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Post 80

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 7:11amSanction this postReply
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Ed,
> Sure. Moral equivalence is when neither side's better, moral ambiguity is when neither sides's known to be better.
Excellent.

>And, as I've eloquently shown above, in neither case do any of these options apply.
You've shown nothing of the sort. What you've shown is just an excerpt of Rand testimony at HUAC. And you must know what Americans have since generally thought about HUAC and McCarthy.

"...it is very hard to explain. It is almost impossible to convey to a free people what it is like to live in a totalitarian dictatorship. I can tell you a lot of details. I can never completely convince you, because you are free. It is in a way good that you can't even conceive of what it is like. "

Yes, precisely. This is what I feel all the time. If it was almost impossible to explain then, it is probably harder for today's generation to understand.





Post 81

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 9:04amSanction this postReply
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This is what I feel all the time. If it was almost impossible to explain then, it is probably harder for today's generation to understand.

Well said, Hong.....



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Post 82

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 12:37pmSanction this postReply
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Hong said:

"This is what I feel all the time. If it was almost impossible to explain then, it is probably harder for today's generation to understand"


Indeed, especially when they, like you, make little to no effort to try to understand the context of a situation, while conversely making hugely innappropriate and innaccurate assessments of those situtations, which you basically admit to knowling little to nothing about, and callously disregard the lives of millions of people in and utterly disgusting display of moral relativism in the process.

You have said:

"As to the specific situation of North and South Vietnam, I said that I'd look into it. I had an notion that the South Vietnam government wasn't a popular one."


Why did you have that notion? Was the Government of the North a "popular one" with its forced universal conscription, murder quotas and abolition of private property? How "popular" ought a government be in order for another nation to support it against an even more unpopular, and even more murderous government? What percentage of the population ought to vote for "intervention" and why is it ok to sentance the potential minority who would have voted for it to a life of enslavement be cause they lost the vote? Votes do not determine what is right and just, you must do what is right and just despite popular votes and popular opinions. South Korea was also not a popular government, yet today it is the worlds 13th largest economy and enjoys personal freedom and prosperity only dreamed about by the enslaved population to the North. The US Government today is "not very popular" What does such a grossly vague statement mean?

"There is also an issue of point of view. For many Vietnamese, the thought of repelling American imperialist invaders was probably enough for them to be sympathetic to Viet Con"


Sure, and they can join the Viet Cong and fight for the right to take away everyone else's property, but that doesnt mean they are right to do that. Besides of which, how much evidence have you ever come across to even remotely support this? The people of South Vietnam were heavily involved in fighting the North. 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died defiending their nation, fighting along side of their 'imperialist' American brothers. The Tet offensive was launched with the presumption that the millions of people who backed the North who lived in the South would rise up and overthrow the government, instead the small portion of the population that revealed itself to be supportive of the north were quickly routed out.

I suspect this assessment of Vietnam of yours, far from being born of any rational investigation into the history and situation involved here, is merely a grossly disigensous statement born of weak attempts to draw parallels to Vietnam with the current situtation in Iraq.

"South Vietnam would have done the same if they had won"


This is by far the most disgusting comment you have yet made. Do you know *anything* about Vietnam? Considering South Vietnam had not identififed the confiscation of private property as their explicit goal, private property being the material means by which one can sustain their lives, and South Vietnam was not launching invasions into the North, nor instituting assassination campaigns, nor implementing universal conscription, nor had anyone ever reported as a goal TAKING OVER THE NORTH, you still make this absurd and disgusting statement.

Of course you love pulling incredibly gross statements out of nowhere in order to incite emotional responses. Since you have essentially admitted that you know hardly anything abotu Vietnam, and you come out with these hugely innappropriate assessments, what is point partaking in this discusison?

You have many times in the past posted things I respect and I have found a lot of value in your comments previously, but in this thread your behavior is borderline attrocious and hardly indistinguishable from trolling. It is as if you started out with the premise "I don't know much about Vietnam, but I know we were wrong" and drew all other half baked 30 second researched conclusions from that premise.



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Post 83

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 4:14pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,
> Of course you love pulling incredibly gross statements out of nowhere in order to incite emotional responses.

Yes, I do like to make "gross", "disgusting", or even "atrocious" statements, in the sense that George Cordero very mildly characterized as "very discerning", not out of nowhere, but somewhere you certainly have never been. "Disgusting" does not make them untrue.  There are much "atrocious" truth out there even though you may wish them to be otherwise. What is clearly untrue is your wishful assertion that "the population of North Vietnam in 1956 was much larger than that of South Vietnam". As you so obviously consider yourself an expert on Vietnam, I have to wonder what are the other "facts" that you have in your mind to support your arguments.

