The Dominion War brought out the worst in Starfleet

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by DavidGutierrez, May 23, 2012.

  1. Photon

    Photon Commodore Commodore

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    Perhaps if you don't account for the atrocities of: Josef Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot's killing fields, Idi Amin, Charles Taylor, Saddam Hussein, Chairman Mao (the worst, killing between 49-78 million), Hideki Tojo, Kim Il Sung, Brezhnev in Afghanistan, Savimbi in Anglola, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, Khomeini of Iran, need I go on. Were the countries at per se war...yes/no...but millions upon millions died in our relatively peaceful XX century.

    Just wait til those last 3 and 1/2 years. You aint seen shed blood til that one.
     
  2. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    A quick google search of conflicts or wars starting in the 1990's comes up around 60+

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_1990–2002


    However many of those conflicts did not invovle what we call the western nations (US, UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, NZ etc..) so perhaps it was not so much it was more peacful it's just that the effects of those conflicts were not felt as much by those countries.

    Even going back to the 1980's there were a fair few conflicts, but that era was dominated by the cold war. I remember watching the Fall of the Berlin Wall, realisng that it marked a turning point in the cold war, i.e that it was coming to an end. Some people on this board will not have yet been born or be too young to realise what a turning point in History that event was.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_1945–1989
     
  3. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Photon, with all the wars and atrocities you mentioned (and the ones you didn't mention) taken into account, the XX century STILL is the most peaceful in history.

    Life in the past was just that brutish, violent and short.
    We just tend to picture it in a ridiculously romanticised frame - in part because the closer to the present an era is, the more details about it we learn/remember.

    Yes, let's bring some numbers into the discussion.

    In absolute numbers, what were the worst atrocities in history?
    Let's see (deaths include battlefield deaths and indirect deaths of civilians by starvation or disease; each death toll is the median of the figure cited in a large number of histories and encyclopedias):

    1 Second World War (20th) - 55.000.000 dead
    2 Mao Zedong (government caused famine) (20th) - 40.000.000 dead
    3 Mongol conquests (13th) - 40.000.000 dead
    4 An Lushan revolt (8th) - 36.000.000 dead
    5 Fall of the Ming dynasty (17th) - 27.000.000 dead
    6 Taiping rebellion (19th) - 20.000.000 dead
    7 Annihilation of the American Indians (15th-19th) - 20.000.000 dead
    8 Josef Stalin (20th) - 20.000.000 dead
    9 Mideast slave trade (7th-19th) - 19.000.000 dead
    10 Atlantic slave trade (15th-19th) - 18.000.000 dead
    11 Timur Lenk (Tamerlane) (14th-15th) - 17.000.000 dead
    12 British Indie (preventable famine) (19th) - 17.000.000 dead
    13 First World War (20th) - 15.000.000 dead
    14 Russian civil war (20th) - 9.000.000 dead
    15 Fall of Rome (3rd-5th) - 8.000.000 dead
    16 Congo free state (19th-20th) - 8.000.000 dead
    17 Thirty years war (17th) - 7.000.000 dead
    18 Russia's time of trouble (16th-17th) - 5.000.000 dead
    19 Napoleonic wars (19th) - 4.000.000 dead
    20 Chinese civil war (20th) - 3.000.000 dead
    21 French wars of religion (16th) - 3.000.000 dead.

    A few observations - of these 21 worst atrocities, 14 were in centuries before the XX. Did you know there were 5 wars and 4 atrocities before WW1 that killed more people than that war?
    T'Girl - your naive "41 million killed in wars before the XX century" doesn't even come close to the number of deaths caused only by these top 14 atrocities committed before the XX century (or even by the wars among them).
    And all this pertains to absolute numbers.

    Of course, these were only the worst, the peak of the iceberg; there were thousands upon thousands of wars, genocides, etc (as in not merely small skirmishes) committed during the banal horror of human history.
    Our ancestors were not even close to being as reluctant as us in starting wars, eradicating this or that ethnic group, etc.



