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Dungeons and Dragons…and Morality in the Modern Political World

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Not too many people these days will admit to having played Dungeons and Dragons to any great extent, regardless of the immense influence the game has had not only on gaming up to and including the best selling electronic games such as Modern Warfare and its sequel, but also on books, movies, and pop culture as a whole.

So yeah, I played the game…and as a result of my addiction, my GPA for my first year in college in 1980 was an abysmal 1.28 — not exactly something to brag about. But I took a few useful lessons from the game that I still apply in everyday life, and one lesson in particular should be applied to politics: “Lawful Good is not the same as Lawful Stupid”.

Now for the uninitiated, this will take a short explanation. In the AD&D world, there something called “alignment” which refers to a character’s personality. There’s Good, Neutral, and Evil, and there’s Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic. The Good and Evil are self-explanatory — either you’re good or evil or something in between. The attributes of ‘Lawful’ and ‘Chaotic’ refer to how much importance one places on following “the rules”, whatever those rules may be…so you’re either lawful or chaotic or something in between.  One’s alignment was a combination of the two series: ‘chaotic neutral’, ‘lawful evil’, and so on.

But for the purposes of this article, I’ll concentrate on the hardest “alignment” to play: “Lawful Good” (hereafter referred to as ‘LG’). The LG character is supposed to believe in all that is good and right and honorable, and that one should hold the rules inviolate. The LG character is what most televangelists and religious luminaries pretend to be. The consummate LG character would be a far right-wing gun nut who nevertheless plays by all religious, governmental and societal rules. Bear in mind that this refers not to lesser rules such as speed limits or smoking restrictions, but on greater rules of morality that are found in nearly all cultures: prohibitions on murder, torture, false imprisonment, etc.

Now the prevailing attitude among most AD&D players was “Lawful Good equals Lawful Stupid”, i.e. if one insists on playing by The Rules, then those who don’t play by The Rules will run rings around the idiot (and said idiot would thus have a much-shortened life expectancy). Now this sounds quite logical — after all, how can one expect to win wars (or prevent them) by playing by such rules as “don’t eavesdrop on suspected spies” or “don’t send a predator drone into Pakistani territory where intel says Osama’s hiding”? The chaotic character believes that insisting on playing by the rules is naivete incarnate, that “the end justifies the means”, and that sometimes you’ve got to break the rules.

There are those these days in America who think there is no place for what AD&D players would call a “Lawful Good personality” in a president. In the eyes of many — particularly on the Right — the preservation of the nation/people/religion is sufficient reason for any atrocity up to and including torture and murder, even of noncombatants. This is how we wound up with atrocities such as Gitmo and Abu Ghirab. But it’s not only America — this same attitude enabled far greater evils. It’s what gave Pinochet cause to approve the Death Squads of Chile, and what gave Stalin an excuse to exile millions to the Gulag, and what gave Mao a reason to institute the Great Leap Forward…and is what drove the Israelis to maintain the blockade of the Gaza strip for over a year and board the aid ships a few days ago. These wrongs by Israel of course do not hold a candle to the monstrous evils committed by Stalin or Mao or any of a dozen other tyrants, but they are steps down a particularly slippery slope.

Now in the eyes of the supporters of Bush 43, Pinochet, Stalin, Mao, and now (sadly) Netanyahu, the wrongs committed were justified by the goal, which was the preservation of the nation/people/religion. We all know how history has judged Pinochet and Stalin and Mao, and how Bush 43 will likely be judged. The jury of historical perception will not judge Netanyahu for a decade or more…but so far it doesn’t look good for the Israeli Prime Minister who, like the other leaders I’ve just mentioned, apparently has a strong belief in “the end justifies the means”.

But let’s look at some who refused to break the rules even in the darkest of hours:

George Washington, on treatment of prisoners of war in his charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775: “Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]…I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause…for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.”

Abraham Lincoln, on torture: “If torture isn’t wrong, then nothing is wrong.”

Winston Churchill, on torture: “the use of instruments of torture can never be regarded by any decent person as synonymous with justice.”

Now what do these quotes on torture have to do with Israel’s boarding of the aid ships? Easy. Israel’s excuse is the preservation of their nation/people/religion…but did Washington, Lincoln, and Churchill face any less of a threat to their nations? If in the dead of winter when the outcome of the Revolutionary War was very much in doubt, Washington could still choose to do what was right, could still choose to play by the rules, then why can’t Israel?

