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Author Topic: Crime of the Century  (Read 14877 times)
Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2010, 12:28:18 PM »
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Hi Ben;

Could you please elaborate on why you feel I am a sick individual for wanting to raise awareness about the global deforestation and sterilization of our world?

You seem to be a man of few words. Does this mean you are therefore a man with few thoughts, or are you just pressed for time? You wrote two lines last visit and just one line this visit.

I would like to understand your perspective on why you place "people" on a pedistal higher in importance than the world which allows them (nay, all of life itself) to exist. I would be happy to debate this subject, civilly and intelligently, with you anytime you are emotionally and intellectually ready to do so.

Thanks for your time,

Jack


EDIT:
You squeezed-out one more line as I was typing. Thank you for the effort. Could you please explain why you think man is more important than the "nature" which allows him to survive?

I have no problem with protecting nature inasmuch as it is needed for human survival or pleasure. Putting the survival of a different entity above that of your own species is extremely parasitical. To do so for non selfish reasons (for the species) is incredibly illogical.

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« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2010, 12:54:14 PM »
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Ben, I'm not sure I get you here... It is entirely logical that we protect our environment in order to protect our species. We are by nature "parasites" in that we feed off the earth. But that doesn't make us immoral. Nor does caring for the organism (earth) that feeds us.  If anything it is immoral to do nothing about environmental degradation, just as it is immoral to do nothing about the people in Darfur etc.
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2010, 01:21:41 PM »
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I have no problem with protecting nature inasmuch as it is needed for human survival or pleasure. Putting the survival of a different entity above that of your own species is extremely parasitical. To do so for non selfish reasons (for the species) is incredibly illogical.


Well, Ben, as someone who holds a degree in philosophy, where one of the major disciplines is in fact logic, let me suggest that there is nothing "logical" about your belief system at all; it is only emotional and egocentric. The entire premise that nature and animals are here to "serve" man is ludicrous. I am well aware of the religious nature of this incredibly myopic and obtuse perspective, and I don't really want to get into religion here either. So let us deal with the facts and with the subject of parasitism.

Regarding survival and loyalty, my loyalty is to the truth, and the truth about the declining quality of our world (unfortunately) is against mankind and no other life form. The facts show that mankind defies natural laws, is thus an abomination of nature, consumes resources far beyond what he needs, desecrates and kills for reasons that are not necessary, is increasing in number exponentially (while all other life forms are dwindling in number) ... and as a result mankind is ruining the world on which he (along with all other life forms) exists.

What is "illogical" is to believe that we as a species are intrinsically valuable to the world. Any person, or any group, is valuable only insofar as they contribute to the welfare of our world and that they help keep the balance of nature. By contrast, any individual or group who destroys this world, who kills other beings indiscriminately and en masse ... to the point where nature becomes terribly imbalanced or destroyed ... is a dangerous liability, not a valuable asset. And unfortunately, only man is guilty of being such a dangerous liability to the world.

The fact is we are ALL parasites of Planet Earth. You, me, and every organism on the face of this planet does nothing but suck the ^!^ of Mother Nature. To deny this reality is to be insane. Or, at the very least, clueless. Every breath we take, every drop of water we drink, and every scrap of nourishment we consume comes from this earth. And yet we continue to grow as a species and defile everything around us which gives us life. You want to talk about "illogical," the idea that we can continue to grow exponentially in number, that we can continually spread and consume resources, and the idea that this will not (ultimately) have catastrophic consequenses is what is "illogical."

You seem to think that mankind has "the right" to do whatever he wants to do to this planet, but the intelligent man also recognizes the responsibility to take care of that which provides him sustenance. (I suggest a quick skimming of "The Goose and the Golden Egg" fable ...) It is precisely this primitive "we have the right to do as we please, without regard for this world and other life forms" mindset that has created these problems. Having no regard for life and nature is evil, and (ultimately) this narcissistic and evil mentality will cause our own undoing.

