A debate on the justification of using force to prevent a nuclear threat

NickOtani's picture
Submitted by NickOtani on Tue, 2008-01-29 00:12

This was my experience as a judge for a debate on whether or not the U.S should use force to prevent other countries from becoming a nuclear threat:

The Lincoln-Douglas debate proposition was: Resolved: It is just for the United States to use military force to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons by nations that pose a military threat.

The affirmative read her prepared constructive speech which contended that 1. nuclear weapons are a threat to us, 2. we have a right to self-defense, and 3. non-proliferation treaties have failed. She supported the first two contentions by stating that we have, at this time, no defense against a nuclear attack initiated by another nation against us.

During negative cross-questioning of the affirmative, the negative asked for clarification and definitions. When it was her turn to present her constructive, she stressed that security for the United States would be better served by not making others feel threatened by us. Soft power is a better way to secure peace than being trigger-happy. The United States should not initiate an attack if it is concerned with self-defense.

The affirmative, then, during her cross-question period, also just asked for restatements and clarification of what the negative said.

During the rebuttals, the affirmative said that nations bring on their own harm when posing a threat to the U.S. She reiterated that soft power has failed, and pointed out a just war theory when our safety is involved.

The negative responded that other nations are not really a threat to the United States and that self-defense should be fighting back, not initiating a pre-emptive strike. And she mentioned that covert maneuvers and bargaining are better ways to gain security than using military force against other nations.

In the last affirmative speech, the girl mentioned Hiroshima and said that was an effective way to end the war, much more effective than bargaining and covert maneuvers and such.

Then, the debate was over and it was my turn to critique it a little. I said I was disappointed that each debater used her cross-questioning period only for clarification and reviewing what was already said. I thought this was a great opportunity for attacking the opponent’s case. For example, after the affirmative said that nuclear powers pose a threat to the U.S. and that justifies our using force against them, I would have asked if other countries should consider us a threat and be just in using force against us. It’s a bit hypocritical for us to have this double standard, that it is okay for us to attack other countries but not okay for them to attack us. This would have put the affirmative immediately on the defensive and given the negative something more to elaborate on in her constructive speech. The affirmative, also, could have attacked the negative on the self-defense defense. She did say that there was no defense against a nuclear attack, so how could we fight back without allowing severe damage, perhaps fatal damage, to us first?

The girls said other judges said that they did not flow augments across cross-questioning periods, that such periods were only for clarification and review, not for attacking the other’s case. This really amazed me. Cross-questioning is an important part of debate. It is where one uses a Socratic skill of questioning and catching the other in a contradiction. It is where one can set up an opponent. This is what good lawyers do in cross-examinations. Wasting this period on reviewing things they should have already heard and remembered is ridiculous! Some judges are not very good debate coaches.

Then, I also told both debaters that they dropped points toward the end, seeming to bring up new points in the rebuttals rather than summarizing the arguments with which they started. The thing about other countries not being a threat should have come up before, and the thing about Hiroshima, in the last speech, was not fair at all. The negative would not have a chance to respond to such an inflammatory reference. Plus, I was offended by it and told the girl I was Japanese, even though my father fought for America in WWII, and didn’t think Hiroshima was justified. I also told her I thought she was coming off a bit cold and ethnocentric, that America can violate the rights of others but not let others violate its rights.

Anyway, I told her I wouldn’t let my personal biases get in the way of who I thought should win the debate. I did ultimately give the win to the affirmative because she did make a case which the negative did not adequately refute. Even if I thought her case was weak or disagreed with it, the negative had to point out the flaws. I don’t think the negative did that adequately. I thought, though, both debaters were really only going through the motions and didn’t really care about the issue. What do you all think?

Bis bald,

Nick


( categories: )

If you...

NickOtani's picture

...would like to say something substantive on the lead post in this thread or accept my open challenge in the other thread, please do. I have no comment on your mirror recommendation.

bis bald,

Nick

You Might...

James S. Valliant's picture

... want to invest in mirror.

Facts of Life

NickOtani's picture

When people turn their backs on injustices, they often say, "I cannot control anyone else." Imagine if Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcom X would have said that. But not everybody has the courage of those two, do they?

I don't need your discussion. If you don't want to engage me then don't. I do apologize sometimes when I think I am wrong. I don't apologize when I don't think I am, or when I think someone is just looking for an excuse to denounce me, perhaps to feel more accepted by his or her peers. It does take courage to be an individual.

As things stand, I don't want to walk on egg-shells around some highly-strung child prone to hissy-fits.

Have a pleasant life.

Nick

Facts of LIfe

James S. Valliant's picture

Look, Nick, I can see you are very needy for discussion, so let me just say the following:

This is an open forum and I cannot control anyone else. Before you called me a war-starter, and an insincere one at that, our interaction had been perfectly civil. TAS's "rules" are a sham. Mine are not. If you cannot avoid insults of this nature in order to make your case, then I will not engage you.

It's that simple.

If you aren't man enough to apologize for what any judge would have admonished an attorney for doing in trial, then that's okay.

Just promise that you will stow that shit in future discussions with me. Surely, you can find other "examples."

If it's not worth it to you do this, then have a pleasant life.

As things stand, all I can say is that it's folks like you who normally vote Nazi. Smiling

Civility

NickOtani's picture

Valliant must be trying to be like Ed Hudgins, making a big deal out of civility. I said, in a post on another forum, that "civility" can be used as a weapon. People often use it against their opponents when their reason and evidence is not adequate. Religious people, when they can't refute the arguments of atheists, often accuse those atheists of not being civil. Some people think Hillary Clinton sometimes uses her female status to come across as a victim when male opponents beome a little agressive. However, even Ed Hudgins and David Kelley have said that Objectivism is not a delicate flower. Secure people should not get all upset about small critical observations.

