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1 posted 11-04-2004 08:21 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Yes, it has afterall, paved the way for Walmart expansions.

Good in what way? Expand on your questions please.
Huan Yi
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2 posted 11-04-2004 09:11 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Good, in and of itself,
being what and how it was.

John

Ron
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3 posted 11-04-2004 10:28 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I don't speak Nahuatl too well. Okay, at all.

So, yea, since I like to order my pizzas over the phone, the fall of the Atztec empire was a good thing for me.

Whether it was good for you, Raph or Montezuma are different questions entirely. Good, after all, is a fairly subjective term.
Huan Yi
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4 posted 11-05-2004 01:08 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

“Good, after all, is a fairly subjective term.”

So there is no universal good or bad.

There then could be arguments that
the Aztec world, culture, should have been
respected and left alone.

John
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5 posted 11-05-2004 10:39 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Well, theoretically, to be fair the Europeans should have set foot on American soils (North, Central, and South), seen that there were already people there, and said, "Oh, my bad. Didn't mean to trespass. We'll be off now."

But history didn't work itself out that way. And I speak English, not Polish.
Stephanos
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6 posted 11-05-2004 05:29 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
So there is no universal good or bad


I'm not so sure that you can easily derive complete subjectivism from what Ron said.  Though it's true that a plethora of relatively good and bad things can come from any given historical event, for any given number of individuals, there are still moral questions.  Was it right for the invaders to attack the Aztecs?  Was it right for the Aztec leaders to do whatever may have instigated such wrath? etc ...


These kinds of questions are always there.  And they're not always easily answered.  But I've found that the ambiguity is often used to say that individual or corporate actions can't be really good or evil ... only perceived as good or evil.


But how many people want to seriously suggest that Hitler's treatment of 6 million Jews was not really an evil, atrocious thing to do?


Ambiguity I can accept, for I believe God knows what is so ambiguous to us.  Complete subjectivism I can't accept, for I believe that all is not ambiguous, in these kinds of questions.  One's epistemology should allow for some knowledge in the area of morals, else it's like cutting a hand off and saying it was never any good.  It's no use arguing that hands have been used to bludgeon people to death, when they've also been used in so many proper ways too.  


Stephen.  
Brad
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7 posted 11-05-2004 06:41 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Was it right for the invaders to attack the Aztecs?  Was it right for the Aztec leaders to do whatever may have instigated such wrath?


Study what happened, Stephan. It'll show that these questions are the wrong questions to ask.

I don't understand why exploration is inherently a bad thing. It is the way the Europeans acted to the 'heathens' that was wrong, not that they went exploring. Small Pox took its unbelievable toll on the population, but how do you get around that? If it wasn't Columbus and Cortez, it would have been someone else. But that doesn't mean you should sell infested blankets to the native population.

At the same time, few people realize that the Aztec economy was based on war and the subjugation of neighboring tribes. Is that a good thing?

The Spanish had help.
Huan Yi
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8 posted 11-05-2004 08:18 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

“At the same time, few people realize that the Aztec economy was based on war and the subjugation of neighboring tribes. Is that a good thing?”

War and subjugation for the sake of supplying  human beings for bloody sacrifice
in their thousands every year to an Aztec god.


Brad
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9 posted 11-05-2004 08:33 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Oh yeah, that too.

Huan Yi
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10 posted 11-05-2004 09:37 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Stephen,

Would you argue that, were a people able,
once they learned of  the Aztec Empire
and its practice of human sacrifice,  
there was a “human” morality that obligated
them to act as would bring that empire to
its end, (apart from the actual
historical motivations, though I’m sure
the conquistadors used the end the sacrifice
argument to gain their thousands of allies)?

John

[This message has been edited by Huan Yi (11-05-2004 10:45 PM).]

Stephanos
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11 posted 11-06-2004 09:42 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad:
quote:
Study what happened, Stephan. It'll show that these questions are the wrong questions to ask



It seems that you are asking the same questions though, or at least making the same kinds of distinctions.  Exploration versus subjugation.  Introducing pathogens without intent versus introducing pathogens deliberately.  These are moral distinctions.  That was my point to John.  Just because you can't answer the question "Was the fall of the Atzec empire a good thing"? with a simplistic yes or no, doesn't mean there weren't many many questions surrounding the history which DID have such answers.  


Stephen.  
Brad
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12 posted 11-06-2004 09:37 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I agree.

Was the fall of the Aztec empire a good thing?

I'm not sure what to make of that question.

Were human sacrifices a good thing during the Aztec empire a good thing even when you know why they did it?

