The war on ____ has failed

Applying the Dharma to social justice issues – race, religion, sexuality and identity
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The war on ____ has failed

Post by DNS » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:40 am

Similar to Kim's thread on the 7 ugly truths: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=384#p4495 this can be a thread for failed governmental policies. I'll start with:

1. War on drugs

There was a war on drugs starting in the early 20th century with claims mj would cause blindness and other health problems and highlighted in the early 1980s with Nancy Reagan's campaign to "just say no." What resulted was millions being incarcerated, drug usage increasing rather than decreasing. Prisons became overcrowded with nonviolent drug offenders.

Now numerous jurisdictions have decriminalized or outright legalized certain drugs or have at least allowed medical usage of mj. The "war" was a complete failure.

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Re: The war on ____ has failed

Post by justsit » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:25 pm

War on Poverty in the 60's, war on drugs, war on terror, war on crime, war war war.

Men love the metaphor; perhaps not the best choice.

"No, We Don’t Need a ‘War’ on Domestic Issues -
Military rhetoric only serves to dehumanize public issues rather than to treat them....War metaphors mainly have the effect of distorting legitimate efforts to resolve real social problems, while at the same time cheapening our understanding of actual war. "

- From interesting article here https://www.thenation.com/article/no-we ... ic-issues/

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Re: The war on ____ has failed

Post by Kim O'Hara » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:33 pm

justsit wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:25 pm
War on Poverty in the 60's, war on drugs, war on terror, war on crime, war war war.

Men love the metaphor; perhaps not the best choice.

"No, We Don’t Need a ‘War’ on Domestic Issues -
Military rhetoric only serves to dehumanize public issues rather than to treat them....War metaphors mainly have the effect of distorting legitimate efforts to resolve real social problems, while at the same time cheapening our understanding of actual war. "

- From interesting article here https://www.thenation.com/article/no-we ... ic-issues/
A good article - thanks - but it's so long that some of us might not reach the end. For their sake, here's the conclusion:
War metaphors mainly have the effect of distorting legitimate efforts to resolve real social problems, while at the same time cheapening our understanding of actual war. We misunderstand the complexities of a problem like poverty when we approach it as if it were an enemy to be defeated. We also fail to appreciate the horrors of actual war when we equate the destruction of entire nations with attempts to end the suffering of impoverished people. A bad metaphor obscures at least as much as it illumines. Unlike attempts to improve people’s lives by eradicating poverty or curing disease, actual war involves the imposition of the will of one group on another, through acts causing injury, pain, destruction, and death.
:namaste:
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Re: The war on ____ has failed

Post by DNS » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:56 am

Yes, good points in that article. War is not a good term to deal with real human societal problems. Perhaps that is one of the reasons it is set-up for failure; the idea that it is a war with victors and losers and then there is resistance.

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Re: The war on ____ has failed

Post by DNS » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:59 am

2. The war on the term war has failed. We don't like the term, but the politicians are still going to use it; Drug Czar, etc.

(sorry, couldn't resist, just kidding around :tongue: )

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Re: The war on ____ has failed

Post by KathyLauren » Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:15 pm

Elephant in the room: the war on Naziism failed. Even actual shooting wars do not accomplish their aims.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: The war on ____ has failed

Post by DNS » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:24 pm

4. The war on carbs has failed.

And that's a good thing! Numerous people felt carbs were the culprit for being overweight and went on high protein, high animal fat, meat diets.