I have been called an anti-American, an asshole, a creep, paranoid, morally blind, and not civil. Nobody here has admonished those who said these things to me. Instead, I get accused of lacking humor when I stand up for myself. Merely pointing out this fact will earn me derision by those who will say I am appealing to pity. Yet, when Valliant complains that I am not civil, nobody derides him. Nobody says, "Poor, poor Valliant, picked on by that terrible Otani."

If nobody is willing to engage me, that's their right. I don't engage all other people in other forums. People can talk to me if they want. If they don't want to, I'll get over it. Lots of my threads here have not taken off. My Alice series brought up several criticisms of Objectivism, but Objectivists don't want to defend it, don't want to answer those criticisms. Following me around to take pot shots at me, though, is childish. It is not civil. It is not something I do to others, even if I do fight back sometimes.

bis bald,

Nick

What Discussion?

James S. Valliant's picture

I have had many great conversations at this site, and several long and productive ones.

But there doesn't seem to be anyone willing to engage Otani left, and no "discussion" taking place.

In any event, the obvious dangers of engaging him are clear: "civility" -- or what's left of it for him -- must be an empty veneer of meaningless "etiquette."

No,

NickOtani's picture

I admit that you are being childish. If someone told me people in my group, NickOtani'sNeo-Objectivism, might start a war, I'd be amused, not offended. If someone denied my sincerity, I might be a little erked, until I receive the kind of explanation I gave, explaining what I meant by "play". I'd be perfectly satisfied then. Anyway, I wouldn't hang around the sidelines, refusing to take part in relevant discussions and just throwing flames, calling my imaginary tormenter paranoid and a creep. I think that would be childish.

I don't think you have anything to offer, Valliant. You are just being a pest.

bis bald,

Nick

At Least He Admits He's Childish

James S. Valliant's picture

"When John called Bob someone who would start a war, Bob said that was offenseive. But John told him he was missing a broader point about wars generally -- and, so, he also told him that he was just 'playing' at being offended.

"Can't we just get back to 'civil discourse' now that that's all cleared up?"

Oh, boy.

NickOtani's picture

He just has to have the last word, doesn't he?

Does anyone remember the original reason for this childish insult contest?

I said, "If Objectivist groups like ARI, KAS, SOLOP, and OL were independent nations, I'd be concerned if one of them had the ability to destroy the others." He took offense at this. I said, "You play the offended Objectivist very well, but you missed my point." From this, he objected to my dismissing his sincerity.

I did explain all this to him and tried to get him back on track, into civil discourse, but he keeps resisting this and tries to throw flames whereever he can. Should we just ignore him? He isn't really relevant here, of his own choice.

bis bald,

Nick

Par 1

James S. Valliant's picture

The great thing about Nicky is that you can explicitly point out his juvenile "no, you are" tactics, but that will never stop it from happening like clock-work, over and over again.

Oh, yes.

NickOtani's picture

We all understand, little Jimmy. You can go now.

bis bald,

Nick

Lesson in Civility

James S. Valliant's picture

He also asserted that I was faking it somehow when I suggested that this was an offensive suggestion. Of course, it's a simple and long-standing matter of routine for me to terminate a conversation at that point.

But not talking to Little Nicky is a "meltdown" of nuclear proportions for him, poor dear.

Well, and the Anton Chigurh hair, too

Chris Cathcart's picture

I really don’t have that kind of humor. If you do, laugh at Valliant for having a melt-down about my comment about the factions among Objectivists.

You mean, your comments about how hypothetical Objectivist countries would nuke one another?
Laughing out loud

Well,

NickOtani's picture

I really don’t feel like exerting myself that much for such an unworthy audience. You’d probably have more fun at a cancer ward, laughing at dying patients. I really don’t have that kind of humor. If you do, laugh at Valliant for having a melt-down about my comment about the factions among Objectivists. He seems to think he tells funny jokes. I think it’s sad.

And, I guess you don’t like my face. I’m sorry about that. I’m not as pale and uninteresting looking as you. I have a little personality. I may not get the job of clerk at the entrance of the building, but people don’t get blinded by the light reflected off my skin, and some people do take me seriously. Even you don’t know when I am and am not serious. Have you received any great offers for toothpaste advertisements lately, or is the competition from all those blonds too much? Maybe if you give yourself a scar, or do something about that wide forehead, at least get a tan.

Bis bald,

Nick

Oh, come on now

Chris Cathcart's picture

Is that the best snarl you can muster?

Ugh!

NickOtani's picture

You aren't very bright, Chris. Why don't you go play with Leonid and his friends?

bis bald,

Nick

Nope

Chris Cathcart's picture

It's not the supposed unfairness of the "abuse" (your deranged description, not mine) from the others that drew my attention, but the pick-a-fight, the-others-are-the-problem attitude and the utter humorlessness of the mean little dog-growls from you in return. Plus that other kooky stuff, and the non-eye-candy of the avatar not made up for with intangibles. All combined quite well and succinctly into an unappealing little package with "Yeah, I'll give you my address. Bring it on, asshole." which as far as anyone can tell, came out of nowhere.

I know, I'm part of the problem for so accurately boiling it all down to what this is all about. So go on, keep growling. Meltdowns are good entertainment.

Must be nice...

NickOtani's picture

...to jump on the bandwagon with all the other Objectivists here who have made themselves so pleasant to me. Yes, I called gregster an asshole, long after he called me one first. He also called me an anti-American.

