Saturday, July 01, 2006

"Truth, Justice, and....All that stuff!?!?"



"I don't think 'The American Way' means what it meant in 1945. He's an alien from krypton...and he has no papers."
-Dan Harris, screenwriter

The new movie, "Superman Returns", drew in $21.04 million dollars on its opening day, Friday.

I grew up on comic book superheroes. As a very young child, I remember watching the old tv series, "The Adventures of Superman" every day after school. I remember a time when comic books were 35 cents. I think I began collecting them when they were at 50 cents, spending money on plastic bags and cardboard backings, specially coated, so as to keep the comics in mint condition; and if you wanted to actually read the comic again, you were supposed to buy a second issue, rather than get your corrosively oily fingers to risk damaging the value of the comic.

By the time I was in college, I had begun weening myself off of comic collecting. I had been a longtime reader of Marvel; but as time wore on, and I missed issue after issue of my favorites, it got easier to save my money. The only two comics I followed as a mature college student, were the Japanese translation, "Lonewolf and Cub", and a surprisingly well-written comic series about a samurai rabbit bodyguard, called "Usagi Yojimbo" (yeah, I know...that's what I said, until I took the time to read it).

In 2003, Captain America, a character whose very name should evoke flag-waving and who is the symbol and star-spangled epitomy of the best in American patriotism, turned into a guilt-ridden, Patriot Act-Bush-bashing, card-carrying Howard Zinn liberal. Thanks a lot Marvel. This is how our youth becomes indoctrinated into liberalism. Popular culture is the playground of liberal ideology, and even comic books are not spared. I guess they really aren't made for children, anymore and we should call them the more mature, meant-to-be-taken seriously, term: "graphic novel". The Captain America of the WWII era would have seen him punching out Osama bin Laden, the way he punched Adolf Hitler on the cover of one issue. Now, Captain America sees America as the problem, and our leadership as the real enemy; not the terrorists who want to kill us and destroy the freedoms that we enjoy.

Going back to the Superman TV series, the introduction of it is seared into my memory...including these famous words to describe the invincible hero: "[Who] fights a neverending battle for Truth...Justice...and the American Way."

This brings us to the new movie, where that last part is purposefully left out. I'm not going to blame it on liberal Hollywood elitism...but wtf(rak)? I realize that in the current world clime, where anti-American sentiments are running high, the part about fighting for "the American Way" grates on the nerves of the politically correct; and that the intentional decision to have those lines removed and make Superman a citizen-hero for the world, rather than a strictly American one, might be a purely business, monetary decision; but still, there's just something not right about it...to remove the "American" from an icon and symbol of America and American culture.

Like Captain America, his character in comics, traditionally, has always been identified with and fought for, America. And now it appears the Kryptonite known as "liberal sensibilities", have neutered him of any sense of nationalism. I think this goes back to the self-loathing, blame and bash America sentiments that so many of our fellow blue Americans feel. The ones who always wring their hands over how "the rest of the world hates us". I am proud of our "American Way". And I will always regard Superman as an American hero.

I suppose I should see it first. I have no doubt that the absence of saying "...and the American way" is such a minor mole-hill, that I'm getting my underoos all bundled in a wad over nothing. Only a conservative like Sean Hannity and myself (yes, I happened to catch him review it on Hannity and Colmes...also "Your World with Cavuto") would even notice and be irked by such a subtle absence of the patriotic-stirring phrase.

Superman is now a global superhero; an international man of mystery, savior, and citizen of the world, fighting for all mankind. But isn't that really an "American" thing to do? Us "saving" the rest of the world, time and time again? Fighting global evil, helping foreign nations, etc.?

The Superman expression, "...and the American Way" should be something both liberal and conservative Americans can be proud of. The kind of stirring of pride and patriotism that is above partisan politics such as we experienced on 9/12/01.

As far as I know it's gotten mixed reviews. Still, because it is Superman, I'm sure it will do extremely well at the box office. Growing wealth, after all, is part of "the American way", if that was Hollywood's sole intent in eradicating "Americanism" from the content.

SuperDuper Update!!

Hat tip to Kyrie, who provided a link in the comments section to her friend Tallguy. The photo is shamelessly stolen from his post (click on it to be led to it), and here is an excerpt:
So if Superman "belongs to the world", why isn't he fighting for communism? Why didn't he fight for the Axis, just to keep a level playing field? Why doesn't he seem like he'd be particularly pro-North Korea? In Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Superman gets rid of all of the world nukes, which plays into Lex Luthor's diabolical scheme. I'd like to have seen what happened when the world devolved back into full scale conventional warfare, myself. Germany could have been reunited in 1987! Maybe not how we had liked, but what can you do?

You can also read Tallguy's movie review of it here.

Another interesting movie review.

Also an interview with Bryan Singer. Both of these last two links touches upon Superman as a Christ-like savior.

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45 Comments:

Blogger Kyrie said...

A friend of mine who is a HUGE Superman fan wrote about this too- Tallguy. I especially like how he tied "all that is good" to "the American way".

I'm going to go see the movie this weekend.

Saturday, July 01, 2006 9:57:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Hey, thanks for giving me the link. That was a good read. I especially like this part,

So if Superman "belongs to the world", why isn't he fighting for communism? Why didn't he fight for the Axis, just to keep a level playing field? Why doesn't he seem like he'd be particularly pro-North Korea? In Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Superman gets rid of all of the world nukes, which plays into Lex Luthor's diabolical scheme. I'd like to have seen what happened when the world devolved back into full scale conventional warfare, myself. Germany could have been reunited in 1987! Maybe not how we had liked, but what can you do?

I also like the Christopher Reeve Superman photo...just may have to "steal" it. I'll add it on at the end, and make it so clicking on the photo will take you to Tallguy's link.

The painting of Superman with the flag I do have at the beginning of the post, btw, will take you to the blog of Michael Dougherty, one of the screenwriters. So, it's hard to charge the makers of completely wanting to eliminate the American out of Superman.

Saturday, July 01, 2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Richard Quick, Millionaire said...