"...to incite emotional responses."

So, have my statements incited your emotional responses? Actually, that may be the exactly problem of this thread. You guys keep arguing with things that I never said and interpret what I said to its exact opposite such as the one pointed out by Ben Hoffman here. Perhaps your "emotion" has made you either unable or unwilling to read and to understand?! The absurdity of accusing me of defending communism is like accusing Newberry of defending post-modernism (some of you who have been here long enough know what I mean).

Absurd, indeed.

PS. My purpose has never been to "incite emotional responses", but to "incite" a completely non-emotional and deeper understanding of issues. Clearly, I failed completely here. 

(Edited by Hong Zhang on 6/12, 4:30pm)




Post 84

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 5:41pmSanction this postReply
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None so blind as those who would not see....



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Post 85

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 6:29pmSanction this postReply
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Hong, my dear Objectivist friend, forgive me, but I must say that youre getting a bit greedy

 

Apparently its not enough for you to be a successful scientist, mother, wife, daughter, and friend; but now, you expect to be successfully understood on internet forums as well !?

 

You're getting too carried away; remember, even for an Objectivist of your high quality, - there are limits.

 

George

(Edited by George W. Cordero on 6/12, 6:42pm)




Post 86

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 6:59pmSanction this postReply
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there are limits
WHAT?!!  SACRILEGE!!! ;-)




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Post 87

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 7:12pmSanction this postReply
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What did the West Know, and When did it Know it?

"I cannot share the hopes of the Bolsheviks any more than those of the Egyptian anchorites: I regard both as tragic delusions, destined to bring upon the world centuries of darkness and futile violence."

- Bertrand Russel, The Practise and Theory of Bolshevism, 1919

Ted Keer



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Post 88

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 8:10pmSanction this postReply
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Hong:

You guys keep arguing with things that I never said


I don't know if you mean to qualify me Hong as one of those guys you refer to, but I'd like for you to show me if I made any strawmans of your position, please cite the post number and quote the text.

My purpose has never been to "incite emotional responses", but to "incite" a completely non-emotional and deeper understanding of issues. Clearly, I failed completely here.


Well Hong, when your comments are full of snideness, cynicism, and moral equivocation, while changing your position from post to post, and with Ted using outright personal insults, you would obviously fail completely.


(Edited by John Armaos
on 6/12, 8:11pm)




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Post 89

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 7:47amSanction this postReply
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Thanks George. You are quite right. Those unrealistic expectations of mine...I guess I just never learn... ;-^



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Post 90

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 3:18pmSanction this postReply
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George Cordero's kind remark compelled me to pick on this bit from Michael Dickey:
You (meaning Robert Malcom) and George can flout your pretentious 'every man chooses the nation which rules him' crap easily when you have never had to stare down the barrel of a T-72 or had to choose between the chance at a better life somewhere else and weighed that against how likely whatever shit bag dictator armed by the Soviet Union would kill you.
Michael, you have no idea how wrong you are here.



 




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Post 91

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 3:32pmSanction this postReply
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You (meaning Robert Malcom) and George can flout your pretentious 'every man chooses the nation which rules him' crap easily when you have never had to stare down the barrel of a T-72 or had to choose between the chance at a better life somewhere else and weighed that against how likely whatever shit bag dictator armed by the Soviet Union would kill you.
Michael, you have no idea how wrong you are here.



Verily, Michael, ye know me not.....  indeed you have no idea how wrong ye  be..

(Edited by robert malcom on 6/13, 6:38pm)




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Post 92

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 5:24pmSanction this postReply
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Passive-Aggressive-Egotism and its Defenders (or "Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked.")

Hong's sanctimonious cynicism has ceased to surprise me. But that some still admire and sanction her for it is absurd. The fact that facts have now become beside the point on this thread is disgusting.

