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Thread: Help me understand the peaceniks

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Help me understand the peaceniks

    (Excuse me for being less than articulate with the following question -- the allergies are acting up tonight, so my brain is probably running at 50%.)

    First off, the usual qualifier -- I consider my ideological mindset to be generally left of center. I voted for Nader, and attend a Unitarian Universalist church. Occasionally, I'll think "dittos, Rush," but for the most part I'm a damn liberal.

    Even though I'm liberal, maybe even "progressive" in some instances, I'm trying to figure out just what those peace protesters, most of whom are fellow liberals, are trying to accomplish? Why are they out there marching against the military action of the United States and UKoGBaNI in Afghanistan?

    The United States has been attacked, directly and indirectly by Al Queda, several times over the past ten years. Embassies in Africa, a Navy ship in Oman, and the World Trade Center -- not once, but twice. Do the peaceniks think this isn't enough to justify a call to action? Are they waiting for suitcase nukes to level Chicago before they feel it's time to defend ourselves?

    Maybe it's the progressive Pacifica Radio "everything America does is wrong" attitude that we're seeing. Oppose communism, in the form of an economic boycott of Cuba, and we're "holding a gridge," "hurting the Cuban people," and so on. Tolerate communism in the form of favored trading status for China, and it's wrong, because "Tibet should be free!" Progressives opposed military intervention in Yugoslavia, but you bet they'd be up in arms if we sat there and did nothing, claiming that "the United States is supporting ethnic cleansing of the Kosovars."

    A few months ago, I've heard many women's rights advocates call for taking active measures to overthrow the Taliban. Now that it's happening, those same leftists are urging Bush to stop. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    I've heard the "karma" or "it's all relative" argument several times. "The United States has suppored the violent overthrow of many legitimate governments in the past 50 years." "We wiped out Native Americans, and now it's our turn." "This is what we get for eating meat and slaughtering millions of innocent animals in the process." "Why should we worry about 6,000 lawyers and bond traders when thousands of slave children in the Sudan are starving to death?" True or not, is this a valid reason to sit back and let the terror continue?

    What if President Al Gore had to deal with the WTC crisis, and he choose the same response that W is taking now? Would that be okay, then?

    So, peaceniks, what do you want? Sit and let the planes continue to drop and businesses continue to receive "strange white powder" in the mail, because "we deserve it?" Give in to their demands, and legitimize terror? Mass conversion of the United States to Islam, or at least "deconversion" of Christians and Jews? What?

    An afterthought -- can anyone explain the "STOP THE RACIST WAR!!!" posters to me? What, we should only be fighting back if it was a group that was more "Caucasian" than the Arab-backed gang attacked us? I guess it would be okay to fight back if Austrian terrorists or extremist Lutherans pulled off the WTC disaster, instead of radicals who hide behind the religion with its roots in Asia, huh?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Dan, I don't think I'll be able to help you understand the "peaceniks," but if it means anything to you, I like having them around and I'm sure glad I live in a country where their opinions, as well as yours, or anyone elses for that matter, can be heard.

    Here in Ann Arbor, two weeks ago there was a "Stop the War" protest in front of the Federal Building. I rode my bike past the crowd of about 30 on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I had just showered and was on my way to Michigan Stadium to see the Wolverines trounce the Fighting Illini. Prior to my shower, I flipped through the typical news channels, MSNBC, CNN, Fox, etc. Everything on the tube was about the 9/11 attacks, the imminent millitary escalation, emerging anti-Islam sentiments, and your garden variety story about the relatives of the survivors. Nothing was overtly pro-war, but the television, with its flag images and pronouncements of sorrow and appreciation, overall, was clearly not anti-war.

    The place where we seek oracles in this country is in front of the television, and most of the messages and content, are supported by corporate America through paid advertising. It's hard to imagine corporate America not supporting our new campaign in Afghanistan. Imagine how corporate America feels now that its two symbolic monoliths of American and international commerce are gone. I'm sure corporate America has a vested interest in keeping our television sets continuously sending war information to the American audience.

    So, what is my point? This country is about freedom. We are a pluralistic society, therefore there are a multiplicty of views that can be expressed. Some things said may be controversial; the right to free speech is gauranteed in the Constitution. It's a fundamental right in our country. For me, when I see Dan Rather cry on David Letterman, and then witness a peaceful protest, I know I'm in America. No one is forcing a view on me, I get to listen and analyze, on my own, what a given view is all about.

