More on Socialist energy / environment measures (Defense of Mark)

Mark Jones markjones011 at
Wed Dec 4 09:26:12 MST 2002

James Daly wrote:
> I am shocked but not surprised that Mark has, by a debating
> tactic, totally
> evaded the issue,

James, any society which has a standing army already subscribes to the
principle that there are circumstances when the supreme sacrifice may be
called for, to serve some generally-agreed notion of the Greater Good.
What's more, any society which deploys weapons of mass destruction (like
thermonuclear bombs) is also committed to the value that whole populations
can and ought to be sacrificed when circumstances appear to require it. The
Americans sacrificed the whole populations of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in this
way. Tens of millions died, gave their lives or were wittingly sacrificed by
the Soviet Union during world war 2 in order to defeat Nazi Germany. Most
people think the price paid was maybe high but they do not generally argue
with the goal, unless they are pacifists, or with the right of states to
make or require such sacrifices. Yet people were being asked to die for
causes which, however worthy, were possibly not as important as the
preservation of all life on Earth. The real issue in this present discussion
is not the abstract ethical way you pose it, but concretely whether, and to
what extent, opposing things like climate change, ecocide and the senseless
pillaging of priceless and irreplaceable natural resources, including
energy, are *also* causes worth fighting and dying for, as our forebears
thought that things like democracy or the right not to be ruled by Hitler,
or the right to national self-determination in the face of Western
colonialism, were things worth fighting and dying for. I still don't know
whether you think they are or not. I wouldn't personalise the debate by
calling you evasive for example, but I don't see that you have even begun to
address the core issue here. The issue, again, is how seriously you think
are the problems of ecocide, climate change and the plunder of natural
resources. This is not so much a matter of ethics but of investigation and
of making judgments based on the science. I would argue that the dangers
*are* serious and that, left unchecked, the price western imperialism will
exact for its present 'prosperity' will be paid by our own descendants.
Billions of yet-unborn people, as well and millions alive today, will pay
the price. I would say, as a socialist, that our conception of the Greater
Good has to have regard for the *purpose* for which we fight and are ready
to sacrifice everything, even life itself. Your argument sounds to me like
pacificism, and that is surely a cop-out.


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