I do not ask for this abuse, but I do sometimes fight back. It's that which you notice and on which you focus, not the provocation. You, Cris Cathcart, remind me of the blind man in Alice in Objectivist Land, you observe the tail of the elephant and call it a rope.

I guess that says it all.

bis bald,

Nick

One point of susbtance

Chris Cathcart's picture

And probably just leave it at this:

Mr. Otani equivocates on the word "threat," in calling America the greatest nuclear threat to the rest of the world.

Well, what really more is there to say? This speaks for itself. It's kookery, just like the kookery about hypothetical Objectivist nations nuking each other.

Same with the kookery about Nathan's slapping-by-engraved-invitation as "initiated physical violence."

Oh, dear

Chris Cathcart's picture

Over in that other "Open Challenge" thread, I responded without ever really having any background context or knowledge about Mr. Otani. More of less saw his posts from time to time and never really paid much attention. Then I see what was quoted there, and then open up this thread, and the first thing I see is "Go ahead and email me, I'll give you my address. Bring it on, asshole." Oh my. Where the hell did that even come from?

I think it comes down to this: Mr. Otani just doesn't strike me as someone who's all that pleasant, verbally as well as visually, to (try to) carry on a discussion with. And what is it with this apparent trend of unappealing avatars to go along with unappealing characters and ideas? Laughing out loud Over in other threads it's a pock-marker calling Rand a slut. (I'm still beaming about Olivia's response.)

I'm not afraid of you, gregster

NickOtani's picture

Go ahead and email me, I'll give you my address. Bring it on, asshole.

Nick

BTW, Leonid,...

NickOtani's picture

...if you are the affirmative and arguing for the proposition that Resolved: I'm a liar and Nick is telling truth, then you are arguing for you being a liar and me telling the truth. I agree with you, you are a liar, and I am telling the truth.

I guess that settles that.

bis bald,

Nick

Questions for the Affirmative

NickOtani's picture

1. Do you remember me explaining that the proposition to be debated should be written with a simple declarative sentence stated in the positive?

2. Is your proposition, "Resolved: I'm a liar and Nick is telling truth. And that what Nick said:...(I'm not sure where it ends.)" a simple declarative sentence?

3. You said, "Nick doesn't see difference between Roosvelt and Hitler,between America and Iran." Can you show exactly where I said these things?

4. If I didn't say these things or even imply them, doesn't that make you a liar, since you are saying I did?

5. If someone raises an issue like, "If we justify military force against other countries to keep them from being a nuclear threat, then other nations should be able to use the same justification against us. You want to say those other nations are tyrannies which don’t compare with our nation. Well, I don’t think it’s that simple..." does that make them a liar?

6. If countries in the west have nuclear weapons, shouldn’t countries in the east have them too?

7. Are you saying that anyone who even utters the statements above is morally blind and a liar?

8. If you were the leader of a country which had nukes and the leader of another country made statements like those I made, would you consider that country morally blind and a threat?

9. Would you use military force against such a country to keep it from having nuclear weapons?

10. Would you nuke it?

11. Would you be concerned if a leader of a country which has nukes can't tell what a simple declarative sentence is and goes around lying about you, impugning your character and calling calling you morally blind?

Leonid me ole mucker

gregster's picture

I'm sure we'd get on well over a few and when you pause after your punctuation.

Be-jesus! Prick Otani seems to be melting down.

Otani has shown his true colours here and he doesn't begin to realise how priggish he sounds.

We have won this debate resoundingly and I look forward to conversing with you unfettered by the twat.

(Disregard all the idiot says, like the above, makes me think I need nukes and his address)

Nick's Liar paradox

Leonid's picture

Leonid:"This is not context-droping but sheer moral blindness.Nick doesn't see difference between Roosvelt and Hitler,between America and Iran.He is simply amoral,that is -"beyond good and evil".And how it could be otherwise if he doesn't recognize Law of Identity?

Nick "Lies, all lies. Leonid is a liar.

I wouldn't trust him with a nuke."

Resolved: I'm a liar and Nick is telling truth. And that what Nick said:

"If we justify military force against other countries to keep them from being a nuclear threat, then other nations should be able to use the same justification against us. You want to say those other nations are tyrannies which don’t compare with our nation. Well, I don’t think it’s that simple..."

"If countries in the west have nuclear weapons, shouldn’t countries in the east have them too? "

Now here are two possibilities:

1.Nick confirms his statements,therefore admits his moral blindness.In this case his statement about me is a lie since I was right, and Nick is a liar.

2.Nick denounces his statements. In that case his statement about me is a lie again since he confirms that I was right about him.

In both cases Nick's proposition about me is wrong and Nick is a liar.

How that for an argument?
As a matter of fact (Hume) Nick is much more dangerous than nukes. He's corrosive gas.

Auch, ja,

NickOtani's picture

Das ist das klugste Ding er hat bis jetzt gesagt.

Nick

viz:

James S. Valliant's picture

ante.

Yes, for goodness sakes.

NickOtani's picture

Don't challenge me to my face here in public. Do it behind walls and behind my back, like cowards. That way, also, you won't have to hear my criticisms of you. You can go on pretending you are not flawed. You'll be like the blind man, the turkey, and the frog in part one of the Alice series. And, by all means, don't read the Alice series. Live in ignorance, like the bigot at the bar.

bis bald,

Nick

Please Don't Feed...

