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towr
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #125 on: Jan 16th, 2008, 5:46am »
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on Jan 15th, 2008, 9:29pm, ecoist wrote:
So, I looked for what really bothers me.  What right does a starving person have to the food possessed by someone else?  When someone is ill, by what right can he command the free services of a physician?
By virtue of being human. Although admittedly there is great contention about whether moral obligation exist, and why, and how.
Actually, there's two issues at stake here; the obligation to give food/help to the needy; and the right of the needy to take it (without being given). I think you wouldn't have much problem with the moral obligation of the first, since it is in principle voluntary, and not fulfilling your obligation simply makes you a bad person, no other force is involved.
 
Whether the needy have the right to take (or have someone else take for them) what they need is more problematic. Also because typically the case isn't a straightforward case of "saving one's own life".  
It can be justifiable though, and therefore morally right. Of course, there are many kinds of (moral) justification, and not all lines of justification are acceptable to everyone.
 
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When someone is the victim of a car accident, by what right can he demand that all drivers be capable of paying for his injuries?
He can demand only that the driver that hit him/his car pays for the damages (due to property rights); however for this to always be possible everyone should be able to pay. One of the governments task is to protect people's property rights, so one things leads to another (on non-moral grounds).
 
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In general, why is "I am my brother's keeper" a moral imperative?
Let's be corny, and say the human ties that bind us together. We are obliged to each other by virtue of being human; by virtue of being social animals; by virtue of being sympathic animals.
 
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How is theft moral?
You could argue that when it is, it isn't theft. Calling it theft implies wrongness. I've heard people calling tax theft; of course by definition in the law, it isn't.
So, when can taking something without consent be moral? It isn't usually, after all. In other situations, e.g. where it involves saving a life, it almost certainly is. What we really need is the border case where perhaps there is a need, but fulfilling it in this way is still wrong. For example taking where you could have asked.
One might imagine if you ask someone for help when you really need it, and let's assume we agree the person is obliged to help you, then if he doesn't it's at least less wrong  to take what you need than before/without asking (even without committing to it being right).
 
Typically philosophers need an entire book to properly discuss moral issues (and even then it's not typically convincing unless you agreed at the start); so I can't do more than give a few suggestions and points to think on.
 
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"I am my brother's keeper" is a noble sentiment, but how noble is it if the "keeping" is forced?
It depends on several things. For example who forces it; is it an authority we subscribed to?
Some schools of thought, like Hobbes' contractarianism, explicitly rely on authority to make morality normative. We make social contracts, and the authority enforces them. And thanks to that we're better of than in the natural state (where, supposedly, we all just fight and frustrate each other)
In some cases it's hard to dispute moral sentiments should be made law; "do not kill", "do not steal". It shouldn't need to be forced, but if it wasn't too many people wouldn't obey the moral code. So it's a question of in what cases can we safely do without authority.
 
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I understand the sentiment that people, especially the rich, couldn't care less about the needy, so it is reasonable to want something to be done to insure that those incapable of caring for themselves get the care they need.  But that sentiment is spectacularly wrong!  Voluntary charity is robust!
Is it? It should be, I want it to be, but is it really?  
 
Here's a thought. If welfare were incrementally decreased, would voluntary charity rise to fail the gap; or should welfare be eliminated entirely first? Because in the first case it would be a fairly safe way to try it out.
 
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And most governments, responding to their citizens, have procedures in place to provide assistance to those in need, all contradicting the assumption that most people have no concern for the less fortunate!
It might be viewed that they care enough to have the government to do it, but not enough to concern themselves with it. And to boot, often they'd prefer not to pay extra tax for the extra demands they make on the government.
 
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In the US, government provisions for the needy cost at least twice as much as the cost of private charities.
In the same cases? Perhaps the government should outsource (?) their welfare system then.
Although I bet that would entail a lot of unemployed bureaucrats Wink  
 
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So, my positions is, no one has a right to live well at the expense of another.
Not without the other's consent in any case (and even then..)
No exploitation is a good principle; and should be lived up to more often.
 
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Therefore, the most moral, and practical, way to serve the needy, indeed, to serve the common good in general, is to eschew force and rely on the free and voluntary actions of individuals
I'm still not convinced on the practice of it.
 
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(including the hated, and wrongly characterized, greedy capitalists!)!
Well, I always get the feeling they're living at my (and other's) expense, you see Wink
« Last Edit: Jan 16th, 2008, 5:48am by towr » IP Logged

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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #126 on: Jan 16th, 2008, 10:54am »
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Proving things one way or the other is not the main concern, it's identifying what factors are important in any realistic approach to a system.

Then what's the point of this discussion if not to find the best solution to a problem?  "Identifying what factors are important" is only the beginning.
 