This is fascinating, but...

I really can't see how this is going to make us any real money.

See you on the veranda!

Richard Quick, Esq.
Founder
National Association for the Advancement of Wealthy People

Saturday, July 01, 2006 2:33:00 PM  
Blogger Pamela Reece said...

"I have no doubt that the absence of saying "...and the American way" is such a minor mole-hill, that I'm getting my underoos all bundled in a wad over nothing. Only a conservative like Sean Hannity and myself (yes, I happened to catch him review it on Hannity and Colmes...also "Your Wold with Cavuto") would even notice and be irked by such a subtle absence of the patriotic-stirring phrase."

No, you're not. Face it, Sparky, you're a true-blue, American patriot! Folks like us just have to live with noticing these things. It could be worse, you could be a liberal, having to defend ignorance.

Nice post and pix!

Saturday, July 01, 2006 2:48:00 PM  
Blogger Bushwack said...

Mr Wordsmith, I think I owe you an apology, I haven't put a link on my Friends of America side bar.
It will be there shortly. again sorry about the lack of inteligence on my part. LOL

Saturday, July 01, 2006 8:54:00 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Excellent post, you are such a good writer!! I wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote here.

And it made me smile when you said that about only you and Sean Hannity being bothered. It made me think of my former avatar pic with Sean Hannity with the Superman outfit on--how fitting.

Since you are a South Park fan I'm waiting to see what a South Park Wordsmith will look like :-). My kids all made one and my oldest daughter made one for my husband so I'll have to post Little Miss Chatterbox's South Park family :-)).

Saturday, July 01, 2006 9:38:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

It is a big deal.

"Truth Justice and all that stuff"????

it's not only a slap at Americans, but also the idea that we DO stand for truth and Justice.

This is just another sneering, contempous bit of Hollywood multicultural, anti-American CRAP!

The movie might be good, I don't know, not sure I would go see it now.

One other point: Superman did come here as an alien. But he ASSIMILATED to American values. He became American and was proud of it.

That's the lesson of the Superman story: take all the talents and promise of people ejected from their homes (another planet in this case) and bring them to know and love the American dream, which remains "truth, justice and the American way."

Saturday, July 01, 2006 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

richard quick...don't know what your visit was all about- but be sure to donate to the Big Ten:
Arizona's Jon Kyl
Maryland's Michael Steele
Minnesota's Mark Kennedy
Missouri's Jim Talent
Montana's Conrad Burns
Nebraska's Pete Ricketts
New Jersey's Tom Kean
Ohio's Mike DeWinez
Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum
Washington's Mike McGavick

you're a true-blue, American patriot!

Pamela...how about "true-red"-blooded American?

bushwack...no problem.

Chatterbox...you flatter me. I guess I'll have to make a South Park character just to indulge you. Your new avatar is cute.


One other point: Superman did come here as an alien. But he ASSIMILATED to American values. He became American and was proud of it.

Mike, don't forget that he was adopted by the Kents, early on in his youth. That makes him legalized, and American.

Saturday, July 01, 2006 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Superman is an American hero. I don't care to see him globalized, so I'll skip this movie version. Leaving out "the American way" is a big deal to me and another reason for me to say "ARRRGGGHHH!"

Sunday, July 02, 2006 3:36:00 AM  
Anonymous yankeemom said...

They're messing with my man!! First the hollywood elitests go after my westerns and my war movies and now Superman!
I have to go watch "Tombstone" now....
In the words of Wyatt Earp, "NO! NO! NO!"

Sunday, July 02, 2006 7:48:00 AM  
Blogger The Angry American said...

Great post wordsmith. I'm a reformed comic geek myself. I actually have an entire pallet of boxed,and boarded comics in my basement. It's right next to my pallet of still in the package action figures.....oohhh the same of it all. But I have'nt read many comics over the past years,and I was surprised at your telling us about Captain America becoming a liberal. I would bet comic sales must have been way down,and they needed something to kick start it again. Unfortunatly making him a liberal will only isolate his true fans. Same with making Superman into something he's not. Just like all the Batman movies. The first one was great. Then each one became more,and more saturday morning cartoonish.And it killed the franchise until they hired a new writer to make the character dark again.

Sunday, July 02, 2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

I love my collection of Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck comics. They're not collectors items, they are treasured reading material and reminders of simpler times.

Last year I dug the boxes out and read each one again. Like old friends at a reunion, it was joy!

Sunday, July 02, 2006 1:17:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

You know, Supes could have killed off Hitler back in the 40s, but he didn't. The writers, even then, knew there were some things that were truly against the American Way.

Would y'all have Superman portrayed differently? Taking out whole villages in Iraq? Whole neighborhoods in Palestine?

It's a shame that it's come to be a bad thing to some to be in favor of ALL the people of the world. For some of us, it is the Ultimate in the American Way to be concerned about people around the world and to be big enough to not insist on Truth and Justice as the exclusive domain of the US.

Sunday, July 02, 2006 3:22:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

You know, Supes could have killed off Hitler back in the 40s, but he didn't. The writers, even then, knew there were some things that were truly against the American Way.

Ah, Dan, Dan, Dan...writers were limited to the constraints of actual history that their fictional characters had to navigate through.

Would y'all have Superman portrayed differently? Taking out whole villages in Iraq? Whole neighborhoods in Palestine?

No. Just the bad guys, Dan. But of course, you think that's all that American soldiers are good for: killing and destroying. Raping and pillaging. Harming all who stand in their way.

It's a shame that it's come to be a bad thing to some to be in favor of ALL the people of the world. For some of us, it is the Ultimate in the American Way to be concerned about people around the world and to be big enough to not insist on Truth and Justice as the exclusive domain of the US.

Well of course Dan! And that is a deeply AMERICAN thing to believe. To be in a position to help others. Did you miss that part of my post, or just skimmed and ignored? Or read what you wanted to read into my post? Or maybe you're just lashing out at some of the comments? Your own echo chamber? Who are you addressing?


