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On Sonic the Hedgehog, moral relativism, and the War on Terror™ (yes, there's a connection)
11-28-2009, 02:36 PM (This post was last modified: 11-28-2009 06:37 PM by StarStuff.)
Post: #1
On Sonic the Hedgehog, moral relativism, and the War on Terror™ (yes, there's a connection)
Posted this earlier today on Facebook.

me Wrote:Question: in the Sonic SatAM series, are Sonic, Sally, etc. freedom fighters or terrorists?

For those unfamiliar with the show (and don't worry, you didn't miss much), the show centers on Sonic, Sally, and their band of freedom fighters as they attempt to overthrow the Evil Dr. Robotnik who has taken over the world. They infiltrate, sabotage, and blow [censored] up for political purposes.

What about the rebels in Star Wars? Not everybody aboard the death star was an armed soldier. In Return of the Jedi, we even briefly saw a scene suggesting the Emperor was seen by some as a priest, a holy religious figurehead. Again, the mission of the rebels was to infiltrate, sabotage, and blow [censored] up for political purposes.

A freedom fighter is a terrorist with whom we agree. The converse is also true.

Isn't moral relativism fun?

From the British perspective during the revolutionary war, the Sons of Liberty were a terrorist organization. From the Radical Islamic perspective right now, Al-Qaeda is a band of freedom fighters.

I happen to be an American, which means I happen to belong to the group targeted by Al-Qaeda. I therefore define them as terrorists, not as freedom fighters. But it is important to realize, even (and especially) when it is most uncomfortable to do so, that there is always another perspective. And it is important to understand an enemy's perspective if you wish to truly defeat them.

As long as we see al-Qaeda as a simple embodiment-of-evil (chaotic evil, for my fellow nerds), we will never be able to defeat them. The enemy in this war is not a person, or a group of people, but an ideology, and you cannot defeat an ideology by producing more martyrs.

Look at the Civil Rights movement in the US: activists did not take up arms against white supremacists. They did not defeat white supremacy by declaring war on it. They defeated the white supremacists by peacefully changing hearts and minds around the country. And when people looked at the two sides, they saw them clearly for what they were: one side peaceful and inspiring, the other rabid and racist.

I do not mean to suggest that al-Qaeda can be eradicated with simple pacifism and nothing else; the solution is not so clean and simple as that. I suspect this problem cannot be solved without the use of military force -- however, military force ALONE cannot get the job done.

So how can we defeat them? I don't know. I don't know what the right way to go about this is. But I think we've seen enough of the wrong way to know it's not working.

I suspect -- though am in no way qualified to call this an expert opinion -- that the best way to defeat al-Qaeda is to view this PRIMARILY as a PR war, and use military force only when necessary.

Torture is a MAJOR NO-NO. By torturing al-Qaeda members, we did doing nothing less than justify their views. We, in the eyes of Muslims all over the world, confirmed that we are the evil empire, and al-Qaeda are the freedom fighters.

tl;dr: Dick Cheney's a [censored] moron.

Thoughts?
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11-28-2009, 07:44 PM
Post: #2
RE: On Sonic the Hedgehog, moral relativism, and the War on Terror™ (yes, there's a connection)
(11-28-2009 02:36 PM)Geoffrey Taucer Wrote:  In Return of the Jedi, we even briefly saw a scene suggesting the Emperor was seen by some as a priest, a holy religious figurehead.

Which scene? I'm not doubting you, it's just been a while since I saw the film.
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11-28-2009, 11:27 PM
Post: #3
RE: On Sonic the Hedgehog, moral relativism, and the War on Terror™ (yes, there's a connection)
(11-28-2009 02:36 PM)Geoffrey Taucer Wrote:  Posted this earlier today on Facebook.

me Wrote:Question: in the Sonic SatAM series, are Sonic, Sally, etc. freedom fighters or terrorists?

For those unfamiliar with the show (and don't worry, you didn't miss much), the show centers on Sonic, Sally, and their band of freedom fighters as they attempt to overthrow the Evil Dr. Robotnik who has taken over the world. They infiltrate, sabotage, and blow [censored] up for political purposes.

What about the rebels in Star Wars? Not everybody aboard the death star was an armed soldier. In Return of the Jedi, we even briefly saw a scene suggesting the Emperor was seen by some as a priest, a holy religious figurehead. Again, the mission of the rebels was to infiltrate, sabotage, and blow [censored] up for political purposes.

A freedom fighter is a terrorist with whom we agree. The converse is also true.

Isn't moral relativism fun?

From the British perspective during the revolutionary war, the Sons of Liberty were a terrorist organization. From the Radical Islamic perspective right now, Al-Qaeda is a band of freedom fighters.

I happen to be an American, which means I happen to belong to the group targeted by Al-Qaeda. I therefore define them as terrorists, not as freedom fighters. But it is important to realize, even (and especially) when it is most uncomfortable to do so, that there is always another perspective. And it is important to understand an enemy's perspective if you wish to truly defeat them.