There are exceptions, but by any measure the great leaders of history — regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity – tend to be those who insisted on doing that which was right, who knew and resisted the perils of expediency. Washington, Lincoln, and Churchill were neither stupid nor naive – they knew the cost of crossing certain lines that must not be crossed.

And how has history judged these three great leaders as compared to Pinochet, Stalin, Mao, and (thankfully, to a far lesser extent) Bush 43? The point is, the rules of government, of society, of culture — of humanity itself — are there for a reason. Those who have little regard for those rules are judged accordingly by history…for it was their nations that paid the price for their lack of respect for the rules of Morality, and learn the hard way that the end rarely justifies the means.

A victim of government persecution — Alexander Solzhenitsyn — said it best: “To do evil, a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good… Ideology — that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors.”

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, I also played a lot of D&D in my day, not to mention quite a few other roleplaying games. I did manage to keep my freshman GPA somewhat higher, though. I also wrote extensively on D&D and roleplaying subjects for magazines like TSR’s Dragon – about 200 articles and maybe twice that many product reviews in the 70s and 80s.

    The alignment system is at once both brilliantly simple and at the same time a fundamental failure when it comes to representing the complexity of human motivation. It’s too granular a system for most real-world applications, but very effective as a way to “nutshell” morality in a game world.

    Applying it to governments is inherently problematic, because by nature all governments fall in the range between Lawful-Evil and Lawful-Neutral. At that level of granularity it’s hard to see much difference between Israel’s government and the government of the United States. Both use rigid enforcement of law to pursue policies which are basically against the best interests of their citizens, or at best indifferent to the welfare of the people.

    The folks on that boat are a more interesting application of the D&D alignment system, with the mix of chaotic-good would-be dogooders and chaotic-neutral to perhaps neutral-evil quasi terrorists or terrorist sympathizers.

    Terrorists make an interesting study in the problem of the system as well, as from their perspective they are Lawful-Good, but from everyone else’s perspective they’re chaotic-evil. Clearly there’s a lot of subjectivity to how the system is applied.

    As for me, I always played chaotic-neutral characters.

    Dave

  • Ruvy

    Glenn,

    I never played DD, but I got your points real fast. I have little use for Snivelus Netanyahu – he is a cheater, a liar and a swindler, not to mention a sore loser. But in ordering the boarding of the ships headed to Gaza to break Israeli sovereignty – a bully squad sent and backed by the Turks – Netanyahu was right. Frankly, torpedoing the lead Turkish would have been the right move, in my opinion, but that is another matter.

    This issue is black letter law. Gaza is a de-facto hostile state at war with Israel, and blockading it is the least our government can do to protect its citizenry. This was merely a police action to enforce that blockade.

    That you cannot see this shows your own moral blindness.

    Netanyahu displayed his usaual cowardice in allowing the Turks, Europeans and Arabs to go home instead of making them sweat it out in an Israeli jail while the governments of their home countries jumped up and down and threatened this and that dire consequence. He had the opportunity to truly test whether the Turks have any balls or not.

    The Turks are good at murder and genocide, a fact you managed to leave out of your morality lecture, and they are good at persecuting minorities in their own borders in a manner that makes Israel look like a bunch of sweeties by comparison.

    Funny, Glenn, only when Jews do wrong do you complain. Everyone else seems to get a free pass. Do you actually unconsciously agree with me that all goyim are animals?

  • Doug Hunter

    “as from their perspective they are Lawful-Good, but from everyone else’s perspective they’re chaotic-evil.”

    Very good point. When it comes to war, it is always chaotic and evil while the two sides likely feel their position is lawful and good. War IS sometimes better than the alternative. WWII is a perfect example. We used Nuclear weapons and bombing runs intentionally targetting civilians to break their will (terrorism?) I’m satisfied with the outcome of WWII even though we were forced to use evil tactics.

    Would anyone rather have simply set idly by and let Germany slaughter it’s weaker neighbors and exterminate the undesirables?

    Other examples: Prison, Government itself (it’s wrong to put one person in a position of authority over another, but also necessary)… the world is full of choices of lesser evils, that’s the result of living in an imperfect world.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    My compliments to the editor, whether it was you or someone else. A nurse who works with our medically-fragile kids just had a book published and I’m hoping to work with her editor on my own book. I mention this because the professionalism of the BC editors has helped me to understand just how crucial they are to effective writing.

    Again, kudos to the editor.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy –

    If I’ve seemed to single out the Jews, then that was not my intention and please accept my apology for the confusion. My aim was to criticize the political entity that is Israel and its government – but not Jews or Judaism.

