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

James Daly james.irldaly at
Wed Dec 4 14:45:20 MST 2002

I repeat that my problem is with Mark's statement that under socialism

... people, even whole populations, might have to be

sacrificed to save some other species from extinction.

I regard my reply to viveka's defence of Mark as relevant, and I asked there
why use the word "sacrifice" instead of "murder" -- or at least "kill". The
use of the metaphor of "sacrifice" gives the process a phoney solemnity and
sublimity; anyway my hermeneutic of the story of Abraham and Isaac is that
it is about ending the prevalent practice of child sacrifice, not a divine
demand for it; the punchline is the substitution of the ram. But the use of
"sacrifice" without recognition of the radical difference between killing
others and risking or giving up one's own life brings everything into a
total confusion. As I said in my post I have no problem with self-sacrifice
(even before the lectures on standing armies). There is an enormous
difference, however, between

the *purpose* for which we fight and are ready

to sacrifice everything, even [life],


the *purpose* for which we fight and are ready

to sacrifice everything, even [whole populations].

To defend the killing of populations on the grounds that self-sacrifice is
sometimes necessary and good is an ignoratio elenchi; it simply mistakes
proof of one thing for proof of something totally different.

The argument is whether the killing of human populations (the term can be
used of cities, but also of subcontinents) would be justifiable
environmental practice in a socialist society uniting the human race, which
I thought minimally involved solving even difficult human problems without
slaughter. [This is apparently (or at least "sounds like") pacifism and a
copout -- though that term is not personal, unlike the term evasion.]  But
Mark, like viveka, uses capitalist practices as arguments: one is supposed
to pay attention, for instance, to

a society which has a standing army

any society which deploys weapons of mass destruction

The Americans sacrificed [their cherished property --?!] the whole
populations of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in this way.

the right of [capitalist] states to *make* [in which sense?!] or require
such sacrifices.

As Kay said

I wonder how you can build viable parties and/or

> coalitions without some vision of what future we are

> fighting for.


James Daly

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