Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 March 8

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Humanities desk
< March 7 << Feb | March | Apr >> March 9 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Humanities Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.


March 8[edit]

Wittgenstein The Weird[edit]

Ok, I wanted to read Wittgenstein's Tractatus logico-philosophicus, and I already tripped over the second sentence: "The world is the entirety of facts, not of things". WTF? Can someone explain please? Why would the world not be the totality of things, why would it be the entirety of facts instead. I can't continue this book unless someone explains what this is supposed to mean. Thank you. Moneyhoped 02:37, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Wittgenstein is defining terms there, he is telling you what he means by world. He does not mean it in a commonsensical way. I am not sure why you would want to dive into this particular work of Wittgenstein's first — it is not easy going. --24.147.86.187 04:58, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
I had the same reaction when I first encountered Wittgenstein. At first his ideas seem mind-blowing, until you reach a point when you realize that you're over-thinking the whole thing, and that his ideas are actually rather deceptively simple. Not that I'm putting him down in any way. The man was definitely a great thinker, though not nearly as incomprehensible as he first appears. Keeping that in mind, keep reading, and hopefully you'll come to the same realization and actually begin to enjoy it.
With regards to the sentence you quoted, try dumbing it down a bit (I know it's hard when you're faced with such cryptic language). While Wittgenstein's remarks may seem to be a reference to that almost other-worldly realm of existentialism, it's really not about that at all. Wittgenstein was something of a linguist, though not the type of linguist concerned with the nuts-and-bolts of any one particular human language, or one compared to another. He was more interested in how language affects our perception of reality. Though I've never encountered the particular quote you're speaking of, knowing Wittgenstein, all he was likely trying to say is that our perception/conception of "things" is a completely linguistic one, whereas facts are facts; whether you can articulate them or not, they're no less facts.
I don't know if you speak more than one language, but being multilingual is of great help in simplifying what Wittgenstein is getting at. In fact, the more distantly related the other language is to English, the easier it is to find examples to help understand. Though French is my second language, and the only one I can understand with relative fluency, it's too close to English and so I can't think of any examples. The only to languages where I can spot clear helpful examples are Hebrew and Russian, languages in which I'm far less fluent.
I'll give you an example: In English, we have two separate words for what we conceptualize as an "arm" and a "hand". Similarly, we have two seperate words for what we conceptualize as a "leg" and a "foot". These are what Wittgenstein is referring to as "things" (constructed by the English language), not "facts" (those truths that exist independent of language). By contrast, take Hebrew or Russian, where unlike in English, there is no linguistic distinction between "arms" and "hands", or between "legs" and "feet". In languages like Hebrew or Russian, the entire arm, including the hand, is decribed as a "yad" in Hebrew and a "ρука" ("ruka") in Russian. Similarly, the entire leg, including the foot is described as a "regel" in Hebrew and a "нога" ("noga") in Russian. Apparently, to both Hebrew and Russian speakers, a "hand" is merely an "arm-end", and a "foot" is merely a "leg-end", both parts of the same, one, "thing", yet to English speakers, arms and hands, as well as legs and feet, are all conceptualized as completely distinct "things" from one another. What Wittgenstein is trying to get at is the fact our conception of things such as arms, hands yads and rukas, as well as legs, feet regels and nogas are entirely the constructs of human language, depending on which one you speak, and as such are completely irrelevant when looking at the universe in a completely unbiased way, that meaning unbiased by the limitations of the artifice of human language, which is merely capable of constructing false conceptions of what we would call "things". Thus, in saying: "The world is the entirety of facts, not of things", what he's getting at is that the world is made up of unbiased facts, that being all that data incapable of linguistic articulation, rather than things, which are purely human constructs. Sorry if my whole explanation only further confused you! If there's one message I'd like to get across, it's not to take Wittgenstein too seriously, don't be overwhelmed by his ideas, because chances are you're trying to interpret them in a manner far more sophisticated than he intended. Of course I should warn you, this is only my take on Wittgenstein, and it may be entirely off base, in which case all of the above is nonsense! Loomis 06:23, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Interesting viewpoint, as always, Loomis. I have a different notion of what a fact is. It's something that is commonly or generally believed to be true. Some things humanity once considered to be facts later turned out not to be so (such as the Earth being the centre of the solar system). It was never true, but for a long time it was, by my definition, a fact. There are many things about the world that we don't know, and will probably never know. Therefore, until such time as we learn about them, they are not yet facts. They may be true, and may have always been true, but that doesn't make them facts - until we know about them and agree they are true. My definition is at odds with Wittgenstein, but then, as 24.147.86.187 says, he was not referring to the world in a commonsensical way anyway. JackofOz 07:19, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