    The reason I take issue with Israel is not because they’re worse than anyone else, but because they should be holding themselves up to a higher standard than anyone else. A nation that holds itself to be chosen by God had better strictly adhere to God’s laws – including laws of morality – or that nation becomes guilty of religious hypocrisy.

    That’s why I was so critical of the Bush administration – like so much of the supposedly-religious Far Right, it didn’t even try to hold itself to the standard it claimed. At least the Obama administration’s trying to do so, and he himself is man enough to publicly apologize when he’s wrong (an admirable quality that is a rarity indeed among men of great power).

    And if you’ll remember, I’ve repeatedly stated that the greatest enemies of the Jews have been mainstream “Christians”, and particularly Catholics.

    No, I do not criticize the Jews as a people or a religion just as I do not criticize most of the Islamic people or beliefs. If I’m guilty of criticizing a religion, it’s the mainstream “Christians”…and I think my writings here and elsewhere will bear that out.

    “Always do right – it will gratify your friends and astonish your enemies.” Mark Twain

  • Les Slater

    “The Turks are good at murder and genocide, a fact you managed to leave out of your morality lecture, and they are good at persecuting minorities in their own borders in a manner that makes Israel look like a bunch of sweeties by comparison.”

    I don’t agree totally but you do raise much truth here.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Les,

    I think you posited an interestng question on the other thread – about dealing with symptoms rather than a real problem.

    I posted a response right after. Interested in your take on it.

    I think you’ve hit on an important principle. It merits further discussion.

  • Les Slater

    Refresh my memory.

    There is merit in Ruvy’s assertions that Israel is being singled out unfairly. As I have said at various times, Israel is only part of the equation. Imperialism is behind it all but we must not ignore the despicable roles played by other parties in the Middle East. Ruvy is correct to point out how most of these parties treat Jews.

    One must seriously consider that pointing the finger only at Israel is often motivated by Jew hatred. Ignorance at best.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, yes – that remark. I posted a response on that very thread.

  • Les Slater

    Has anyone else noticed that this site hangs waiting for tweetmeme.com and lijit.com?

  • Mark

    #10 Yes. But for all the nice folks here, I would’ve written the site off awhile ago.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Actually, Glenn touches on some very interesting conceptual relationships here – morality, legality and politics. His first philosophical piece, as it were, whether he realizes it or not.

    Spoiled by rather pedestrian conclusions, but we’ll get to it in due time.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Les, are you conteplating on a response or just forgot about it?

  • Les Slater

    I’ve been busy. I’m about to leave to look at a new car. I still do not know exactly what you’re referring to. Please be more specific.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t know how much more specific I can be. Anyways, this is the conversation I’m referring to:

    We have to begin to bring much more clarity than that and especially bring it to the working class. We have to clearly distance ourselves from blaming Jews for the crimes of capitalist imperialism.
    (tail end of your #258)

    259 – Les Slater
    Jun 02, 2010 at 10:12 pm
    Not only distance ourselves but to condemn such sentiment even it does not explicitly blame Jews. The sentiment is there and it does reinforce Jew hatred. This is deadly.

    260 – roger nowosielski
    Jun 02, 2010 at 10:55 pm
    But they’re the pawns of the imperialists. It’s like saying National Guardsmen did not fire at Kent State.

    I appreciate your taking the high ground and identifying the true cause. It surely promotes understanding. Meanwhile, what is the plan of action as regards Israeli behavior? Should it be allowed to continue? And for how long?

    It may be a long while before you will dismantle the machinery at work. So I suggest, striking at symptoms is one effective way of accomplishing the ultimate objective. And if not that way, then how?

    ————————————–

    Again, I should think further discussion of this point is desirable. Anyway, I moved this line of thought to this thread. It’s more at home here.

  • http://pvtgov.wordpress.com George Staropoli

    I never played Dungeons & Dragons, and I think the personality classifications are informative, and can serve as a guide to moral and ethical behavior since God is dead! Scientists have made that clear long ago, and the US Supreme Court has followed along to keep God out of government. Now, with God out of government, then men have not been created equal and certainly not endowed with certain unalienable rights. And the people are not entitled to anything under the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God. Government can do away with every and all rights as it sees fit.