    What if we take into account the total population of those times - and ask how large a percent of the total population was killed in those 21 atrocities?
    Let's see - with the death toll adjusted to mid-XX century equivalent:

    1 An Lushan revolt (8th) - 429.000.000 dead
    2 Mongol conquests (13th) - 278.000.000 dead
    3 Mideast slave trade (7th-19th) - 132.000.000 dead
    4 Fall of the Ming dynasty (17th) - 112.000.000 dead
    5 Fall of Rome (3rd-5th) - 105.000.000 dead
    6 Timur Lenk (Tamerlane) (14th-15th) - 100.000.000 dead
    7 Annihilation of the American Indians (15th-19th) - 92.000.000 dead
    8 Atlantic slave trade (15th-19th) - 83.000.000 dead
    9 Second World War (20th) - 55.000.000 dead
    10 Taiping rebellion (19th) - 40.000.000 dead
    11 Mao Zedong (government caused famine) (20th) - 40.000.000 dead
    12 British Indie (preventable famine) (19th) - 33.000.000 dead
    13 Thirty years war (17th) - 32.000.000 dead
    14 Russia's time of trouble (16th-17th) - 23.000.000 dead
    15 Josef Stalin (20th) - 20.000.000 dead
    16 First World War (20th) - 15.000.000 dead
    17 French wars of religion (16th) - 14.000.000 dead
    18 Congo free state (19th-20th) - 12.000.000 dead
    19 Napoleonic wars (19th) - 11.000.000 dead
    20 Russian civil war (20th) - 9.000.000 dead
    21 Chinese civil war (20th) - 3.000.000 dead

    When scaled by population size, only one XX century atrocity (WW2) even makes the top 10.

    In conclusion, yes, the XX century was the most peaceful in history, a FAR smaller fraction of humanity succumbing to wars/genocides/etc than at any other time in history.


    "Our ignorance of history makes us libel our own times. People have always been like this." - Gustave Flaubert
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  4. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Obviously the one where Khan and the other superhuman dictators took over the world!
     
  5. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Wouldn't a better definition of peacful be the number of days/years where a war wasn't going on somewhere?
     
  6. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    By this criterion, the only century that has a chance of having a few years where a war/genocide/etc was NOT waged somewhere in the world is the XX century.
    The previous centuries - not a chance.

    The concept of peace as the normal state and war as the exception is a modern invention. In the past, war was the normal state and peace, merely a transitory interval between wars.

    Also - this criterion is FAR less accurate than the number/intensity of atrocities, for it puts the equal sign between wars/genocides of vastly different scale, vastly different cost in human suffering and death.
    And only by using such immense generalizations can it equate the XX century to the previous ones, when it comes to atrocities.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  7. naverhtrad

    naverhtrad Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Okay, let's break this down a bit...

    But isn't that the point, though? If we are talking about the infliction of violence, doesn't the absolute number of deaths and displacements... well, matter, more than the technology used or the scale of the conflict? The enormity of what the Nazis did shouldn't be downplayed by saying, 'well, sure they were bad, but they had gas chambers, so it was easier for them to kill - ergo they weren't as bad as An Lushan'.

    Think about 'A Taste of Armageddon', for example. Even though the inhabitants of Eminiar VII and Vendikar were conducting a war by bloodless and 'civilised' means, they were still killing real people in enormous numbers and had no means of stopping themselves until Kirk destroyed their simulators.

    Turning them into proportions of the entire world population just adds a completely unnecessary level of abstraction, in my thinking.

    Speaking of immense generalisations, it seems to me that it takes immense generalisations by necessity to compare the state of the world in any one century to the state of the world in any other.

    And the first sentence is simply not true. The Concert of Vienna was a concerted effort to create a lasting peace in Europe in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars - and it worked, spectacularly, for thirty years. Even if massive death and suffering was going on elsewhere in the world (no differently than the XX century, really), and even if there were sporadic armed uprisings in the European nations during this time, no European country warred against another between 1815 and 1848. Peace was the normal state of affairs at this time.
     
  8. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I DID analyze history in absolute numbers - which do matter.

    And then I analyzed it in percentage to the total population - which is also highly relevant in establishing the savagery of an era (the chance of being killed by war/etc of a random person; how much humans were willing to kill each other until they said 'That's enough'; etc):

    http://www.trekbbs.com/showpost.php?p=6438616&postcount=43

    Without the numbers/percentages you get nowhere - you essentially refuse to subject your affirmations to the test of historical facts. Numbers are necessary for any alalysis that claims to be even half-way objective.


    What I did NOT analyze was the technology used, how 'sanitized' the killing was.
    Regarding this - there is a difference in savagery/sociopathy between killing people with video-game-like means and maiming and killing them by hitting them with a bat until their heads cave in.

    Immense? Not really, when it comes to wars/atrocoties/etc and you use the actual numbers.