By the way, Ben, the difference between a parasite and a parasitoid is that a parasite lives in a balance with its host ... while a parasitoid actually kills its host. Parasitoids can only exist if they have another host to move onto ... so if there were a whole bunch of other "Earths" floating around, that might be okay ... but as far as I know there is only ONE Planet Earth, and so taking care of it to the best of our ability is, in point of fact, essential to our survival as a species.

Thus "logic" would then hold that those people and groups who wantonly destroy our world are the ones who truly don't have our long term "survival as a species" in mind ...

Jack
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 01:26:43 PM by JohnKoerner » Logged
Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2010, 07:09:45 AM »
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Just wanted to add that we're only 10 years into this century, plenty of time left for all kinds of repulsive behaviour. It might be a little early to label the Gulf oil spill as the Crime of the Century, even if you do think it's more deserving that the competition so far.



Easy gang, remember: time heals all wounds and wounds all heels. The gulf will recover and BP will pay a dear price for its negligence.

As for time healing all wounds, that may be true, though it can be a callous thing to say depending on the context and timing. The families of the 11 guys who died in the explosion might not appreciate the thought. Imagine if someone said it of the World Trade Center destruction. There's an old Steve Goodman song, "Somebody Else's Troubles" with the refrain, "It ain't hard to get along with somebody else's troubles, and they don't make you lose any sleep at night", it's a good tune.

Of course, the Gulf will recover. Mother Nature will eventually absorb all that we can throw at her, no question. But her way of dealing with it might be to wipe us out. She's relegated millions of species already to the extinction heap when they failed to adapt to changing conditions. It's silly to assume we're immune.

Whether and how much BP will pay is an open question, and an important one. I am not an expert but I believe that the idea of limited liability was a way to protect shareholders from personal responsibility from corporate malfeasance. This was a way to encourage investment, and it works, but it was never other than a balancing act. What do we do when the potential harm from an act is greater than the ability of the causing agent to repair or repay? It's not the least bit clear. What does it mean that a "corporation" will suffer? Who suffers, exactly. The shareholders who didn't get out in time, maybe. I am pretty sure that the executives who laid the groundwork for the possible negligent behaviour won't suffer much, history shows that. They may burn a scapegoat at the stake, but the underlying reasons for behaving this way remain. In the end, it's citizens who will pay, the ones on the coast and the taxpayers who pay for the cleanup crews. Our culture does a good job of allowing corporations to externalize the things they don't want to pay for. Just look at the financial sector. I laughed out loud when I heard some public figure say that oil is a natural substance and that there is no long-term danger from it (was it Rush Limbaugh, can't remember) being in the environment. Ok, I thought, would you store some in YOUR backyard then?
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« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2010, 09:00:39 AM »
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Regarding survival and loyalty, my loyalty is to the truth, and the truth about the declining quality of our world (unfortunately) is against mankind and no other life form. The facts show that mankind defies natural laws, is thus an abomination of nature, consumes resources far beyond what he needs, desecrates and kills for reasons that are not necessary, is increasing in number exponentially (while all other life forms are dwindling in number) ... and as a result mankind is ruining the world on which he (along with all other life forms) exists.

Jack

Jack,

Let me start off by saying that I do not have any formal education in philosophy.

What you say above is absolutely true. We cannot dispute those facts. Through the ages, people have said those very things.

I would suggest that our seeming route to self destruction has nothing to do with truth and rights. To coin a crude, old phrase, we do it for the same reason dogs lick themselves...because we can.

Now I'd like to ask a question, and I mean this in a completely non combative or confrontational way.

Are you willing to give up your life so that a different species can survive?

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« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2010, 09:54:18 AM »
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As for time healing all wounds, that may be true, though it can be a callous thing to say depending on the context and timing. The families of the 11 guys who died in the explosion might not appreciate the thought. Imagine if someone said it of the World Trade Center destruction.

