Comments: The Nigger Gook Wog Oriental Doesn't Value Life Like We Do

Conversely, only Americans willing to liberally shed the blood of foreigners are true patriots.

Is this a great country, or what?

Posted by JW at December 27, 2007 08:44 PM

The worst problem with this is that I am an "Oriental" and frequently I DO THINK that life is cheap and plentiful, but that's more because overpopulation and a blind focus on economic "growth" rather than a movement towards sustainable communities and living has made it that way, rather than any form of cultural snobbery.

Posted by En Ming Hee at December 27, 2007 09:30 PM

And emphasis on the value of life can be objectively viewed from the outside as plain old cowardice; or lack of a stake.

Posted by Ashley at December 27, 2007 10:09 PM

Life is cheap, OIL is expensive. (or, your life is cheap, mine ain't)(or, my life is worth living, yours isn't) ( or, you have something I want, you are of no value but your stuff is) and lastly, THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN---an empty pocket and a loaded gun.

Posted by Mike Meyer at December 27, 2007 11:48 PM

wow, if you survey a century of statements by English and American politicians and generals, you can find some examples of where they say not very kind and gentle things about other peoples, and display a lack of understanding of other people's cultures and lack of sensitivity to those same other peoples. Shocking. Shocking. And I'm sure if you survey Russian, German, French, Japanese, and yes, even Arabic political and social commentary, you'll find no such similar language, ever. Oh, and don't forget, the Arabs invented algebra!

God you people are fools. Pompous fools, at that. And silly to boot.

Posted by xyz at December 28, 2007 06:44 AM

Shorter xyz: Everyone else sucks just as bad if not worse! We're number 1 by default! Yoo-Ess-Ay! Yoo-Ess-Ay! Whoooooo!

Posted by Silly Pompous Fool at December 28, 2007 08:30 AM

well, it is a fact that not everyone's life has the same value. Legally, this is absolutely undeniable. And practically as well. And I have spent plenty of time in countries where life *is* cheap. And as for the US, I think virtually all Americans are fucking fools, but parlor leftists are even more fucking stupid than the Dittohead set, because they misemploy facts and pose as knowledgable, whereas the dittohead people just act on unfiltered prejudices.

Posted by xyz at December 28, 2007 10:03 AM

[citation required]

Posted by almostinfamous at December 28, 2007 10:45 AM

i ruined that joke, didnt i.

ok here's another go at it

well, it is a fact that not everyone's life has the same value.
in the words of wikipedia/XKCD, [citation required]

Posted by almostinfamous at December 28, 2007 10:47 AM

xyz: What is the value of YOUR life to YOU? (I highly value mine) Of course, YOU care absolutely nothing for my life and---

Posted by Mike Meyer at December 28, 2007 11:06 AM

Mr Meyer, the colour of your skin, your geographical proximity to sources of oil or other scarce materials such as diamonds, gold, toxic but industrially important metals and of course your position and influence in the political structure of your region all affect how much the US is interested in you, and thereby directly provides the One True Measure of how valuable your life is.

dontcha see?

Posted by almostinfamous at December 28, 2007 11:29 AM

xyz, 90 percent of what you've typed so far has consisted of nothing but insults and not very interesting insults at that. Spend some time on the net and you come across people who can do invective with real style, and it starts to raise expectations in the reader, expectations which you are not meeting. Not that I think a gift for invective is one to be cultivated, but if you're going to do it you might as well be good at it. You did expand your target zone a bit by letting us in on the fact that you despise almost all Americans. This was intended to show us that you're not one of those dittoheads. How nice.

There've been a couple of bits of substance. You agree with our host that it's a near universal human trait to rationalize atrocities by dehumanizing one's enemies. Of course you don't know you agree, because you were too busy preening yourself on your intellectual superiority, something which we've had to take on faith so far. Now you tell us that it's simply a fact that some lives are worth more than others, meaning in a legal sense. You haven't yet told us what we are supposed to conclude from this.

Finally, you let us in on the fact that you've been overseas. That's a common rhetorical gambit, you know, to say that unlike parlor leftists you've been overseas and you know what those other people are really like. I've been to one very poor country and learned very little, so I can't respond on that level. I've known other people who've been overseas, working as medical missionaries in the middle of a war zone (massacre zone would be more like it), and they don't seem to have come back with the kind of mentality you have. I can imagine them saying that life was treated cheaply in those situations (it tends to be, when you've got a lot of adolescent boys running around with automatic weapons pretending to be an army), but I don't think they'd say it as though those people's lives really were worthless.

Posted by Donald Johnson at December 28, 2007 11:30 AM

Valuing Quality-Adjusted Life - A Western Perspective

● A quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) takes into account both quantity and the quality of life generated by healthcare interventions. It is the arithmetic product of life expectancy and a measure of the quality of the remaining life-years.

● A QALY places a weight on time in different health states. A year of perfect health is worth 1; however, a year of less than perfect health life expectancy is worth less than 1. Death is considered to be equivalent to 0, however, some health states may be considered worse than death and have negative scores.

