The Big Picture: A Guy Named Joe


New member
Oct 22, 2008
Therumancer said:
Incidently this is one of the reasons why I'd never willingly serve in the current military. I am not going to willingly get myself killed for liberal principles.
I'm just going to point out here that the Iraq quagmire was started by people who, if not conservative themselves (in spite of their assertions), successfully co-opted conservative sentiment. How do you interpret this exactly?

Also, no one wants a draft. Draftees are (on average) decidedly inferior to volunteers. Sometimes my lardy self wishes I'd been given compulsory military training, but my personality is antisocial to the point where I might be legitimately excused from the draft.

Therumancer said:
In some cases it might very well come down to killing every one of them. Indeed that's a big part of why we dropped the A-bombs on Japan.
At the risk of being a gigantic prick, it is telling that you believe in monolithic caricature cultures a-la Dr.Suess*.

Your efforts to make monoliths of perceived foes is not uncommon or necessarily useless (vis-a-vis war is hell and makes all men demons, don't quite buy that one though), but it is something of a detriment to the creation of larger social and political structures necessary to the harnessing of collective power. Historically technology and greater raw numbers have been the deciding factors in deciding which states or tribes ascended to supremacy. Assimilating new people, technologies, and modes of thinking is superior to simply taking the extant natural resources of a region (at least to the point of creating a revolt of enough inertia to succeed, but even then who knows?).

It is also a little bit disconcerting that you ascribe complete sociopathy to the reconstruction efforts in the former axis powers. You could argue it was done to rein in former allies bound by their military success to become world-stage rivals. But I don't think this is the strict truth of the matter. Not everyone in seats of power are sociopaths (even if it sometimes seems like that's the only trait rewarded in society at large), and the people implementing these strategies definitely were not. They were human and like most humans are strongly empathetic in spite of the potentially fatal risks that accompany it. This is why dehumanizing the enemy is important. It doesn't just bring out clannish us vs. them sentimentality, it replaces even that dark-but-human trait with complete sociopathic objectification.

Of course, no fighter (yet) is a perfectly programmable machine nor do these sentiments need to be instilled by training (see Therumancer). I expect that there are plenty of fighters whose experiences and testimony could run counter to my own small set of anecdotes. We don't disagree that genocides are a historic fact and have been for as long as refugees have run out of places to run.


* I really liked Horton Hears a Who.