Robert, It seems to me that to see moral equivalence between an accident and a mass murder is putting yourself pretty far out on a limb. As far as the title of this thread is concerned, the gulf blowout wasn't a "crime," it was an accident. Yes, the accident was a big one brought on by extreme negligence and an attitude that can only be understood as hubris. But it still was an accident. There have been worse accidents in the past -- Chernobyl comes to mind -- and there will be worse ones in the future. To face facts instead of becoming deranged by panic is hardly callous.
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2010, 11:50:53 AM »
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Robert, It seems to me that to see moral equivalence between an accident and a mass murder is putting yourself pretty far out on a limb. As far as the title of this thread is concerned, the gulf blowout wasn't a "crime," it was an accident. Yes, the accident was a big one brought on by extreme negligence and an attitude that can only be understood as hubris. But it still was an accident. There have been worse accidents in the past -- Chernobyl comes to mind -- and there will be worse ones in the future. To face facts instead of becoming deranged by panic is hardly callous.


You are quite wrong. Take it from someone who was a litigation specialist for over 10 years, I can assure you that there really is a concept of criminal negligence---and I can also assure you some of the most damaging and unspeakable crimes (against both human beings as well as to animals and our planet) are a direct result of those people who really don't give a damn about the consequenses of their actions to the other beings or their world.

A true accident is an unexpected consequense. What happened in the Gulf happened was known by all as a distinct possibility. It happened because the weakest of measures were taken because they were "cheaper" than implementing the best measures. Those involved thought they could get away with it ... and they felt (and still feel) absolutely no remorse that their grossly negligent actions failed and caused such misery to so many animals and people.

In the same fashion, if a bus driver were driving a load of children in a bus ... where she knew the steering mechanism was old and might break ... but she drove them down a mountain road anyway because she was too cheap to get truly solid equipment ... and the steering mechanism broke and the bus ran off the mountain killing all the children ... I can likewise assure you that bus driver's negligence would be found as criminal. Why? Because it wasn't an "accident" at all, it was the direct result of her unconscionable negligence where she KNEW this could happen and yet failed to take the utmost responsible precautions to prevent it from happening. That's why.

What happened in the Gulf was no "accident"; it was gross and utter negligence, and it most assuredly was a crime.

Jack




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« Last Edit: August 14, 2010, 11:52:28 AM by John Koerner » Logged
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #27 on: August 14, 2010, 11:58:52 AM »
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I guess that in the long run, the best thing we can do is to keep lobbying to make sure that fair regulations are put in place, expanded and applied so that:

1. Corporations are only and truly allowed to operate in ways that carry limited risk to the environment,
2. Civil servants compromising with ethics in dealing with these companies are subject to the highest level of penal liability including possible criminal charges,
3. A sufficient penalty is imposed on companies not following the regulations in place, at a scale proportional to the benefits made or expected as a result of the violation of the rules.

As a society and as individuals, it is our own responsibility to adopt ways of living that are as sustainable as possible. It seems likely as of now that fossil fuel being consumed will indirectly cause the death of some people in the years to come.

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2010, 12:24:23 PM »
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Jack, I had decided not to reply to any of your outbursts, but I've changed my mind for just this one. Yes, I'm quite familiar with the concept of criminal negligence, but criminal negligence is something to be proven in a court of law. You aren't a court of law. I'm not trying to minimize the impact of what happened or the culpability that may be associated with the event, but though your philosophy may disagree with the idea, here in the United States a defendant is innocent until proved guilty. Time to slow down and wait for events to unfold. Also, LuLa is supposed to be about photography, not politics.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2010, 12:30:53 PM »
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"A forum for open discussiom of both photographic and non-photographic topics of a general nature."  (Must be the Canadian spelling of discussion.)