    The generalisation MacLeod proposes, on the other hand, IS immense - and completely unnecessary - for the reason I already outlined in my previous post and you selectively didn't quote.


    And you seem to work hard just to exclude affirmations about war/atrocity/etc from any way of verifying them (much of your post so far was dedicated to excluding any means of testing them: ~don't use numbers/percentages, generalisations are too large, etc).

    The Concert of Vienna was in the first part of the XIX century; its architects were influenced by enlightenment philosophy (they were conservatists, a small tweaking of enlightenment humanism) - which, together with scientific advance, are the root reasons/causes for the XX century being the most peaceful in history (as I already said, followed by the XIX century).

    Why don't you take a look at how the concepts of war and peace were viewed before enlightenment philosophy took hold?: war was regarded as the normal state of affairs and peace as an anomaly.

    Also, during the XX century, war/etc decreased globally, not just in Europe. About Europe - the longest period of peace in history was from ~1945 to the present, surpassing the two intervals from the XIX century.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  9. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Lushan rebellian took place over the course of eight years. The population of the entire Earth at that time was approximately 210 million. So you're saying that the rebellion claimed the life's of over twice the then population of the Earth?

    Earth's population in this time period was around 190 million.

    Earth's population at this time was around 360 to 400 million. The Mongols killed 68% of the planetary population ... really?

    10 million is closer to the truth.

    Estimates of the native population of the North America continent, prior to the arrival of Columbus, max out at 8 million. Most estimates are much lower.

    Yes Edit XYZ, why don't we bring in some numbers?

    :borg:
     
  10. Photon

    Photon Commodore Commodore

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    Mongols and Lushians....wow....pre-historic Jem'Hadar?
    LOL
     
  11. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Already done.
    Next time, actually READ my post before embarrassing yourself:

    I analyzed the absolute numbers:
    "In absolute numbers, what were the worst atrocities in history?
    Let's see (deaths include battlefield deaths and indirect deaths of civilians by starvation or disease; each death toll is the median of the figure cited in a large number of histories and encyclopedias):
    1 Second World War (20th) - 55.000.000 dead
    2 Mao Zedong (government caused famine) (20th) - 40.000.000 dead
    3 Mongol conquests (13th) - 40.000.000 dead
    4 An Lushan revolt (8th) - 36.000.000 dead
    5 Fall of the Ming dynasty (17th) - 27.000.000 dead
    6 Taiping rebellion (19th) - 20.000.000 dead
    7 Annihilation of the American Indians (15th-19th) - 20.000.000 dead
    8 Josef Stalin (20th) - 20.000.000 dead
    9 Mideast slave trade (7th-19th) - 19.000.000 dead
    10 Atlantic slave trade (15th-19th) - 18.000.000 dead
    11 Timur Lenk (Tamerlane) (14th-15th) - 17.000.000 dead
    12 British Indie (preventable famine) (19th) - 17.000.000 dead
    13 First World War (20th) - 15.000.000 dead
    14 Russian civil war (20th) - 9.000.000 dead
    15 Fall of Rome (3rd-5th) - 8.000.000 dead
    16 Congo free state (19th-20th) - 8.000.000 dead
    17 Thirty years war (17th) - 7.000.000 dead
    18 Russia's time of trouble (16th-17th) - 5.000.000 dead
    19 Napoleonic wars (19th) - 4.000.000 dead
    20 Chinese civil war (20th) - 3.000.000 dead
    21 French wars of religion (16th) - 3.000.000 dead."
    Do notice the dead for the An Lushan revolt, Fall of Rome, etc - and how they compare to the total population of the time.


    And then I took the percentage of deaths relative to the total population - and I adjusted the death toll to mid-XX century equivalent (for comparison to the XX century):
    "What if we take into account the total population of those times - and ask how large a percent of the total population was killed in those 21 atrocities?
    Let's see - with the death toll adjusted to mid-XX century equivalent:
    1 An Lushan revolt (8th) - 429.000.000 dead
    2 Mongol conquests (13th) - 278.000.000 dead
    3 Mideast slave trade (7th-19th) - 132.000.000 dead
    4 Fall of the Ming dynasty (17th) - 112.000.000 dead
    5 Fall of Rome (3rd-5th) - 105.000.000 dead
    6 Timur Lenk (Tamerlane) (14th-15th) - 100.000.000 dead
    7 Annihilation of the American Indians (15th-19th) - 92.000.000 dead
    8 Atlantic slave trade (15th-19th) - 83.000.000 dead
    9 Second World War (20th) - 55.000.000 dead
    10 Taiping rebellion (19th) - 40.000.000 dead
    11 Mao Zedong (government caused famine) (20th) - 40.000.000 dead
    12 British Indie (preventable famine) (19th) - 33.000.000 dead
    13 Thirty years war (17th) - 32.000.000 dead
    14 Russia's time of trouble (16th-17th) - 23.000.000 dead
    15 Josef Stalin (20th) - 20.000.000 dead
    16 First World War (20th) - 15.000.000 dead
    17 French wars of religion (16th) - 14.000.000 dead
    18 Congo free state (19th-20th) - 12.000.000 dead
    19 Napoleonic wars (19th) - 11.000.000 dead
    20 Russian civil war (20th) - 9.000.000 dead
    21 Chinese civil war (20th) - 3.000.000 dead."
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  12. naverhtrad

