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Author Topic: What makes a hero?
clockwork
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posted 08 April 2007 11:37 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I put this in the topic of culture because I think it's a very cultural specific question.

About a week or two ago The Hour presented a war hero as a guest. He had his legs blown off in an attack on his vehicle that killed a Canadian diplomat. His hero story involved waking up after the blast and noticing his leg was gone while fellow troops ran around to secure him and the area.

Now the topic of Vimy Ridge came up here and people don't want to mythologize that particular instance of history. But I've recently made the argument that the kids at Vimmy were more "heroic" than that guy who got his legs blown off.

This is where my conversation I had broke down. We started comparing private military security contractors to those of a national armed forces outfit that happen to be detailed security for a dignitary. The conversation deteriorated.

By the Globe account Vimy was an inconsequential battle. But I put the Vimy kids above the guy that had his leg blown off (and the other one subsequently amputated). These kids were forced up that ridge on punishment of death (the commanding officer would have shot you if you weren't a "hero"). The amputee was following a career. It wasn't an Executive Outcomes career but.... plus ca change.

However, can you call the acts of soldiers taking over a inconsequential ridge really.. heroic.... or just a colossal waste of life (or can we make that assesment at that time?)?


How the hell do you define a hero? Is a volunteer security guard in a national military that gets injured in the name a national security more of a hero than naive teens that are forced into certain death fighting for a strategically ambiguous hill? Is a professional soldier in Iraq that escorts some dignitary less of a hero if he is paid a $1000 a day when he takes the insurgent vehicle out with no loss of life to his party (say it was a spectacular take out)?

What is a "hero", really? If you blow an infidel up while killing yourself your a hero. If you take a hit doing guard duty for some dignitary, you're a hero, but only if you're directly paid by a national government.. But, as I've discovered in my own conversation, making dough while doing the duty as a subcontractor disqualifies you as a hero.

Would a Vietnam vet be less of a hero doing what he did in Vietnam as opposed to say, a WW2 vet against the Nazis? Is "hero" in the war sense a person who simply gives his life or appendages in the cause of a national interest without getting a cushy salary? Is heroism really the loss of life or limb in defence of national goals that may or may not be of vital interest to the well being of a person like me, who lives and works without nary a thought to the military confrontations in the world?

Is the acts of the French foreign legion heroic? Is the acts of the Taliban heroic? Is the acts of the Russian military in defence of Stalin against Hitler heroic? Is.. rrrr... my knowledge of private military incursions is limited but if I knew of a successful one, I'd add it here... is that heroic, too?.


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 09 April 2007 05:58 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think a lot of it has to do with context. Seen in purely military terms, Vimy might have been an inconsequential battle-- although I would take issue with that-- but even if the allies had exploited the victory to the maximum, and turned it into something bigger, I would not term the actions of the soldiers there heroic.

Many point to Vimy as an heroic act because it was a nation defining moment, which it was. Men who joined up because they were deffending Britain (most Canadian soldiers were born in England) were carving maple leaf emblems in the soft chalk tunnels at Vimy. They might have joined the army British, but they fought as Canadians.

And they fought better than the French or the British. And, of course, the Germans. Pierre Burton argues that there are better ways to define a nation. I would like to agree. Gore Vidal might sum up Vimy with the title "To do well what should not be done." But for good or ill, WE chose to make that a nation defining moment, and perhaps in that context, they were indeed heroic.

Arthur Currie, unlike most of his British counterparts, found out ways to reduce casualties. Maybe he is the real hero.

I think most soldiers regard heroism in terms of comradeship, and success or sacrifice for a muddy political objective doesn't enter into the formula. In that context, Canadian military endeavors are chock full of heroes.

In the United States, at least according to their media, they seem to have confused the word hero with victim.

There are more stringent requirements put forward by--- if I go by memory-- one of the Carnagie foundations. For them, a hero has to act selflessly, put thier lives in almost certain forfiet for another person, who isn't, I believe, a relative.