Whether or not the second sentence of the forum description (not included) applies to this conversation is left as an exercise for the reader.
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #30 on: August 14, 2010, 12:54:13 PM »
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Thanks for the spell-check Roll Eyes
As to the second 'proviso' sentence of the Forum description, I think that given the difference in perspective of the contributors, the discussion has been fairly civil. Thank-you.
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Christopher Sanderson
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #31 on: August 14, 2010, 02:26:34 PM »
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Jack, I had decided not to reply to any of your outbursts, but I've changed my mind for just this one. Yes, I'm quite familiar with the concept of criminal negligence, but criminal negligence is something to be proven in a court of law. You aren't a court of law. I'm not trying to minimize the impact of what happened or the culpability that may be associated with the event, but though your philosophy may disagree with the idea, here in the United States a defendant is innocent until proved guilty. Time to slow down and wait for events to unfold. Also, LuLa is supposed to be about photography, not politics.


Why are my responses "outbursts?"

If anything, my responses are based on the facts, whereas you weren't even clued-in enough to realize the difference between an "accident" and wanton negligence. I never said I was a court of law, but the fact is I do have more than a decade's-worth of experience overseeing and handling nothing but insurance litigation cases of liability and negligence ... including products liability cases, construction defect cases, etc., ... many of which involved fatalities and millions of dollars' worth of equipment ... so my opinion on what constitutes "gross negligence" in a case such as this is worth quite a bit more than yours.

If you disagree with me that's fine. And if you're embarrassed that you forgot about the concept of "criminal negligence" before you made your own outburst, that's fine too. But it is my opinion that what happened in that gulf ... the deaths of hundreds of millions of animals, of 11 human beings, as well as the unbalancing of the lives of no-telling-how-many other people and animals ... was a crime. A crime of gross negligence and a flagrant disregard for "best practice," which is absolutely unacceptable when the mistakes for such error are so costly to all.

Jack



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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #32 on: August 14, 2010, 03:00:54 PM »
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Thanks for the spell-check Roll Eyes
As to the second 'proviso' sentence of the Forum description, I think that given the difference in perspective of the contributors, the discussion has been fairly civil. Thank-you.
Thank firefox.

I agree that it has been quite civil.
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Rob C
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« Reply #33 on: August 14, 2010, 03:59:28 PM »
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Maybe one of the first lessons to be learned is that no unfortunate event is out of range of the political posturer. I watched even more righteous thinking on the news today, shirt-sleeves and loosened tie... pity it wasn't my Clark Kent outfit instead, and then he could fly right back in time and fix it. Gotta be votes there!

I also watched some CNBC (despite promising myself I wouldn't again after the SI prog.) and the posturing there from the folks involved in Fanny and Freddie and the walls coming tumbling down was amazing too. Guilt? Shame? Well, only on the losing streak; but the game's still on.

Rob C
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« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2010, 04:41:37 PM »
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Maybe one of the first lessons to be learned is that no unfortunate event is out of range of the political posturer.

Unfortunately, you're right, Rob. Even worse is the fact that political posturers are always searching for unfortunate events over which to posture. The posturing in this case is especially unfortunate when you consider the difficulty that's going to be involved in prosecuting any culprit who appears negligent enough to be indicted. Imagine trying to empanel a jury after all the hoopla. Is there anyone out there who hasn't been beat over the head with the kind of loud, hysterical outbursts of which we see examples hourly? Without the posturing and emotion it might have been possible to go straight to the heart of the matter, indict and convict the guilty, and do our best to extract at least a modicum of recompense for the victims. As it is the posturers are going to extract every last drop of political juice they can, and as a result the day of justice will be far off in the future and may never come. If the posturers actually wanted justice they'd shut up now.
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kikashi
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« Reply #35 on: August 15, 2010, 03:35:09 AM »
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If anything, my responses are based on the facts, whereas you weren't even clued-in enough to realize the difference between an "accident" and wanton negligence. I never said I was a court of law, but the fact is I do have more than a decade's-worth of experience overseeing and handling nothing but insurance litigation cases of liability and negligence ... including products liability cases, construction defect cases, etc., ... many of which involved fatalities and millions of dollars' worth of equipment ... so my opinion on what constitutes "gross negligence" in a case such as this is worth quite a bit more than yours.

