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Bin Laden was already dead

It was politically expedient to kill some random pakistanis and then declare mission accomplished. He probably died from kidney failure and our folks just collected the body.

Either that, or they just dressed someone up and buried the body at sea. Either way – bring the troops home and leave the middle east alone!

Categories: Uncategorized

Conflict Motivation: Revenge vs. Profit

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Hannibal Sacking Rome

People attack each other for two reasons – revenge and profit.

The first one is easy to understand. One group wrongs another or is perceived to have wronged the other and so revenge or justice is sought. Revenge has the added flavor of irrationality in it – which means people are not thinking rationally, but they are seeking to retaliate and they feel they are right to do so. Justice only comes in if they really are right to do so and if the punishment fits the crime (i.e. is not more extreme than the crime committed). Of course, the person that is retaliated upon may view the retaliation as being too extreme and so will seek retaliation of his/her own.

The second one is not so easy to understand and often causes the first. This is the more important of the two to understand, and so I will focus on it the most. There are two kinds of profit to be gained by attacking – material and political. The most important of these two is political profit. While it may be possible to make a big haul on loot, the political profit is what frightens enemies, warms supporters, and gains acute attention. This is what allows the conqueror to increase holdings and embark on more campaigns or gather other powerful people.

As an example of all of this, I would like to use the opening bank robbing scene in Batman: The Dark Knight. It starts off as a bank robbery – we understand this, and it is interesting, but it doesn’t “wow” us. We see a great deal of backstabbing amongst the robbers – these are attacks for material gain. At one point the bank manager threatens the Joker – which is our promise of revenge. However, afterwords, the Joker burns a large portion of money in front of the people he stole it from. Why? He does it because it is politically profitable. By doing that he shows these people that his priorities are more far-reaching than money. He shows them that he is willing to do what they will not, and that is why he should be leader. Basically, he is telling them “I can play your game better than you”. In this way, he has assaulted their sensibilities and their pocket books and taken from them their admiration.

In the old days, this was called “glory”. It was all that was needed to rule countries, move the populace to some action or even to prevent assassination just by virtue of the presence of the glorious person.

This is still true today. Glory is won today by overcoming adversity in a public forum. Take Obama for example: he was a bit of a nobody right up until near the end of the Democratic primary, and then when he won that he was pole vaulted into this sterling role that McCain couldn’t overcome – even with a female running mate. Obama still has his blind followers that follow for no reason other than they are chasing his glory.

The most interesting thing about glory, and the most important, is that how the glory is obtained has no bearing on the quantity or quality of the glory. A bloody conqueror that sets his throne on a pile of dead bodies is just as imposing as one that moves nations just by speaking. Most often, glorious people are a mix of the two.

Categories: Politics, Uncategorized

Honor: By any means necessary

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

What’s the one thing that makes you do the right thing when nobody is looking? What is the one thing that lets you judge other people, and gives you the courage to be judged? What is the single most important thing that builds trust within your relationships?

Your honor.

This is a tricky one to determine. It’s different for each person. It can’t be defined in a list of qualities. Even if you could, the degree of its presence would vary from one person to another. Not only that, but it’s a pain in the ass and even an honorable person will screw up and betray his/her honor once in a while.

Throughout history, religion has been the driving force behind honor. Take the Romans for example: Numa Pompilius (715-673 B.C.) brought to Rome a strong religion. It was so strong that for centuries a Roman might finagle his way out of any deal, but if you got him to swear an oath on his honor – he would keep it no matter what. People died for their oaths because they felt that if they broke them, then in the afterlife they would be extremely fucked forever. To this day, many people take a code of honor from various religions.

Some people don’t believe in any religion and so think that absconds them from needing to have honor. This is not true, and the reason is this: other people do have honor for whatever reason. This means that there is an expectation in all of society (as it turns out every group of people on the planet feel this way) that a level of honor be maintained. Even if you take a group of people who don’t speak the same language, have vastly different religious views, and look very different from each other and put them in a close social setting for a while – they will develop an honor system.

In ancient times to test a person to find if he/she had honor, some sort of conflict would have to happen. This could be done peacefully through debate or some sort of mercantile exchange (like a bet on some unknown outcome, where the loser paid and the winner was gracious); and another way was through combat. The combat one is not as easy to do today in a Western society because we’re all a bunch of pussies that are afraid of a fist fight, but we can still do the others.

So let’s say you have proven your honor to your peers. Let’s consider some outcomes:

  1. Perk: You can now judge other people. If you find someone lacking, you can call them an asshole, and if they want to beg to differ you can have a debate. If you are wrong, and you have honor, you will apologize and then stick up for that person’s honor as you now owe them a favor. Duty: You must put your honor on the line for the whole world to see constantly so that the whole world can see that you have it. If you do not, then you lose your credibility. Danger: If you put your honor on the line and fail to deliver, you lose at least some honor, so you should be thinking all the time about how to be honorable.
  2. Perk: You can now be controversial in your viewpoints. If you say something you believe to be true that is not politically correct and someone takes issue, you have a right to be shown how you have wronged anyone. Duty: You must interest yourself in controversial subjects, educate yourself on them, and form an opinion based on what you find. Danger: If you choose to be controversial for no other reason than you want to hurt people, you will lose your honor, so you should be researching all the time on why you have the stance you do and be willing to change your stance if the facts change.
  3. Perk: Your word is your bond and you are afforded the benefit of the doubt in all matters public and private. Duty: You must keep your word, and any kindness you do for someone must be repeated for others at every opportunity. Danger: You might misspeak or you might outright lie to save time, money or something else. In order to avoid this, you must strive to make sure that people know when you are doing something out of the ordinary and also when you are doing something ordinary. In this way, you can not be held accountable for things that are not normal for you and lies become unnecessary.

These are not all of the perks, duties and dangers of being an honorable person – just some that came to my mind as I was writing this; however, I have saved the best for last:

People who conduct themselves with honor are able to resolve differences peacefully and satisfactorily. They lead safer lives than dishonorable people, who must always be looking over their shoulder for people they have wronged and who are looking to get even. They are less gullible because they are always seeking out the truth of things and must therefore amass knowledge on a wide range of subjects. Despite this, an honorable person must understand that nothing is ever certain, fair, or easy. They must always be looking for the dishonorable person that is looking to take advantage. An honorable person must vigorously and constantly work towards finding honor.

Numa Pompilius (715-673 B.C.)

Categories: Uncategorized

First trip to the stall

Anyone who has ever ventured into a mens restroom stall (which should be everybody) has undoubtedly been subjected to the marvelous wisdom posted in various inks and etchings upon the walls of the stalls. In many ways, it is the grittiest form of journalism – a true barometer of current thoughts and concerns and utterly devoid of any form of political correctness. This blog seeks to capture that feeling, but in a more serious way. In coming weeks the authors of this blog hope to piss a little wisdom (as they see it) out onto you, the masses.

Should you wish to comment, you are more than welcome, but don’t try to change the author’s minds – those have already been made up. Instead, seek to change your fellow reader’s mind. Also, try to be funny for Christ’s sake.

Enjoy!

Categories: Uncategorized