Hong's sarcasms, provocations, ignorance and evasions are undeniable. On a thread in the Quotes Forum about the "Golden Age" of isl^m, where I commented that all the supposed accomplishments of the isl^mic golden age were either the accomplishments of Indians or Jewish and Christian dhimmis or holdovers from Hellenism, and where I said that "there might be individual m^slims of good will," but that "as a criminal conspiracy, isl^m is pure evil," she quoted only those last four words, without ellipsis, and out of the blue, said that she could say that "Christianity is pure evil." What motivated this? Christianity was not the subject, she brought up the matter without argument, without evidence, and without the decency of even quoting me in full, simply arbitrarily asserting moral equivalence between a culture of admittedly mixed premises and one that in all respects is piratical and parasitic. When questioned with a list of fifteen points, she complained that I was muddle headed, overly emotional, and no fun, and stormed off like a child in a huff. Just as on this thread, she never addressed a single one of the counter-arguments raised against her.

[Note that one who takes Hong's position of "equivalence" could adduce facts to argue that the "Christian" West and isl^m are both equally malevolent so far as religion is involved. But one would have to admit that both Araby and the West had the benefit of Aristotle. One culture did accept Aristotle and reformed itself, the other culture rejected him utterly, and has never had a reformation. But neither Hong nor those who sanctioned her even attempted this argument.]

Then, on a thread by Steve Wolfer where he quoted a line from Lawrence of Arabia where Lawrence told the tribal chieftans that if they continued to bicker amongst themselves they would remain "barbarous, petty and cruel," she opined that she could say the same about the nations of Europe (making the either fatuous or ignorant assertion that WWI was a "family squabble" when indeed the various grandchildren of Victoria, against the wishes of their war ministers, had tried to stave off armed conflict) - again, totally out of the blue - unless one assumes that Hong is reflexively cynical, hypocritical, anti-Western, or some combination thereof.

And one certainly might be justified in thinking that she is a nihilistic cynic, considering her posting this quote of Jane Austen, never commented on by those who indulge her like a pet mascot:

"Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked."

Hong has repeatedly stated that she isn't an Objectivist, doesn't read philosophy, doesn't know much relevant history, but that she does like literature where amoral characters spout ugly sentiments like "People who can do nothing else ought to rear people, while the rest work for their happiness and enlightenment." These are the actions of a lone wolf, or a Nietzschean, not a rational egoist. (Forgive me, Friedrich.) She says here that she doesn't want to arouse emotions, just to get to the truth, but she continuously calls names, changes the subject, then gets offended when people call her on her inconsistencies - saying that they (by taking her at her own words?) are being unfair and overly emotional.

Now we get absolutely content-free self-congratulatory statements about how her "purpose has never been to "incite emotional responses", but to "incite" a completely non-emotional and deeper understanding of issues"? This is utter nonsense, obvious to anyone who actually reads her posts, her shifting positions, her evasions, her passive-aggressive attacks, and her absolute refusal to provide any evidence to back up her arbitrary assertions. Just read this string from the beginning, and you will see that the only consistent position she has taken has been that of petulant provocateur. Her name-calling and her refusal to back up her baseless assertions are obvious. Can anyone point to a single fact, link, quotation, argument or bit of evidence she has given to support her claims? No. We just get imputations of bad faith made by her against those who actually assume that she means what she says and who ask her to support her arguments.

So far as I can see, the only typically "Objectivist" (again, forive me) thing about Hong's modus operandi is her adoption of the method of making moral condemnations of those who question her, and who show her her own hypocrisy in her own words, and then resorting to asserting that actually being expected to support her condemnations shows the immorality (or emotionality, or whatever) of those who want proof.

I can provide a link to show in Hong's own words proof of my assertions. Can anyone show where she has ever provided evidence to back up one of her own claims when challenged?

I tend not to complain when a thread gets hijacked. Perhaps now this thread can either refocus on John Armaos' eloquent quote showing the analogy between what the Democrats did in Vietnam and what they are trying to do now in Iraq? Or might it die a merciful death?

Ted Keer

(Edited by Ted Keer
on 6/13, 11:46pm)

(Edited by Ted Keer
on 6/14, 12:14am)




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Post 93

Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 9:36amSanction this postReply
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Thankfully I have never been to this place you pull these disgusting statements out of, and by disgusting, I mean, implicitly, not only untrue but so flagrantly untrue that the mere assertion of them is insulting. Much like if I asserting that you love cut the fingers off of small children with hacksaws, asserting that "South Vietnam would have done the same to the North" is equally untrue and yet far more disgusting.

Your statements are not disgusting and atrocious because they are politically incorrect, but instead because they are so absurdly untrue. There is not even a remote kernel of truth to them. They amount to hardly anything less than slander against millions of people.


What is clearly untrue is your wishful assertion that "the population of North Vietnam in 1956 was much larger than that of South Vietnam.


