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Thread: Dulce et Decorum Est?

  1. #1
    Utisz's Avatar
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    Dulce et Decorum Est?

    Are there circumstances under which you would be willing to risk death to fight for your country?*


    * or in a revolution that you feel is for the betterment of your country?

  2. #2
    Scala Mountains Resonance's Avatar
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    Hypothetically, a country that requires me to risk my life to defend it isn't worth fighting for.

    Even if I was in the military, I would make a better medic or field engineer or comm person or whatever than a soldier. But I think that applies to everyone on this forum.

    It's a good question though. I guess ultimately I'm too selfish.
    Empty your mind. Be formless. Shapeless. Like water. Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

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    Mens bona regnum possidet ferrus's Avatar
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    No.

    I kind of consider both the modern nation-state and the very concept of most nationalities as myths of a sort. Modern nation-states were born from 19th century Romanticism, where some kind of mythic national community became the basis for political power (as opposed to a kind of dynastic-proprietorial system in feudal times) which hoped to assign merge the liberal (Lockean) conception of constitutional consent to the concept of consent via nationality, which made it a convenient means for justifiable representative forms of government. Most of this is rubbish and whilst on balance the positive of it have outweighed the negatives (at least in Western Europe and North America), the notion of belonging to some kind of mythical nation whose existence is instantiated in some kind of state is basically as absurd as the Volks movement of Nazi Germany, just less overt about what its really intention is - the subjugation of the individual to some supposedly higher entity, and all the nonsensical, and since large refuted (by Neo-Dawinist) appeals to group selection over individual or genomic selection. This 19th century fixation also led to the confusion of linguistic relations and cultural relations with ethnic and/or socio-political unity whereas most archaeological work now focuses on the complex nature and interactions of many of these features where shifts in cultural fashions are not necessarily due to an extermination of a population.

    Countries themselves are equally more often than not the product of myth making for the sake of political power. The origins of the UK are too recent and obvious for this argument - but England or Scotland or Ireland. Before about 700AD neither of these places had any coherent identity - they were made up of various entities which often had mutually interacting linguistic and social practices and often (as was the case in say Southern England), had a largely 'Celtic' population that had effectively switched identities to match a small elite (there is no historical evidence for any large scale invasion of 'Anglo-Saxons'). The effects of the Viking raids was to consolidate power in a few power brokers who could coherently unify armies against a non-Christian and warlike enemy that could only be tackled with some kind of unity - this is the origin of figures such as Albert, Brian Boru, Kenneth MacAlpin etc. who effectively, once controlling a large area sort to ex post facto impose a unified identity. In many parts of Europe this identity was still blurry at the start of the 19th century - there is a reason why France went to such extremes in their education system eradicating many of the cultural and linguistic uniqueness of Southern France, Corsica and Brittany. And that is a country that was long unified - Spain or Italy have more obvious fractions. Or places like India and China where the nationality is split over multiple levels. And this doesn't even begin to address the absurdity of many of the 'nations' of the former colonial era.

    By contrast, as a fairly devout atheist, I kind of realise I have one live - one opportunity to experience the universe, to reflect, to understand and to grow therein. Much like the follies of unthinking consumerism or religion, this kind of appeal to national sacrifice kind of seems like a waste of what little precious consciousness you have been give. In 2000 years time, almost certainly no one will care what you did. It is likely the nationality or ethnic group you belong to has moved onto an entirely different illusion of how duty, power and legitimacy are constructed and which vaguely related geographical and/or genetic grouping is considered important enough for you to subjugate your will to the state.

