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August1991

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I think history in the past few centuries shows that successful countries would trade to obtain the "unobtainium". Why steal something when you can trade to get it? Trade means that both sides benefit and in the long run, that's a much better result.
Trade is only possible if you have something that the other side wants. The British tried to trade with the Chinese in the 1800s but the Chinese weren't interested. That led to the Opium wars.

Even our civilized society accepts that the minority can have their property expropriated for a public good and the armed police will be used to enforce the expropriation if required. There is no doubt in my mind that the storyline in Avatar would play out if humans encountered an alien race in possession of something valuable who refused to trade it for any price.

It is probably worth noting that the most lefties that would be appalled at the treatment of the natives in the film would fully support expropriation of assets from oil/bank/coal companies in order to promote their version of social justice.

Edited by Riverwind
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I think history in the past few centuries shows that successful countries would trade to obtain the "unobtainium". Why steal something when you can trade to get it? Trade means that both sides benefit and in the long run, that's a much better result.

Huh? The history of the past few centuries shows the complete opposite. When the Brits and Americans found themselves faced with a potentially uncooperative Iranian regime, they toppled it and placed the Shah back on the throne. When the several Western powers (plus Japan) decided they wanted easier access to Chinese goods and to the vast Chinese market, they forced China to do their bidding, and in some cases cut chunks off it off for their own use (Hong Kong, Macau and Manchuko come to mind). When the Nazis decided they needed access to Norwegian oil, they simply invaded Norway. The United States annex northern Mexico, either by direct military action (ie. New Mexico, Arizona, California) or through an at-arms-length "independence" movement (the Texas republic). The Brits seized India (admittedly piecemeal), the France seized big chunks of southeast Asia. The Italians annexed Ethiopia, despite the fact that it, in fact, was one of the oldest extant countries on the planet. The Germans, the Belgians, the French and the Brits carved up big chunks of Africa in the 19th and early 20th century, and the Brits invaded a relatively peaceable republic in South Africa, in large part because it sat on top of some of the most valuable mineral reserves in the world.

Do you want me to go on, or have I adequately proved my point?

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Trade is only possible if you have something that the other side wants. The British tried to trade with the Chinese in the 1800s but the Chinese weren't interested. That led to the Opium wars.

And to the Treaty Ports and every other manner of debasement which still colors China's views on the West. Arguably, the goal was bigger than trade. Even back in those days, the Great Powers knew that China would, one day, become of the the dominant nations on the planet. When they started carving into the Chinese ports, it was as much about domination of China as it was about trade.

Even our civilized society accepts that the minority can have their property expropriated for a public good and the armed police will be used to enforce the expropriation if required. There is no doubt in my mind that the storyline in Avatar would play out if humans encountered an alien race in possession of something valuable who refused to trade it for any price.

It is probably worth noting that the most lefties that would be appalled at the treatment of the natives in the film would fully support expropriation of assets from oil/bank/coal companies in order to promote their version of social justice.

Then perhaps the moral is a little wider than corporations. Like I said, I don't particularly blame corporations specifically, since the first ones were invented by the Dutch and the English, they have, by and large, simply been tools of the underlying societies. It doesn't particularly matter very much what side of the political fence you're on, you will always find that morals and decency will gave way to expediency and need. At the end of the day, one can always justify the theft and subjugation of another people, usually involving it "being for their own good". That was certainly the rationale used in the Americas and Africa, and to some extent in Asia.

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It doesn't particularly matter very much what side of the political fence you're on, you will always find that morals and decency will gave way to expediency and need.
From an evolutionary perspective morals are a means to provide social cohesion and to facilitate co-operation between members of society. They are not an end in themselves but many people try to elevate them to that status. Edited by Riverwind
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Do you want me to go on, or have I adequately proved my point?
No, you haven't proven your point. Adolf Hitler annexed Romania to control its oil fields. Stalin's Soviet Union in effect did the same. The US, ever revolutionary, has approached this question differently.

The fate of Hitler, Stalin and the Soviet Union are telling. The US has prospered.

ToadBrother, I don't dispute that people want to steal things, and thieves can gain in the short term. But in the long run, trade is a much better way of doing things. To trade however individuals require some sophisticated institutions.

In general, the US has the sophisticated institutions and in general, Americans understand that trade is better than theft.

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ToadBrother, I sometimes think that Leftists live in the antediluvian zero-sum game world of might-makes-right, conquerors and victims.

IMV, co-operation is better than competition. Americans know this too.