● QALYs provide a common currency to assess the extent of the benefits gained from a variety of interventions in terms of health-related quality of life and survival for the patient. When combined with the costs of providing the interventions, cost–utility ratios result; these indicate the additional costs required to generate a year of perfect health (one QALY). Comparisons can be made between interventions, and priorities can be established based on those interventions that are relatively inexpensive (low cost per QALY) and those that are relatively expensive (high cost per QALY).

● QALYs are far from perfect as a measure of outcome, with a number of technical and methodological shortcomings. Nevertheless, the use of QALYs in resource allocation decisions does mean that choices between patient groups competing for medical care are made explicit and commissioners are given an insight into the likely benefits from investing in new technologies and therapies.

The authors of the above, part of the "What is ...? series" on health economics, are Ceri Phillips, U. Wales (Swansea) & Guy Thompson,
U. Wales (Cardiff). As they are in Wales, I felt it fair to call their perspective "Western" in the British sense of the term.

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at December 28, 2007 11:32 AM

Well, legally speaking, the worth of a life tortiously taken varies widely, depending on the age and livelihood of the victim, among other factors. And there are countries where human life is not valued by the same scale that it might be in Sweden. There are places I've live where the death of poor and vulnerable people is shrugged off as no big deal, not merely among the elites, but even among the poor and vulnerable themselves. One of my law school profs was recently quoted comparing America "under the Bush regime" to Nazi Germany. Yeah, a regime that within a year had banned all opposition parties, had exiled, imprisoned or murdered nearly all visible opposition political figures, and that had entirely seized complete control over all media. Yep, sounds like America circa 2007. I hear people like you folks blather on about "the constitutional crisis" blahblahblah and I think, I would love to instantly make you a citizen of Turkmenistan. (incidentally, one of the 80 or so countries where I've spent time, unlike you clods) Largely ignorant of history and the world, you think having a few factoids in your hands equals knowledge. Ugh.

Posted by xyz at December 28, 2007 11:58 AM

Hearts and Minds is such a great documentary. there are so many moments, visually and created through juxtaposition, that can't be quoted. People should just go out and watch it.

Posted by history is a weapon at December 28, 2007 12:37 PM

xyz: "wow, if you survey a century of statements by English and American politicians and generals, you can find some examples of where they say not very kind and gentle things about other peoples... And I'm sure if you survey Russian, German, French, Japanese, and yes, even Arabic political and social commentary, you'll find no such similar language, ever."

--

Obviously militant nationalism isn't confined just to the United States. This is, however, a website written by Americans with a particular interest in (wait for it) American foreign policy.

I think the issue is that leaders of the United States have more than just said a few bad things -- they've tended to back up their jingoistic statements with things that are even worse. You know, like cluster bombs and Agent Orange.

That's not to say other countries haven't done bad things (check out 20th century German history), but so often American leaders have seemed to buy into their own rhetoric of American exceptionalism; the idea that the United States is fundamentally better than any other nation-state, a beacon of light to the world, etc. etc. That has led to a bipartisan, elite consensus that when we bomb other countries, we do so benevolently -- unlike everyone else (and contrary to pretty much the entirety of human history).

Let me know when Syria, Iran, or some other "enemy" of the U.S. establishment becomes even capable of invading and occupying an impoverished country on the other side of the globe because their leaders feel that their "interests" are threatened. Until then I think the world's sole "superpower," which has military bases in more than 130 countries, accounts for roughly half of global military spending, and has overthrown governments from Iran to Chile, deserves to be the focus of attention.

Posted by Charlie at December 28, 2007 01:49 PM

xyz - What is your point? I'm not sure I get it.

Regarding your law prof. - sure, he's guilty of rhetorical excess. He's objectively wrong. Bush is not, and never has been, as bad as the Nazis. Does that mean the deterioration of rights under Bush is not bad and should not be opposed?

Regarding the above quote - do you mean to suggest that Oriental lives are actually worth less, or that Orientals actually don't care about their fellows dying?

Regarding your travels - don't pussyfoot around, man. If you're going to claim authority, be bold. What were you doing in those 80 countries? Selling textbooks?

Posted by saurabh at December 28, 2007 02:49 PM

There are places I've live where the death of poor and vulnerable people is shrugged off as no big deal, not merely among the elites, but even among the poor and vulnerable themselves.

ah anecdotes. i dont think even wikipedia allows those. i believe the [citation required] still stands.

but, since we are tossing those around i will accept that at the limits of a dysfunctional society, or one struck by large-scale calamities natural or man-made, there will be instances of complete apathy towards the fate of other people's live. i saw this happen after the 2004 tsunami struck Tamil Nadu in india, and to say that it was depressing is to understate by many orders of magnitude

Posted by almostinfamous at December 28, 2007 03:21 PM

Yeah, but come on, we hardly have to go to Tamil Nadu to find instances of apathy towards the lives of others. There's plenty of examples of that right here in the US, not to mention the rest of the Western hemisphere. So what are we arguing? That human beings are callous? That there's a limit to how much interest you can express in averting calamity? Okay. Does that make the above contention - "They won't mind if we bomb them" - at all true? Fuck, no. No matter how callous people are about the lives of those around them, I guarantee they will mind if you bomb them.