Hardly, you cite one single, obviously biased website, in order to ‘prove’ me wrong? A website you admit is biased? Ha. Do you not think it odd how difficult it is to find those population numbers on web sites? The population of North Vietnam *was* larger, by a few million people, in 1956, and was ruled by an oppressive government which instituted universal conscription, murder quotes, collectivization, etc, and was a system which had no problem attaining miraculous perfect voter turnouts.

Who says it was "larger"? I do, but I can put the numbers up on a web site, and link to it here, if you consider that a final arbitration of truth. I say so because I have read it, in books, not web sites, which are historically more accurate than Chomsky-ite front page template web ‘historians’. Sorry, I have over 1,000 books in my personal library and I do not recall which one, exactly, I read those figured in. Please tell me what what your criteria is for an accurate source of historical information. If it is merely something on a web site, I will go ahead and add a subsection to my "Free Vietnam" page stating the population difference.

But all of this is besides the point, even if the population was equal, which it wasn’t, the "Vote" was absurd. The fact that you place any moral value on this "Vote" at all is ridiculous in the first place. Hong, what is the nature and purpose of a democratic vote? What do we have a right to vote for and against? Can I vote to enslave you? Can I vote to confiscate your property? Can I vote to confiscate the property of another, much freer population, merely because I am armed to the teeth by the most brutally repressive regime ever known to exist on this planet? Can I vote to take away your life? Please expand on the idea, Hong, enlighten us as to what ought to be considered a just vote. If you are here to legitimately and sincerely discuss ideas, here is topic worthy of development.

Of course you won’t, because instead of sincerely discussing ideas, you are here to throw out bumper sticker slogans about a complex topic you know, admittedly and demonstratably, almost nothing about, intended not to discern the truth of a complex matter, but merely to troll.


As you so obviously consider yourself an expert on Vietnam, I have to wonder what are the other "facts" that you have in your mind to support your arguments


Quite the contrary, in my first post I wrote "while I am certainly no crystal ball of knowledge on Vietnam, I know your assessment of the history and the context surrounding the Vietnam war is completely wrong" I am no expert, but I am far more ‘experienced’ about Vietnam than you appear to be, with your absurd "the South Would have done the same" statement.


"You guys keep arguing with things that I never said and interpret what I said to its exact opposite"


That is because your statements are so patently vague, it is easy to misinterpret intentionally vague statements. Perhaps you can try making some specific points or arguing specific ideas, instead of "no blood for oil" like knee jerk statements.


"My purpose has never been to "incite emotional responses", but to "incite" a completely non-emotional and deeper understanding of issues. Clearly, I failed completely here"


I doubt that is your purpose, because you have demonstratably failed to actually develop on any of the important ideas in question, and instead appeal to sophomoric generalizations. What is the idea you wish to discuss? Was it just for the US to be involved in Vietnam? Lets take a look at your first post.


Just a hypothetical: if the Vietnam war were not "canceled", would US have won?

I'd say no. Because US sided itself with the losing party.


Obviously you missed the fact that the US and South Vietnam actually won the war, negotiated a peace, and were dolled out Nobel Peace Prizes. It was only after the Democratically controlled US congress pulled completely the funding to South Vietnam that their fate was sealed. The North ignored the peace treaties and turned right around and started attacking the South Again. They stood their ground for two years, but ultimately the small nation of South Vietnam could not fight off the Soviet Union and China through North Vietnam. The Vietnam war was WON, it was OVER, the despicable actions by members of congress here, and leftists activists, writers, and politicians, regurgitated defeat out of the jaws of victory, by far the most despicable action this nation has taken this century.

All in the name of the same moral ambiguity you argue here.


"The absurdity of accusing me of defending communism is like"


I have not accused you of defending communism, instead you are defending moral ambiguity, which is practically just as bad, asserting that in most of these cases there was no way to know which side we should have supported, and additionally in most of these cases both scenarios were equally bad, even tough you practically admit to knowing hardly anything about this situation, and demonstrate this lack of knowledge through your absurdly incorrect statement.

While it is understandable and rational to withhold judgement on complex issues when not enough information is available, it is murderous incompetence to withhold judgement on matters where life and death are the consequences, where a system based explicitly on death strives to come to power, a primary point of my "Communism and Moral Ambiguity” article, which, in this post seemed to have had quite an effect on you. Why the change of heart now? Why so reluctant to make a choice regarding communism?