The awards are rare. Not through lack of what I would call heroism, but because it it often difficult to separate self interest and altruism. I tend to think that one cannot separate the two, being the ardent reductionist that I am.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 09 April 2007 06:19 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd like to make a distinction between bravery and heroism.

Most of the attributes described above pertain to personal bravery, courage, fearlessness, willingness to face sacrifice.

But in my parlance at least, heroism is impossible unless the cause is just.

A soldier in Hitler's Wehrmacht who killed 50 Allied troops to hold a position, and saved 20 of his own, at the cost of his life, could be described as "brave". But he is not a hero.

A Nazi concentration camp guard who risked his life to save others is a hero, by that definition.

Israeli soldiers who refuse to serve in the Occupied Territories, on pain of ostracism or imprisonment, are heroes. Those who risk their lives in targetted assassination missions are not.

No one who fought in World War I, on either side, was a hero. The only heroes were those who risked persecution or death fighting to overthrow their own warmongering governments. There were many such heroes far more worthy of commemoration than the poor victims slaughtered as cannon fodder in the service of the wealthy and powerful, whose memories are still being sullied in the service of today's unjust wars.

[ 09 April 2007: Message edited by: unionist ]


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
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posted 09 April 2007 06:40 AM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Today, if you can scrape together enough brain cells to call 911, you are a hero.

If you can figure out how to button up your CADPATs you are a hero.

If you get blown up in your trench by a gung-ho trigger happy yank cranked up on methamphetamine and viagra, you are a hero and get a bridge named in honour of your...uh...heroic deed(?).

If you neglect to follow proper police procedures to harass a violent petty offender, and end up getting your ass shot off, you are a hero.

I guess my point is that the standard of heroism has fallen to the point of rendering the term meaningless. It is merely another adjective to fill out the copy when you either want to diguise incompetence, or to distract.


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
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posted 09 April 2007 07:03 AM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd just like to say: well-said, unionist.
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HeywoodFloyd
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posted 09 April 2007 08:15 AM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think the word hero can be quite subjective.

To pro-lifers, someone like BW can be a hero because he stands on their ramparts. To some people, Svend Robinson is a hero while to others he is the devil incarnate.


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 09 April 2007 10:58 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by HeywoodFloyd:
To pro-lifers, someone like BW can be a hero because he stands on their ramparts.

Oh, yes BW, the man just pronounced a criminal by the UOS in Regina. What a hero he is.


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 09 April 2007 11:14 AM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Like I said, he isn't a hero to you. That he is to others makes it subjective.
From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 09 April 2007 11:18 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by HeywoodFloyd:
Like I said, he isn't a hero to you. That he is to others makes it subjective.

Kind of like "good".

We think it's "good" that same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada.

Some people think it's "bad".

Does that mean what is "good" is a subjective question?

On a separate note, I think it would be more productive to talk about acts of heroism, or heroic behaviour, rather than "hero" as such. Life is too complex to have a word like "hero" stamped, or not, on the totality of it.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 09 April 2007 11:38 AM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Does that mean what is "good" is a subjective question?

Yep.

Just ask Different Strokes.

quote:
Now, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum,
What might be right for you, may not be right for some.

From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Greeny
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posted 09 April 2007 12:11 PM      Profile for West Coast Greeny     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree with Heywood that "good" and "hero" is certainly quite subjective (although I wish he didn't use such an extreme example). It kind of blows my own mind that right-wingers are just as steadfast in thier convictions, just as certain that they are right and on the side of good, as I am (although I like to think I'm open to changing my mind).

My definition of hero falls in line with unionist's, although I will add that heros are not solely found in military or EMS uniforms.

[ 09 April 2007: Message edited by: West Coast Greeny ]


From: Ewe of eh. | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Webgear
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posted 09 April 2007 06:49 PM      Profile for Webgear     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I believe that a hero is defined by his actions witnessed by people of similar values, ethics.

Take Unionist example of

“A soldier in Hitler's Wehrmacht who killed 50 Allied troops to hold a position, and saved 20 of his own, at the cost of his life, could be described as "brave". But he is not a hero.”