    naverhtrad Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Agreed there.

    Not so much there. Proportion of the total world's population doesn't matter except on the most obtuse and abstract level. (There's a reason why Pinker's Whiggish hypothesis is characterised by wiser minds as a comfort blanket for the smug, after all.) T'Girl already did a better job than I could have at pointing out the absurdities.

    A more proper measure would be the proportion of the population of the polities affected by the conflict, assuming they didn't have spillover effects. But then you have to take into account the rules of engagement, the proportion of civilians to combatants, and all sorts of other inconvenient-yet-necessary information which has a rather distressing tendency to get in the way of the neat little self-congratulatory Aesop.

    I would suggest to you, then, that you are therefore leaving out a critical element of the analysis. As an ethnic Jew whose great-grandparents were lucky enough to have left Europe before the Shoah, I don't think the Germans were any less 'savage' or 'sociopathic' toward my people than, say, the Hutus were to the Tutsis in Rwanda, even though one extermination was with bullets and cyanide and the other extermination was with machetes and clubs. Indeed, I would say they were more so - the machinery of war makes the horror less real to a human being caught up in perpetrating it. That was the point of 'A Taste of Armageddon'. Why do people not react with the same revulsion to drone strikes that wipe out entire innocent families as they would to, say, the massacre at My Lai? Why are people willing to accept an endless 'War on Terror' waged with such tactics when they would not accept that in Vietnam?

    On the contrary. I am a statistician, which means I can tell good figures from bogus ones.

    The raw numbers are helpful, but they don't necessarily tell the whole story.

    The proportional numbers are bogus for the reasons aforementioned; they don't tell a story at all, except the one that takes place entirely in hindsight. If you're a soldier in the field or even a strategist for a nation at war, the population of the world is probably not a primary factor you're likely to have considered in determining how far to take it.

    That's simply not true either. To use one example, the Middle Ages in Europe featured some very complex thinking on the nature of war and peace, and war was hardly seen as inevitable (hence the prevalence of just war theory). War was equally distasteful to the Medieval mind as it was to ours - in the High Middle Ages an ecclesiastical movement was developed which called for the control of violence and the protection of non-combatants, which crossed over into the secular obligations of the feudal lords in what came to be called the 'King's Peace'. The Germans of that time regarded with horror and revulsion the idea that war could be pursued anywhere and at any time - it was an insult to both Church and Emperor.

    It is also simply wrong to attribute all desire for peace, even in the modern age, merely to Enlightenment thinking. Metternich was very much opposed to what he called the 'presumption' of the Enlightenment, and by extension to the liberals and nationalists of his day; he viewed them as dangerous and hubristic. Metternich was influenced not only by the counterrevolutionary end of Enlightenment thought (namely Burke) but also by counter-Enlightenment figures such as Joseph de Maistre. Yet he was also the most effective anti-war advocate of his time.

    I would argue that the period between 1945 and 1990 was a peaceful one for Europe. After 1990, not so much - or perhaps I am assigning Yugoslavia too much importance.

    But what you had between 1945 and 1990 was a balance of power between two blocs which could counter and check each other through the threat of mutually-assured destruction, and which upheld the states in their spheres of influence through a generous aid-based foreign policy. That was a stable state, for the time. What you had after 1990 was a growing imperial hegemony which destabilised state structures where they were not already strong (hence the outbreak of violent anarchy, terrorism and VNSAs throughout the developing world after the collapse of the USSR), and which is now giving way to another balance of power - one which could take some time to create a new peace.
     
  13. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You'll have to come with something better regarding Pinker's book than non-sequiturs with a hint of ad personam.