You counter my arguments by pointing out shortcomings, which, of course all positions have, without any argument to show how serious these shortcomings are.  As if any shortcoming is sufficient to undermine a position.  You also counter my arguments with those of your own, but they are too often based on assertions you don't back up, as if they are self-evident, like, companies will always behave badly given the chance.  I refute this false assertion with specific examples and you ignore them.  You make make many such, presumably self-evident, assertions like the current quotes below.
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we're better of than in the natural state (where, supposedly, we all just fight and frustrate each other)

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"do not kill", "do not steal". It shouldn't need to be forced, but if it wasn't too many people wouldn't obey the moral code.

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Let's be corny, and say the human ties that bind us together. We are obliged to each other by virtue of being human; by virtue of being social animals; by virtue of being sympathic animals.

Further, you say that I left out important issues that may undermine the veracity of my claims, which is true.  But don't provide evidence against my claims.
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Perhaps the few examples I know is colouring my view of the welfare state too rosy, but I feel it may be doing the exact opposite in your case.

See what I mean?  You feel that I may be wrong!  One could apply the same approach to your position and you would, properly, reject it as unhelpful.
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so I can't do more than give a few suggestions and points to think on.

Sorry, this is the easy way out.  Politely disagree with the suggestion that the opposition hasn't given the subject enough thought or research.
 
You believe that your welfare system works well.  Can you provide some evidence in support of this claim?  What percentage of your fellow citizens receive welfare?  Is that percentage increasing or decreasing?  How many, if any, need help but don't get it?  How much of the federal budget is spent on welfare?  How do your high taxes effect your economy?  I know that there is a natural bias here in favor of welfare and in favor of your country, but facts are facts, whatever the motivations of the person who presents them.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #127 on: Jan 16th, 2008, 12:34pm »
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Ecoist seems to be arguing: "this holds (locally) so it must apply everywhere"
 
Towr seems to be arguing: "my experience is a counter-example so it doesn't apply everywhere"
 
 
In general, the person arguing for something to apply universally has the harder task because it only takes one counter-example to prove them wrong, while the person arguing that things are more complex only needs to provide one example that doesn't fit to prove his case...
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #128 on: Jan 16th, 2008, 2:27pm »
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on Jan 16th, 2008, 10:54am, ecoist wrote:
Then what's the point of this discussion if not to find the best solution to a problem?
Broadening eachother's view, testing our own and eachother's position, learning.
I don't think we will find "the answer"; I'm not sure there even is one; and besides which neither of us is in a position to do something with it. The only point for me is to understand your point of view and examine my own, and to sharpen your point of view so I can understand it better.
 
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You counter my arguments by pointing out shortcomings, which, of course all positions have, without any argument to show how serious these shortcomings are.
As do you. And how can I show what I don't know (in the other sense, I mean; professing ignorance is simple)
 
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As if any shortcoming is sufficient to undermine a position.
It's not even meant to. It's to examine it better and further; or to see how it can be developed to overcome shortcomings.
 
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You also counter my arguments with those of your own, but they are too often based on assertions you don't back up, as if they are self-evident, like, companies will always behave badly given the chance.
I only said that in the context where they are presumed to act self-interested. I'm fairly sure I mentioned that condition explicitly on a few occasions.
 
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I refute this false assertion with specific examples and you ignore them.
Back on that again.. *sigh*
A few example were companies presumedly act 'nice' hardly means that all companies always act nice; no more than a few of them acting bad proofs all of them act badly.
Suffice it to say they're still cutting down the rainforest and exploiting third world  and using child labour. That's not going away because not all companies are right out bastards.
Frankly, I thought we'd left that god-awful discourse behind us by taking a different turn. But we seem to be heading straight for the abyss again.
 
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 You make make many such, presumably self-evident, assertions like the current quotes below.

we're better of than in the natural state (where, supposedly, we all just fight and frustrate each other)
It's paraphrased from Thomas Hobbes' "Leviathan" (a quite influential book on moral philosophy). It is not a view I subscribe to, as I'm not a contractarian; but it is one of the many ethical systems around; and so a relevant perspective.
If that wasn't clear, I'm sorry. I already feel like I'm writing far too much, and it's certainly eating up a lot of my time as well.
 
"do not kill", "do not steal". It shouldn't need to be forced, but if it wasn't too many people wouldn't obey the moral code.
I'm not sure what your problem with this is.
Are there no laws against murder and theft?
Are those laws not there to prevent people from committing them, and punish them if they do?
Would it not be better if people didn't want to do those things in the first place?
And if nobody would do those things, could we not dispense with the laws?
All things would be better arranged voluntarily, and not by force; but humans aren't such that it works in all cases, and in those cases we need law.
 