As long as we see al-Qaeda as a simple embodiment-of-evil (chaotic evil, for my fellow nerds), we will never be able to defeat them. The enemy in this war is not a person, or a group of people, but an ideology, and you cannot defeat an ideology by producing more martyrs.

Look at the Civil Rights movement in the US: activists did not take up arms against white supremacists. They did not defeat white supremacy by declaring war on it. They defeated the white supremacists by peacefully changing hearts and minds around the country. And when people looked at the two sides, they saw them clearly for what they were: one side peaceful and inspiring, the other rabid and racist.

I do not mean to suggest that al-Qaeda can be eradicated with simple pacifism and nothing else; the solution is not so clean and simple as that. I suspect this problem cannot be solved without the use of military force -- however, military force ALONE cannot get the job done.

So how can we defeat them? I don't know. I don't know what the right way to go about this is. But I think we've seen enough of the wrong way to know it's not working.

I suspect -- though am in no way qualified to call this an expert opinion -- that the best way to defeat al-Qaeda is to view this PRIMARILY as a PR war, and use military force only when necessary.

Torture is a MAJOR NO-NO. By torturing al-Qaeda members, we did doing nothing less than justify their views. We, in the eyes of Muslims all over the world, confirmed that we are the evil empire, and al-Qaeda are the freedom fighters.

tl;dr: Dick Cheney's a [censored] moron.

Thoughts?

If it weren't for rebels the U.S. never would have been born!
but at the same time war should not be taken lightly.

War should only be used, when in a situation similar to the one described in the Dec. of Independence!

I think that the media is used as the main tool and it is used to make us hate each other. Bin Laden was actually a member of the CIA. It is obvious that capitalism is a problem. While I do agree that some free enterprise is needed to distill healthy change, there comes a time when too much money in the pocket of an elite group can turn a Democracy into a Oligarchy.

There are many things wrong with the system we have now in the U.S.
One of them being the Electoral College and another being the uneven distribution of wealth.

I am against communism but a little socialism couldn't hurt us.

Would the assignation of members of al-kadi bring peace?
No it would not because there would always be some one to take there place.

There's an old Buddhist saying, "Hatred does not cease by hatred but by Love."

It is simply that the rich want to get richer off the poor it doesn't matter if you come from the U.S. and are fighting in the military, it doesn't matter if you've been roped into joining the terrorist. The main point is that there are very evil people with very evil agenda's on both sides. Those people abuse the naive and let them die just so they can get richer.

"Hidden underneath the stoned cold surface of every Pious Person lays buried a Kinky Pervert, Stop bringing shovels, Where not digging!"-Azrael
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11-29-2009, 12:19 AM (This post was last modified: 11-29-2009 08:36 AM by StarStuff.)
Post: #4
RE: On Sonic the Hedgehog, moral relativism, and the War on Terror™ (yes, there's a c
(11-28-2009 07:44 PM)Zagreus Wrote:  
(11-28-2009 02:36 PM)Geoffrey Taucer Wrote:  In Return of the Jedi, we even briefly saw a scene suggesting the Emperor was seen by some as a priest, a holy religious figurehead.

Which scene? I'm not doubting you, it's just been a while since I saw the film.

I don't have the movie on hand, but as I recall there was a scene where Vader came in to see the emperor and he (the emperor) was being visited by two sith priests.

I'm drunk right now, but I'll try to elaborate more later when I can be a bit more coherent.

EDIT: also, I find it hilarious that the swear filter catches [censored] but it doesn't stop me from saying [censored after the fact].
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11-29-2009, 12:34 AM
Post: #5
RE: On Sonic the Hedgehog, moral relativism, and the War on Terror™ (yes, there's a c
(11-29-2009 12:19 AM)Geoffrey Taucer Wrote:  EDIT: also, I find it hilarious that the swear filter catches [censored] but it doesn't stop me from saying [censored].

I had pointed out that particular deficiency to God Rocks quite some time ago but with no result. I suspect it may be a service of the hosting facility and not under his control other than on and off. But I edited your post just to see how it works.

And you are right: automation can be hilarious. Wink
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12-01-2009, 12:59 PM
Post: #6
RE: On Sonic the Hedgehog, moral relativism, and the War on Terror™ (yes, there's a connection)
They're not Sith priests. They're the Crimson Guard, who are elite bodyguards. If anything, I suspect the Empire was not religious. Vader and the Emperor tried hard to be the only real practitioners of the Force left (in the movies at least. In the books they spawned Dark Jedi left and right). It was Luke and the Rebels that tried to bring back their ancient mysticism, and even then they were helped by skeptics like Han.

Regardless, the point stands. And Sonic SatAM was one of the better cartoon series out there.

But does that mean Al-Qaeda is right? No. Moral judgments can still be made, but they need to be made based on more detailed analysis. "Terrorism is bad" is not a valid statement, because one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. However, "attacking a specifically civilian target because its host country is not a Muslim nation is bad" is a very valid statement.

Moral relativism does not mean there are no morals. It simply means situations must be given the thought and consideration they deserve, rather than falling back on overly-simplistic dogma.

I'm back baby! Thanks for everyone who sent me PMs asking what had happened to me.
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