I once felt as you do, wanting boundaries between nations to dissolve and to become a brotherhood of man. A global community, where warring upon another nation would be like warring against your own flesh and blood. Where disputes could be resolved peaceably in the hallowed halls of the United Nations.

But then I grew up. The problem is, Dan...the rest of the world doesn't share our values. You can empathize all you want with foreign dictators; but some of those foreign nations don't reciprocate your empathy. They will return your kindness and your compassion with derision and contempt; with gunshot and explosion. Not all nations are created equal, and to pretend to do so out of the goodness and misguided nobility in your heart will get you killed.

Superman is an American hero. That does mean showing compassion to the rest of the world; to be its guardian. What it doesn't mean, is pretending like his American values are global values, shared by all. To strip him of his Americanism is to strip him of his values and his goodness. Without that as part of his identity, he could just as well have communist values or fascist values, or Islamic Jihadist notions screwing him up.

There. I hope I clarified things for you, my true, blue friend. My harsh tone is always out of love for ya, Dan.

Sunday, July 02, 2006 3:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I too, am "getting my underoos all in a wad" about it. That's not the Superman we know. I haven't seen the movie, but I can promise you Wordsmith, that I would have noticed that. It's "Truth, Justice and the American Way." If not, it aint Superman... it's an imposter!

Sunday, July 02, 2006 3:44:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"You can empathize all you want with foreign dictators"

But it's not about empathizing. It's about how best to deal with the real evil in the world and whether or not we should take part in evil in an effort to try to stop evil.

I just don't believe that war is generally a good way to stop evil - especially this particular evil of terrorism. Attacking a country for the deeds of a few is an especially inefficient way of stopping the few. What it leads to, instead is sympathy for the terrorists and a recruitment opportunity.

And (forgive me for rhapsodizing about a fictional character) Superman is a Kryptonian hero who had the great privilege to be raised by the Kents in the US. The Kents and Superman himself are responsible for his excellent values - values that ARE shared around the world.

To suggest that good values are the exclusive domain of a certain place in the world, well, I think even Supes would disagree with that. Anyone who's traveled around the world (or has read about people around the world) will know this.

Thanks for the clarification.

Sunday, July 02, 2006 4:45:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

But it's not about empathizing. It's about how best to deal with the real evil in the world and whether or not we should take part in evil in an effort to try to stop evil.

Sometimes I think it takes evil to destroy evil. That is if you consider "violence" to be inherently a thing of evil.


I just don't believe that war is generally a good way to stop evil - especially this particular evil of terrorism. Attacking a country for the deeds of a few is an especially inefficient way of stopping the few.

Well...do you suppose if we asked Saddam to surrender power peaceably he would have done so? Above any other war, during major combat operations, we went out of our way to minimize collateral damages to civilian population as well as buildings of historic and cultural significance. You make it sound like we treated the Iraqi people as our enemy. We never did. "Liberation" was part of the case put forth for going to war.

Since you said that attacking an entire country is an inefficient way to go about removing "the few", how should we have gone about it, militarily-speaking, in the hypothetical that you condoned military action? A covert special forces operation? Assassination?

What it leads to, instead is sympathy for the terrorists and a recruitment opportunity.

When terrorists and insurgents are the ones blowing up the Iraqi people, that makes the Iraqis want to sign on board?

Why is it taht so many of the anti-war crowd look at us as the ones killing Iraqis and intentionally targeting civilians without conscience?

And (forgive me for rhapsodizing about a fictional character) Superman is a Kryptonian hero who had the great privilege to be raised by the Kents in the US. The Kents and Superman himself are responsible for his excellent values - values that ARE shared around the world.

Of course goodness isn't exclusively an American trait. There are good people and bad people all over the world, yes. Of course there are. We love, we laugh, we play, we sing, we dance, we like to cuddle fuzzy bunnies.

But you cannot tell me that the warlords in Somalia share your values. You cannot tell me that those who willingly support communist regimes and value human life cheaply share your values. You cannot tell me that the people of Palestine would care one wit about Jews, in general; whereas, contrast that to the value system of Israelis who try to nurse a Palestinian woman back to health, even as she returns back to the hospital as a homicide bomber, trying to blow up the very people who helped save her life! Or how about the U.S. soldier who was shot by a sniper, and sprang back up, suffering only a bruise, thanks to his body armor? And then had the compassion and the professionalism to help treat the wounds of the very same sniper who tried to kill him? If the roles were reversed, do you think "the other" would have shown us just as much compassion?

To suggest that good values are the exclusive domain of a certain place in the world, well, I think even Supes would disagree with that. Anyone who's traveled around the world (or has read about people around the world) will know this.


You'll find good people everywhere. But good values? A little more rare. Do you consider lying a good value trait? In some parts of the world, it is a virtue.

Human life is cheap in places like Darfur and the Sudan. Among the Moros of the Southern Philippines, they laugh over violence to another person, without so much as flinching.

Sunday, July 02, 2006 5:11:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"Sometimes I think it takes evil to destroy evil."

Yeah, lots of people do. Including the terrorists. I disagree.

"That is if you consider "violence" to be inherently a thing of evil."

I consider a child or other innocent bystanders blown apart by a bomb inherently an act of evil - regardless if those exploding the bomb were hoping to kill the child or not.

"how should we have gone about it, militarily-speaking..."

That's just it. I DON'T think we should have gone about it militarily. I don't think we can solve all problems militarily and, in fact, we'll make things worse trying to do so.

"But you cannot tell me that the warlords in Somalia share your values. You cannot tell me that those who willingly support communist regimes and value human life cheaply share your values."

No, they don't. Nor does Bush, nor do a large number of others. What difference does that make?

Look up Non-violent Direct Action. Read about it. It's not based upon fairy tale utopianism. It's based upon self-interest.

We don't all share the same values but we all have our own self-interest and those things which motivate us. Those are the levers one pulls to effect change, even amongst those who disagree with your values.

"Do you consider lying a good value trait? In some parts of the world, it is a virtue."

Like the Whitehouse?

Sunday, July 02, 2006 5:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Skye said...