James S. Valliant's picture

All "counting" may be done off-line, and Otani's need for remedial education is no claim on anyone's time. Disagreement of any kind will be met with the lame incivility you see below. It's also plain that he'll shoot off his mouth about Objectivism without having considered Objectivism's actual position, and simply end up throwing empty accusations and insults when this is observed.

He's certainly not worth it.

Yes, please, point out the misunderstandings

NickOtani's picture

For folks like Valliant and Leonid, logic means, "that with which I agree." If they don't agree with it, even if it is perfectly logical, it is a rationalistic floating abstraction disconnected from reality. This is a nice catch phrase to use in place of attacking the truth of premises or demonstrating the fallacy of the entire argument. One has to know something about premises and fallacies to deal logically with logical arguments. Clearly, Valliant does not.

bis bald,

Nick

Public Warning

James S. Valliant's picture

For all those unable to locate any possible "lie" on my part to substantiate the claims of Otani's latest tirade against his own "mistreatment," bear in mind that this may not be more of the psychological projection and school-yard, "no, you are" stuff that we have grown accustomed to from Otani. It may just be an example of "fuzzy logic," and not to be taken too literally.

The same Otani has elsewhere written the following gibberish:

"Sometimes, I think Objectivists place too much emphasis on logic and reason. It’s almost like a blind faith, like they replace the God they rejected with this new God, their only means of discovering reality. This doesn’t need to be. One can stand on one’s own feet and use logic as a tool but not let logic, like a new deity, rule.

"Logicians and mathematicians warn us not to use formal theorems, like Gödel’s theorems, on regular spoken language, to apply them only to set theory and mathematics. However, I think we can learn something about our informal, fuzzy logic, by studying what happens in formal logic, which is only a more precise and rigid meta-language used to study our regular spoken language.

"Propositional calculus is symbolic logic, the meta-language we use sometimes to study logical relationships in regular, spoken language, but it is much more precise and rigid, like mathematics. There are symbols to represent statements and signs to represent operations, like conjunction and disjunction and conditionals and double implication and negation, all things we use in spoken language when we say 'and', 'or', 'if…, then…' , 'if and only if', and 'not'. (A ^B) ->~(CvD) can be translated to 'If A and B, then not C or D,' and we can assume that each variable is a simple sentence. There are ways to determine the truth such long statements with truth table analysis, assuming a truth value for each variable and determining what truth value the sentence will have when it is joined by the different connectives and descriptions. If A is true, then (not A) or ~A is false.

"Now, in complex logical systems, systems which are at all useful for making meaningful statements, there has to be some axioms and rules of inference. Then a system is complete if it can include every possible statement and determine its truth. It is consistent if all statements follow the law of non-contradiction, A statement cannot be true and false at the same time.

"In regular spoken language, there are paradoxes, like the liar’s paradox: If the statement 'I am lying,' is true, then it is false, because it says I am lying when I am telling the truth, but if it is false, then it is true, because I am telling the truth about lying.

"Well, Gödel, in his first theorem, found a way to formulate this paradox in logical language and slip it into formal systems of logic. He came up with a statement like, 'This sentence is not provable.' Like the liar’s paradox, if it is true, it is false, and if it is false, it is true. This can’t happen in a system that is complete and consistent. So, we can have a complete system which is inconsistent, or a consistent system which is incomplete, does not contain such a statement.

"The second theorem states that if a system is consistent, its consistency cannot be proved by methods formalizable in that system. Another system must be used to determine this, but that system would have the same problem, and so on into infinity. So, consistency cannot be proved.

"A system is closed if it contains all possible statements. Obviously, regular spoken language is not closed. We are constantly coming up with meaningful sentences which have never been uttered or thought of before. This is Chomsky’s creativity principle. [That's right: Chomsky.] It could point to free-will and resourcefulness in humans. However, this openness in logic also allows for this. We don’t have all the answers already, we continue to learn and adapt.

"So, logic is not a substitute God to which humans should subjugate themselves. It is a tool for their use. They are primary and in control of their tools. Their tools should not control them."

As an exercise, try to count the misunderstandings of Objectivism in the above assertion. For myself, I would only observe that Otani, lost in a world of rationalist constructs, cannot see that "statements" like the liar's paradox (as he formulates it) or "this sentence is not provable" (or the premise of Gödel's own Incompleteness Theorems) assert nothing -- and therefore can lead to no conclusions about human knowledge or logic -- only about the hopelessness of floating abstractions disconnected from reality.

Engage at your own risk.

Public response

NickOtani's picture

I love it when liars reveal themselves so obviously.

Then, you must love it when you, Leonid, and gregster reveal yourselves.

Nick said: "You play the offended Objectivist very well, James..."
It was of course Nick's offenses I complained about. So, I objected to this as questioning my sincerity. I wasn't "playing" at anything, I said.

That’s okay. I was actually trying to give you an out. It would be less shameful for you to be playing at being offended than to be such an overly-sensitive, highly-strung, hysterical little child. I really didn’t say anything which would merit such a reaction. I was merely making my point relevant to Objectivists, comparing them to nations with supposedly the same principles. And, even saying that you were playing is not a line one should take so seriously. It means you were showing your outrage, bringing it out and demonstrating it, very well. Like “playing” the race card, you were “playing” the offended Objectivist card. Of course, if one wants to find something to get outraged about, it can be done. There are, however, much more serious things about which to get offended, like being called an anti-American. Should I be offended that you didn’t come to my defense? Maybe I should just be disgusted with you for being so dense and self-concerned while I’m the one really being treated inappropriately.

Now observe all of the fetid dishonesty in Nick's "reply": "You weren’t playing when you said the Brandens would probably want to nuke you out of existence? I saw a little smiley face. I thought that was playful. If it was sincere, then you are one sick, paranoid, self-important dude."

