Ask Old Jules: Anti-war activities, Individual importance, Most important decade of life, Evidence of genocide, Survival of humanity

Harper, TX 2010 123

Old Jules, how did those who opposed U.S. involvement in Vietnam challenge or undermine the premises of Cold War thinking?

We threw rocks at cops, smoked a lot of jade and loved promiscuous sex and rock and roll. When we weren’t doing those things we wrote for underground newspapers, marched, rioted, occupied public buildings, talked a lot, and wondered why that damned war wouldn’t end.

Old Jules, what is the healthiest philosophical perspective on our own individual importance in this world?

The healthiest perspective would probably be that we aren’t at all important in this world except to the people who know us personally and care about what happens to us, and to ourselves. We’ve got to earn our self-respect and if we don’t nobody else is going to respect us (which is unimportant except by implication).

Old Jules, what decade is the most important in a man’s life?
The decade that will determine whether he looks backs on his life and he is a success. The decade that determines not only his career but the happiness of his personal life. Or do you think that all is lost by the end of the teenage years?

Whichever decade he learns to question all his own certainties might well be most important in a lot of ways. Or the one during which he comes face to face with his own mortality, provided it motivates him to carefully examine his own life.
The teenage years don’t have much to do with anything.

Old Jules, what do you think are the responsibilities of the U.S. when faced with strong evidence of genocide?
Despite a lot of hand wringing and rhetoric to the contrary, the US traditionally doesn’t interest itself in genocides and does nothing to prevent them unless they happen to already be at war with the perpetrator. Tradition is the determinant since there’s no cause to believe otherwise.

As a practical matter it’s demonstrated with the Armenians, the Ukrainians, the Kurds, the Biafrans, the Cambodians, the French death camps in the Caribbean prior to WWII, anywhere besides Germany. The relatively recent Israeli participation in a mass killing in Lebanon is no exception.

If you can find an exception to this you’ll have yourself a unique piece of detective work.

Old Jules, would you care whether or not humanity survives beyond your own lifetime?

Not in the least. For that matter I don’t care if we all die together before my lifetime ends.
Humans die. I don’t see an advantage to all those alive today dying over 100 years as opposed to all dying in a single day. They’ll have all lived and all died, same as every human before them. They all had their individual shots at living their lives.
Whether any human being walks the face of the planet at any given time being something of value seems to me to be a humanocentric concern, which I don’t share.

2 responses to “Ask Old Jules: Anti-war activities, Individual importance, Most important decade of life, Evidence of genocide, Survival of humanity

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