If you disagree with me that's fine. And if you're embarrassed that you forgot about the concept of "criminal negligence" before you made your own outburst, that's fine too. But it is my opinion that what happened in that gulf ... the deaths of hundreds of millions of animals, of 11 human beings, as well as the unbalancing of the lives of no-telling-how-many other people and animals ... was a crime. A crime of gross negligence and a flagrant disregard for "best practice," which is absolutely unacceptable when the mistakes for such error are so costly to all.

Jack

There is so much confusion of concept here that it's hard to know where to start the correction process.

An accident is the unintended consequence of an intentional act. The drilling was intentional: the explosion was an accident. To suggest that it was other than an accident implies that it was not unintended: in other words, that it was deliberate. Not even the most hysterical of critics has made such an absurd suggestion.

Accidents may be the result of negligent acts. A "negligent act" in this context means an act whose performance fell below the standard reasonably expected of one competent to undertake it, and whose substandard performance resulted in damage. There is no doubt that the explosion resulted in damage (which here encompasses both injury and physical damage). Whether it was the consequence of a breach of the duty owed to undertake the act competently is another matter entirely, and one on which nobody here is qualified to comment, despite being able to read the lengthy quotation which started this thread.

An act may be so poorly performed that the performance attracts not only civil but also criminal liability. For the reasons above, nobody here is qualified to comment on whether any negligence (if there was negligence) was so gross as to attract such a sanction. It is a serious mistake to confuse the magnitude of the consequences of an act with the degree of culpability necessary to incur criminal liability: the two are wholly independent.

Jack's opinions, as expressed in his last paragraph, are no doubt genuinely held. That doesn't make them right, any more than the genuineness of Russ's views makes them right: but for someone relying heavily and overtly on his own experience to leap to conclusions based on an inevitably superficial knowledge of the facts is a matter of some concern.

Jeremy
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kikashi
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« Reply #36 on: August 15, 2010, 05:32:11 AM »
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Maybe one of the first lessons to be learned is that no unfortunate event is out of range of the political posturer.

See this.

Jeremy
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #37 on: August 15, 2010, 07:33:35 AM »
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Robert, It seems to me that to see moral equivalence between an accident and a mass murder is putting yourself pretty far out on a limb. As far as the title of this thread is concerned, the gulf blowout wasn't a "crime," it was an accident. Yes, the accident was a big one brought on by extreme negligence and an attitude that can only be understood as hubris. But it still was an accident. There have been worse accidents in the past -- Chernobyl comes to mind -- and there will be worse ones in the future. To face facts instead of becoming deranged by panic is hardly callous.

I implied no such moral equivalence.
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« Reply #38 on: August 15, 2010, 11:02:56 AM »
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Robert, You said, and I quote: "...it can be a callous thing to say depending on the context and timing. The families of the 11 guys who died in the explosion might not appreciate the thought. Imagine if someone said it of the World Trade Center destruction."

Explosion in the gulf: accident. Airliners flown into the World Trade Center: murder. Equivalence: 11 guys dead in an accident ≈ roughly 3000 dead in a mass murder.
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #39 on: August 16, 2010, 04:43:55 AM »
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Jack,
Let me start off by saying that I do not have any formal education in philosophy.

This is clear.




What you say above is absolutely true. We cannot dispute those facts. Through the ages, people have said those very things.

I agree: perceptive, honest people (concerned for the future) have said these things, true.




I would suggest that our seeming route to self destruction has nothing to do with truth and rights. To coin a crude, old phrase, we do it for the same reason dogs lick themselves...because we can.

I agree that your comment is both crude and old. I disagree, however, that it was in any way accurate.

A dog "licking himself" is not destructive, either to itself, to others, or to the world. The dog's motive for licking itself is also different ...