Yes, I saw this was a little joke. It doesn’t really fit after a serious statement of admonishment. It takes away from the seriousness of it. It’s like saying, “I take offense at you suggesting that Objectivists would use nukes on each other, but then the Brandens would probably want to nuke me out of existence.” What kind of sincerity is that?

Now, of course, that's not where I could have been said to have been "offended," was it? In any event, of course, that still wasn't PLAY-ACTING, either. It was a joke.

Like I said, you aren’t much of a communicator. I was not lying.

Of course, I put the smiley face in myself -- and only on that comment -- there is no reason to think I was "sincere" about that since I complained of Nick's conduct while simultaneously noting the smiley as indicating a joke.

And, you still have to explain it. Why do you feel the need? Don’t you think the average reader of this thread will see what is going on? Do you lack confidence in your own writing? Or, do you think people here are too stupid to understand without your explanation. Is that why you get angry easily and evade the real issues, trying to blame someone else?

Mental pretzels and word salads make up the diet of this dishonest creep's psychology.

Yes, when people don’t understand logic, they call it a mental pretzel or word salad. Leonid does this too. Then, they call me a name and run away. Is this the most I can expect from the Objectivists here?

What a sad mess!

Yes, it is. Not a single Objectivist on this board who is smart enough and man, or woman, enough to debate with me without using these evasive tactics.

Bis bald,

Nick

Public Notice

James S. Valliant's picture

I love it when liars reveal themselves so obviously.

Nick said: "You play the offended Objectivist very well, James..."

It was of course Nick's offenses I complained about. So, I objected to this as questioning my sincerity. I wasn't "playing" at anything, I said.

Now observe all of the fetid dishonesty in Nick's "reply": "You weren’t playing when you said the Brandens would probably want to nuke you out of existence? I saw a little smiley face. I thought that was playful. If it was sincere, then you are one sick, paranoid, self-important dude."

Now, of course, that's not where I could have been said to have been "offended," was it? In any event, of course, that still wasn't play-acting, either. It was a joke.

Of course, I put the smiley face in myself -- and only on that comment -- there is no reason to think I was "sincere" about that since I complained of Nick's conduct while simultaneously noting the smiley as indicating a joke.

It had, of course, nothing to do with his own offensiveness.

Mental pretzels and word salads make up the diet of this dishonest creep's psychology.

What a sad mess!

James

NickOtani's picture

Why don't you take a hint, James, and join your craven buddies? You certainly are not the person I'm looking for.

bis bald,

Nick

Nick

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Nick, surely you know one of the most salient distinctions between Howard Roark and you. There is an enormous difference between justified intransigence and simply not taking a hint.

au revoir,

Jim

James

NickOtani's picture

I agree with James V. I suppose you think moral equivalency arguments make you deep and thoughtful when most on this board simply find you craven and irksome. Why don't you go on lewrockwell.com where you will find a sympathetic ear?

Jim

I may be irksome to some, but I don't see how anyone would find me craven. Those who run away and hide from me are the craven ones. Anyway, I don't live to make other people happy. The "I" speech from Anthem and Henley's Invictus have cured me of that. And, I don't necessarily need a sympathetic ear. I'm looking for someone who is smart enough and man, or woman, enough to debate with me.

bis bald,

Nick

Bye

NickOtani's picture

You're an asshole Nick, that's my last communique too.

Bye,

Nick

Wrong again!

NickOtani's picture

Nick, you state America was "clearly the greatest nuclear threat to the world."

It still is. You don’t think this is true? One of the arguments debaters use is that since we are the greatest nuclear threat to the world, we shouldn’t worry about minimal threats posed by other countries. Attacking us would mean certain destruction for them. People don’t get called anti-American for saying this. Even the most conservative republicans nod in agreement.

I am inclined to take this as your negative attitude to the country that has done the most to maintain the greatest vigilance against threats to western freedoms.

Do you distinguish between western and eastern freedoms? Shouldn’t people in the east have the same freedoms as people in the west? Does the Declaration of Independence say only those living in the west have unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? If countries in the west have nuclear weapons, shouldn’t countries in the east have them too?

You present your country with a slap in the face for it's efforts for the good -not constructive dissent- that was your attempted backtracking.
You are wrong about the USA threat and yes I am bigoted towards treasonous appeasers.

You should have a drink with the bigot at the bar. (BTW, don’t put apostrophes on possessive pronouns, ‘it's efforts’.)

Bis bald,

Nick

You're an asshole Nick,

gregster's picture

You're an asshole Nick, that's my last communique too.

Bye!

NickOtani's picture

My conversation with you is coming to an end, Mr. Otani.

That’s your choice. I think I’ll survive.

Among other reasons, you now question my sincerity. I am not "playing" at anything.

You weren’t playing when you said the Brandens would probably want to nuke you out of existence? I saw a little smiley face. I thought that was playful. If it was sincere, then you are one sick, paranoid, self-important dude.

If I were judging your debating tactics right now, I'd give you an "F" -- and you can surely see the many reasons for the failing grade.

Oh, I’m so distraught! Fortunately, you are not a debate judge, or even much of a communicator. I asked you a question which you evaded and confounded, adding your own qualifications to it, that all nations the U.S. would feel threaten by are dictatorships, by definition, which have no rights. Then, when I try to limit the question and point to a problem, you go off on a tangent. I wasn’t talking originally about dictatorships and illegal regimes and injustices. I was asking if it is not hypocritical for America to have nuclear weapons while forcefully preventing other nations from having them. If we justify military force against other countries to keep them from being a nuclear threat, then other nations should be able to use the same justification against us. You want to say those other nations are tyrannies which don’t compare with our nation. Well, I don’t think it’s that simple, and I have been trying to get this across to you. Yes, I am more aware than most people of the conditions in other places around the world, but it still doesn’t mean that American can have something and use force to keep other countries from having it. We wouldn’t like it if another country had nuclear weapons first and used force to keep us from having them.