There are good and bad carbs, i.e., not all carbs are bad. And animal fat is bad for your health. I know of several people who went on the Adkins Diet and then had heart attacks, open-heart surgeries, etc.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/201 ... ein-study/

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Re: The war on ____ has failed

Post by fwiw » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:36 am

regarding the war on terror
"The underlying logic of terrorist attacks, as well as 'retaliatory' wars against governments that 'support terrorism,' is the same: both punish citizens for the actions of their governments." - Arundhati Roy, 2003
... in my opinion

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Re: The war on ____ has failed

Post by Pseudobabble » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:27 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:33 pm

A good article - thanks - but it's so long that some of us might not reach the end. For their sake, here's the conclusion:
War metaphors mainly have the effect of distorting legitimate efforts to resolve real social problems, while at the same time cheapening our understanding of actual war. We misunderstand the complexities of a problem like poverty when we approach it as if it were an enemy to be defeated. We also fail to appreciate the horrors of actual war when we equate the destruction of entire nations with attempts to end the suffering of impoverished people. A bad metaphor obscures at least as much as it illumines. Unlike attempts to improve people’s lives by eradicating poverty or curing disease, actual war involves the imposition of the will of one group on another, through acts causing injury, pain, destruction, and death.
Not sure I agree with this. What do you think about the Buddha's use of martial metaphor?

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Re: The war on ____ has failed

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:06 am

Pseudobabble wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:27 am
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:33 pm

A good article - thanks - but it's so long that some of us might not reach the end. For their sake, here's the conclusion:
War metaphors mainly have the effect of distorting legitimate efforts to resolve real social problems, while at the same time cheapening our understanding of actual war. We misunderstand the complexities of a problem like poverty when we approach it as if it were an enemy to be defeated. We also fail to appreciate the horrors of actual war when we equate the destruction of entire nations with attempts to end the suffering of impoverished people. A bad metaphor obscures at least as much as it illumines. Unlike attempts to improve people’s lives by eradicating poverty or curing disease, actual war involves the imposition of the will of one group on another, through acts causing injury, pain, destruction, and death.
Not sure I agree with this. What do you think about the Buddha's use of martial metaphor?
Hi, Pseudobabble,
I have highlighted a few phrases in the article to point out that the author's concerns are strictly with war as a metaphor for tackling social problems. I could go further and say that she is particularly unhappy with war as a metaphor for governments' attempts to solve social problems.
Off-hand, I can't think of any sutras in which the Buddha used war as a metaphor for government (in his case, royal) action on social problems or, in fact, anything else. Individual struggle with individual weaknesses, sure, but that's not really "war", is it?
Nor can I think of any occasion on which the Buddha used a bad metaphor. (As a teacher myself, I have always been enormously impressed by the sheer teaching skills displayed in the sutras - as well, of course, as by the content of the teachings.)
If you have any problematic examples in mind, I would like to see them.

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: The war on ____ has failed

Post by Pseudobabble » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:51 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:06 am
Pseudobabble wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:27 am
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:33 pm

A good article - thanks - but it's so long that some of us might not reach the end. For their sake, here's the conclusion:
Not sure I agree with this. What do you think about the Buddha's use of martial metaphor?
Hi, Pseudobabble,
I have highlighted a few phrases in the article to point out that the author's concerns are strictly with war as a metaphor for tackling social problems. I could go further and say that she is particularly unhappy with war as a metaphor for governments' attempts to solve social problems.
Off-hand, I can't think of any sutras in which the Buddha used war as a metaphor for government (in his case, royal) action on social problems or, in fact, anything else. Individual struggle with individual weaknesses, sure, but that's not really "war", is it?
Nor can I think of any occasion on which the Buddha used a bad metaphor. (As a teacher myself, I have always been enormously impressed by the sheer teaching skills displayed in the sutras - as well, of course, as by the content of the teachings.)
If you have any problematic examples in mind, I would like to see them.

:namaste:
Kim
I have no problematic examples in mind, because I have no problem with martial metaphor.

You cant think of a case where the Buddha used war as a metaphor? Perhaps we don't read the same suttas. I'll distil it, if that helps: how about The War on Mara?

Padhana Sutta wrote:"Sensual desire is your first army, the second called discontent, the third is hunger and thirst, the fourth craving, the fifth sluggishness and laziness, the sixth fear, the seventh indecision, and the eighth disparagement of others and stubbornness: gain, fame, honor, prestige wrongly acquired and whoever praises himself and despises others — these, Namuci, are your armies, the Dark One's[3] striking forces. A lazy, cowardly person cannot overcome them, but by conquering them one gains bliss.