    T'Girl - she confused the percentages I presented with absolute numbers; the only thing she pointed out is her misunderstanding.


    About the proportion of the dead relative to the entire population: as said, it is quite important; I already outlined several of the reasons:
    The proportion of the entire population that takes part/is affected by war/etc (the number of deaths is a pretty reliably indicator of this, even if it does not give exact numbers), the chance a given person has of dying due to it, how far the death count usually went until war/etc stopped, etc.

    As already said, this element of the analysis is less important than absolute numbers or proportion of the population - when comparing how peaceful/not peaceful were the eras.

    On one part of the equation are the victims, on the other, the perpetrators (enemy soldiers, killers, etc). Both are important.

    Your perspective is the victim's; for her, there's no difference regardless of the method used for killing.

    For the characterization of the perpetrator, on the other hand, there is a very large difference:
    "Why do people not react with the same revulsion to drone strikes that wipe out entire innocent families as they would to, say, the massacre at My Lai?"
    Because it's a LOT easier for a normal human psyche to accept death when it's just abstract numbers - when it's more abstract, less hands-on, in general - than to kill someone in gory detail. As said, the latter indicates a larger level of sociopathy then the former - as per psychology, that is.
    Considering you personal history, your distaste for this fact is understandable - but it does not change the fact.

    naverhtrad, we ARE telling the story in hindsight. We're comparing the past, not the future.

    In which case you know the numbers I posted are far from bogus.
    If you wish to seriously challenge them, you must come with something far more convincing - concrete, that is - than 'don't matter except on the most obtuse and abstract level'.

    In this case, they tell a rather large part of it.

    Your links are acient/medieval high-minded 'theory' that was badly contradicted by practice - the practice and frequency of war in those times (including practice of war by the roman empire and war incited by the church).
    Some feel-good philosophying and ineffectual measures are not the measure of how war and peace are regarded by the people.
    The measure is the practice of war and how it's - inevitably - viewed by the society, the people (as an inescapable part of life). And war WAS a constant part of life during the roman empire or during the X-XIII centuries - and viewed by the people as such, as a constant 'the way things are'.

    As closest as historians can tell, there were, in Europe alone, 1,148 conflicts from 900 CE to 1400 CE, and another 1,166 from 1400 CE to the present—about two new conflicts a year for eleven hundred years. The vast majority of these conflicts, including most of the major wars involving great powers, are outside the consciousness of all but the most assiduous historians.

    Warring was not just prevalent in practice but accepted in theory. Michael Howard (The lessons of history) notes that among the ruling classes, “Peace was regarded as a brief interval between wars,” and war was “an almost automatic activity, part of the natural order of things.” Evan Luard (War in international society) adds that while many battles in the 15th and 16th centuries had moderately low casualty rates, “even when casualties were high, there is little evidence that they weighed heavily with rulers or military commanders. They were seen, for the most part, as the inevitable price of war, which in itself was honourable and glorious.”

    BTW - the germans (much like all europeans) warred just fine (and constantly) with each other and with everyone else during history (including X-XIII centuries).

    I said enlightenment AND scientific progress were the ROOT (as in, initial) causes of the current peace.

    The VIII-XIX century were dominated by ~4 'large' currents: enlightenment humanism; conservatism (sharing the same methods - rationality - and ultimate goals with enlightenment); nationalism; utopian ideologies.

    Edmund Burke, Joseph de Maistre - and Metternich - were conservatives - their goals and methods were similar to the enlightenment's. The difference? They believed continued monarchy was the way to progress and peace (the experience of the french revolution scaring them away from liberal democracy).
    Conservatism is called sometimes counter-enlightenment - but it shared most of its content with enlightenment humanism.

    Nationalism and its utopian ideologies, on the other hand - these WERE counter-enlightenments. They rejected reason itself as a legitimate path to reach valid conclusions about society, governance, etc. Rather, what 'felt' right was the way to go.
    As for the results of these - communism, fascism, etc.

    We're comparing the XX century with previous ones:
    The Yugoslavian war was was no big deal when compared to past ones - meaning yes, you are making a common mistake, assigning it disproportionate gravity by virtue of it being recent.

    The american hegemony of the past decade+ is tame and rather benevolent by comparison to past empires/hegemonies and their modus operandi (including XIX century ones). In many cases, it's debatable whether you can even name the american actions 'imperialistic'; with past empires, you never have such problems.