It IS the ultimate liberal fairy tale with absolutely no basis in reality. It is been said that if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes fact..

How many times have you repeated the lie of NVDA?




--------------------------
Look up Non-violent Direct Action. Read about it. It's not based upon fairy tale utopianism. It's based upon self-interest

Sunday, July 02, 2006 8:30:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Yeah, lots of people do. Including the terrorists. I disagree.

So then, what you propose is that what the terrorists need is a little more love and tenderness for every time they blow up children (you seem to like using children to back up your arguments a lot)?


I consider a child or other innocent bystanders blown apart by a bomb inherently an act of evil - regardless if those exploding the bomb were hoping to kill the child or not.


How is that "evil"? Is evil in the intent or in the action? Or in both?

"how should we have gone about it, militarily-speaking..."

That's just it. I DON'T think we should have gone about it militarily.


Well, yeah...I know that. From everything I've known about you, it's the same thing over and over regarding this topic. But this was a hypothetical, based upon the sentence I was responding to.

I don't think we can solve all problems militarily and, in fact, we'll make things worse trying to do so.

And I disagree. Sometimes diplomacy and sometimes militarily. You need the right tools for the right problems, and the desire for peace is not a tool. It is an end, not a means.


"But you cannot tell me that the warlords in Somalia share your values. You cannot tell me that those who willingly support communist regimes and value human life cheaply share your values."

No, they don't. Nor does Bush, nor do a large number of others. What difference does that make?


The fact that you consider all cultures equal in values and goodness.

Look up Non-violent Direct Action. Read about it. It's not based upon fairy tale utopianism. It's based upon self-interest.

I googled it...but I'm not impressed with what I found. It just....doesn't jive with me. I swear to God, I used to see the world a bit similar to you. But now I think it is just sheer folly. Fluff and nonsense.

I know you posted this in a comments section before, but I forget: Tell me again where pacifism has worked.



"Do you consider lying a good value trait? In some parts of the world, it is a virtue."

Like the Whitehouse?


No. Like to yourself.

(that was a joke. No offense meant.)

Sunday, July 02, 2006 9:31:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Skye asked:

"How many times have you repeated the lie of NVDA?"

Not enough times, apparently. Have you read anything about it at all yet?

How is it a lie?

Sunday, July 02, 2006 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"How is that "evil"? Is evil in the intent or in the action? Or in both?"

It is evil to drop bombs when one knows that innocent people will be killed. In intent and in action.

In taking that action, you are saying, "I have decided that I am wise enough to know that the good that will come from killing these innocent people will outweigh the bad, and further, that I/we have the moral authority to make this decision."

It is usurping God and all of morality for one's own supposed benefit.

That is why it is wrong when the terrorists do it and it is wrong when we do it.

You want to wage war? Then at least do it within Just War Theory parameters, which dictates that innocent lives must not be taken (ie, if you want to line up a bunch of your soldiers to shoot at their soldiers, knock yerself out.)

"Tell me again where pacifism has worked."

For one example, when the Contras were terrorizing the villagers in Nicaragua (raping, killing, pillaging, kidnapping), Witness for Peace started sending "Peace Delegates" in to the villages under attack.

The Contras wouldn't have minded killing more unarmed people morally, that's what they'd been doing. But, because they were receiving money from the US, they were intelligent enough to know that it was against their own interests to shoot US (and other nationality) citizens because that would ensure the end of their money they needed to overthrow the gov't.

NVDA works on the assumption that people won't act against their own perceived best interests. You find that "best interest" and use that power to leverage and force peacemaking.

WS said:
"No. Like to yourself.

(that was a joke. No offense meant.)"

None taken. And while my dig at the White House was a joke, it was a serious statement, too.

One of the first thing that Bush did was to hire two convicted and unrepentant liars (Poindexter and Abrams), rewarding them precisely because of their lying.

Sunday, July 02, 2006 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

"How is that "evil"? Is evil in the intent or in the action? Or in both?"

It is evil to drop bombs when one knows that innocent people will be killed. In intent and in action.


That's a bit different from your original example, albeit related. Ok. We've been down this road before.

In an ideal world there would be no bombs. But that's not the world we live in. You would have us disarm ourselves,in order to try to "force" peace through nonresistance. Hoping the other side will also want to do away with bombs. That's not how this reality works, Dan.

You've brought up Hiroshima and Nagasaski...the bombing of Dresden. What would the consequences have been if those places were spared? Would more lives have been saved, or less lives? Would they have been our lives, or just human life in general, regardless of which side of the fence those lives stand behind?

I never did create that moral dilemma thread for you; but I think I might somewhere soon, because it'd be very interesting for me to hear your responses.

In taking that action, you are saying, "I have decided that I am wise enough to know that the good that will come from killing these innocent people will outweigh the bad, and further, that I/we have the moral authority to make this decision."

It is usurping God and all of morality for one's own supposed benefit.

That is why it is wrong when the terrorists do it and it is wrong when we do it.


What are you talking about? The terrorists are intentionally targetting those innocent civilians you keep handwringing over. It's our soldiers who are losing their lives trying to protect the Iraqis along with the Iraqi security force. Can you not see a difference between them and us?!



You want to wage war? Then at least do it within Just War Theory parameters, which dictates that innocent lives must not be taken (ie, if you want to line up a bunch of your soldiers to shoot at their soldiers, knock yerself out.)

That would be nice, Dan. But that's not the way it works. I'm sure our soldiers would love to get the insurgents and jihadists out into the open and have it out. They'd love nothing better! Certainly beats being blown up by IEDs.

If I remember correctly, there were possible "civilian" deaths in the airstrike that killed Zarqawi. Was that a good thing or a bad thing?

"Tell me again where pacifism has worked."

For one example, when the Contras were terrorizing the villagers in Nicaragua (raping, killing, pillaging, kidnapping), Witness for Peace started sending "Peace Delegates" in to the villages under attack.

The Contras wouldn't have minded killing more unarmed people morally, that's what they'd been doing. But, because they were receiving money from the US, they were intelligent enough to know that it was against their own interests to shoot US (and other nationality) citizens because that would ensure the end of their money they needed to overthrow the gov't.