Of course not.

Were the actions of the conquistadores a good thing even when you know that what the Aztecs were doing.

Of course not.

I think part of the problem is that we can ask moral questions about historical events, but we tend to confuse the morality with justification, with making excuses. There is no contradiction in the above only a false dichotomy that if one thing is bad its contrary must necessarily by good.

Huan Yi
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13 posted 11-06-2004 11:00 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

So the Aztec Empire was not a good thing
but the way the conquistadores brought it
down was not a good thing, so a not good
thing was brought down by not a good way
and a good thing happened badly as a consequence.
That should make for an interesting parade.
Midnitesun
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14 posted 11-07-2004 01:56 AM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

The temple of Washington DC and its empire.

Some say it is evil, an abomination, and must be brought down.
Would that be a good thing? Aren't 'they' equally justified, as in 'their' eyes, many of our deeds are evil?
Perhaps our own civilization will be such a footnote in some future history books.
Ron
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15 posted 11-07-2004 02:06 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

The fall of an empire, whether it be Aztec, Mayan, or American, is of little consequence and, of itself, neither good nor bad. Yes, the Aztec civilization practiced human sacrifice. So, too, did Maya, to a lesser extent, though that culture had much more of it that was good. And America? Did the Aztecs burn witches at the stake, I wonder? Or slaughter whole peoples because their skin wasn't white? There has been death and killing, and not all of it was justifiable. Is any civilization truly innocent?

Yet, when was the last time YOU killed someone? Has your son or daughter taken a life yet? Do you think all those Aztec or Mayan families had the blood of human sacrifice still wet on their hands?

What the Europeans did to a few Mesoamerican empires matters little. They rise and they fall, they consume or are consumed, becoming little more than stereotypical summaries in the history books. We call this one good, this one bad, forgetting that every civilization was really comprised of people just like you and me, separated only by a given span of technology. Fathers, mothers, children, mixed in with a handful of priests and rulers who defined the culture we would later judge and find wanting.

Destroying empires is no big deal. But whether it's yesterday, today or tomorrow, killing people is NEVER a good thing. 'Cause justifications aren't all that hard to find, and you or I just may be next.
Huan Yi
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16 posted 11-07-2004 08:21 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Ron,

“The fall of an empire, whether it be Aztec, Mayan, or American, is of little consequence and, of itself, neither good nor bad. Yes, the Aztec civilization practiced human sacrifice. So, too, did Maya, to a lesser extent, though that culture had much more of it that was good. And America? Did the Aztecs burn witches at the stake, I wonder? Or slaughter whole peoples because their skin wasn't white? There has been death and killing, and not all of it was justifiable. Is any civilization truly innocent?”

So since all empires have at least incidents comparable
to the practices of the Aztec, their fall, existence, growth
is of little consequence, and, of itself, neither good or bad,
which, to me at least, then emasculates any moral argument
in favor of defeating any empire in particular.   Am I
correct?

John
Ron
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17 posted 11-07-2004 12:18 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
... which, to me at least, then emasculates any moral argument in favor of defeating any empire in particular.

ABSO-DAMN-LUTELY!




Stephanos
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18 posted 11-07-2004 07:15 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Interesting that you put "damn" in your answer, which means to curse.  Curse is the opposite of blessing, both of which are in God's administration.  


But the answer to John's question, I think, is Absolutely NOT, from the standpoint of God himself.  He brings down one empire and raises up another.


And does he consider their moral decadence and/ or moral uprightness in doing so?


... The Bible tells us that he does.  And he can use anyone he wishes to accomplish such a revolution.  For example:  he used a notably amoral peoples, the Assyrians and the Babylonians to chasten his very own chosen, Israel, and send them into exile.  And those nations didn't even know that God was using them for this purpose.  But knowing this makes the relative moral standing of nations (which tend to supplant each other like the waves of the sea), irrelevant.  The redeeming part is knowing that God has a purpose and a plan in it all ... for nations and individuals.


Does that mean we should be gung-ho about judging other nations?  Not at all.  God judged the Assyrians and Babylonians for their own cruelty and mistreatment.  I think that's reason enough for caution.


That way the "moral argument" as you put it, gets circumcised rather than emasculated.  


Stephen.
Ron
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19 posted 11-07-2004 08:51 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Damn, as a verb, is a curse, Stephen. But the word isn't always used as a verb.

quote:
He (God) brings down one empire and raises up another.

That may be God's role, Stephen, but it isn't ours, a point made repeatedly from Leviticus to Romans.