    Now, I accept that states need to defend themselves, and fight. Revolutions need to happen, and if the state was sufficiently oppressive as to make live without resistance not worth living, then personal sacrifice is probably the least-worst option. Some kind of political order stability, in that wonderful Hobbesian way needs to exist, and the Machiavellian application of mythology, religious or secular, is probably necessary as a means to appeal to the simplistic thinking and evolved quid pro quo value systems most people in the world subscribe to. Fine, and if you are incapable or don't want to understand my argument above, then I kind of think you are fair game for the state. But I personally am not selling my birthright for any evanescent pottage.
    Die Logik ist keine Lehre, sondern ein Spiegelbild der Welt. Die Logik ist transcendental. - Wittgenstein

  4. #4
    Merry Christmas
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    no, not for my country, 0% patriotism, except maybe in a collateral way-- I would fight for my country if doing so would allow me to fight for an underlying cause that I consider important. I'm not sure what that underlying cause would be. Like if the US government is making a huge effort to save endangered species and all the other governments of the world advise their citizens to immediately execute every animal in sight and set fire to vegetation, I might fight and risk my life "for the US" (ie for the chipmunks and marshlands).

  5. #5
    know nothing pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    I can imagine scenarios in which I would take up arms and go risk getting shot. If religious fundamentalists or some totalitarian power was coming to my country and killing people and trying to invade and enslave people or something, for sure I would sign up to help stop it. It's hard to imagine that happening in the US. Actually now that I think about it it's kinda sad but that stuff is totally happening elsewhere in the world and I'm not sure I'd be willing to risk myself to stop it if it weren't affecting me or people I care about personally. Sorry, people in Sudan and Syria.

  6. #6
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    I thought I'd be dead by now. Oh well.

    I'd fight for my country in a revolutionary civil war or an anti-imperialist war. I'd have to learn how though, because fighting is not something I have any natural smarts for.

    That said, I'm becoming very attached to life. I'm not sure whether this is a paradox or not, but the less meaning I find in my life, the more I fear death. When my convictions are strongest, I'm not afraid. I assume that if I'm ever in the type of extreme situation that calls for risking my life, conviction won't be a problem because I'll have no doubts as to whether a fight is necessary.

    Knowing that the enemy is always strong, the trickier question is: is it a losing battle? And if so, do you fight anyway? I think so. Right now, in the peace of the present, I do, because you'd think it should go down in history that the enemy encountered resistance, that it wasn't easy. But I don't know what I would think if I understood the futility of the fight in the moment that it was unfolding. My family threw away their weapons or went into exile. Dictatorship had already encircled the country on a regional level, and it was a foretold result that Argentina would also fall. You could go the guerilla route and walk around with a cyanide pill, or end up in a concentration camp, but no matter how you played your cards, you were still going to fail. I can't imagine what I would have done in that scenario.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

  7. #7
    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    I think so. If a sufficiently despicable regime was invading my home country, I would probably join the army to resist them. I'm less certain about coming to the aid of allies in the same situation. I'd feel guilty about not supporting them, but vested self interest may win out. But if it's a case of "if they go down, we're next", probably.

    Can't see any such situation coming up in my lifetime though.

  8. #8
    Elk Death Makers!*'s Avatar
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    I bought into the heroic narrative and put myself in situations overseas, which potentially could have resulted in a 21 gun salute and my parents recieving a folded flag. Can't say I regret it, though I often feel pressure from people at home that think I should. I will vouch that war can be as horrific as the poem "Dulce et Decorum est," depicts. I was saved from bearing witness to all but the aftermath: limbs removed, families devestated, comrades buried. Some really terrible stories too. I suppose that's the price for picking up a gun. And the sympathies need lie on those that were harmed and wanted nothing to do with the conflict. Villify me if you want. But I saw nothing else at the time I enlisted that could have given my life meaning. I needed direction, to embody some archetype. Warrior seemed fit.
    Last edited by Makers!*; 05-29-2014 at 03:56 AM.
    “In a nation of frightened dullards there is a sorry shortage of outlaws, and those few who make the grade are always welcome.” --HST

    "Long live the weeds and the wilderness!"

  9. #9
    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    For? Never.

    Against? Many.

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    Limber Member floid's Avatar
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    There are no symbols in my head for which I am willing to die.
    Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.
    -- Edward Abbey

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