Um...how exactly does that prove that pacifism works? Going strictly by the premise of what you just said, it wasn't pacifism that stopped them from killing people; it was the threat of having their funding cut off. How is that a case for "pacifism works"?

NVDA works on the assumption that people won't act against their own perceived best interests. You find that "best interest" and use that power to leverage and force peacemaking.

I suppose this answers my previous question? Yie, yie, yieeeee...

Sunday, July 02, 2006 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

Ugh! That genocide enabler Trabue is so out to lunch. No doubt Osama sleeps well at night knowing there are people like him out there.

Sunday, July 02, 2006 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"I suppose this answers my previous question?"

Yes, most pacifists believe in using something like NVDA as a better, more workable and more just solution than war. And, while it has gone largely untried, when it has been tried it has worked relatively well.

So, if you have two solutions, one that requires you to commit horrible acts and one that requires bravery but that does not embrace evil in the process of opposing evil, then as one who wants to avoid war when possible (as I'm sure you do, WS), then wouldn't it make sense to invest more time and effort in the NVDA approach?

From a classical conservative point of view, war should be the last option, used only when it can't be avoided. Classical conservatives know that humans are too fallible to know what results will come from something as horrible (and big gov't-ish) as war and would reserve that option for the last resort, perhaps in the case of an actual invasion.

In Iraq's case, we had not reached anything like a point where war was justifiable from a conservative point of view. Why wouldn't those who call themselves "conservative" embrace NVDA?

Monday, July 03, 2006 5:07:00 AM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"You've brought up Hiroshima and Nagasaski...the bombing of Dresden. What would the consequences have been if those places were spared? Would more lives have been saved, or less lives?"

Well, we never really knows "what if?" do we? But in the case of WWII, we know that the War Solution as it happened in reality came at a cost of some 30-50 million lives and I don't know how much money. That's a pretty costly solution and one that would cause a logical person to re-evaluate the efficacy of war-as-solution.

The thing is, what would we have done unto us if we were the residents of Dresden? Or Hiroshima? Of New York?

Would you truly support a huge bomb dropped on you and your family and friends as a solution - even if the "enemy" thinks your gov't must be overcome?

WS asked:
"there were possible "civilian" deaths in the airstrike that killed Zarqawi. Was that a good thing or a bad thing?"

Are you serious? How can you ever think that killing innocent people is a good thing? If a killer were eluding police and they shot into a crowd to try to stop him, would that be a good thing? The ends don't justify the means.

Monday, July 03, 2006 5:21:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

So, if you have two solutions, one that requires you to commit horrible acts and one that requires bravery but that does not embrace evil in the process of opposing evil, then as one who wants to avoid war when possible (as I'm sure you do, WS), then wouldn't it make sense to invest more time and effort in the NVDA approach?

The type of bravery that embraces "evil", I consider to be "moral violence". I'd rather the law enforcement officer whose experience and judgment tells him that the suspect who refuses to show his hands, standing 10 feet away and inching forward, decide to aim a round, center-mass, into the uncooperative suspect. I'd rather he go home to his family at the end of the day, rather than in a body bag, because he tried exercising NVDA. And it doesn't matter whether it turns out later that the officer was in actual peril or not, if the circumstance was such that the perception of possible harm to the officer was absolutely real. Officers have been killed by not listening to their better judgment, by using non-lethal options when the situation called for it.

It'd be nice if he didn't have to aim center-mass; it'd be nice if he were Steven Seagal (an ass) using nonviolent aikido to subdue a knife-wielding attacker without actually harming him. It'd be nice if he were Superman. But he's not. That's fantasy, not reality.

From a classical conservative point of view, war should be the last option, used only when it can't be avoided.

I agree. But you'd have us go to war under no circumstance. And that is troubling to me. There's a song in my head right now that reminds me of you Dan. Remember what it is? I think I've told you before. Maybe I'll make a post around it as well, just for you. I like the song and the allegory, but what it says to me is that NVDA will get you killed.



In Iraq's case, we had not reached anything like a point where war was justifiable from a conservative point of view.


We've been down this road too. It is only in your opinion that we didn't use war as a last resort. This goes back to my analogy of the officer confronting the suspect. The suspect could have had a weapon or could have been just bluffing. It doesn't matter. The officer gave the suspect every chance before aiming center mass to insure his own safety.

I really don't see how you consider Saddam not to have been a threat. Using information that you know now, or think you know now, doesn't help your case. It's as dishonest as those saying "no wmds" as part of their argument against the war, when that was never part of their argument; that they were against the war even knowing or believing that Saddam had wmd stockpiles ready to use against us.


Why wouldn't those who call themselves "conservative" embrace NVDA?

Because getting yourself killed out of misguided compassion for evil people is not my idea of nobility.


"You've brought up Hiroshima and Nagasaski...the bombing of Dresden. What would the consequences have been if those places were spared? Would more lives have been saved, or less lives?"

Well, we never really knows "what if?" do we? But in the case of WWII, we know that the War Solution as it happened in reality came at a cost of some 30-50 million lives and I don't know how much money. That's a pretty costly solution and one that would cause a logical person to re-evaluate the efficacy of war-as-solution.


Well now, as you say, we will never really know "what if" will we? For all you know, those 30-50 million could well have turned out to be 200 million and counting and we'd be speaking German today, thanks to NVDA.


The thing is, what would we have done unto us if we were the residents of Dresden? Or Hiroshima? Of New York?

Would you truly support a huge bomb dropped on you and your family and friends as a solution - even if the "enemy" thinks your gov't must be overcome?


Dan, that's war. Warfare between nations.

WS asked:
"there were possible "civilian" deaths in the airstrike that killed Zarqawi. Was that a good thing or a bad thing?"

Are you serious? How can you ever think that killing innocent people is a good thing? If a killer were eluding police and they shot into a crowd to try to stop him, would that be a good thing?