Stopping someone from hurting someone else isn't a moral judgment, but far more importantly, it needn't dehumanize the enemy. Saddam Hussein is evil, therefore we should kill him. These men follow Hussein, so they should be killed, too. These others are of the same color or religion, so they're fair game as well. It's a cycle repeated throughout most of history.

When your job is simply to stop someone, it's easier to know when the job is done.
Stephanos
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20 posted 11-07-2004 09:28 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Stopping someone from hurting someone else isn't a moral judgment

Then why is anyone obliged to stop someone from hurting somone else?  


Stephen.
Stephanos
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21 posted 11-07-2004 09:40 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos



Ron,

I think if you read my earlier post more carefully you might see that I concede much, in agreement with what you've said.  Believe it or not, I don't think we should have gone to war in Iraq.  But my point to John was that moral judgement (justly or unjustly dealt) has always been a part of national conflict.  And also that God always uses such things to mete out his righteous judgements in the world.  A more unbiased reading of the Bible from the Pentateuch to Revelation, would not  easily give anyone the idea that God didn't use, and even intend to use,  groups of men to judge other groups of men.  That much is true, in additon to (not in contradiction to) all the exhortations of peace and humility.  At least there's enough of that in the text to make it easy for many unbelievers to accuse your God of being a bellicose war-monger.  As unfair as that accusation is, it's not based on nothing, textually and historically speaking.  Or you're reading a different Bible?


As much as you try to divorce morality from worldly maneuvers, I don't think in reality it IS, or ever has been, all that separate.  In fact much of the conflict has been out of revenge, which is nothing more than moral outrage gone awry.  And while I hear you saying that it OUGHT to be separate, that in itself is a moral judgement and nothing more.  It's a platitude, not a description of reality.


I just think that there's a balance between saying humans have nothing to do with moral judgement ... and saying that we (insert any nation or individual here) are the national embodiment of that divine right.


Stephen.  


    
Ron
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22 posted 11-08-2004 12:51 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Then why is anyone obliged to stop someone from hurting somone else?

We're not obliged, Stephen. If we were, you and I would be traipsing around the world and back again on a daily basis.

It is, however, in everyone's best interest to protect others, in the oft misguided hope we will, in turn, be protected. It's called civilization, I think?  

quote:
I just think that there's a balance between saying humans have nothing to do with moral judgement ... and saying that we (insert any nation or individual here) are the national embodiment of that divine right.

But that's exactly the problem, Stephen -- there can be no such balance. Not Biblically, because there are no degrees of sin, and certainly not historically, because no culture has ever escaped its own brand of crusades or inquisitions.

How God chooses to use men for His own purposes is entirely irrelevant. Unless you would reject free will? Or would believe God's plans can be thwarted?

I believe it IS a description of reality, Stephen, in the same sense that Newton's formulas described gravity. It's the way the Universe works, and the only way the Universe can work. God didn't say you shouldn't float into the heavens and He didn't say you shouldn't judge the moral quality of others. Instead, He simply engineered a Universe where you can't. Does that stop people from jumping off cliffs? Sadly, it doesn't, but it does make the consequences predictable. The results of moral outrage are no less predictable, as five thousand years of laboratory results should show.


Huan Yi
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23 posted 11-08-2004 01:03 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Ron/Stephen

“The fall of an empire, whether it be Aztec, Mayan, or American, is of little consequence and, of itself, neither good nor bad. Yes, the Aztec civilization practiced human sacrifice. So, too, did Maya, to a lesser extent, though that culture had much more of it that was good. And America? Did the Aztecs burn witches at the stake, I wonder? Or slaughter whole peoples because their skin wasn't white? There has been death and killing, and not all of it was justifiable. Is any civilization truly innocent?”

“So since all empires have at least incidents comparable
to the practices of the Aztec, their fall, existence, growth
is of little consequence, and, of itself, neither good or bad,
which, to me at least, then emasculates any moral argument
in favor of defeating any empire in particular.   Am I
correct?”

“ABSO-DAMN-LUTELY!”


Which brings me back to Hitler and the Nazi Empire,  (which I continue
to use since it may be the only example where there is a consensus
as to it’s character).   Seems, under the above,  there was no legitimate
moral argument supporting  Roosevelt’s efforts to involve
the United States in that empire’s defeat.  Is that correct?

John
Ron
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24 posted 11-08-2004 11:02 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Seems, under the above,  there was no legitimate moral argument supporting  Roosevelt’s efforts to involve the United States in that empire’s defeat. Is that correct?

Do you need a moral argument to get out of bed in the morning, John? Or will the more pragmatic call of a full bladder usually do the trick?
 
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