With regard to the human animal, not all humans are wantonly destructive to the planet, even though all of us "can" be. The truth is, some people actually do care about other beings, and some people actually do care about the environment, and some people actually do care about the future of our planet ... and such caring people actually do make the effort to be conscientious in their choices that affect these things. This is, after all, the definition of a "good" person: a person who is constructive rather than destructive. A person who cares rather than a person who could care less. Thus I disagree with the premise that "all" people are wantonly destroying our planet and indiscriminately harming other beings. Only some people are guilty of these things. The trouble is, many of these people who destroy and harm are those who have the most money and the most power.

Our route to destruction has to do with these powerful and evil people of the world who are NOT good at heart. In other words, the people who don't care about the consequenses of their actions to our world and to others. The collective human ability to destroy this world began with the advent of the industrial age, the use of fossil fuels, as well as the whores in political power whose pockets proved to be able to be greased with money (to facilitate the former) rather than whose decisions are based upon the long-term welfare of our planet and the people on it. In other words, the greed for "excess now" has taken over the wise use of long-term principles.




Now I'd like to ask a question, and I mean this in a completely non combative or confrontational way.
Are you willing to give up your life so that a different species can survive?

This is a sophomoric question, and the answer is no.

First of all, my death wouldn't change a thing, nor would the death of any one person.

A more interesting question would be .... if I could eradicate the entire human race, to save the planet and all of its other inhabitants, would I do it? And the answer is, given the overall destructive nature of our human presence, I would have to give that thought some serious consideration.

The moral dilemma, the paradox as it were, is the simple fact that there really are some great, loving, and caring people in this world ... who really are a source of admiration and standards of all the great things we humans have the potential to be ... and I would never, ever want to cause harm to any such person or people. The flipside to this is that there really are some ugly, useless, and wantonly destructive people in this world ... who do nothing but consume resources, litter, waste, kill and who essentially cause destruction all around them ... and I could waive bye-bye to every single such person and not feel the slightest misgiving. And the whole trouble with the human species lies in the fact that there are a lot more of the latter kinds of person than of the former.

In the end, however, killing-off people is not an ethical solution to our problem, for there is always the chance that any given person can change his or her ways. To my mind, the non-violent, ethical answer to our global problem boils-down to two basic themes: one is the shift away from fossil fuels to cleaner forms of energy, and the other is the madatory enforcement of population control. No couple should be able to have more than one child any longer. And NO couple, who does not have the wherewithal to support themselves financially, should be able to have ANY children at all. And any such violation of these edicts should result in mandatory sterilization. Putting  a cap on reproduction and moving away from environmentally-dangerous fuels is wherein the answers lie.

As it is, generally the lowest and most helpless of people are producing the most offspring ... none of whom can care for themselves ... and the only reason such helpless and dependent people can do this is because of "programs" that continue to feed all of these needy mouths ... which creates a downward spiral of dependancy and the continual overpopulation of more-and-more people who are unable to care for themselves. This is an abomination of Natural Selection, and it needs to stop. Rather than growing exponentially in population, we humans need to shrink exponentially in population. People who cannot care for themselves need to stop reproducing. If they will not stop based on their own commitment to be responsible, then they need to be sterilized. Yes, this would be an encroachment on their "rights," but at this point I think human "rights" need to be replaced by human responsibility, and only when people have first made sure their responsibilities are in order may they then be entitled to their rights. Meanwhile, the people who can take care of themselves, and their children, should only have one child and no more. This world simply does not need any more people; it needs less people. IMO, if these two principles were followed, then in just a couple of generations our overpopulation would be diminished by 3/4ths. If this happened, and with a shift from the dependancy on oils and fossil fuels, to my mind this would be the most sensible, non-violent way to handle the existing problem. Killing existing human lives would be an evil solution to our problems. Allowing everyone to live, but limiting the amount of future human births, would seem to be the fairest way to deal with the dire issue of human overpopulation and the ever-decreasing natural world.

These are tough issues, to be sure. But sitting around doing nothing is the worst thing that can be done, because it is not doing anything about it.

Jack




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