    In general, the current - and recent - turmoil in the world is quite tame when compared to what was 'business as usual' during history.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  14. Photon

    Photon Commodore Commodore

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    One thing last century gave us is communism. Wonder how many ppl lost their lives to make this failed system of govt, work.
     
  15. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Photon

    As it happens, I tangentially addressed communism in my last post:

    "The VIII-XIX century were dominated by ~4 'large' currents: enlightenment humanism; conservatism (sharing the same methods - rationality - and ultimate goals with enlightenment); nationalism; utopian ideologies.

    Edmund Burke, Joseph de Maistre - and Metternich - were conservatives - their goals and methods were similar to the enlightenment's. The difference? They believed continued monarchy was the way to progress and peace (the experience of the french revolution scaring them away from liberal democracy).
    Conservatism is called sometimes counter-enlightenment - but it shared most of its content with enlightenment humanism.

    Nationalism and its utopian ideologies, on the other hand - these WERE counter-enlightenments. They rejected reason itself as a legitimate path to reach valid conclusions about society, governance, etc. Rather, what 'felt' right was the way to go.
    As for the results of these - communism, fascism, etc."


    As for the deaths due to the wars/atrocities linked to communism - they are included in the numbers and analysis I posted.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  16. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Communism started out with an emancipatory agenda and turned out to be the worst ethical nightmare in the history of humankind precisely because it started out as liberation project. Conservatism on the other hand was always been reactionary and there is a straight path from reactionary anti-democrats to nazis.
    The enemies of the French Revolution have hardly been enlightened. That's like calling the contemporary reactionary forces who undermine democracy, ignore climate change and are fine with financial disorder and derivative products on food that cause hunger enlightened just because they are nice guys who do not go around shooting people.

    I am a moderate social democrat with the basic 'reform instead of revolution' worldview. But deciding between a bunch of democratic Jacobins who kill tens of thousands and a reactionary Napoleon who sets Europe on fire and kills millions is still a no-brainer.
     
  17. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination

    :techman:In terms of pure results, social democracy is probably one of the most successful ideologies in history. I've frequently thought that the UFP can most closely be described as a utopian social democracy: no citizen goes hungry and all have access to a certain amount of resources, yet clearly voluntary markets for consumer goods and exchanges are still legal and prevalent.
     
  18. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Indeed. During the social democratic age, i.e. the few decades after WWII, GDP growth has been high and income inequality has been low so social democracy does work.
    Voluntary markets is a great and compact term which implies that the basic needs are always satisfied, that some goods are produced outside of markets (with stuff like open-source software it becomes prevalent that people do indeed work for free once their basic needs are satisfied) but that markets are not forbidden.

    On a sidenote, what I like about social democracy, except for the fact that it is clearly the best system, is that its basic idea is moderation. I once saw an interview with Bergman in which he said something along the lines of "the great thing about Swedish social democracy was that people who hated each other, capitalists and socialists, could sit at one table and work together".
    Or take an important ingredient of social democracy demand-management. Keynes described his General Theory as "moderately conservative in its implications", Stiglitz pointed out that Keynes "save[d] capitalism from the capitalists".
    Not that there is anything inherently great about the idea of moderation, a golden middle and so on but at least to me there is something intuitive and natural about such a system.

    I do not want to question that social democracy is an ideology, it has its axioms which you do not question and so on, but among political ideologies it is perhaps one of the most unideological and pragmatic ones.
    That's precisely why I agree with your point that the UFP is social democratic. If it were anything else much more propaganda would float around.
     
  19. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Mar 8, 2001
    Location:
    Great Britain
    Conservatisim is hardly reactionary, how can a philosphy about tradions and gradual change be called reactionary?
     
  20. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    There are of course honest conservatives. Hard for me to come up with anybody but perhaps Chesteron would qualify? Eisenhower is the only politician and Friedman is the only interesting intellectual who comes to mind. Please feel free to add further examples.

    Yet the majority are reactionaries. The UK has been democratic for a long time but other countries like France and Germany haven't and there many conservatives have been opposed to democracy. In my own country there was a straight road from anti-democratic conservatism to fascism.
    Since the Thatcher and Reagan revolutions in the eighties conservatives in the West have basically tried to undo social democracy. That is indeed gradual change but backwards into the Gilded Age and not forwards.
    About traditions, I think that what you could call customs are very important. You cannot keep a society together merely via rules and laws. But many traditions are xenophobic, homophobic, racist or sexist (sorry but that's just how life was back in the days) and I couldn't care less about their destruction.