Let's be corny, and say the human ties that bind us together. We are obliged to each other by virtue of being human; by virtue of being social animals; by virtue of being sympathic animals.Christine Korsgaard says something that comes close enough, do you want the whole 166 pages of her argument for it? Then I'd suggest a copy of "The sources of normativity". I don't really endorse her particular approach, but there is a lot to learn from it.  
 
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Further, you say that I left out important issues that may undermine the veracity of my claims, which is true.  But don't provide evidence against my claims.
But I'm not against every claim you make; making an argument stronger by including considerations on other points is a worthwhile effort in itself.
Heck, that's even the case when I am against it.
 
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See what I mean?  You feel that I may be wrong!
I don't see how you take that from that particular quote. Your experience of welfare isn't my experience of welfare, so it can't be true in general.
Whether that comes from the examples you have experienced having coloured your view; well it seems likely, but I'm not your psychologist. I don't know your history and can't read you mind. But I doubt you have much experience living in Europe.
 
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One could apply the same approach to your position and you would, properly, reject it as unhelpful.
Not if it gave me something to think about. You have been using the same approach, and it was helpful. I may not agree with you, but I can think about the issue better.
 
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Sorry, this is the easy way out.  Politely disagree with the suggestion that the opposition hasn't given the subject enough thought or research.
Not everything someone says in a discussion is an attack.
If anything, it's suggestive that I can't spend more time on it and provide a fuller perspective on it myself. I would love to give you proper summaries of all the ethical positions I know of and how they are relevant in each situation; but I have enough papers on philosophy to write as it is. So dropping a few names and concepts and hoping you can do something with it is the best I can do, meager as it is.
 
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You believe that your welfare system works well.  Can you provide some evidence in support of this claim? What percentage of your fellow citizens receive welfare?
In absolute 281000, on a population of 16 million; I'm not sure what the working population is, if 5 million is a reasonable guess, it'd be 5.6%.
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Is that percentage increasing or decreasing?  
Decreasing , bij 9000 people in the last half year.
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How many, if any, need help but don't get it?
Only people that aren't in the system, or choose not to use it. I can't say how many, but it would be made up of illegals, and homeless people that for whatever reason fail to get the support they have a right to.
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How much of the federal budget is spent on welfare?  
If I read the numbers right, some 3.5 billion (some 12 thousand per person getting welfare)
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How do your high taxes effect your economy?
Not a clue; we can't compare it with the case where we don't have such high taxes. But our economy is steadily growing; I think it's above average in Europe.  
And our unemployment rate is the lowest in Europe, according to a recent report (in the news 7th of januari).  
 
However, I don't think it's insignificant either that our population massively endorses it and the overall levels of satisfaction are very high. (On december 5th 2006 it was reported we were the happiest people in Europe, I haven't found more recent data)
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #129 on: Jan 16th, 2008, 2:37pm »
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Ecoist seems to be arguing: "this holds (locally) so it must apply everywhere"

What's with this continual miss-characterization of what people say?  Most of us have mathematical experience and know only too well that the above is an absurd argument!  In this context, showing something holds locally is done for purposes of illustration or for building a preponderance of evidence.
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Towr seems to be arguing: "my experience is a counter-example so it doesn't apply everywhere"

Towr can speak for himself but his arguments have more substance than this.
 
And, towr, I am going to have to concede defeat in our argument!  I checked out Wikipedia on the Netherlands and found a UNICEF report on child poverty in 21 countries.  The Netherlands came out on top, while the US and Britain came in last!  This fact, together with the Netherlands' legendary tolerance for drug use, prostitution, abortion, and euthanasia, and its robust economy,  I have yet to find an argument, or facts, against forced charity that is more compelling than what I found on Wikipedia!  The welfare issue is far from settled, but you, towr, are way ahead on points!
« Last Edit: Jan 16th, 2008, 9:55pm by ecoist » IP Logged
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #130 on: Jul 14th, 2008, 9:19pm »
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towr, the subject of "happiness" came up again here on one of our tv news magazines.  It was suggested that the Netherlands is one of the happiest nations because its citizens have low expectations!  That Americans are low on the happiness scale because we have high expectations.  One your fellow citizens interviewed put it this way: if you set your dreams too high, you are likely to be disappointed (paraphrased).  How right he is (I am watching the tv show "America's Got Talent" and am exhilerated by the few who succeed and I cry with the many who fail)!  However, I am energized by the dream that, even at age 76, I may still discover the secret to good golf.
 
But getting back to the theme of this thread, what have you to say about the US's wars?  We attacked Iraq and Afghanistan and we threaten to attack Iran.  From your perspective, are these two wars, and the threat of a third, good or bad?
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #131 on: Jan 12th, 2012, 4:28am »
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To an economy as a whole, it is never good.
 