While Unionist may not agree with the actions of this German soldier, the 20 German soldiers save by this individual will consider him a hero.

Another example is Afghanistan, many people in Canada do not agree with our actions there, however those that agree that we are performing for a just and noble cause would say that some soldiers have acted as hero’s in several situations in the past.

The people that believe we should not be in Afghanistan may say that a war resister that denies going overseas is heroic.

Heroism is likely only to be viewed as heroism by people with similar views and ethics.


From: Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 09 April 2007 06:59 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Webgear,

I know different people will consider the same action as heroic or treacherous.

But I believe in right and wrong. I don't believe everything in the world is just a matter of opinion.

That's why I didn't say that heroism depends on the viewpoint of the observer. That's why I said it requires that the cause be just.

If we become moral relativists, we will go unthinkingly wherever our commanders send us. That way lies perdition.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Webgear
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posted 09 April 2007 07:07 PM      Profile for Webgear     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How do we as a nation determined what cause is just?

I believe we both have similar views, we both believe in right in wrong however I think the problem lies in how to accomplish what we believe.


From: Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 09 April 2007 07:36 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:
But I believe in right and wrong. I don't believe everything in the world is just a matter of opinion.

That's why I didn't say that heroism depends on the viewpoint of the observer. That's why I said it requires that the cause be just.

If we become moral relativists, we will go unthinkingly wherever our commanders send us. That way lies perdition.


Very good post unionist, exactly.

On a large scale, IMV, we as nation, once knew that war is never just, hopefully that will remain to be true in the future, irrespective of Harpy's war mongering and the media that is supporting it.

Other than that, IMV, hero's occur everyday, only the hero never recognizes themselves as such.


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Grizzled Wolf
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posted 09 April 2007 08:45 PM      Profile for Grizzled Wolf     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:

But in my parlance at least, heroism is impossible unless the cause is just.

And that is the gazillion dirham question

Just Cause - A Primer

quote:
A war is only just if it is fought for a reason that is justified, and that carries sufficient moral weight. The country that wishes to use military force must demonstrate that there is a just cause to do so.

The main just cause is to put right a wrong. Sometimes a war fought to prevent a wrong from happening may be considered a just war.

In modern times wars to defend the innocent are increasingly regarded as just (which fits with the idea in some religious literature that it is better to defend an innocent than to defend oneself).


Bold added for emphasis


From: Wherever they send me - currently lovely Edmonton | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 09 April 2007 09:10 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks, Grizzled Wolf - but I like this quote from your article better:

quote:
The clearest example of a just cause is self-defence against an aggressor. For example when an enemy has crossed your borders and invaded your territory.
[emphasis added]

Guess which country I'm thinking of here?


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Fidel
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posted 09 April 2007 09:37 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, I was going to nominate Ahmed Shah Massoud, "the Lion of Panjir" as a hero. But I see RAWA has another opinion of the martyred hero. RAWA likens Massoud to Jonas Savimbi.

http://www.rawa.org/masoud2.htm

Of course, neither Massoud or RAWA thought very highly of the Taliban.

[ 09 April 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Webgear
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posted 10 April 2007 02:27 PM      Profile for Webgear     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How do we as a nation determine what is a just cause and how do we act out this decision?
From: Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 10 April 2007 02:42 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Webgear:
How do we as a nation determine what is a just cause and how do we act out this decision?

I don't think there are any formulas, or life would be easy.

But the big issues are remarkably uncomplicated, for progressive people at least.

Canada never participated in the U.S. slaughter in Indochina (unlike Australia, which did). We welcomed draft evaders (for the most part). We supported the right of the Vietnamese and other people to make their own lives.

Likewise, we did the right thing and stayed out of Iraq - as an entire society.

Afghanistan was more complicated, but progressive people are clear and united on this, and growing number of Canadians are as well.

The truth about World War I has been obscured in the mists of time, and the propaganda whitewash campaign continues to this day. Even at the time, many self-styled socialists got sucked in to supporting the war - strangely and coincidentally, they always supported their "own" country! But we have advanced since then, as the post-WWII experience has shown.