    As a future professional planner, I was happy to see that an anti-war protest was able to organize on public property. Our country provides these spaces for these types purposes; if our spaces were supported solely by corporate America, I'm sure the plurality of voices would soon evaporate only to be replaced by a water-downed, over-simplified message that did not allow for dissension.

    Dan, attacking the so-called "peaceniks" and their views is rather simple-minded on your part, don't you think? Since you are a professional urban palnner I thought you might be skilled in dealing with multiple, often conflicting views. However, as I'm finding out in my professional development, one's professional capabilities do not necessarily translate into a similar skill-set in normal, everyday life.

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Originally posted by Beaner
    Dan, attacking the so-called "peaceniks" and their views is rather simple-minded on your part, don't you think? Since you are a professional urban palnner I thought you might be skilled in dealing with multiple, often conflicting views. However, as I'm finding out in my professional development, one's professional capabilities do not necessarily translate into a similar skill-set in normal, everyday life.
    First off, I do support the right of the "peaceniks" to assemble, march, hold up signs, and even burn American flags and chant "marg bar Amrika" Tehran-style if they so desire. Throughout my life I've exercised my right to freedom of speech, from publishing underground newspapers and marching in "No Business as Usual" rallies in college, to the occasional editorial in the newspaper. It's not a right I take for granted, either.

    However, questioning or "attacking" somoene's viewpoint should not be seen as "simple-minded." Yes, planners deal with multiple, often conflicting points of view -- but that doesn't necessarily mean that we have to embrace them as well. Without such questioning, can there be debate? Can one truly be a free thinker if we have to embrace every point of view?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Well Dan, as a peacenik myself, I have a general opposition to violence, and believe that it will not really solve the problem, and, in fact, only make matters worse. We ought to come up with a better way to fight terrorism than violence. I am a little upset that the pres will not negotiate. Why not? If it will save lives, both American and other, what is so bad about negotiating? And, who made up the rule that we do not negotiate with terrorists? I thought that the normal course of action in any situation such as this was to try diplomatic measures first. I don't consider sending a delegation from Pakistan a few days before we bombed them "diplomacy".

    Just yesterday the Taliban said that if we stop the bombing and give them proof that Osama is to blame, than they will turn him over to us. The president again said that we will not negotiate. Why not? If we have the proof, show them! If we get him, stop the bombing and work on diplomatic measures to get the rest of the Al Queida network. They have presented to us an alternitiave other than war - we need to take it!

    There are deep values at the root of the terrorists hate for America, can’t we at least try to come to some mutual understanding and respect for each other’s beliefs and values? Of course, in saying this, I do not mean those who are responsible for the terrorism on 9/11. I am referring to those who have a general hate for America. If we are to someday have a world free of hate and violence we need to work on developing mutual respect, which we cannot do through violence. If we get Osama and his cronies by cutting off their financial backing through diplomacy and peace than hopefully we can work on developing relationships with those people who have a hatred for Americans. I fear that by escalating the violence to the next level the terrorists are winning more comrades, and we are instigating the creation of more terrorists. The peaceniks want to find the terrorists and Osama as much as everybody else, however, the division is the way in which America is going about finding them.

    As a nation and a world we should try to be the better person and not react to violence with violence. As all other Americans, I am, and I am sure all peaceniks are, deeply upset about the events of 9/11. I am troubled by any act of violence and terror. I am also troubled by the violence that America is currently responsible for in Afghanistan.

    I think that at some point humankind needs to stop the vicious cycle of violence (not just amongst humans - but against animals, the environment, etc.), if we are to sustain a healthy, just, and viable world. I know, it is a little sappy, but I really, does anybody believe that this is going to lead to anything but more violence?

    I think that the first human instinct, especially the American instinct, is to react with our fists swinging. However, we need to think of the consequences of this action. When we “smoke out” the terrorists, can we really be assured of no more violence? I fear that we are in fact bringing about more violence. Lets all take a moment to take a deep breath and think about the situation rationally.

    Also, Dan, in regard to your mention of "white Powder", Are we sure that it is the result of the terrorists, or perhaps it comes from American psychos? Lets try to place plame where blame is due. ( I even heard that Bush said that we must drill in the ANWR because it is a matter of national security!).

    Here are some thoughts (less emotional than my reasons) from another message board:

    - Before we started bombing there were signs that the Taliban government were starting to crumble from within.

    - There are reports that many Taliban soldiers were defecting and at least one town has stopped obeying Taliban orders.

    - The Afghan people do not like the Taliban anyway so there is a feeling in that country that they would like to be rid of them.

    - If the Taliban fell then Bin Laden would be handed over by the new regime.