"I wear muñja-grass![4] Shame on life here in this world! It is better for me to die in battle than to live defeated. Some recluses and brahmanas are not seen (exerting themselves) here, so immersed are they (in worldliness). They are not aware of that path by which those of perfect conduct walk.

"Seeing the surrounding army ready and Mara mounted (on his elephant), I am going out to fight so that he may not shift me from my position. This army of yours which the world together with the devas is unable to subdue, that I will destroy with wisdom, like an unbaked clay-bowl with a stone. Having mastered the mind and firmly established mindfulness I shall wander from country to country guiding many disciples. And they will be diligent and energetic in practicing my teaching, the teaching of one without sensual desire, and they will go where, having gone, one does not grieve."
Padhana Sutta

I guess you forgot the Buddha was a Kshatriya.
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:06 am
Individual struggle with individual weaknesses, sure, but that's not really "war", is it?
We are each free to choose our own metaphor - the Buddha was happy with martial metaphor, but perhaps his viewpoint is not to the taste of people in the current year.

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Re: The war on ____ has failed

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:44 am

Hi, Pseudobabble,
I could say that you have called upon an army of straw men :straw: :straw: :straw: :straw: to defeat me but that's a bit facile.
What you have done, however, is to misinterpret me and attack what you think I said.
You took my, "I can't think of any sutras in which the Buddha used war as a metaphor for government (in his case, royal) action on social problems or, in fact, anything else," and emphasised it thus: "I can't think of any sutras in which the Buddha used war as a metaphor for government (in his case, royal) action on social problems or, in fact, anything else," leaving out the qualifying phrase, "for government (in his case, royal) action on social problems."
Of course I know the Buddha used martial metaphors - individual combat, war, chariots, spears and arrows. What I couldn't think of - and you haven't cited - were, "any sutras in which the Buddha used war as a metaphor for government (in his case, royal) action on social problems or, in fact, [government (in his case, royal) action on] anything else."

And then you reply to my "Individual struggle with individual weaknesses, sure, but that's not really "war", is it?" with, "We are each free to choose our own metaphor."
That's not replying to my point either: I suggested that individual combat was not war (and I stand by that: in its primary meaning, war is an attack by one large group on another), and you responded as though I was rejecting all martial metaphors.

Really, I think you need to to go back and look at the article properly. I suggest you start with its key sentence, "A bad metaphor obscures at least as much as it illumines."

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: The war on ____ has failed

Post by Pseudobabble » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:05 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:44 am
Hi, Pseudobabble,
I could say that you have called upon an army of straw men :straw: :straw: :straw: :straw: to defeat me but that's a bit facile.
What you have done, however, is to misinterpret me and attack what you think I said.
You took my, "I can't think of any sutras in which the Buddha used war as a metaphor for government (in his case, royal) action on social problems or, in fact, anything else," and emphasised it thus: "I can't think of any sutras in which the Buddha used war as a metaphor for government (in his case, royal) action on social problems or, in fact, anything else," leaving out the qualifying phrase, "for government (in his case, royal) action on social problems."
Of course I know the Buddha used martial metaphors - individual combat, war, chariots, spears and arrows. What I couldn't think of - and you haven't cited - were, "any sutras in which the Buddha used war as a metaphor for government (in his case, royal) action on social problems or, in fact, [government (in his case, royal) action on] anything else."

And then you reply to my "Individual struggle with individual weaknesses, sure, but that's not really "war", is it?" with, "We are each free to choose our own metaphor."
That's not replying to my point either: I suggested that individual combat was not war (and I stand by that: in its primary meaning, war is an attack by one large group on another), and you responded as though I was rejecting all martial metaphors.

Really, I think you need to to go back and look at the article properly. I suggest you start with its key sentence, "A bad metaphor obscures at least as much as it illumines."

:namaste:
Kim
Heh, I was feeling a feisty this morning. I salute your imperturbability Kim, you are un-baitable.

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Re: The war on ____ has failed

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:29 am

:thanks:
:bow:

:namaste:

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