Trade is only possible if you have something that the other side wants.
The other side always wants something. Riverwind, have you ever heard of David Ricardo?
From an evolutionary perspective morals are a means to provide social cohesion and to facilitate co-operation between members of society.
I doubt that. The only lesson of evolution is that genes want to perpetuate themselves - and they will use any means available to do this. They have had about 1 billion years to perfect this technique so Riverwind (no insult intended), they are probably wiser than your feeble attempts to understand them.

----

Gawd, what a thread hijack. Sorry.

Edited by August1991
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In general, the US has the sophisticated institutions and in general, Americans understand that trade is better than theft.

That hardly explains the Mexican-American War and the Spanish-American War. Manifest Destiny made it pretty damned clear that the US considered the Americas its sphere, and it only really abandoned it because other geopolitical shifts made adventures in Latin America far less attractive. But look at that vast strip of territory from the Rio Grande to the Pacific Coast. It demonstrates the falseness of your claim.

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The other side always wants something. Riverwind, have you ever heard of David Ricardo?
You are grossly oversimplifying things. Sometimes there are some things that people will never part with no matter what the price.
The only lesson of evolution is that genes want to perpetuate themselves
You are confusing the objective with the means. Humans are successful because are able to cooperate in large groups but cooperation requires trust - morals are one mechanism to create that trust.
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You are grossly oversimplifying things. Sometimes there are some things that people will never part with no matter what the price.

And sometimes those wanting to gain access things are unwilling to pay the demanded price. That was most certainly the issue surrounding the British and US backed overthrow Mosaddegh and reinstatement of the Shah. The Shah and Zahedi were men that the Brits and the Americans could do business with. So Mosaddegh went, and Zahedi took over and the Shah returned.

You are confusing the objective with the means. Humans are successful because are able to cooperate in large groups but cooperation requires trust - morals are one mechanism to create that trust.

It's worse than that. Just because nature, to some degree, is a violent place, modeling human behavior on it is fallacious to say the least. Predation isn't even a good metaphor for how biology works, and it certainly fails as a metaphor for how social animals function.

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Well, I saw Avatar with an 18 year old and a 15 year old. (We saw the 3D version at almost $40 for three.) Their comments walking out? "The movie was too long and too boring."

My opinion? I have two.

First, if Cameron had a message, he should have gone to Western Union. I'm tired of Hollywood sending messages of anti-Western civilization/anti-Galileo/anti-scientific method when they create a movie using modern technology.

Second, the CGI is impressive but... blue. The basic story involves anorexic smurfs. (They may be blue and anexoric, but it's impressive to watch them fly.)

Edited by August1991
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First, if Cameron had a message, he should have gone to Western Union. I'm tired of Hollywood sending messages of anti-Western civilization/anti-Galileo/anti-scientific method when they create a movie using modern technology.

Hmmm...funny how that works....right down to the box office receipts.

Second, the CGI is impressive but... blue. The basic story involves anorexic smurfs.

Can't wait for the Blu-Ray version.

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"Avatar," the 3-D epic, topped them all, earning $75 million for 20th Century Fox, according to studio estimates Sunday. Remarkably, that was only a 3 percent drop from its opening weekend total of $77.4 million. (Blockbusters typically drop 30-50 percent in the second weekend.) In its 10 days of release, "Avatar" has made $212 million domestically — and could be on its way to a worldwide gross of over $1 billion.

http://ca.movies.yahoo.com/news/movies.ap.org/merry-xmas-hollywood-boxoffice-record-falls-ap

The small drop-off from week 1 might partly be explained by last week's storms on the east coast. In some of the biggest US markets, a lot of people stayed home last weekend, and went this weekend instead.

With a production budget of possibly $300 million and an estimated $100 million in marketting on top of that, breaking even seems like a daunting task, but with $212m domestic box office so far, they might already be there once international box office is included.

(edit to add: worldwide gross stands at $617 million, as of yesterday.)

The new Sherlock Holmes movie also had huge audiences this weekend.

-k

Edited by kimmy
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Well, I saw Avatar this week-end and enjoyed it as pure entertainment. Unfortunately, the story and the message were old and hackneyed. There is a surprise element in the film that Cameron attempts to make credible which is unusual for Hollywood in this day and age.

I don't want to comment further and spoil the film for anyone. For pure entertainment I felt I got my money's worth. I saw the 3D version. Apparently, it's a different 3D technology than that of old so maybe those people, as someone mentioned on the thread, with visual impairment that haven't been able to enjoy 3D will be able to enjoy this one.