The police would not just shoot into a crowd, so no on that. But in the case of Zarqawi, I don't remember it being determined the relationship of those who were with him, but I remember a kid being found. I don't celebrate the loss of the child; but I celebrate the fact that Zarqawi won't be sawing off any more heads in the future, won't be responsible for sending off homicide bombers into a crowd of elderly at the hospital, or drag off school teachers and have them shot. How many more murders should he be allowed to carry out, because you don't have the moral compass to realize that sometimes you just have to take the shot?


The ends don't justify the means.


I will save that for my moral dilemma/paradox thread.

Monday, July 03, 2006 8:02:00 AM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"I agree. But you'd have us go to war under no circumstance."

Not exactly true. I can't imagine the circumstances where I'd ever embrace deadly violence, but I recognize the right of a nation to truly defend itself (as in against an actual invasion).

This gets back to the whole separation of church/state stuff. I acknowledge that, while I think a pretty good case can be made for exclusive non-deadly violence, there is still a matter of faith for at least some of us to be totally pacifistic.

And, since it is a matter of faith, I would not push my religious beliefs off on others (just as I'd ask those who'd push a gay marriage ban to keep their religion out of my gov't). Still, I think an entirely civic case can be made for a conservative/Just War Theory approach to defense and that is what I advocate. If we are actually invaded, then yes, war has been waged against us and the gov't (and her peoples) have the right to defend themselves.

On the other hand, if a handful of criminals from Saudi Arabia and Yemen drive a plane in to NYC, well, a war has NOT been waged. A criminal act has been perpetrated and there is no justification for sending troops to Saudi Arabia to punish them for the acts of a handful of their citizens. And there certainly is no justification for invading Iraq who had nothing to do with those people.

War can only be waged between nations and a "Just War" can only be waged in response to an attack by a nation.

Just curious, WS, you said earlier that NVDA didn't ring true for you. What part do you find troubling?

Monday, July 03, 2006 8:57:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

"I agree. But you'd have us go to war under no circumstance."

Not exactly true. I can't imagine the circumstances where I'd ever embrace deadly violence, but I recognize the right of a nation to truly defend itself (as in against an actual invasion).


Based on everything I've ever seen you post, I find it hard to believe, because your criteria for when violence is justified seems to me, to amount to "NEVER". And given an invasion, you'd still have us try to talk our way out of being killed, even as we stood in the way of a bayonet charge (I can see you trying to appeal to reason: "Can't we just sit down and talk this over?").

This gets back to the whole separation of church/state stuff. I acknowledge that, while I think a pretty good case can be made for exclusive non-deadly violence, there is still a matter of faith for at least some of us to be totally pacifistic.

Not sure what you are getting at here. Why bring separation of church and state into this? Because you think religious zealots are dangerous? So are secular zealots. Your brand of belief in God would have us be a disarmed nation as much as someone else's belief in God have us be a warmongering one. But secularists are also capable of either extreme.

And, since it is a matter of faith, I would not push my religious beliefs off on others (just as I'd ask those who'd push a gay marriage ban to keep their religion out of my gov't).

Who's banning gay marriage? You mean the marriage protection amendment to the Constitution? Where in it did it say "ban on gay marriage"?

Personally, it's not an important issue to me.

Still, I think an entirely civic case can be made for a conservative/Just War Theory approach to defense and that is what I advocate.

So there are instances when you, Dan Trabue, would advocate a call for violence as a means?

If we are actually invaded, then yes, war has been waged against us and the gov't (and her peoples) have the right to defend themselves.

Would you personally, be willing to kill someone?

On the other hand, if a handful of criminals from Saudi Arabia and Yemen drive a plane in to NYC, well, a war has NOT been waged. A criminal act has been perpetrated and there is no justification for sending troops to Saudi Arabia to punish them for the acts of a handful of their citizens.

In the case of Afghanistan, the Taliban refused to hand over the perpetrators. The majority of our fellow citizens, and many people around the world understood or supported our actions in removing the Taliban so we could get to al Qaeda.

And there certainly is no justification for invading Iraq who had nothing to do with those people.

a cease-fire agreement and 17 unenforced UN Resolutions violations?!

Why is it that you always stray into bringing up Hiroshima....Iraq...and on and on? It's the same circling the bandwagon we go through here and where I see you go through everywhere else in the blogosphere. We end up recycling old arguments. It's a time waster.


War can only be waged between nations and a "Just War" can only be waged in response to an attack by a nation.

We're at war with an ideology, my fellow American.

Just curious, WS, you said earlier that NVDA didn't ring true for you. What part do you find troubling?

The fact that it will get me killed and my family killed, and my fellow citizens killed. And meanwhile, evil triumphs in the world. I still don't see how pacifism does anything other than make you fodder for evil people who could care less about your humanity and compassion for them.

Monday, July 03, 2006 9:19:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Captain America agrees with Dan. I DID see the movie and it is spectacular. If you are going to be offended by the omission of "the American way" (which was never in the comic, but was part of the '50's TV show intro) you are just an angry conservative making up a reason to be pissed off. Get your meds adjusted if you are that angry all of the time people!

Monday, July 03, 2006 9:25:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

OMG! Tim's hijacked Captain America!


Hehe...I should use Michael Moore as my avatar.

Glad you liked the movie. Maybe I'll go see it today.

Monday, July 03, 2006 9:30:00 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Did you adjust your meds, Wordsmith? I don't take any but I did take an Aspirin. Does that count? I'm feeling much better now, thanks to Tim! I'll watch the movie when it comes out on DVD. :)

Wordsmith, you are running out of time. I keep coming back looking for your Independence Day post!???

Monday, July 03, 2006 9:44:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I did take 2 aspirins earlier this week. I think it's the heat. Must be that global warming stuff.

I have the post pretty well finished. I'll post it after I come back from seeing Superman Returns. I'm on my way out the door now.



If we are actually invaded, then yes, war has been waged against us and the gov't (and her peoples) have the right to defend themselves.

