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Author Topic: Was WWII the only major war under whih there was a clear good side and bad side?  (Read 7994 times)
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Chuck Hagel 08
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« Reply #100 on: February 26, 2010, 11:21:28 pm »
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So the lives of non-Americans are so valuable that 400,000 Americans have to be sent to die to protect them?

I would like you to know that you are beyond all forms of parody.

You didn't answer the inherent contradiction of killing people to save lives. Roll Eyes

And you aren't answering to the fact that you think that American lives are worth more than others'. You are basically saying that it wasn't worth it to go to war in Europe (which was almost entirely unpreventable) to save millions of lives, at the cost thousands of American soldiers. Don't get me wrong, I don't want any American to die, but without the American offensive, the Germans would have been able to hold the WWII Western Front. This would have led to more than just the 400,000 american deaths.

I didn't say that the lives of Americans are worth more than foreigners. Is it ethical to push someone in front of a bus to prevent the bus from crashing into something else?

Is it the right thing to do to build a fence in front of a bus full of people about to roll off a cliff even if there is a risk that the workers will be run over? If there are more people in the bus, then I'd say yes.

It wasn't just a "risk", 400,000 people actually went home in body bags!
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« Reply #101 on: February 26, 2010, 11:22:08 pm »
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So the lives of non-Americans are so valuable that 400,000 Americans have to be sent to die to protect them?

I would like you to know that you are beyond all forms of parody.

You didn't answer the inherent contradiction of killing people to save lives. Roll Eyes

And you aren't answering to the fact that you think that American lives are worth more than others'. You are basically saying that it wasn't worth it to go to war in Europe (which was almost entirely unpreventable) to save millions of lives, at the cost thousands of American soldiers. Don't get me wrong, I don't want any American to die, but without the American offensive, the Germans would have been able to hold the WWII Western Front. This would have led to more than just the 400,000 american deaths.

I didn't say that the lives of Americans are worth more than foreigners. Is it ethical to push someone in front of a bus to prevent the bus from crashing into something else?

Yes.

So you believe that the "ends justify the means", just as Machiavelli did?
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« Reply #102 on: February 26, 2010, 11:58:21 pm »
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So you believe that the "ends justify the means", just as Machiavelli did?

Please read Machiavelli before you randomly insert him into arguments as a negative association. You'll find that you probably agree with him on at least a few points.
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« Reply #103 on: February 27, 2010, 12:31:18 am »
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So you believe that the "ends justify the means", just as Machiavelli did?

Please read Machiavelli before you randomly insert him into arguments as a negative association. You'll find that you probably agree with him on at least a few points.

At different stages in his life, Napoleon I of France wrote extensive comments to The Prince. After his defeat in Waterloo, these comments were found in the emperor's coach and taken by Prussian military.[4]

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini wrote a discourse on The Prince.

Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was said to be deeply influenced by The Prince, and kept a copy of it on his nightstand.
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« Reply #104 on: February 27, 2010, 01:21:22 am »
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Reductio ad Mussoliniam?
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« Reply #105 on: February 27, 2010, 05:31:35 am »
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SPC is a special snowflake.
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« Reply #106 on: February 27, 2010, 09:57:07 am »
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So you believe that the "ends justify the means", just as Machiavelli did?

Please read Machiavelli before you randomly insert him into arguments as a negative association. You'll find that you probably agree with him on at least a few points.

At different stages in his life, Napoleon I of France wrote extensive comments to The Prince. After his defeat in Waterloo, these comments were found in the emperor's coach and taken by Prussian military.[4]

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini wrote a discourse on The Prince.

Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was said to be deeply influenced by The Prince, and kept a copy of it on his nightstand.


I totally cannot fault that logic...except I said read Machiavelli, not read wikipedia on other people's responses to Machiavelli - somehow I don't think he wrote that entry (The Prince isn't his only book by the way). It is good to know that I can judge a thinker's work by who reads them though so thank you for the tip (also, you should probably have kept the little 'Citation Needed' bit for the Stalin one, it's a bit dishonest to cite an unsubstantiated source and not make clear that it is unsubstantiated).