I pointed to something that transcends the "problems" we each can find (and, no, I am not endorsing your list) within a relatively free country -- tyranny. Instead of focusing on this obvious distinction, apparently unable to even grasp the nature of my "concession," you float away back to vague "problems" of an indefinite and wide variety.

I know there are countries which are obviously more unjust than we and should have no rights. It would not be unjust for us to use military force against them to keep them from becoming a threat to us. My question, though, was not about whether or not we were justified in using military force against unjust regimes. It was whether or not we should feel it is just to have nuclear weapons but unjust for other countries to have them, unjust enough for us to use military force against them for just the purpose of keeping them from having nuclear weapons.

I don’t think you answered that question. Thus, I can only assume that you have no answer to what I actually said. This lack of focus on the topic at hand, in conjunction with your clumsy effort to evade, to run away, leaves me with the impression that you really have no answer. You cover with dishonesty. Please feel free to join the ranks of the cowards who ignore me.

With regard to the Brandens, I know you think they are not good biographers of Ayn Rand. Perhaps they made a few mistakes, but I don’t think they were entirely wrong. I think Rand was not perfect, neither were the Brandens. This terrible split happened. Their books lend some insight into it. They should not be bashed for showing a more realistic and human side to Ayn Rand any more than I should be bashed for pointing out flaws in America.

I’m sorry you can’t take my honesty and don't really care about the truth.

Bis bald,

Nick

Nick

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

I agree with James V. I suppose you think moral equivalency arguments make you deep and thoughtful when most on this board simply find you craven and irksome. Why don't you go on lewrockwell.com where you will find a sympathetic ear?

Jim

Up to backtracking again

gregster's picture

Nick, you state America was "clearly the greatest nuclear threat to the world."

I am inclined to take this as your negative attitude to the country that has done the most to maintain the greatest vigilance against threats to western freedoms.

You present your country with a slap in the face for it's efforts for the good -not constructive dissent- that was your attempted backtracking.

You are wrong about the USA threat and yes I am bigoted towards treasonous appeasers.

Later Dude!

James S. Valliant's picture

My conversation with you is coming to an end, Mr. Otani.

Among other reasons, you now question my sincerity. I am not "playing" at anything.

If I were judging your debating tactics right now, I'd give you an "F" -- and you can surely see the many reasons for the failing grade.

I pointed to something that transcends the "problems" we each can find (and, no, I am not endorsing your list) within a relatively free country -- tyranny. Instead of focusing on this obvious distinction, apparently unable to even grasp the nature of my "concession," you float away back to vague "problems" of an indefinite and wide variety.

Thus, I can only assume that you have no answer to what I actually said.

This lack of focus on the topic at hand, in conjunction with your clumsy effort to personalize this conversation, leaves an impression of desperation on your part. Any example of "disagreement," then, would have done, it seems...

In any event, from any conceivable international "system" that the One Worlders come up with, all the way down to whatever ethical constraints you recommend among nations -- this same problem of "disagreement" is equally at work. Indeed, I, at least, do not rely on other nations to "agree" with the U.S. at all -- and would give the world the brightest of moral lines to work with.

This issue of "disagreement" is a pure distraction, further enhancing the impression of emptiness and insecurity on your part.

BTW: just how "evil" do you think I think the Brandens? That was a joke you know with the smiley face after it...?

See, we were having a conversation about foreign and military policy and then you bring up all this other stuff. Your very attempt at "connecting" these things lays bare your actual motives in mentioning them at all.

Weak, lame and cheesier than pizza, dude.

And, in an important way, dishonest.

I will now join the ranks of the many who just ignore you, Mr. Otani.

Over and out.

Talk about moral blindness

NickOtani's picture

This is not context-droping but sheer moral blindness.Nick doesn't see difference between Roosvelt and Hitler,between America and Iran.He is simply amoral,that is -"beyond good and evil".And how it could be otherwise if he doesn't recognize Law of Identity?

Lies, all lies. Leonid is a liar.

I wouldn't trust him with a nuke.

bis bald,

Nick

There are some who might try it

NickOtani's picture

I have to laugh. I dare Nick to find even one example of anyone in the Objectivist orbit using a weapon on someone else offensively .

Jim

Well, Jim, there are Objectivists who support our initiation of violence in Iraq. There is one who calls for dropping bombs on crowded Mosques in Iran, and others support him and/ or do not rush to denounce him. And, Ayn Rand did not use a weapon but did initiate physical violence against Nathaniel Branden.

bis bald,

Nick

James

NickOtani's picture

Bringing up divisions within Objectivism at this juncture is totally uncalled for. Indeed, it is a sick and offensive suggestion, sir. None of these people, and I know many, would do any kind of violence to one another -- even if armed with nukes -- however passionate the differences. (With the possible exception of the Brandens who, I suspect, would like to nuke me out of existence. )
That lovely suggestion indicates more about you than the people you smear, Nick.

You play the offended Objectivist very well, James, but you miss my point, that if Objectivists groups can differ so greatly, nations can disagree on what constitutes freedom and an illegal regime. Objectivist groups do not have nukes and do not have a means to do violence against each other, across the internet, but what if they were in the same room with a little alcohol in them? Is it inconceivable that a little violence might break out? There are Objectivists who advocate dropping nukes on crowded Mosques. I suspect there are some who would like to nuke me out of existence.