We had a number of terrorist attacks on American interests and yes, even on American soil, throughout the 90's. They were at war with us, but we treated it as a law enforcement issue. We had no land invasions, yet we defended ourselves in WWII. If missiles were being launched at us, even if we weren't being invaded, don't you think we'd have the right to defend ourselves?

Monday, July 03, 2006 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

In other words, Dan...we can be at war and defend ourselves, even if our borders aren't being over run by invading armies.

(dear God...let's not stray into a discussion on illegal immigration)

Monday, July 03, 2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

"(dear God...let's not stray into a discussion on illegal immigration)" ROTFALMAO! Right. Save illegal immigration for another post. If you go into it here you'll never get it changed back!

Monday, July 03, 2006 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

"It's a shame that it's come to be a bad thing to some to be in favor of ALL the people of the world. For some of us, it is the Ultimate in the American Way to be concerned about people around the world and to be big enough to not insist on Truth and Justice as the exclusive domain of the US."

This is where I agree with Dan. As far as telling everybody to adjust thier meds for getting so bent out of shape over the omission of "American way", I stand by that. It's like people are searching for some liberal plot behind everything. Wait a minute, I think I see a black helicopter over my house!

Monday, July 03, 2006 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

This is where I agree with Dan.

The problem Tim, is that Dan is just creating his own counter-argument against something I haven't said...or he's misconstrued what I've written. Maybe that's the fault of me, as a writer.

In fact, when I read what he wrote, he's just re-iterating what I believe myself. The only difference is, I want to acknowledge that it's a very American thing to believe in; Bryan Singer and the creative team, however, seem to want to remove that notion from the movie, as somehow offensive or damaging; as somehow excluding of others.

When I watch popular heroes native to other countries, I expect them to take pride in their own countries and cultures. I am not bothered by patriotism shown by them. I think it's great.

If the lead character who is French wants to proclaim to the whole world, "Viva la France!" more power to him.

Wolverine's been drawn out to be Canadian. Does he save the world and act globally? Of course! That's what superheroes do. They save the whole entire frakkin' planet! But I won't get offended or feel slighted if he holds Canada up in great esteem, and proudly says, "I fight for truth, justice, and in the Canadian way!" Give me a break!


Just because I made a post around this, doesn't mean I intentionally wanted to make a mountain out of a molehill. Go back and actually read the darn post! Sometimes a guy's got to be allowed to post about a molehill, and be taken at face value.


Well, I just got back from the movie, and must say I was relatively bored with the plot. I thought the actor Brandon Routh did an oustanding job. He even captures much of Christopher Reeves interpretation of Superman. I liked that they made it so that it felt like a continuation of the Christopher Reeve movies. The John Williams score, especially.

Monday, July 03, 2006 3:13:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"We're at war with an ideology, my fellow American."

As if one could wage a violent war against an ideology. Shall we bomb stupidity? Mine the harbors at ignorance? Blow up synagogues and mosques and temples?

Dan had asked:
Just curious, WS, you said earlier that NVDA didn't ring true for you. What part do you find troubling?

To which WS responded:
"The fact that it will get me killed and my family killed, and my fellow citizens killed."


You make that suggestion as if war-making has no deadly consequences. Is it not possible that those against whom we levy violence will seek to return that violence? And those whose families got caught in the crossfire, might they not also seek violent revenge?

Not only is it a possibility, it is a likelihood.

So to be clear, both approaches have risks. The difference between the two, so far as I can see, is that one approach involves embracing that which you hope to destroy and the other approach involves using our energies and brain-power and dollars to overcome evil without embracing it.

I'd suppose you'd say that the difference is that those who'd fight violence without embracing violence are more likely to die, but do you have any evidence on which to base such a supposition?

Monday, July 03, 2006 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

"We're at war with an ideology, my fellow American."

As if one could wage a violent war against an ideology. Shall we bomb stupidity? Mine the harbors at ignorance? Blow up synagogues and mosques and temples?


It's their ideology that gives them the rationale to blow up their own mosques and daycare centers on purpose. And no, I'm not talking about Islam in general, but the radical wahabbis and militant who would rather send others and themselves into the next life, than enjoy this one.



You make that suggestion as if war-making has no deadly consequences. Is it not possible that those against whom we levy violence will seek to return that violence? And those whose families got caught in the crossfire, might they not also seek violent revenge?


That's a fair question. Yes, violence often begets violence. But so too has a show of weakness. Dan, if we didn't have a strong military, what do you honestly suppose would happen to us? Seriously.



So to be clear, both approaches have risks. The difference between the two, so far as I can see, is that one approach involves embracing that which you hope to destroy and the other approach involves using our energies and brain-power and dollars to overcome evil without embracing it.


When I was younger, I had practiced aikido for a number of years. It has a very lofty, idealistic philosophy that when attacked, you use minimal force, redirecting the attacker's energy, so that the more force he uses, the worst off he is; the idea is, that through jointlocks and manipulation rather than punches and kicks, you humanely subdue your aggressor, protecting not only yourself but him as well from coming to harm.

In the real world, though, I prefer the philosophy of Filipino Kali: "You pull a knife on me, you die."



I'd suppose you'd say that the difference is that those who'd fight violence without embracing violence are more likely to die, but do you have any evidence on which to base such a supposition?


If the Jews were given M-16s, do you suppose 6-9 million of them would have been toasted and gassed?

The problem, Dan, is that not everyone is wired to think like you. Do you think a man like Saddam just "fell in with a bad crowd" or had a bad childhood? Is that what made him into such a SOB?

If you hung a sign on your front lawn that said you'd not lift a finger to use violence in defense of your life and property or your loved ones, that may be fine among fellow pacifists and normal law-abiding citizens. But what about the criminals and tyrants and psychopaths? Do you think love and kindness will stop them? Pacifism is weakness exploited by the monsters of society.

Tibetans were a peaceful society with a history of pacifism. In spite of their peaceful protestations, it didn't help them stop communist China's aggression from subjugating them into slaughter and ruin. What has the cost of pacifism been to their culture? Much of it destroyed and lost forever due to failure to resist the Chinese in a manner that they would have understood- namely violence.