It is this same kind of moral ambiguity, combined with short sighted expediency of the moment decisions, that has allowed the living embodiments of evil to become so well entrenched over and over again through the history of civilization. Even in 1919, Winston Churchill was warning the world of the dangers of communism, any system based explicitly on the denial of property, of the material means by which a man can sustain his own existence, is inherently evil. Churchill tried to send troops and material aide, a modicum of which, he argued, would have helped the Russian generals of the time defeat Leninism. The people of Britain called him a war monger and war profiteer and suffered (somewhat understandably) from an irrational disdain for
more war, having just come out of the worst war in history.

Churchill warned, every step of the way, about the growth of Nazism, and warned over and over that an even worse war would follow. The people ignored him, called him a war monger, and capitulated over and over again to a murderous dictator. Again he was right.

Churchill again warned the world of the threat of communism and this time Stalin after World War II, and again the people cried that he was a war monger and again they did nothing against the worst evil this world has faced. Again they ignored him, and again he turned out to be correct.

In all of these, moral ambiguity was a primary motivator in this capitulation and depraved indifference. In all of these, murderers became ever more powerful, and killed many millions more people that they otherwise would have.



(Edited by Michael F Dickey
on 6/14, 9:40am)




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Post 94

Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 9:39amSanction this postReply
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Hong - it is most likely that an independent (or victorious) South Vietnam would have been very like South Korea - yes not the best place - but destined to over time move in the right direction.  You need only go right now and run some searches and see the difference between:

North and South Korea
Vietnam (now) and South Korea




Post 95

Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 10:25amSanction this postReply
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Kurt,
> it is most likely that an independent (or victorious) South Vietnam would have been very like South Korea...

I am sure you are right. Have I indicated that I'd think otherwise?

(Edited by Hong Zhang on 6/14, 10:27am)




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Post 96

Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 10:35amSanction this postReply
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Kurt,
> it is most likely that an independent (or victorious) South Vietnam would have been very like South Korea...

I am sure you are right. Have I indicated that I'd think otherwise?


Yes, Hong, you *have* indicated you think otherwise, you said


"South Vietnam would have done the same if they had won"


The 'same thing' being taking over, enslaving the whole population, and killing millions of people. Or did you forget that? Apparently you present so many arbitrary positions that you forget them yourself.



Post 97

Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 11:22amSanction this postReply
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Ah, I see. My full quote is:
As to the victors slaughter their defeated enemies, that was pretty much expected in those countries. South Vietnam would have done the same if they had won.
I was talking about the bloody process of retribution and consolidation of power that always followed a violent change of regime. I guess it is hard for Americans people to think about this since it has never happened in the whole history of US.




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Post 98

Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 11:43amSanction this postReply
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I was talking about the bloody process of retribution and consolidation of power that always followed a violent change of regime


It is still not applicable, the South was not trying to conquer the North, it was defending itself from being conquered. It is highly improbably that South Vietnam would have launched any kind of retailitory aggresion in order to 'punish' the North, because though the North failed in its attempt to conquer the South, it would still be well armed and defended because it was backed by two major world powers, the South on the other hand was backed by no one, and so could not defend itself.

In fact in the months that followed the Paris Peace Accords, were any retributive raids like this launched? In all likelyhood, the South would have just continued to defend itself against aggressions launched by the North, just like South Korea has for 50 years with our help

Again, your assessment of the situtation is very limited, seemingly you base this idea that South Vietnam would have done the same thing on the mere fact that it was Asian people fighting, and asian people always commit massive murders on other Asian people after a battle is won. Yet in no individual battles of the Vietnam war did this take place (Even though the US and AVRN won most of the military conflicts) Conversely, the few large battles that *North* Vietnam won, such as conquering Hue, that sort of blood shed (which was common practice for communist aggressors did occur.

In short, the only evidence you base this assertion on is that Vietnamese people, being "Asian" people, would have probably done that, ignoring virtually all of the political, economic, geographic, and ethnic variables involved in this region.

The fact, also, that South Korea did not launch a 'retalitory' invasion into North Korea in order to punish the aggressors, for much of the same reasons that it is unreasonable to think Vietnam would have, is clear evidence to the contrary of your opinion.
(Edited by Michael F Dickey
on 6/14, 11:44am)




Post 99

Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 12:23pmSanction this postReply
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Michael Dickey,
Can you read? Can't you see "retribution and consolidation of power that always followed a violent change of regime" in there? Frankly, your whole post has nothing to do with anything I said. It baffles me that with whom and why you keep on arguing here.




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