Aside from these various dictators, you might also be interested to know that Machiavelli's works exerted a fair influence on the American founding fathers and that the second amendment, in particular, has its origins in Machiavellian thought (via James Harrington and other English republicans).
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« Reply #107 on: February 27, 2010, 05:36:40 pm »
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So you believe that the "ends justify the means", just as Machiavelli did?

Please read Machiavelli before you randomly insert him into arguments as a negative association. You'll find that you probably agree with him on at least a few points.

At different stages in his life, Napoleon I of France wrote extensive comments to The Prince. After his defeat in Waterloo, these comments were found in the emperor's coach and taken by Prussian military.[4]

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini wrote a discourse on The Prince.

Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was said to be deeply influenced by The Prince, and kept a copy of it on his nightstand.


I totally cannot fault that logic...except I said read Machiavelli, not read wikipedia on other people's responses to Machiavelli - somehow I don't think he wrote that entry (The Prince isn't his only book by the way). It is good to know that I can judge a thinker's work by who reads them though so thank you for the tip (also, you should probably have kept the little 'Citation Needed' bit for the Stalin one, it's a bit dishonest to cite an unsubstantiated source and not make clear that it is unsubstantiated).

Aside from these various dictators, you might also be interested to know that Machiavelli's works exerted a fair influence on the American founding fathers and that the second amendment, in particular, has its origins in Machiavellian thought (via James Harrington and other English republicans).

Do you deny that Machiavelli believed that the ends justified the means?
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« Reply #108 on: February 27, 2010, 06:14:09 pm »
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What's your point? Guilt by association?
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« Reply #109 on: February 27, 2010, 10:39:30 pm »
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Do you deny that Machiavelli believed that the ends justified the means?

Do I deny? Have I been dragged before the Committee of Public Safety again? Well, to answer your question Monsieur Incorruptible, I would say that Machiavelli's beliefs are far more complicated than you give them credit for and thus he did not believe in quite such an unsophisticated notion as that which you ascribe to him. By way of illustration, I would point you to this note (number 62) to Peter Bondarella's edition of The Prince which may go some way towards explaining. The 'ends' Machiavelli speaks of generally relate to the preservation of the freedom of one's country. He also explicitly does not use the word 'justify' which, as Bondarella mentions in that note, would imply that the ends render the means to be just. The verb he uses is scusare which translates into English as 'to excuse' or 'to forgive', something entirely different from 'to justify'.
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« Reply #110 on: February 28, 2010, 11:43:58 am »
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Do you deny that Machiavelli believed that the ends justified the means?

Do I deny? Have I been dragged before the Committee of Public Safety again? Well, to answer your question Monsieur Incorruptible, I would say that Machiavelli's beliefs are far more complicated than you give them credit for and thus he did not believe in quite such an unsophisticated notion as that which you ascribe to him. By way of illustration, I would point you to this note (number 62) to Peter Bondarella's edition of The Prince which may go some way towards explaining. The 'ends' Machiavelli speaks of generally relate to the preservation of the freedom of one's country. He also explicitly does not use the word 'justify' which, as Bondarella mentions in that note, would imply that the ends render the means to be just. The verb he uses is scusare which translates into English as 'to excuse' or 'to forgive', something entirely different from 'to justify'.

Still, the fact that he believes that the ends excuse the means is just as immoral.
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« Reply #111 on: February 28, 2010, 12:41:31 pm »
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Still, the fact that he believes that the ends excuse the means is just as immoral.

You're entitled to your opinion on that, although I think you would find many circumstances in which you believed the ends excused the means. For instance, if I were to attempt to infringe on your liberty - however you want to define it - in some manner, perhaps threatening you with a weapon, and you responded by killing me or wounding me severely then I think you would probably argue that the ends (the preservation of your liberty) excused your means (doing me harm).

Of course, all this is irrelevant to actual topic of discussion.
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« Reply #112 on: February 28, 2010, 11:35:45 pm »
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Still, the fact that he believes that the ends excuse the means is just as immoral.

You're entitled to your opinion on that, although I think you would find many circumstances in which you believed the ends excused the means. For instance, if I were to attempt to infringe on your liberty - however you want to define it - in some manner, perhaps threatening you with a weapon, and you responded by killing me or wounding me severely then I think you would probably argue that the ends (the preservation of your liberty) excused your means (doing me harm).