I'm confident and optimistic on these issues. There will always be grey areas, difficult situations, and massive ideological disinformation campaigns by the U.S. and its allies. But on most issues, and on major ones, I'm proud to see that Canadians can think for themselves and come to the right conclusions.


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clockwork
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posted 10 April 2007 11:29 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
unionist: Likewise, we did the right thing and stayed out of Iraq - as an entire society.

Yes, but the deciding factor of our non-participation in Iraq was Quebec which has always been leery of our foreign ventures. English Canada supports the Iraqi invasion, or at least did (as I understand it). English Canada gets lumped in with French Canada for having the wherewithal to make a stand, but we, English Canada, made no stand whatsoever. If Jean Chretien was really John Christian, we'd be knee deep in an Iranian crisis too.

quote:
TP: And they fought better than the French or the British. And, of course, the Germans.

So, say the Germans were fighting for a position but failed. Say the Italians tried to take it too. But the Austrian regiment successfully breeched the defenses. Does that make the Austrian regiment heroic? Does that make the Austrian victory a basis for Austrian nationalism?


quote:
unionist: A soldier in Hitler's Wehrmacht who killed 50 Allied troops to hold a position, and saved 20 of his own, at the cost of his life, could be described as "brave". But he is not a hero.

As I understand the term hero, the Wehrmacht soldier is a hero. We dismiss him because we think the Nazis are bad (which they were). But this fictitious soldier is a hero in any sense of the term I've ever heard.... He saved compadre's lives, he made living for the other army units less stressful. He would have been awarded the Iron Cross. Or is the Iron Cross less of a symbol because as a victorious Allie (Ally?) we dismiss acts of bravery/heroism from the other side?

I say the nature of your government doesn't detract from heroism. Doesn't detract from bravery. If I was German, I'd kill a whole bunch of me's trying to win the battle for the English/American/French side. And if I succeeded I would be a hero. Think, as a German, I've been fed propaganda that says I'm fighting a worthy cause. Does the fact that the German me, misled and all, does courageous acts make the German me less of a hero then the English me that happened to be on the victorious side?


I wasn't expecting my post to get this many responses so... I may have missed the argument that private contractors are less heroic because the aren't considered apart of the "military".

Anyway, the posts I've read here tell me I was right: hero is a very cultural specific designator. And as such, why praise heroism? I say remember Vimy, but not because a bunch of nineteen year olds successfully broke a ridge. Remember it because it was a sacrifice. A sacrifice we never intend to repeat. (unless a confronted with a threat that post-dates that battle by 25 years).

Heroism is a load of garbage, as I see it.


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 11 April 2007 12:32 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There were lots and lots of heroes in history. There are heroes for every political stripe. Attila the Hun was a legendary hero for certain people. There are heroes of science fiction and technology. Scientists have stood on the shoulders of their heroes and become heroes themselves. And whether religious heroes were real or created, I think they represented the most positive outlooks for the future of humanity. People need heroes. The past creates the present.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Southlander
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posted 11 April 2007 03:17 AM      Profile for Southlander     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't think you can call every war just or unjust. What is this desire to see everything in black and white? What if the Kurds went to war againist Turkey to gain independace, taking their oil with them and forming an alliance with the other Kurds? They are starting a war, but they are not being persuicated, but what if they or other Kurds are? at what level does it become a justification for war? Why are you the one to decide? You seem to be stuck in some teenage stage of Cognitive Development, if you realy think all wars, and actions within a war, can be divided into just and unjust.
So a german who betrayed his country and his comrades, during WW2 and helped the allies, is a hero?


quote:
Originally posted by unionist:
Webgear,

I know different people will consider the same action as heroic or treacherous.

But I believe in right and wrong. I don't believe everything in the world is just a matter of opinion.

That's why I didn't say that heroism depends on the viewpoint of the observer. That's why I said it requires that the cause be just.

If we become moral relativists, we will go unthinkingly wherever our commanders send us. That way lies perdition.