    - Its better if the Taliban are brought down by their own people rather than by a foreign force (especially a US "Christian" force) because:

    a. Its better for the Muslim world - they will feel like they are sorting their own problems out

    b. Its better for the west - they can achieve all their objectives without having to risk US and British lives.

    - The Afghanis are patriotic and the bombing campaign may cause them to band together if they feel they are being attacked by an outside force. Thus more lives will be lost than if we had let them do it themselves. Even though they don't like the Taliban they may stick by them rather than capitulate to foreigners.

    - Those who oppose military action feel we could have achieved our objectives by freezing the assets of the Taliban and Al Queida, presenting our evidence for the guilt of Bin Laden to the Taliban and waiting a bit longer to see what happened.

    - On no account will the Northern Alliance take power, they are no better than the Taliban and represent only minority ethnic groups.
    Last edited by planasaurus; 15 Oct 2001 at 2:45 PM.

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    and another thing...

    Is Peaceniks really a word?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Dan,
    I am also wondering what would make the Peaceniks happy (I use the word as a slur – how judgmental of me). I know that unquestioningly agreeing with them worked in college. In classes where I regurgitated their world view I received higher grades. In classes where I respectfully challenged assumptions I was not so well rewarded. Would our complete surrender to the Taliban be enough? I find it amazing that we aren’t hearing demands for a US apology to the Taliban on NPR already. We are getting good for apologizing for things that are not our fault

    One reply intimates that violence never solves anything” – How many times have we heard this old chestnut? To the contrary, violence is the great solver of problems. Why do most Americans pay taxes – because someday, if you don’t, the American judicial system will send men (& women) with guns to lock you up and take your things. Why did the Soviets say out of Western Europe for fifty years? Because we had tanks, and airplanes and missiles amongst other things pointed back at them. Violence, or the potential of violence, is at the heart of almost all of physics, chemistry, biology and politics. Whishing it away won’t change reality (really).

    You hit the nail on the head with your observation about relativism. We live in a world where the dominate western intellectuals (i.e. Hillary) ascribe to relativism and self loathing (expressed in so many different ways). Framing all issues in a relativistic context makes sense if you want to avoid the tough decisions and uncomfortable results of having to make judgments. Oh no, we can’t be judgmental – someone’s feelings may get hurt.

    This is one of my favorite reality checks on the Peaceniks: “Can’t we just shoot them in the knees instead of killing them?” – US Secretary of State Warren Christopher during the planning session prior to the attempted Iranian hostage rescue mission 1980. If we are a valueless society, then we encourage people to hold a position that makes everyone feel good and has nothing to do with reality - just like my man Warren. Reality, unfortunately, is that some folks are a threat to you and no amount of reasoning will dissuade them from killing you if they get a chance. And that has nothing to do with racism – just reality. We can try to help them, reason with them, by them off, or what ever but they may just reserve the right to hate us, bummer.

    Reality is the current struggle between – dare I say it? – Good vs. Evil. Reality is not feeling good about yourself because you marched for peace knowing you were going to get to sleep tonight in safe and accepting Berkeley after burning a bowl of some Taliban Green. Reality is knowing the entire world is safer, even those Peaceniks you swore to defend, because the bombs from your F-18 found their mark and one more terrorist won’t get a flying lesson.

    "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools." --Herbert Spencer

    "Generals are routinely warned against fighting the last war. Perhaps [Leftist] journalists need to be reminded not to remarch the last peace movement." --Mona Charen
    Last edited by el Guapo; 17 Oct 2001 at 4:33 PM.

  7. #7
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Help me understand the peaceniks

    Originally posted by planasaurus
    [B]

    There are deep values at the root of the terrorists hate for America, can’t we at least try to come to some mutual understanding and respect for each other’s beliefs and values? Of course, in saying this, I do not mean those who are responsible for the terrorism on 9/11. I am referring to those who have a general hate for America. If we are to someday have a world free of hate and violence we need to work on developing mutual respect, which we cannot do through violence. If we get Osama and his cronies by cutting off their financial backing through diplomacy and peace than hopefully we can work on developing relationships with those people who have a hatred for Americans.
    Don't you understand that the Islamic extremists want an Islamic world and want to kill us. I mean really, did you miss the part of them trying to kill us? We are going after the governments/groups that want to get rid of all of us. How do you have a relationship with those who want you dead?
    As a nation and a world we should try to be the better person and not react to violence with violence. As all other Americans, I am, and I am sure all peaceniks are, deeply upset about the events of 9/11. I am troubled by any act of violence and terror. I am also troubled by the violence that America is currently responsible for in Afghanistan.
    The Taliban could have avoided all of this by not sheltering the groups that were responsible.
    I think that at some point humankind needs to stop the vicious cycle of violence (not just amongst humans - but against animals, the environment, etc.), if we are to sustain a healthy, just, and viable world. I know, it is a little sappy, but I really, does anybody believe that this is going to lead to anything but more violence?
    Utopia does not nor will ever exist. There will always be violence. There was violence from the begining of the human species, and until every single human being has every possible thing that they want or need, there will be violence between the haves and have nots. I don't see this happening anytime soon so I suggest that you curl up at home in your safe country and give thanks to the ones how gave their lives to give you the right to say what you want and let you feel safe.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    in the words of a poet...