To some companies, it could be good profitable.
 
To regular people its devastating
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #132 on: Feb 10th, 2012, 7:40am »
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War is never a good thing no matter how you look at it. Politics aside, someone always pays the price whenever a nation goes to war.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #133 on: Feb 10th, 2012, 8:30am »
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on Feb 10th, 2012, 7:40am, kailys wrote:
War is never a good thing no matter how you look at it.
But it is sometimes the lesser evil of the available choices.
If everyone would rather surrender than wage war then I could conquer the world by tomorrow simply by declaring war on everyone. Honestly, someone's going to. That definitely doesn't make war a good thing, but you have to be prepared to fight them because the alternative (if it's someone other than me trying to invade your country) is worse; especially long-term.
 
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Politics aside, someone always pays the price whenever a nation goes to war.
Likewise, someone else may pay the price if they don't. Admittedly the worlds nations don't have a very good track-record in this area, but preventing large-scale genocide seems to me a valid reason to stage a military intervention, if that's what it takes.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #134 on: Feb 13th, 2012, 10:51am »
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Odin: A wise king never seeks out war. But he must always be ready for it.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #135 on: Jul 2nd, 2012, 1:12am »
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Oh sh*t! Is that war is good thing for you Huh  Shocked  
OMG you are crazy!! I hate war because in word most of deaths reporting from war's  and dieing goody goody peoples form war.So i hate war's !!!!  Undecided
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #136 on: Jan 24th, 2013, 11:21pm »
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I don't think that war is good thing because if you have any kind of problems. So, you can solve them by some discussion. War is not the thing we should do because, sometime wars makes in deep trouble.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #137 on: Sep 2nd, 2013, 6:59am »
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War can never be good if looked from point of view of humanity but is still important to defend and protect sometimes.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #138 on: Sep 21st, 2013, 1:20pm »
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Nature doesn't intend anything. Though there is an ingrained drive to survive (because anything that hadn't, didn't). So if we want to follow through on that, we should spread out into the universe while we can.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #139 on: Oct 6th, 2013, 11:03am »
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war is sh*t . peace forever
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #140 on: Feb 2nd, 2014, 1:04pm »
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War is bad because in all wars there are no winners
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #141 on: Feb 2nd, 2014, 3:21pm »
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Hunter: In my humble opinion, in the nuclear world, the true enemy is war itself.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #142 on: Feb 9th, 2014, 2:40pm »
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Any example of good wars since 19th century?
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #143 on: Feb 9th, 2014, 10:57pm »
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on Feb 9th, 2014, 2:40pm, pandani wrote:
Any example of good wars since 19th century?
Well, considering the alternative to WWII would have been surrendering to the Nazis...
 
It's not so much that wars are good, as that the alternative can be worse.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #144 on: Feb 10th, 2014, 5:54am »
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on Feb 9th, 2014, 10:57pm, towr wrote:

Well, considering the alternative to WWII would have been surrendering to the Nazis...
 
It's not so much that wars are good, as that the alternative can be worse.

Philip K. Dick, eh? Nazis colonize Venus in his science fiction alternate history novel The Man in the High Castle. I didn't read the book, so I am curious how they did it, since Venus is the hottest planet in the Solar System.
 
In the above novel Nazis also colonize Mars. I demand an appology!
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #145 on: Feb 12th, 2014, 5:06pm »
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on Feb 9th, 2014, 2:40pm, pandani wrote:
Any example of good wars since 19th century?

 
I'm curious, does this mean the wars prior to the 19th century are good? (Relative to the more recent ones?)
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #146 on: Apr 11th, 2014, 4:17am »
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A thing which kills people coud not be treated as good
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #147 on: Apr 11th, 2014, 5:25am »
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Howard Payne: "A bomb is made to explode. That's its meaning. Its purpose. Your life is empty because you spend it trying to stop the bomb from becoming. And for who? For what? You know what a bomb is, Jack, that doesn't explode? It's a cheap gold watch, buddy."
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #148 on: Apr 11th, 2014, 5:27am »
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on Apr 11th, 2014, 4:17am, goprel wrote:
A thing which kills people coud not be treated as good
Sure it can.  
It's even debatable that it never should be.
 
Not to mention there are things that kill people but also save (other) people. Like medical procedures and medicines (accidents happen).
War, too, might prevent something worse. Or a worse war. It's simplistic to just say it's not good just because people die. How many people would die without it? What things are worth dying for?
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #149 on: Apr 11th, 2014, 6:05am »
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I think that there is always another way to solution and we can live without war.
 
People become angry and not happy because of the stress they get in everyday life.
 
I believe that even in the worst person's heart there is a little bit love. I know it sounds blah blah blah but it is truth.
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