    Understanding that, then what philosophy is there to guide mankind in its endeavors? Dungeons and Dragons? The Prince’s philosophy? Maybe the meditations of Emperor Marcus Aurelius? How about the classic Greek thoughts on ethics? Perhaps, more current, we should look at the down-to-earth philosophy brought to us in living color by none other than Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti western anti-hero? The anti-hero does what he believes is right, as he sees it, always seems to find problems with authority figures, and has his solutions to the problems before him. Or, as it appears to apply to businessmen in general, Gordon Gecko’s, “Greed is good.”

    How shall our politicians conduct themselves? How shall the people conduct themselves? God is dead. Now what?

  • Mark

    …what is the plan of action as regards Israeli behavior? Should it be allowed to continue?

    Allowed by whom?

    Build an international workers’ movement. Maybe this time…

    The Israeli workers need to tear down the ghetto ‘walls’.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The general question is – how can you correct the root problem if not striking at the symptoms.

    The kind of solution you and Les are proposing may take years, which the abuses continue. Are you willing to wait that long?

    And how does one uproot the evil system if not by striking at the fringes, even at manifestations thereof? That’s the general question, with possible applications to the present situation.

  • Mark

    Rog, who are you thinking could/should intervene even to strike at the symptoms?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, there aren’t many options offhand. As Les was relating, the rally he attended was mostly by the activists. No working class as yet to speak of.

    So do we really have a choice right now except to rely on public opinion buttressed by the international community?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Another line of attack – perhaps more decisive in the long run.

    To put pressure on the administration why it keeps on supporting apartheid.

    Something on analogy with how South Africa was broght to its knees.

    Of course, given present political climate, the Right is going to be vigorously opposed. Obama has squandered his political capital to be able to make a difference when it really counts – not that I’m arguing he’d be willing to put his butt on the line in the first place.

  • Ruvy

    …what is the plan of action as regards Israeli behavior? Should it be allowed to continue?

    Allowed by whom?

    …put pressure on the administration why it keeps on supporting apartheid.

    The reason I take issue with Israel is not because they’re worse than anyone else, but because they should be holding themselves up to a higher standard than anyone else. A nation that holds itself to be chosen by God had better strictly adhere to God’s laws – including laws of morality – or that nation becomes guilty of religious hypocrisy.

    Do you fools even know what you are talking about? Hey! Listen up! I’m a Jew! I’m an Israeli! I’m the guy you need to convince. And your moral hypocrisy only convinces me that you are all a pack of moral hypocrites and idiots.

    You have no clue of who works here and why; you have no clue of the opinions of those of us in the working class here at all. You have no comprehension that it is precisely the bought out traitors who align themselves with your sick porno culture who are the ones who think that steers can negotiate with butchers.

    Do you even realize that these bought out American traitors sent in our marines with – damned paintball guns? Before they opened fire on anybody, they were being assaulted and in danger of death!! Do you realize that you barbarians in the States would never do such a thing at all?

    Remember Waco? Remember all the weddings you turned into wakes with your bombardments in Afghanistan and Iraq? Remember My Lai?

    You are sick pigs who have no right at all to point a finger of blame at anybody. You never bombed the tracks leading to the death ovens in Poland, and you turned Germans into pillars of flame at Dresden.

    Scum like you have no right to even open your mouths!!

    The plan of action regarding Israeli behavior is this. Our bought out traitors will drag us in the mud until we kill them and drive your soldiers out of our land. Then we will stand up like men and do what is needed. And you will fall silent, because you have no clue what cleanliness in arms means, or what humanity means.

    You only know moral hypocrisy, and this article, and your comments on it, are shot through with your hypocrisy. You disgust me!

    And you want to convince a Jew of anything? Or do you, like the Roman savages who infested this land two thousand years ago with their damned crosses and phony little god, think that convincing a Jew is killing him and then assuming he agrees with you?

  • Mark

    We need to put pressure on our administration to shackle its dogs so that the classes in this country can work out their differences.

    We need the leverage that an ‘awakened’ anti-imperialist (tired as that concept may be) class will provide.

  • Mark

    Mr Kossover, your behavior here is beyond the pale. I hope some personal peace comes to you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, in any case, Mark, Les posoted an interesting question as regards strategy.

    Of course, it’d be even more difficult to mobilize such as sentiment within Israel, when most people perceive the situation in terms of self-defense.

  • Ruvy

    Mark, the hypocrisy in this article and in your comments, and those of Glenn, Mr. Slater and Mr. Nowosielski are what is beyond the pale. And frankly, it is disgusting. Americans, savage murderers and killers, dare dare criticize us Israelis who have done our damnedest not to kill our killers more than we absolutely needed to survive? You dare do this? The disgusting animals in Hamas at least say they intend to kill us! You hypocritical Americans pretend to be friends while you stab us in the back!