Posted by saurabh at December 28, 2007 03:28 PM

It's clear what xyz's point is--he's getting back at his law professor and other lefties who use over-the-top rhetoric in attacking Bush. It doesn't matter whether we actually believe the things he wants to attribute to us. He's not interacting with anyone here, but with people in his head. All that matters is that he wins the argument going on in his head with his old law professor and various other lefties.


This is also something you run into a lot on these here internets--people who want to win arguments so badly they basically write the script for both sides.

Posted by Donald Johnson at December 28, 2007 03:53 PM

xyz - What is your point? I'm not sure I get it.

If I may be so bold, xyz's point is: I don't like you people.

No, really. That's pretty much it. Now, pahdon me, but I must adjourn to my pahlor.

Posted by albany layman at December 28, 2007 03:55 PM

I hear people like you folks blather on about "the constitutional crisis" blahblahblah

I have to agree that it is pretty annoying, the way "people like you folks" are always saying "blahblahblah". Why don't PLYF cite some actual facts and evidence, rather than just mouthing nonsense words? Really, you'd almost think PLYF were trying to make fools of yourselves.

Get your shit together, PLYF. You're making the rest of us look bad. And, by "the rest of us" I mean, of course, the PLPLYF: the people like the people like you folks.

Posted by SteveB at December 28, 2007 04:36 PM

I hear people like you folks blather on about "the constitutional crisis" blahblahblah and I think, I would love to instantly make you a citizen of Turkmenistan.

Ah, I see: until things have reached their rock-bottom lowest level, no one should ever seek to improve anything or at least forestall a worsening of conditions, and god fucking forbid, don't complain about anything, lest you ruffle the delicate feathers of assholes like xyz and make his law school experience unpleasant.

For all the frequent flyer miles you claim to have racked up, you're one of the dumbest fucks I've ever heard from. Too bad you didn't pick up any basic sense in all those wonderful bazaars you've visited.

Posted by Upside Down Flag at December 28, 2007 05:30 PM

If a "regime" is defined to be only a government that "within a year had banned all opposition parties, had exiled, imprisoned or murdered nearly all visible opposition political figures, and that had entirely seized complete control over all media", then most of the governments who which "regime" is applied would not be regimes either. So unless xyz's prof was claiming that the Bush regime did do all those things, xyz is blowing smoke.

Which doesn't change the fact that Bush (unlike Hitler) wasn't elected in his first term, but took power in a more-or-less bloodless coup, that he sought even before 9/11/01 to continue the whittling away at civil liberties that the Clinton regime before him had worked at, and so on and on ... I'm sure xyz has heard the liberal litany of Bush's sins. But it's not much of a defense to say that Bush (or Nixon, or Reagan, or Clinton) isn't as bad as Hitler.

Posted by Duncan at December 28, 2007 05:41 PM

Duncan. If I may but point out that George ain't done yet. WE might do well to hold off on judgment of xyz's professor's opinion.

Posted by Mike Meyer at December 28, 2007 07:38 PM

But it's not much of a defense to say that Bush (or Nixon, or Reagan, or Clinton) isn't as bad as Hitler.

The Democrats have been getting by for years on the slogan: "10% less evil than the Republicans", so I don't see why Bush and his supporters shouldn't go with "15% less genocidal and dictatorial than Hitler."

Am I being too generous? 12% maybe?

Posted by SteveB at December 28, 2007 08:13 PM

Regarding the original post, a former Sarah Lawrence colleague of the late Joseph Wilson said the vaunted theologian-anthropologist said the same thing about oriental lives, and that he also used this bogus notion to justify his support for the bombing of Vietnam.

XYZ makes a couple factually correct points that don't add up to the purported conclusion. There are a lot of people in the world who don't value life very highly, including some of the chronic victims of violence. But when you are thinking about murdering someone. And there are lives that are economically or politically more valuable than others -- name one of the other victims of the bombing that killed Bhutto.

Still, if you are considering murdering someone, the ethical question isn't, "what is the legal economic value of this life" nor "does this person and his community value life." The question is "do I value life." If you are an ethical person, you don't kill. You can argue that it's worse to kill someone with a strong community because you're hurting more people than killing a loner. I can imagine that. But by that measure you could also kill any newborn, as few people know or care about them and they have little sense of life or death. Your implicit argument is that people shouldn't be ethical. That is sick. Jonathan's basic argument is that people should be ethical -- meaning such old-fashioned ideas as doing unto others as unto yourself you would be done. That's why I read his blog.

Finally about this notion that visiting other countries makes you more knowledgable -- I am writing from South America, where I could if I liked spend every night in the presence of other gringos and never learn a word of Spanish. I know how much effort it takes to get into the slums and even more effort to make friends there. Tell me you have had family dinners with median-income-or- below locals in even 10 of those 80 countries and I'll be much more impressed.

Posted by hewdgehawg at December 28, 2007 09:29 PM