Of course, all this is irrelevant to actual topic of discussion.

That is a different situation, because you are posing a tangible threat to my liberty. In the bus example, the person that I could push in front of the bus posed no threat to the lives of the people in the bus, so the self-defense argument cannot be applied to him. And, to make this relevant, it is immoral to steal from Americans, enslave some of them, place others in concentration camps, and take the lives of both German & Japanese civilians by bombing them and endanger the lives of Eastern Europeans and Southeast Asians by assisting in the formation of their totalitarian governments.
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« Reply #113 on: March 01, 2010, 11:47:00 pm »
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Still, the fact that he believes that the ends excuse the means is just as immoral.
Actually, as eloquent as JFK's remarks are, there is a much simpler way to obliterate your squabble.  That is, there is simply no evidence that The Prince is a declaration of Machiavelli's normative political principles. 

This has nothing to do with the immorality of the ends excusing/justifying the means.
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« Reply #114 on: March 02, 2010, 07:10:23 pm »
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Still, the fact that he believes that the ends excuse the means is just as immoral.
Actually, as eloquent as JFK's remarks are, there is a much simpler way to obliterate your squabble.  That is, there is simply no evidence that The Prince is a declaration of Machiavelli's normative political principles. 
This has nothing to do with the immorality of the ends excusing/justifying the means.
Are you a f**king moron?  I don't think that's what we were discussing.


The point I was originally making was that the ends shouldn't excuse/justify the means. It was sidetracked into a discussion over whether Machiavelli thought that.
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« Reply #115 on: March 07, 2010, 04:56:20 am »
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Wow. What a thread full of dumb...I don't think there is much to add to the elegant points made by Al, James, Dead0man, jokerman, etc but still, just for the sake of reiteration.

1. Hitle delcared war on the US so the whole discussion of whether the US "should" have entered the war is moot. America was attacked and didn't choose involvement.

2. That right there illustrates a clear difference between the Soviet Union and Germany.

3. Viewing Stalin's crimes as something that equates the Allies with the Axis is narrow-minded.

4. The war could most likely NEVER have been won without the Soviet Union on the allied side. People in the West tend to be a little bit too brain-washed by American and British propaganda from the war and onwards to realize this, but victory against Germany was like 80% thanks to the Soviets and 20% US+UK. So it isn't just convenience, the Soviet Union was needed.

5. Given the end-result (a free, democratic and increasingly prosperous Eastern Europe) I find it hard to argue that the policies of WWII were bad. Granted, there was a lot of suffering in a lot of places but this was WWII, for crying out loud. There was no way of avoiding that. The world order that resulted was still among the best that I can imagine.

6. The idea that one can argue that violence is bad because one arbitrarily defines violence as a specific subset of bad actions is philosophically immature to put it mildly.
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« Reply #116 on: March 07, 2010, 05:08:26 am »
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1. Hitle delcared war on the US.
That's one thing I've never seen explained btw.

Quote
4. The war could most likely NEVER have been won without the Soviet Union on the allied side. People in the West tend to be a little bit too brain-washed by American and British propaganda from the war and onwards to realize this, but victory against Germany was like 80% thanks to the Soviets and 20% US+UK. So it isn't just convenience, the Soviet Union was needed.
It's more like, while the US and UK involvement was needed, the SOviet Union is who won the war.

As to the general question, I disagree there was a "clear" good side. There was a "clear" bad side along with a murky baddish side, which is different from most wars which just have two murky baddish sides, and there's no denying I would have "taken sides" wherever I was, which is more than can be said of just about any war fought in my lifetime. Which is near enough the original question I suppose.
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« Reply #117 on: March 07, 2010, 10:51:40 pm »
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Aside from these various dictators, you might also be interested to know that Machiavelli's works exerted a fair influence on the American founding fathers and that the second amendment, in particular, has its origins in Machiavellian thought (via James Harrington and other English republicans).