    That is why you are far worse enemies than any vicious Wahhabi scum. They are at least honest. You are liars. And you are savage killers as well. Before you dare point a finger at us, look in the mirror at the ugly beast who opens his mouth!

  • Mark

    Strategy, Rog?

    Build a base of solidarity within our own indigenous and immigrant labor force…lead by example.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, as Rorty argues, the Left has lost touch with the labor movement and the working class.

    What good does Chomsky do except stirring out the activism?

    So it does look like one has to work via political means. Just like a Tea Party has become a factor in today’s politics, there is a need for the working class to start exerting its influence – not necessarily in the polling booth but by way of public opinion, together with intellectuals.

    Organizations on the order of Amnesty International should serve as mobilizing centers.

  • Mark

    …have you hugged an ‘illegal’ today?

    the Left has lost touch with the labor movement and the working class.

    What left? Les is correct. Look to the immigrant workers for new ideas.

  • Les Slater

    Roger,

    The biggest problem right now is the lack of clarity. I responded elsewhere, to Silas maybe, that before we arm ourselves with guns, perhaps we might learn which way to point them first.

    The same is true of politics in general. Before we start making demands we better be clear. There was not only no working class at the protest, there were no coherent ideas. Deep down a lot of was anti Jewish.

    One thing you might think about is during anti-war protests in Europe, Canada and elsewhere there was a lot of anti U.S. sentiment. This took the heat off their own governments who were also involved in the wars.

    We can not hold the likes of Hamas up as heroes. We can not praise Turkey for its role.

    We not only have to understand the issues ourselves but we must start participating in these movements and call them on these issues. More importantly we need to bring these issues to the working class. We need to educate ourselves along with our class. Only then will our demands and actions begin to move us toward victory.

  • Ruvy

    This is the proper way to deal with Arab terror. Arabs attack – shoot back. The same goes for the American and European leftists who come here to incite violence. When they come upon us, we should shoot – to kill. That way, the leftist trash will think twice before trying to intervene in another country’s affairs. All of the scummy kids who come here as useful idiots of the Wahhabi terrorists should be shot at.

    Sow the wind – reap the whirlwind.

    As for the Turks, they had better watch their mouths and be careful of the bad Turkish words they utter. Demonstrations here can become far more violent than this one was, and Turkish loudmouths would be wise not to try our patience or violate our sovereignty again.

    Sow the wind – reap the whirlwind.

  • Ruvy

    There was not only no working class at the protest, there were no coherent ideas. Deep down a lot of was anti Jewish.

    We can not hold the likes of Hamas up as heroes. We can not praise Turkey for its role.

    For the most part, I find your analyses of foreign policy lacking, Les. But you have a moral honesty that I wish I saw in a lot of the other anti-Israel “commenters” on these threads. It’s refreshing – even if in the final analysis, your point of view is faulty.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Alright now. Can we take lessons from action against South Africa and the apartheid?

    In what respects are the two different?

  • Les Slater

    There is much difference. South Africa had the ANC and the Freedom Charter. In the Middle East we have nothing.

    Also, related to the downfall of apartheid was the presence of Cuban troops in Angola. The combination of Cuban and Angolan troops defeated the South African army in the battle of Cuito Cuanavale. This was modern warfare battle against troops with tactical nukes. The Cuban/Angolan forces built airstrips, antiaircraft batteries and supply lines as they pushed SA forces back to the boarder in retreat. The Cuban/Angolan force had air superiority.

    Nelson Mandela said that if it weren’t for the Cuban troops defeating SA army in Angola he would still be in jail and SA would still be apartheid SA.

  • Les Slater

    Ruvy, my point of view may be faulty, but I learn and am determined, through not just debate, but through action, to make this point of view not only less faulty but also more effective in guiding action.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    So what you’re saying Les, in a manner of speaking, it all comes down to violence of sorts. Let the best man win.

  • Les Slater

    Not at all. A consciously revolutionary working class will alter all relationships. The ruling classes are but a minuscule layer. They can not produce anything. It is the ruling classes that might resort to violence when their backs are to the wall. It wouldn’t necessarily take a whole lot of physical force to suppress them.

    The idea of just duking it out in a protracted civil war is to be avoided.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, good luck trying to convince Israelis who continue to perceive their situation in terms of self-defense.