    If Im not a warmongerer am I a peacenik?

    Below is a link to a Wendell Barry essay at Orion



    http://www.oriononline.org/pages/oo/...x_America.html
    Last edited by Jen; 21 Oct 2001 at 11:10 AM.

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    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    El Guapo: You mentioned college students not questioning what they are learning in classes. I can't help but think that you are reacting to my posting about the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the protesters I saw outside the Federal Building. Just to clarify, I don't there were many students in that gathering. In fact, most looked like they were in their 40s. Our student populatiion is abysmal when it comes to protesting. In fact, regarding the 9/11 attacks, I would venture to guess that most of our students don't know what to say about it. On one hand, they recognize the patriotism side of everything, that to criticize actions on our part in Afghanistan wouldn't be prudent, and on the other hand, to blantantly support the war effort would alienate their friends who are international students. There are so many international students here, many from the Middle East. My best guess is that most students don't say or do much about the 9/11 event since they don't want to be cast on the wrong side of things, whichever side that may be.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Beaner,
    You can believe I was reacting to your post if that pleases you. I am fairly sure I was commenting on the last time I was surrounded and outnumbers by leftists, and how I reacted to their pushing their personal politics in class.

    I believe that an academic environment should promote a free exchange of ideas. Even destructive ones like socialism. However, in my experience many professors, and even some graduate students, used their power to punish or reward based on whether a student would genuflect when the holy leftist buzzwords were spoken. I had only two professors throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies of whom I could not tell their politics by the end of a semester. I respected them the most.

    I had one professor who very aggressively promoted a Lesbian-centric point of view. The class was assigned a final biology paper whose subject had to be on RU-486. What the social consequence of this drug had to do with a Biology class – I don’t know? We were required to take a position on its approval by the FDA. Those approving of it were given A’s. Those unapproving were given B’s or less. I know because we compared papers and grades. I never could figure out why a lesbian was all gung-ho for RU-486 other than as a political statement. It wasn’t like she was going to get pregnant accidentally anytime soon.

    Now before you freak out - know that I have hired Jane Fonda loving, leftist, vegetarian, recycling socialists for atheism - even knowing their politics beforehand. I don’t discriminate – unless I have a reason. Show up in my office neat and clean and capable of doing the job and I’ll hire you even if you drive up in a VW van borrowed from David Crosby. However, if you have a tattoo on your face, twelve visible piercings and your resume is written in Ebonics – your butt is out the door.

    “Calling something a paradigm doesn’t make it any less stupid.” – Ray Bivens

  11. #11
    Cyburbian smarty's avatar
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    El Guapo

    Oi!!! El Guapo...........you're killing me!!!! I've got a plethora of laughs right now........you DO know what a plethora is........

    The comment about 'tattoos, 12 piercings and resume in ebonics and you're butts out the door' was freakin' hilarious.

    This thread was quite interesting to read. Not sure how to comment on it other than I'm glad we can say what we feel.

    Funny thing is, I see valid points in all comments. Sure, stop bombing and T-ban hands over bin-Laden. Idea sounds good, but that's like telling the school yard bully to stop kicking and you'll give him the milk money. When he stops, you get up and kick him in that nards. Personally, I'm tired of getting my cajones smashed.

    I also agree with the comment of letter the Muslim world settle their own problems. Fine. Let them. But some whack job comes over here and punches me in the nose, all bets are off. This really isn't a 'Muslim' issue though. it's about some disillusioned man thinking the US is out to destroy him and twisting the Koran (sp) to fulfill his dreams. I think bin-Laden is not different than David Koresh. The both have a death wise.

    Anyway, that's what I know........which really isn't that much, but I'm just venting.

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    You're right smarty, I should have said let the Middle East sort out their own problems.

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