All of the problems with America, and you missed some of the worst, are insignificant compared to shackled existence of those Iran, Malaysia, North Korea or even Venezuela.

See? Even you say I missed some of the worst, yet the ones I did mention were enough for gregster to call me an anti-American. If you agree with me that the problems I mentioned are problems and not even some of the worst, does that mean you are also anti-American?

Again, the very suggestion shows more about a lack of contextual perspective on your part than anything else.

I don’t think so. I have actually been to socialistic countries and countries behind the Iron Curtain before it fell, to poor countries where governments are unstable and some people live in mud huts or worse. I’ve seen a countries torn by war. I know that there are many problems in the world. That doesn’t mean America is problem free and beyond criticism. The very suggestion shows more about a lack of effort to understand me on your part than anything else.

BTW, I know the Brandens are not perfect, but I don’t think they are as evil as you seem to think they are.

Bis bald,

Nick

gregster

NickOtani's picture

Yes, of course you appear anti-American, whether you agree or not.

The right to dissent, or to criticize one’s own country, is an American principle as deeply held as any other. To call someone anti-American for doing so is, itself, un-American and ignorant, whether you agree or not. We need more people who can define problems. It’s the first step in rational methods toward getting them fixed. Pretending they don’t exist and insulting those who bring them up as topics of discussion, rather than discussing them like civil adults, is something bigots do. Are you a bigot, gregster?

I have served my country. I am a Vietnam veteran. I have worked for the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army. I have, for twenty years, taught basic skills and U.S. History to U.S. soldiers, in an effort to make them better citizens. I am offended that you call me anti-American. I think you should apologize. If you can’t do that, then I hope you go back to ignoring me. I don’t want to talk to you.

Nick

moral blidness

Leonid's picture

James "Again, the very suggestion shows more about a lack of contextual perspective on your part than anything else."

This is not context-droping but sheer moral blindness.Nick doesn't see difference between Roosvelt and Hitler,between America and Iran.He is simply amoral,that is -"beyond good and evil".And how it could be otherwise if he doesn't recognize Law of Identity?

James V

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

I have to laugh. I dare Nick to find even one example of anyone in the Objectivist orbit using a weapon on someone else offensively Smiling.

Jim

Nick

James S. Valliant's picture

Bringing up divisions within Objectivism at this juncture is totally uncalled for. Indeed, it is a sick and offensive suggestion, sir. None of these people, and I know many, would do any kind of violence to one another -- even if armed with nukes -- however passionate the differences. (With the possible exception of the Brandens who, I suspect, would like to nuke me out of existence. Smiling )

That lovely suggestion indicates more about you than the people you smear, Nick.

All of the problems with America, and you missed some of the worst, are insignificant compared to shackled existence of those Iran, Malaysia, North Korea or even Venezuela.

Again, the very suggestion shows more about a lack of contextual perspective on your part than anything else.

Nick

gregster's picture

"not always clear-cut. It can be murky"

This is another example of the dog chasing it's tail. The dog being your modus operandi. Offering no chance of commonground, always dragging spurious arguments in.

Yes, of course you appear anti-American, whether you agree or not.

James

NickOtani's picture

Whether or not a country is free is not always clear-cut. It can be murky. Even the United States has policies which are not fair to all people. We have a patriot act which puts some people, perhaps only because they are Arab or Muslim, in Gitmo and allows them to be tortured until they admit to being terrorists. We still discriminate against gays and women in the military. We have illegal aliens coming in to do work which U.S. Citizens don’t want to do, and they do it for much less money and benefits than U.S. Citizens. We have this “No child left behind” policy which makes states use standardized tests to determine whether or not kids graduate from high school and whether or not a school receives federal funds. This punishes students who are smart but not good test-takers, and the tests are often lousy, and schools which have large populations of low-level learners and special education and foreign language students. It’s a mess.

Even among Objectivists, who supposedly all share the same principles of individual rights, individualism, and reason; there is great friction. If the ARI, TAS, SOLOP, and OL were all countries, I’d be concerned if one of them had the ability to nuke the others. They all might be able to rationalize that the others are illegal regimes, undeserving of rights.

I could, now, if I were not too modest, refer to my Alice series, which is available on this forum for free. It shows how Objectivists can become a bit intolerant of each other and other philosophies.

Bis bald,

Nick

Nick

James S. Valliant's picture

Well, that's my whole point, Nick: dictatorships have no legitimacy or "rights," in any sense.

The U.N. is a joke, and, in my view, lacks any legitimacy precisely because it includes such nations -- indeed, it puts major rights-violators in charge of the "human rights" issue.

Only countries which respect the rights of their people have any moral claim against invasion by us -- and this is a moral claim that we have every selfish interest in respecting.

One side is right -- the other wrong.

Between the two, there can be NO moral equivalence.

So, let me be clear.

Any free country may overthrow any dictatorship -- and no country has the moral right to attack a relatively free country which has not threatened attack on another free country.

If a country is relatively free, it is likely to be peace-loving, especially wherever mothers have the right to vote. If it is relatively free, it is almost certainly a major trading partner. If it is relatively free, we should be interested in preserving it, not attacking it, for its freedom never comes at anyone's expense -- only mutual gain.

Absent some mad and suicidal attack on America or its allies from such a nation, why would America ever want to attack a free country in the first place?