    It’s a hell of a job trying to convince them as to who the real enemy is.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    A consciously revolutionary working class will alter all relationships. The ruling classes are but a minuscule layer. They can not produce anything. It is the ruling classes that might resort to violence when their backs are to the wall. It wouldn’t necessarily take a whole lot of physical force to suppress them.

    You really do not get, do you, Les? The reason your point of view is faulty is that it does not protect the person putting it forth – you.

    To the rest of the world, Americans – like you – are the kulaks to be gotten rid of. Americans produce nothing and do the world the dubious favor of overconsuming and allowing children all of over the planet the privilege of going to bed achingly hungry every night. Who needs you all? Without you wasting their food, the rest of the world has a bigger share – and the way Americans waste, that share is a whole lot bigger. You Americans are the unnecessary passenger on the boat, the one who needs to be thrown overboard so the rest of the passengers can enjoy the ride.

    Even homeless people in the States are obscenely rich and do not starve, I ought to know. I was once one of those homeless people. I know how rich they are compared to whole families who live their entire lives on sidewalks of Mumbai.

    A “consciously revolutionary working class” will look at you and see “American pig”. If they let you live at all, you will be a lot skinnier than you are, and will have to wait on long lines for food and everything else. Just like the poor slobs all over the world do. You can spout Marx, Hegel, Lenin, Bakunin and sing The Internationale till you turn blue. It won’t do you any good under a “consciously revolutionary working class”. That is the last thing you want to live to see.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’d still argue the immediate strategy that suggests itself is to blockade the state of Israel by the international community – to give them the dose of their own medicine.

    It would go a long way, IMO, to change the Israeli mind.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “The reason your point of view is faulty is that it does not protect the person putting it forth – you.”

    I would worry the least, Les, concerning this objection. A crucial part of taking a moral stance – something that Ruvy, for all his religious training and immersion in the holy books cannot possibly comprehend – is that one’s eye is not centered on the self but some ideal of universal justice.

    Only scoundrels invoke religion and morality in service of their own, narrowly defined self-interests. And Ruvy is an example par excellence.

  • Les Slater

    “The reason your point of view is faulty is that it does not protect the person putting it forth – you.”

    This betrays a serious fallacy in your perspective. It’s ego. As I see it, your pointing at me reflects straight back at you.

    I am living under the present conditions where I live. I think and act in those conditions. I make some difference, maybe not much, but some.

    Where will I be in the future? Who knows? I’ll do my best. I’m a citizen of time.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s what any human can possibly do – try to live according to their conscience.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re being unnecessarily tactful, Les, which is one reason, no doubt why you’re still a gentleman in Ruvy’s eyes. One only wonders for how long.

    Well, I don’t care for such honors. Besides, you’re doing him a disservice by being polite. When you’re dealing with cancer, you’ve got to cut. Mild remedies won’t do.

    What needs be said is that Ruvy’s typical by now charges of hypocrisy are not only a smoke screen; more importantly, they’re all ad hominem.

    But then again, we can’t hold Ruvy to usual standards of responsible speech. It’s a condition.

  • Les Slater

    I may be tactful but did you notice in #42 that I said that his ego was getting in the way of his perception of reality.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Right, but that’s too deep a remark to hit home. You’re giving him more dignity than he deserves.

    A shock treatment is in order, not nice words. Of course, I’m speaking metaphorically.

  • Les Slater

    Ruvy, I have to admit a smile came to my face when reading your #39, especially your ‘You really don’t get it, do you Les?’. Your next utterance seems to imply some dependence on me. The perspective I put forth is an opinion. Whether it is true or not doesn’t too much depend on any action or inaction by me. I act with many others. Plus or minus a few, including me, is not decisive.

    I can only hope I have some effect on the unfolding of the future. I try. As time unfolds before us, the picture of the future, or should I say its possibilities and probabilities, will become more concrete. Our actions will be further tuned to this unfolding.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Your next utterance seems to imply some dependence on me.”

    An astute observation. In ordinary lingo, it’s called “projection.”

  • Les Slater

    “In ordinary lingo, it’s called ‘projection.'”

    In #42 I used “…reflects straight back at you.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, yes then. No disagreement.

  • Gregg Hale

    Glenn,

    do you know (of) any Dungeons and Dragons players who have far right politics? I am working on a story-building project utilizing some of the role-playing aspects of DnD and I’d LOVE to get some people with conservative views involved.

    Thanks

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