! Rules? Funny you should ask.
There are some rules. Well, maybe more like guidelines. This website is dedicated to the creation and sustenance of some important cultural memes, like peace, truth, environmentalism, sustainability, and entertainment.
So, there will be some tolerance for a variety of points of view, but the tolerance is not unlimited. I am interested in supporting critical and creative thinking, so if you post here and state things as fact that are not fact, expect to get challenged. If you persist in presenting non-facts as facts or if you believe something has be fact because you believe it so strongly, but can present no basis for your belief, expect to get warned to bring facts, learn from the facts, and risk getting banned if you just want to make dumb positions. Stupidity and meanness has many homes and media in the US culture, I don’t need to give it room to breathe on this blog.
Need an example? something concrete to help understand the rules of discussion?
Ok, let’s take war, though believe me I would rather leave it.
I have heard it said that war is inevitable, that rules of war make no sense, that total war is the only thing that makes sense because in war there are winners and losers and you don’t want to be a loser. If you lose at war, you cease to survive. So that’s a common meme – you can’t afford to lose a war, you won’t survive. This war (all wars, the furniture just changes) is against an implacable foe who hates us for _______, fill in the blank, our God, our No-God, our freedoms, our tunafish salad recipe. The war propagandists have to be nimble and change the text a bit to keep folks fooled, scared, and willing to wage total war.
But the US arguably lost the Vietnam War and Americans survived. We just stopped killing Vietnamese and came home. There really wasn’t much fallout for Americans in general.
How about World War II? I think the US won that war and Germany and Japan lost that war. The war was really not that simple, but I think most folks would agree with a presentation that the US won, Germany and Japan lost.
So did Germany and Japan survive the war? They did! It wasn’t easy for them, but here we are 60 plus years later and guess what? The infant mortality rate in Germany and Japan is lower than the infant mortality rate in the US. And though the US ($40,100) has a higher per capita income than Germany ($28,700) and Japan ($29,400) sixty years after we won and they lost, the difference is not that great. Plus, some developed countries that did not take much part in the winning/losing of WWII now have a similar or even higher per capita income than any of the combatants – winners and losers. We can argue about whether these countries owe anything to the winners and losers, but the facts are what the facts are regarding the long term outcome for the essentially non-combatant countries. Here are some of the stats for “non-combatant” countries:
Luxembourg – a neutral country related to the 1867 Treaty of London – $58,900
Sweden – $28,400
Norway – $40,000
Switzerland – $33,800
Netherlands – $29,500
Arguably, there are several nations that survived WWII neither as winners or losers but as failed states. Many of the republics of the old Soviet Union would fall in this category and though they “won” the war this is how the per capital income looks for these winners after sixty years:
Russia – $9,800
Romania – $7,700
Poland, don’t forget Poland – $12,000
Hungary – $14,900
We can present our arguments about various issues and I welcome the presentation and look forward to a little fact checking and a lot of cerebral analysis, but please bring facts and a thick skin. If you say something stupid (we all do from time to time), just take your lumps and move on. This is not mortal combat, this is debate, analysis, entertainment and the occasional recipe.