Funny, I bought a copy of The Prince from a used bookstore, and it said this in the introduction by Christian Gauss:
Quote
Upon our form of government and what we call Jeffersonian democracy, it can be said that [Machiavelli] had no influence whatsoever. A rereading of much of Jefferson and a scanning of the indices to all of his published work have failed to disclose a single reference to Machiavelli. Nowhere in The Prince is there any limit placed upon the power of the state, and it was this problem of limiting state power that concerned Jefferson.
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« Reply #118 on: March 08, 2010, 11:27:42 am »
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Aside from these various dictators, you might also be interested to know that Machiavelli's works exerted a fair influence on the American founding fathers and that the second amendment, in particular, has its origins in Machiavellian thought (via James Harrington and other English republicans).

Funny, I bought a copy of The Prince from a used bookstore, and it said this in the introduction by Christian Gauss:
Quote
Upon our form of government and what we call Jeffersonian democracy, it can be said that [Machiavelli] had no influence whatsoever. A rereading of much of Jefferson and a scanning of the indices to all of his published work have failed to disclose a single reference to Machiavelli. Nowhere in The Prince is there any limit placed upon the power of the state, and it was this problem of limiting state power that concerned Jefferson.
Someone who's capable of putting that last sentence in the same paragraph as the other ones is clearly capable of anything.
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« Reply #119 on: June 17, 2010, 08:54:12 pm »
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Funny, I bought a copy of The Prince from a used bookstore, and it said this in the introduction by Christian Gauss:
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Upon our form of government and what we call Jeffersonian democracy, it can be said that [Machiavelli] had no influence whatsoever. A rereading of much of Jefferson and a scanning of the indices to all of his published work have failed to disclose a single reference to Machiavelli. Nowhere in The Prince is there any limit placed upon the power of the state, and it was this problem of limiting state power that concerned Jefferson.

You do realize he wrote another book, yes?  The Discourses is a clearly pro-republican work, and that work did exert influence on the Founders.  Granted, you have no interest in actually responding to arguments, so you'll likely ignore this, but keep it in mind.
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« Reply #120 on: June 17, 2010, 10:16:29 pm »
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No.

Although it was more of a war between Neutral and Evil than Good and Evil.
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« Reply #121 on: June 17, 2010, 11:16:55 pm »
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Every war has a clear good and bad side. Even if the bad guys win it's still written about from their point of view.
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« Reply #122 on: June 18, 2010, 02:25:56 am »
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Funny, I bought a copy of The Prince from a used bookstore, and it said this in the introduction by Christian Gauss:
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Upon our form of government and what we call Jeffersonian democracy, it can be said that [Machiavelli] had no influence whatsoever. A rereading of much of Jefferson and a scanning of the indices to all of his published work have failed to disclose a single reference to Machiavelli. Nowhere in The Prince is there any limit placed upon the power of the state, and it was this problem of limiting state power that concerned Jefferson.

You do realize he wrote another book, yes?  The Discourses is a clearly pro-republican work, and that work did exert influence on the Founders.  Granted, you have no interest in actually responding to arguments, so you'll likely ignore this, but keep it in mind.

     Him not responding may have more to do with the fact that he has not logged in in nearly three months, actually.
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« Reply #123 on: June 18, 2010, 12:58:27 pm »
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     Him not responding may have more to do with the fact that he has not logged in in nearly three months, actually.

Possibly Tongue
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« Reply #124 on: June 18, 2010, 02:04:29 pm »
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Aside from these various dictators, you might also be interested to know that Machiavelli's works exerted a fair influence on the American founding fathers and that the second amendment, in particular, has its origins in Machiavellian thought (via James Harrington and other English republicans).

Funny, I bought a copy of The Prince from a used bookstore, and it said this in the introduction by Christian Gauss:
Quote
Upon our form of government and what we call Jeffersonian democracy, it can be said that [Machiavelli] had no influence whatsoever. A rereading of much of Jefferson and a scanning of the indices to all of his published work have failed to disclose a single reference to Machiavelli. Nowhere in The Prince is there any limit placed upon the power of the state, and it was this problem of limiting state power that concerned Jefferson.
Someone who's capable of putting that last sentence in the same paragraph as the other ones is clearly capable of anything.

Did anybody understand what I meant? Because I myself had to read the post twice to understand it these many months after.

If Macchiavelli had no influence on Jefferson whatsoever, nothing he said can have possibly concerned Jefferson.
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