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    Missile Defense

Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars" defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an application of science be successful? Is a militarized space inevitable, necessary or impossible?

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rshow55 - 05:26pm Mar 15, 2002 EST (#583 of 592) Delete Message

Almarst , you're absolutely right about the most basic things in almarst-2001 3/15/02 4:16pm . Right about what people need. - - Right that Western civilization IS doing dangerous and ugly things -- and the world is far, far uglier than it ought to be, or could be, if people were only a little more decent, and a little wiser.

At the same time, I think you're too sentimental -- even dangerously so, about other cultures. The Cambodia of Pol Pot was a very warm, human, emotional place - in ways we'd all like to avoid -- but not reasonably a part of "western culture."

The relations lchic 3/15/02 11:53am cites are disproportionate and ugly.

I may be as concerned as you are - - but I can't agree absolutely with when you say:

. . . what is called The Western Civilization, lead today by triumphal USA, is concentraited all its energy and resources on a task of building a BETTER MACHINES and not a BETTER HUMAN BEINGS and SOCIETY.

You can find plenty of effort - some successful at making better human beings, and a better society.

Our problems are both harder and, I think, more hopeful than you suggest. We're dealing with problems - basic problems - about proportion - - and about moral (and I hate to say it, but I'm going to) logical rules.

Not all that much would have to change for a lot of things to be a LOT better. But some of the changes would be hard.

The "missile defense", and the horrors of nuclear and other war, offer some key examples.

We need to get clear about, and clearly share, consequential facts. When it really matters.

And, in all kinds of ways, we need more of a sense of proportion - - and we need to be able to discuss our senses of proportion.

manjumicha2001 3/11/02 1:28am said

" Btw, I saw someone refering to Jesus earlier. Maybe this whole Bush/Chenny/Rumsfeld/Wolforwitz shows are all part of their plan to speed up His Return. Now if that is the case, I am all for it."

Maybe we could do perfectly well, without any divine intervention, if we got scared enough to get a few things straight.

rshow55 - 05:32pm Mar 15, 2002 EST (#584 of 592) Delete Message

Mazza , I think you're being honest, but I recoil when you say

"The US system is based on Hobbes' philosophy of man's imperfections. The 7 deadly sins are a way of life and there is no answer to the Ted Bundy's, Andrea Yates, or the knucklehead who cut me off in traffic this morning on my drive to work.

"We muddle ahead and hope that our efforts have a net positive effect

I think what you say there stinks.

And is characteristically lacking something vitally needed -- a sense of proportion, and a reasonable sense of context.

It is ugly -- the opposite of "beautiful" in Heisenberg's sense.

rshow55 - 05:36pm Mar 15, 2002 EST (#585 of 592) Delete Message

Lchic and I feel that, if people paid more attention to aesthetics, and paid especial attention to the notion of ugliness set out here, we might have improved guidance for crafting a world of social relations where "man's inhumanity to man and woman" was less in evidence.

In "Beauty" , Mark Anderson quotes Heisenberg's definition of beauty in the exact sciences:

" Beauty is the proper conformity of the parts to one another and to the whole."

We could use more of a feel for beauty, for proportion, in this basic sense. The "missile defense" boondoggle, for example, is ugly - - full of gross lies and disproportions.

So are a lot of other things almarst objects to.

rshow55 - 05:55pm Mar 15, 2002 EST (#586 of 592) Delete Message

Mazza mentioned Thomas Hobbes, the english philosopher.

In my dialog with becq on the MD thread last year, I came up against a Hobbesian view that I found disturbing, because it denies a basis for moral action that many find essential. ( becq has denied that he is Bill Clinton - and except for judgements based on consistency relations, I have no reason to doubt him.

Here is becq:

My positions can be rest reflected in Hobbes. beckq 9/25/00 4:33pm

and later

I think that even Bill cannot overcome the basic flaws of man. Go back to Hobbes. beckq 9/27/00 11:36am

Lcic found the references that let me find out what Clinton meant: lunarchick 9/28/00 2:04am

Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679): Life

abstract:..Natura Naturans: Natural Law and the Sovereign in the Writings of Thomas Hobbes Condren

Conference: Natural Law and Sovereignty in Early Modern Europe

Hobbes philosophy is deeply pessimistic about the possibilty of good faith on the part of men, and it is radically against religion. A key quote is that "All priests are enemies of the state."

I don't think Clinton was entirely consistent in this position, or completely persuaded by it. But it may explain some of the moral tone-deafness he sometimes showed. And it may account for some of the hostility religous people (and not only on the right) sometimes felt for him.

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