From: New Zealand | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 April 2007 03:58 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Southlander:
So a german who betrayed his country and his comrades, during WW2 and helped the allies, is a hero?

You put a question mark at the end of that sentence.

ETA: I edited out the insult because Southlander is not the only one in this thread who can't tell the difference between right and wrong.

[ 11 April 2007: Message edited by: unionist ]


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 11 April 2007 04:14 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
clockwork:I put this in the topic of culture because I think it's a very cultural specific question.

On the contrary, some would say that heroism reflects universal human values, transcending cultures and time. For example:

quote:
Often cited as Joseph Campbell's best book, this classic study traces the story of the hero's journey and transformation through virtually all the mythologies of the world, revealing the one archetypal hero in them all. Originally published in 1949, it has inspired generations of students and sold nearly one million copies in various editions.

The book noted above is Joseph Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces. It's an excellent introduction to heroism. However, it's worth noting as well that Campbell doesn't succeed, despite his gigantic efforts in his fine book, of transcending current individualistic ideals of heroism to a new notion of heroism that restores community and collectivity. But then again, Campbell is no socialist and can't seem to see beyond current narrow capitalist ideals. He does, finally, recognize that the new community is the whole planet. That's a start.

[ 11 April 2007: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 11 April 2007 08:09 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What makes a hero?

Taking the totality of all the posts thus far, it seems that a hero has to be a man.

Grr.

Whatever.

I attended a fundraiser for the North York Women's Shelter last week and 2 former shelter residents shared their stories of how they ended up at the shelter and where they are now. Right after, a lovely young woman sang the song "Hero".

Fuck war, fuck violence, fuck naming heroism as a one-time under-extreme-circumstances act that happens. Fuck all heros being only men.

Women live lives of immense heroism, from surviving abuse, to figuring out how to pay all the bills from a meager paycheque, to dealing with racism, to raising children with a strong sense of themselves.


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Webgear
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posted 11 April 2007 09:46 AM      Profile for Webgear     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bigcitygal

I think you have misread some of the posts in this thread, several of the posters here have discussed personal actions, cultural and ethical perspectives, the rights and wrongs of as a point of view.

I do not think anyone here as said the only men have to be heroes or that the actions of a hero involves some form of violence.

In my view we have been discussing what a hero is, what is right and just. Not once have we decided that only man can be heroes nor can heroes only be made in war or violence.

[ 11 April 2007: Message edited by: Webgear ]


From: Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Southlander
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posted 11 April 2007 03:18 PM      Profile for Southlander     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Unionist, I'm going to argue this further (I'm on holidays) The motivation of the German doesn't matter? You have not queried at all why the german betrayed his or her people, as far as you are concerned they are a hero, they betrayed their people, but ended up on the 'right' (winning)side, so that's a hero? Many Germans were starving and dying due to the harsh Versailles settlement. Germans who fought againist their families dying were wrong? What about WW1, first the Russians invaded Germany, and then the Germans invaded France, so a foot soldier who fought on the russian front is a hero, and one who is posted to the french front is a villian? What about commanders from both sides who kept their troops in flanders mud for years. If the commanders were wrong on both sides then no one at flanders is a hero?
And, I'd love a comment on the Kurdish example. And what about the communists in Russia was that a just war, overthrowing the white russians, fighting for equality? are the communists the good guys? what about the golags? what about someone who fought the 'white's', and worked in a golag is he (or she) on the 'just' side?

Thanks for removing the insult, my comment on your development was a bit rude, which I apoligise for. I would like you to acknowledge that wars cannot all be dividied into just and unjust, and even if a war is later seen as unjust that does not mean every action within it is unjust.

Hero's are people who risk their lives, (or perhaps dedicate their lives, or even all their money) to save someone who is not a family member. Whose side they are on doesn't matter.


quote:
Originally posted by unionist:

You put a question mark at the end of that sentence.

ETA: I edited out the insult because Southlander is not the only one in this thread who can't tell the difference between right and wrong.