What culture of pacifists have survived, unmolested? The societies which have survived have been the ones capable of defending themselves.

Why are the Quakers able to survive? Because non-Quakers are prepared to defend them with violent means.

Societies of non-resistance, throughout history, have faded into obscurity, as well as the weaker one in an armed conflict.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"The problem, Dan, is that not everyone is wired to think like you."

The advantage to NVDA, WS, is that "they" don't have to think like me. As I've said, in Nicaragua, the Contras were fine with killing and it was not a fear of killing US citizens that stopped them, nor was it that they came to think like us, but rather, Witness for Peace was able to find a way to make the Contras realize it was in their best interests to not terrorize the villages.

If it works, then why not pursue it?

I mean, those opposed to the contras could have used Reagan's method of problem-solving and armed the villagers, sent support troops to Nica. What would that have done? Resulted in more killing and an escalating civil war.

Witness for Peace brought the contras to their knees non-violently in a way that violence couldn't have worked.

"What culture of pacifists have survived, unmolested?"

None. Not a one. The only mistake to make here though, would be to fail to ask the corresponding question: What group of warriors have survived, unmolested? The answer to which is the same: None.

The anabaptists have been persecuted since their beginning in the 15th century and yet they're still here, six centuries later. And they've survived with and without the "benefit" of a "protector" army. The anabaptists know history and know that the military has just as often (or more) been a threat to them as any benefit.

Is there a risk that any ONE pacifist might be killed? Sure. Just as there's a risk that any one warrior might be killed. What's the point? Is there MORE likelihood that pacifists might be killed?

Well, that'd be a hard point to prove.

That being the case, I again suggest that we are left with at least two possible ways to defend against injustices: Using NVDA or using militarism. One uses good to try to overcome evil and one uses evil to try to overcome evil.

Lacking any evidence that a militaristic answer is any more likely to be more successful than a pacifistic answer, why would you not embrace NVDA?

To paraphrase Chesterton, Pacifism hasn't been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 3:10:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

If it works, then why not pursue it?

If it works, then I'd be open to it. But how would you have applied it to Iraq? How would you apply it to Iraq now? Or to North Korea?

I mean, those opposed to the contras could have used Reagan's method of problem-solving and armed the villagers, sent support troops to Nica. What would that have done? Resulted in more killing and an escalating civil war.

Because that's what happened with the Soviet Union, right? Our arms-race led to nuclear war.

But joking aside, I do see your line of thinking.

Witness for Peace brought the contras to their knees non-violently in a way that violence couldn't have worked.

I haven't looked at Nicaragua and the Contras enough to know what Witness for Peace had done.

"What culture of pacifists have survived, unmolested?"

None. Not a one. The only mistake to make here though, would be to fail to ask the corresponding question: What group of warriors have survived, unmolested? The answer to which is the same: None.


I don't really see that as a fair reversal. The difference is that sheep and sheepdogs will come across wolves in the world...and in the case of sheep, the wolves will always molest them; with sheepdogs, the wolves will think twice...and if deciding to engage, may find themselves on the short end of the encounter and paying for it through the nose.

The anabaptists have been persecuted since their beginning in the 15th century and yet they're still here, six centuries later. And they've survived with and without the "benefit" of a "protector" army. The anabaptists know history and know that the military has just as often (or more) been a threat to them as any benefit.

You could say that about early Christianity when despite persecution, they've survived and thrived as a religion. But that does not change the fact that many Christians suffered horrible deaths, because of nonresistance, putting trust in salvation of their souls, rather than trying to save themselves in this life.



Is there a risk that any ONE pacifist might be killed? Sure. Just as there's a risk that any one warrior might be killed. What's the point?

The point is, I'd rather fight to save my life and the lives of my loved ones, rather than be slaughtered like sheep. Any reasonable person will seek alternative solutions, up until you know that you're about to be killed. If a person's going to pull a trigger, talking time is over! No matter how unlikely you may be to disarm the aggressor, your percentage of living will be zero if you just sit there and allow that trigger to be pulled.

Is there MORE likelihood that pacifists might be killed?

Well, that'd be a hard point to prove.


I feel like we're just running laps around each other again. I thought I've already pointed out a few examples. No empirical studies, but it just seems like rational sense, to me.

That being the case, I again suggest that we are left with at least two possible ways to defend against injustices: Using NVDA or using militarism. One uses good to try to overcome evil and one uses evil to try to overcome evil.

When I said "sometimes it takes evil to destroy evil", perhaps it's a wrong choice of words, as you perceive violence. I clearly believe in the goodness and rightness of "moral violence".

Lacking any evidence that a militaristic answer is any more likely to be more successful than a pacifistic answer, why would you not embrace NVDA?

And I have yet to acknowledge that NVDA is superior in any way, to saving more lives than a military solution.

To paraphrase Chesterton, Pacifism hasn't been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.

Haha....I think I've seen you post that at least 5 different times now, including on this blog, maybe 2 other times.

Here's a quote for you from George Orwell: "Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 8:45:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

My apologies for repeating the stolen Chesterton line. With my memory, I tend to forget where I've said things...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 9:32:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

No need to apologize...I leave droppings all over the place, and often forget where I've said what and when.

And you can ignore the Orwell quote. I just pulled it out of my butt to sound cool, since you had a quote. The "fascist" comparison doesn't even make sense, without the context with which it was said in.


But you know I'm going to tease you about it if I come across you leaving that quote in the future somewhere. (^_~)

It's like running into someone I know at a party when I see your comments at another blog.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 9:41:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

Why do you want to ignore the Orwell?

Let's flesh it out a bit further:

"Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, 'he that is not with me is against me.'"

Wordsmith: I give you points for tolerance and patience. But arguing with a fool is a fool's errand. And if I saw Trabue at a party I would head in the other direction.

Saturday, July 08, 2006 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

You're calling the much wiser and kinder Wordsmith a "fool" because he's willing to engage in discussion with a poor reprobate such as myself, Mike? For shame.

Sunday, July 09, 2006 12:13:00 AM  

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