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Well, I saw Avatar with an 18 year old and a 15 year old. (We saw the 3D version at almost $40 for three.) Their comments walking out? "The movie was too long and too boring."

My opinion? I have two.

First, if Cameron had a message, he should have gone to Western Union. I'm tired of Hollywood sending messages of anti-Western civilization/anti-Galileo/anti-scientific method when they create a movie using modern technology.

Second, the CGI is impressive but... blue. The basic story involves anorexic smurfs. (They may be blue and anexoric, but it's impressive to watch them fly.)

I thought it was good, and the message was more or less how stupid Americas foreign policy is.

I didn't view it as anti scientific method or anti western civilization.

Edited by maple_leafs182
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I haven't seen the movie (so anyone wishing to ignore my comment here is obviously quite justified); but from everything I've heard about the basic storyline--here and eslewhere--it sounds like it's comprised of fairly hackneyed liberal platitudes. Sure, I'm a liberal kind of guy, but this stuff doesn't do it for me. It's not the idea I object to, but the pandering and preachiness.

Maybe I'll see things differently when I see the movie (which I plan to, for the sake of visual spectacle), and when my opinion isn't based on only what I've heard. :)

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I think history in the past few centuries shows that successful countries would trade to obtain the "unobtainium". Why steal something when you can trade to get it?

Because some times it's just easier to steal it. See: America.

I haven't seen the movie (so anyone wishing to ignore my comment here is obviously quite justified); but from everything I've heard about the basic storyline--here and eslewhere--it sounds like it's comprised of fairly hackneyed liberal platitudes. Sure, I'm a liberal kind of guy, but this stuff doesn't do it for me. It's not the idea I object to, but the pandering and preachiness.

What gets me is, despite the liberal trappings, the story is quite problematic (dark-skinned savages saved by brave white man).

Edited by Black Dog
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Because some times it's just easier to steal it. See: America.

What gets me is, despite the liberal trappings, the story is quite problematic (dark-skinned savages saved by brave white man).

From what I've heard it's Dances With Wolves with special effects.

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Why is it a liberal idea to not kill people and force them off of their home in order to get something?

Corporations are bad! Corporations are evil!

Oh if only we could live one with nature (swoon) among the lovely birds and butterflies, without all that horrible, polluting technology and all that greed our culture currently is rife with (sigh).

It's liberal twaddle.

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Corporations are bad! Corporations are evil!

Oh if only we could live one with nature (swoon) among the lovely birds and butterflies, without all that horrible, polluting technology and all that greed our culture currently is rife with (sigh).

It's liberal twaddle.

Well, sure--if you quote another poster, concoct a caricature of what he says, and then scorn your own caricature...well, you can make anything seem like "twaddle."

Read his comment again, and your response to it. Basic literacy will tell you that the two are scarcely related at all.

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Corporations are bad! Corporations are evil!

Except that I don't believe that. Even if I did, that doesn't mean that the idea that life is important and should be respected is a liberal one.

Edited by Smallc
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I often listen to my Sirius in the car. One of the self proclaimed conservative movie critics was reviewing the movie. She talked about it as if it was some kind of evil liberal plot. I don't see ideas like this as liberal. There's nothing really liberal about it.

It made me think though about an interesting question. If conservatives say that such ideas are liberal (the sanctity of life, the rule of law and the involved principles of society, the pursuit of human decency, integrity, ethical conduct, etc), then they are also saying that such ideas aren't conservative. Do conservatives really believe that individuals should be able to do terrible things to others, no matter what those things are, in order to achieve personal gain?

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I often listen to my Sirius in the car. One of the self proclaimed conservative movie critics was reviewing the movie. She talked about it as if it was some kind of evil liberal plot. I don't see ideas like this as liberal. There's nothing really liberal about it.

It made me think though about an interesting question. If conservatives say that such ideas are liberal (the sanctity of life, the rule of law and the involved principles of society, the pursuit of human decency, integrity, ethical conduct, etc), then they are also saying that such ideas aren't conservative. Do conservatives really believe that individuals should be able to do terrible things to others, no matter what those things are, in order to achieve personal gain?

No, they don't believe that. The problem is with this sector of the Right--which I believe remains relatively small, though loud and shrieky--who have developed a perverse mania against anything they might deem "the left" (and yes, they're mightily confused about what "the left" is, as it's forever shifting like an evil ghost in their child-like imaginations).

They are so obsessed with this grand enemy--the "left"--that their hatred is festering and boiling and without reason or sanity. Hence the continual tantrums.

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