[ 11 April 2007: Message edited by: unionist ]


[ 11 April 2007: Message edited by: Southlander ]


From: New Zealand | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 April 2007 06:41 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Southlander:
Unionist, I'm going to argue this further (I'm on holidays) The motivation of the German doesn't matter? You have not queried at all why the german betrayed his or her people, as far as you are concerned they are a hero, they betrayed their people, but ended up on the 'right' (winning)side, so that's a hero? Many Germans were starving and dying due to the harsh Versailles settlement. Germans who fought againist their families dying were wrong?

I only answer one question at a time.

I said the determining factor was whether the cause was just. Germany's cause in WWII was unjust. It's not because they lost that their cause was unjust. It's the other way around. People of the world rallied to destroy them, annihilate them. The German partisans, communists, socialists, and others who risked (and lost) their lives trying to wipe out their own government were the greatest heroes I know. Google Ernst Thaelmann.

Germany invaded Europe and committed genocide because its poor families were starving? It's enough to bring a tear to a glass eye. There can be no nuance or compromise on such issues. Evil will never prevail.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Bobolink
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posted 13 April 2007 05:49 PM      Profile for Bobolink   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Unionist, do you have a standard by which you measure good or evil? Webgear seems to imply a relative standard. You imply an absolute standard. But how is such a standard established? Is it religious? Is it philosophical?

As you may have realized, people who know the truth frighten me. The Nazis new the truth. Both sides in the 30 Years War knew the truth


From: Stirling, ON | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
unionist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11323

posted 13 April 2007 05:59 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Bobolink:
Unionist, do you have a standard by which you measure good or evil?

Yes. That which serves the interests of humanity and the natural environment. That which rejects and defeats exploitation and enslavement of one person by another, and aggression, war and conquest by one people against another. That which eschews all inequality based on sex, race, colour, religious or atheistic beliefs, place of origin, orientation, language, physical or mental disability; that which favours science, enlightenment, material and cultural nourishment for humanity - these are the standards by which I determine what is good.

quote:
As you may have realized, people who know the truth frighten me. The Nazis new the truth. Both sides in the 30 Years War knew the truth

I lay no claim to knowledge of the truth. But I know that the things I have pronounced are good. At least, until proof to the contrary, I will live my life by them.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Southlander
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posted 18 April 2007 07:18 AM      Profile for Southlander     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:

I lay no claim to knowledge of the truth. But I know that the things I have pronounced are good. At least, until proof to the contrary, I will live my life by them.


That surely is the point. The foot soldier Germans fighting on the eastern front in WW1 had very little idea at the time they were on the 'right' side whilst their compriates on the western front were on the 'wrong' side. What makes you so sure what you see now as right is the same as what will be 'right' in 100 years? You don't, but you are prepared to live your life by them, 'until proof to the contrary'. Why are you are not giving the same curtisey to those german soldiers? Why can't they be heros too?

[ 18 April 2007: Message edited by: Southlander ]

[ 18 April 2007: Message edited by: Southlander ]


From: New Zealand | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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Babbler # 11323

posted 18 April 2007 07:39 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Southlander:
The foot soldier Germans fighting on the eastern front in WW1 had very little idea at the time they were on the 'right' side whilst their compriates on the western front were on the 'wrong' side. What makes you so sure what you see now as right is the same as what will be 'right' in 100 years?

You could say the same about serial killers or George W. Bush or Adolf Hitler. Maybe in 100 years someone will say they were right. They surely thought they were "right" when they did what they did. Should I accord them some hypothetical courtesy?

I believe human beings have to take responsibility for their actions - now - not in the future. Countless U.S. citizens understood that the U.S. aggression in Viet Nam was wrong, and they refused to participate. They didn't wait for some future verdict of history. These are heroes. Not the foot soldiers who went like sheep to the slaughter.

I also believe the world is not simply a matter of people's varying opinions. It is no defence against committing atrocities to say, "I thought I was right". If anything, it is an additional condemnation. You use your brains, your heart, your wisdom, or someone else's - but you figure out the difference between right and wrong, and prepare to be judged on your decision.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged

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