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OFF-TOPIC Ben's sig monster quote [was Re: Parametrized Unit Tests]


Steven D'Aprano <steve at pearwood.info> writes:

> With the greatest of respect to Chomsky, I think he is simply wrong
> about Hitler. Hitler actually believed that war was good for the
> national character, and indeed good for the soul, and that long
> periods of peace would enfeeble a nation and make it decadent and
> effete.

I think the beliefs of Adolf Hitler have been interpreted in a great
many ways by many people, and support for many contradictory positions
can be found in his writings and actions.

Hitler certainly made *offers* of peace several times during the Third
Reich. Those may well have been insincere, but he intended at least some
of his own citizens to be convinced by them.

So I interpret Chomsky's meaning as being that any demagogue can, and
all popular despots do, claim they have all manner of virtuous goals;
therefore we must, to understand their intent, ask anyone speaking of
such virtuous goals what exactly is meant by their pleasing words.

Regardless: I have found that aphorism to be overly flippant and
obscure, I will take this as an opportunity to cull it from my database.

> Many people over the ages have thought that if only war was more
> terrible, we would stop making it. Alas, that appears to be false: no
> matter how terrible war is, there is always someone who thinks that it
> is better than peace.

Those who benefit from a continuance of war have tended to exert
significant effort to reduce the awfulness of war for their own,
non-combatant, civilians: either by making war at a greater remove (the
latest iteration being remote-piloted drone attacks), or by ensuring
civilians don't get to see reports of the awfulness of war.

So the mere fact that we continue to make war doesn't argue against the
hypothesis, because war is still not particularly awful to those that
approve and fund it.

Nonetheless, I also disagree with the hypothesis. I disagree on the
ground that the awfulness of war is determined less by some external
?awfulness of war? parameter, but in large part by the activities of
those who plan it and engage in it. They get the war they create.

-- 
 \     ?Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of |
  `\    men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good |
_o__)                               of everyone.? ?John Maynard Keynes |
Ben Finney