Re: poly: polymath digest for 23 Mar 98

From: d.brin <>
Date: Tue Mar 24 1998 - 02:46:32 PST

Peter said:>>
 Matt Ridley, in the chapter "Ecology as Religion" in _The Origins of
Virtue_, does a good job of describing the persistent discrepency
between the standards people claim to follow towards the commons and
their actual behavior. People benefit from persuading others to leave
the commons unravaged, and gain in reputation from appearing to act
altruistically, but continue to act selfishly.
 We have, of course, become more sensitive towards human cultures
previously considered inferior, who have now attained enough power to
defend their claims to equality. It isn't obvious whether that change
was due to a general increase in sensitivity or to technological
changes which increased the costs of subjugating them.

A good example is the irritation shown by eco travellers, surfers, veteran
climbers etc when neos invade their turf. They want to live in a better
world. But the irony is that IF we succeed in creating a prosperous world,
6-10 billion people will become tourists and swarm over every square inch
of the globe. Already on Everest there are sherpas stationed at camp 4
with guide ropes like at a movie theater, making people (on oxygen) stand
in line waiting their turn to assault the last ridge.

Robin said:>>
Is there any evidence that U.S. troops are really any less shy about killing
ememy civilians now than in Vietnam? I don't think they got near enough to
enemy civilians in the gulf war for us to know. The sure weren't shy about
killing defeated soldiers.

Actually, modern US doctrine mandates that no officer may ever express
pleasure at killing, before any reporter. During the Gulf War, every time
you saw an officer speak, he expressed satisfaction at doing a job well,
but often added regret over 'the necessity.' Whether this was sincere or
not, it is common knowledge that officers who express pleasure at death get
blighted careers. Enlisted personel were seen whooping it up. But I don't
remember seeing any above staff sergeant do so. The dogma is different,
even if human nature has not changed.
Received on Tue Mar 24 10:39:26 1998

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