James

NickOtani's picture

You ask: "why is it not right for other nations, nations with democratically elected leaders, as in Iran, to use military force against us?"

You shortened my question a bit to leave off the part which makes the U.S. look hypocritical. I said, "If it is okay for the U.S to attack other nations, use military force to keep them from becoming a nuclear threat, why is it not right for other nations, nations with democratically elected leaders, as in Iran, to use military force against us?"?

You said:
Because a dictatorship which violates rights has no moral right to invade a much freer country.
And, obviously, democracy confers no legitimacy whatsoever.
Had Hitler got a majority, his would still have been an outlaw regime. Even assuming that the regime in Tehran has majority support, it has no legitimacy.
The question is freedom -- the respect for individual rights. Absent freedom of speech, some respect for private property, the rule of law, and certain other factors, "democracy" is just a species of fascism.
My real answer: America should be armed to the teeth against every potential threat.

Okay, I see you consider Iran to be a dictatorship which violates rights even if the president is elected democratically, and you reiterate the view that outlaw regimes have no rights. Let’s not use Iran, then, as an example. Let’s just take a so-called freer country. Let’s say all things are equal. Let’s not add qualifications to the other countries, saying they are dictatorships or outlaw regimes. Do they have as much a right to have nuclear weapons as does the U.S.? If not, isn’t that a double standard?

If America should be armed to the teeth against every potential threat, don't other countries, which are not dictatorships or outlaw regimes, have that same right?

Bis bald,
Nick

Let's clarify something.

NickOtani's picture

Are you calling me an anti-American, gregster?

Nick

America as described

gregster's picture

by an anti-American (Nick)"We are, after all, the greatest nuclear threat to the world. We have nuclear weapons and have actually used them. How can we tell other nations that they are a threat but that we are not a threat to them? Clearly we are."

Nick,

America is the least likely nuclear threat of the superpowers. This is elementary. America has no need to invade and plunder and would not dare to unless there was justification on the grounds of self-defense.

Not just Republicans will act in America's interest. Don't conveniently forget Clinton, the night before being called to testify about his "cigars and sex" proclivities, launching on Iraq.

http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS...
http://www.history.com/this-da...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

Nick

James S. Valliant's picture

You ask: "why is it not right for other nations, nations with democratically elected leaders, as in Iran, to use military force against us?"

Because a dictatorship which violates rights has no moral right to invade a much freer country.

And, obviously, democracy confers no legitimacy whatsoever.

Had Hitler got a majority, his would still have been an outlaw regime. Even assuming that the regime in Tehran has majority support, it has no legitimacy.

The question is freedom -- the respect for individual rights. Absent freedom of speech, some respect for private property, the rule of law, and certain other factors, "democracy" is just a species of fascism.

My real answer: America should be armed to the teeth against every potential threat.

As to the debate, yes, I agree with you about missing the opportunity for cross -- and think it was a bad idea to use Hiroshima at the very end, as you describe it. If you're going to use that, you should build it into your main case, unless there is no other option. Your debating advice was sound.

James

NickOtani's picture

How would you have answered the question, "If it is okay for the U.S to attack other nations, use military force to keep them from becoming a nuclear threat, why is it not right for other nations, nations with democratically elected leaders, as in Iran, to use military force against us?"? We are, after all, the greatest nuclear threat to the world. We have nuclear weapons and have actually used them. How can we tell other nations that they are a threat but that we are not a threat to them? Clearly we are. We can have nuclear weapons, but we don't want other countries to have them. You still don't see a double standard here?

If you were the negative in the debate above, how would you have dealt with the affirmative? Do you think my critique was just? Do you agree that each debater should have stuck with her original arguments, making them stronger, and not drift away from them bringing up other points at the end, especially the point about Hiroshima?

As a debate judge, I have to stand back and determine who is the better debater, even if I may agree with one side more than the other. Then, I try to give good advice on how each could make his or her case stronger. If the negative would have asked the question above, don't you agree her case would have been stronger?

bis bald,

Nick

Nick

James S. Valliant's picture

You write: "It’s a bit hypocritical for us to have this double standard, that it is okay for us to attack other countries but not okay for them to attack us... I also told her I thought she was coming off a bit cold and ethnocentric, that America can violate the rights of others but not let others violate its rights."

There is no "double standard" here at all. As Rand observed, a dictatorship is already a condition of violence, aggression and "war" initiated by the state against its own people. Such violence already poses a threat to all of us -- for it is dictatorships which always start wars whenever possible, expanding the base of the plunder they feed upon after their local victims have been squeezed dry. A dictatorship has no "rights" and may be ethically overthrown at any time. Lacking any "legitimacy" from the start, and even absent an attack on us by Nazi Germany or its ally Japan, such nations could be invaded by freer nations. Period. Given the attacks to come, it clearly would have been an act of self-defense. If we overthrew Cuba, Castro -- a major rights-violator of his own people and squasher of all resistance to his rule -- could hardly claim a violation of his "rights."

This does not imply that we should -- i.e., that it would be in our self-interest -- yet. This is another question.

But, surely, the "territorial integrity" of a slave state is no moral barrier to the overthrow of that state.

This logic certainly applies to Iraq, Iran, Syria or any other such tyranny.

I reject your suggestion of moral equivalence.

Also, the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII was hideous and it undermined the very moral High Ground I am discussing. But that was by no means sufficient to make the Japanese the "good guys" in that war. From Manchuria to Pearl Harbor to Indochina, crushing that brutal regime as quickly as possible was clearly the ethical course of action. Sparing the American lives that would've been lost in a non-atomic solution -- over Japanese lives -- was also a perfectly moral calculation.

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