Moral high grounds

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  • #26
kyleb
omg drag is a moral relativist; i would have never guessed! :wink:
 
  • #27
drag
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Originally posted by kyleb
omg drag is a moral relativist; i would have never guessed! :wink:
Like I said, I do stick to the default though,
and I think I know it pretty well. :wink:
 
  • #28
kat
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Originally posted by Nereid
How about Norway?

Not only does it seek to devote a high percentage of its GDP to third world aid, it aslo actively seeks to resolve conflicts through neutral mediation; though they didn't succeed, the Oslo accords were a serious attempt by a small nation with no stake whatsoever in the Middle East. More recently, their efforts to bring peace to Sri Lanka.

I guess it would seem odd to me to present a country as morally superior to Israel when it sent 1/3 of its jews to Auschwitz and then looted all of their assets. *shrug* but maybe that's just me.
 
  • #29
Zero
Originally posted by kat
I guess it would seem odd to me to present a country as morally superior to Israel when it sent 1/3 of its jews to Auschwitz and then looted all of their assets. *shrug* but maybe that's just me.
What was that, 60 years ago? What was the time frame of the 40% civilian murders of the Israeli army that you posted? Certainly more recently than 6 decades, I'm sure.
 
  • #30
Claude Bile
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Nations are groups of people. While nations may remain, the people that make up that nation come and go. Should I be persecuted because my father (hypothetically) murdered somebody 30 years ago? Of course not. Should germans be forever hounded because of the nazis? What about what Spaniards did to the Incan empire, or the Cristians that invaded the Middle East during the crusades?

People that argue on moral grounds inevitably fall flat on their face because no single person is perfect, much less a whole nation of them. Every nation has done good things and bad things and the quicker we stop looking to the past and begin looking toward the future the better.
 
  • #31
Nereid
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kat said:
I'm curious, which countries people feel [they] are morally superior to Israel.
(my emphasis) What has been discussed so far is, more or less, the other part of kat's question, which she (?) repeated several times, e.g. The subject is moral high grounds, and which countries have it

The consensus seems to be that the 'have' question is impossible to answer, if not actually meaningless.
(kat did qualify it, in an absolute sense, by saying no-one has the moral high ground unless they have a "clean slate", to which the corollary would seem to be that unless a country is very small or very new, no country can have the moral high ground).

What about the original question? It's both semi-objective, and potentially testable. E.g.
- make a working definition of 'moral high ground' and 'country'
- develop a protocol for assessing the 'feeling' of the people of a country
- go measure
 
  • #32
Zero
And I think you would have to limit things to the last 5-15 years in most countries. In America, for instance, a large chunk of the government changes in that time frame, so they carry little blame for the crimes of their predecesors.
Well, unless you are Bush.
 
  • #33
drag
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Originally posted by Zero
Well, unless you are Bush.
If you hate your president and government and large
corporations and legal authorities and political
system and your soldiers and the people who work
to allow you your luxurious lifestyle and keep you
safe and free - maybe you should immigrate. :wink:

Peace and long life.
 
  • #34
Zero
Originally posted by drag
If you hate your president and government and large
corporations and legal authorities and political
system and your soldiers and the people who work
to allow you your luxurious lifestyle and keep you
safe and free - maybe you should immigrate. :wink:

Peace and long life.
None of things are America. Your post is silly. Republican liars tried to bring down Clinton for purely political reasons...and claimed to be patriots while supporting a moronic anti-American puppet like Bush who has done nothing but harm. Large corporations claim to be American, but go overseas to dodge taxes. The political system is owned by those same large corporations. Soldiers haven't done anything to protect America since WWII....they certainly haven't done lots to keep me free.

BTW, when and where did you serve, Mr. Patriot?
 
  • #35
drag
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I've done my time.
 
  • #36
Zero
And we're sidetracking the thread...
 
  • #37
Nereid
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kat's question - about a nation's people having a feeling of moral superiority - is a good one.

A related question is whether democracies can be aggressors; or whether a democracy could ever go to war against another democracy. (Clearly, a democracy can declare war on a non-democratic country, even when the majority of its citizens clearly oppose that war - e.g. Australia, Britain, and Spain in the most recent Iraq war.)

Another aspect, lurking below the surface, is the extent to which a regime/government/etc meaningfully conveys or implements the feelings of the inhabitants.
 
  • #38
schwarzchildradius
Soldiers haven't done anything to protect America since WWII..
Sure they have. Just in a more ambiguous way. But the end of WWII was certainly a high point for American benevolence. Kat's question is a little off, because most members of a nation will claim that their own country and not some foreign government is superior in general. It's a question that can be analyzed, if morality is quantified. Quantifying national morality is going to be a tough, subjective mess. You can argue that certain types of government are inherently more moral than others- democracies and republics are more moral than kingdoms and dictatorships. Or you can look at the casualties caused by any specific state vs. other states.
Which angle do you think is more accurate?
 
  • #39
A clarifying point.

History will decide which nation was more compassionate. I'm of the opinion that the U.S. will inevitably be viewed like the Romans. It is fitting because our constitution was largely built around the mistakes of the Romans. Anyways, like the Romans the United States has been subject to many defensive wars since the birth of its Republic. Like the Romans, the U.S. has the benefit of being strategically located and because of conflict has become politically and militarily dominant. Also like the Romans, it has seen its navies and armies destroyed and summarily rebuilt to meet national threats. Also, from inception both denied Kings. However the differences are that the U.S. was more free for the individuals. Barring the awful and brief stint with slavery, you have to admit the U.S. has made improvements over the Romans.

But, this is a trifle. The character of a people is more important than the land they possess. It influences the land they will possess and what they will do with the land they have. Also, it influences how they will treat people, the most valuable thing.

Unfortunately, we had to go down the path of imperialism. In my opinion, not entirely of the U.S's fault it just happened because of natural forces. Another parallel, Rome was an Empire as the U.S. seems to be becoming. Both Rome and the U.S. rebuilt their enemies and gave them autonomy. The only difference is the U.S. didn't leave behind permanent colonial magistrates and there was never a 'citizenship' tease. The U.S. just relenquished control and gave back sovereignty.

I've proven your point though. Observation, at least now, is highly subjective. What angle will you take? I'm sorry, I couldn't answer your question.

Anyways, this is why I say the future will make improvements over us. But first must come a dark age. Of course, one I don't think history has a definition for. Anyways, I'm becoming terribly vague I'm sorry.
 
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  • #40
Nereid
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PsYcHo_FiSh wrote: Barring the awful and brief stint with slavery, you have to admit the U.S. has made improvements over the Romans.
And not to forget the natives ... is it true that the (various) US governments broke every single one of the >100 treaties they signed with the various Indian nations?
schwarzchildradius wrote: You can argue that certain types of government are inherently more moral than others- democracies and republics are more moral than kingdoms and dictatorships. Or you can look at the casualties caused by any specific state vs. other states.
Which angle do you think is more accurate?
Plenty of ways to cause harm other than by directly killing people, just ask the cotton farmers of west Africa for example, or those subject to 'collective punishment' in the West Bank.

Being optimistic, the world will move towards fewer wars and less military aggression (perhaps less terrorism too). The new morality will be more economic - causing harm through restrictions on free trade for example, or high tarriffs.
 

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