That's interesting, Jack. You seem to define a "fact" as something that's "commonly or generally believed to be true". I couldn't possibly disagree more. To me, fact = truth. Of course, human history is replete with situations where we just plain got it wrong, such as your example of what I would call the "false contention" that the Earth was the centre of the solar system. But here's where I disagree with you. No matter how universally accepted, a geocentric solar system was never what I would describe as "fact". Are you saying that such an error in our understanding of the Solar System was once actually "factually correct"? It was just plain wrong. You seem to define "fact" as a "commonly accepted, subjective belief", whereas I define fact as above as the equivalent of truth. Back when we all believed the Sun revolved around the Earth or whatever, I'd say we were being "factually incorrect", whereas it would appear that to you, such an obviously erroneous contention should still be qualified as being, at the time at least, a "factually correct" one. This is where I disagree with you.
But Jack, I feel we're letting semantics get the better of us. The above paragraph was a mere splitting of hairs. Far more importantly, I think you may have missed one of my assertions. I never said that facts are at present, or perhaps ever will be fully known to humanity. Who knows. Maybe we'll never get our facts straight. All I'm saying is that I agree with Wittgenstein in his assertion that "the world is the entirety of facts"...no matter how oblivious we mere humans may be to properly defining them. Loomis 08:10, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Q. Are you saying that such an error in our understanding of the Solar System was once actually "factually correct"? A. Yes, that's exactly, precisely what I'm saying. Let me explain myself this way. Information gets put into Wikipedia because we have external citations that demonstrate it is generally believed to be true. As far as we are concerned, this information is a fact. Then someone comes along with convincing evidence that something different is the case. The original information is now consigned to the wastebasket. But for the time it remained in place, it was indeed a fact - because we all agreed at the time that it was true. The fact that we now know the original information is not true and was never true doesn't alter that. A fact may be "the truth", but not necessarily. That's why it's crucial to keep an open mind about what we are told is "the truth". Wikipedia utterly depends on this philosophy, otherwise once something gets added to an article it would remain set in stone forever. This, to me, is not semantics or hair-splitting, it's a useful attitude to adopt in order to have a better perspective on the rivers of information in which we bathe our minds. I understand your different take on this, and it's a valid position too. I just prefer mine, that's all. JackofOz 09:30, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
I'd be more than happy to agree to disagree on this one, Jack, for several reasons. First, I think we're actually agreeing more than we may think; everything you said was true. Second, I believe Wittgenstein was writing in German (though I'm not completely sure of this). Who knows what nuances exist between the English word "fact" and its German equivalent. Finally, and by far most importantly, though neither of us are averse to tangential discussions, I believe that the if Wittgenstein himself were overhearing (or overreading? If that isn't already an English word it should be!) our disagreement, he'd be frustrated by the fact that we've lost focus on the crux of his assertion. "Facts? Truths? Data? Take your pick! It really doesn't matter much what word you choose, you're both focussing on the wrong word in my assertion! Rather, my focus was on my reference to things and how, as humans, things, as we understand them, don't in reality exist, but are mere linguistic constructs". (Sorry if I'm putting words in your mouth, Ludwig!) The problem I was getting at above about how novices to Wittgenstein's world tend to get "blown-away" by his assertions, concern such statements as "in reality, "things" don't exist, but are mere constructs of the mind". Taken the wrong way, this type of philosophizing can lead the intelligent, yet tender minded into a full blown existential crisis. But this is what I referred to above as "overthinking" his assertions. Wittgenstein certainly wasn't trying to tell us that the objects that surround us, and what we "believe" to exist, in reality "aren't there", but are the products of delusion. Of course these "things" are "there". Rather, as I said, his point is a deceptively simple one. Just as the mind of the Russian or Hebrew speaker simply cannot recognize the independent existence of those "things" "created" by the English language as "hands" and "feet", so too, all human languages in fact "create", in an odd sense of the term, these "things".
I'll provide another example, only the reverse. Here I'll illustrate the limitations of the English language vis-a-vis the Russian (as opposed to my previous examples, illustrating the reverse). Being an English speaker skilled in Russian, I'd imagine that you, Jack, should be able to appreciate it quite nicely. Consider two buckets of paint: one red, one blue. Both are primary colours and so should have equal "status", for lack of a better term. Add a given amount of white paint to the red paint, mix it up, and what colour do you end up with? Well pink of course. Likewise, add the same amount of white paint to the blue paint and what colour do you now end up with? Light blue. Why does the red-white mixture produce an entirely new colour, pink, whereas add the same white paint to the blue and all you get is a mere shade of blue, that being "light blue"? Now note how the Russian language, like the English, has two separate words for red and pink: "красный" for red, and "розовый" for pink. Note too, that unlike the English, the Russian language has two separate and distinct words for blue and light blue: "синий" for what we English speakers would describe as "regular" blue, as well as "голубой", for what we would merely refer to as "light-blue". Wittgenstein would likely use this as an illustration of how language forms our perception of reality. In fact he goes so far in his rhetoric, (too far, in my opinion, as we've just witnessed how it can frighten away the unititiated,) to assert that all of these "things" (colours in this case) are mere, don't in fact "exist", but are mere creations of the mind. Without a good, solid basis in understanding the nature of Wittgenstein's rhetoric, one is quite understandably prone to "overthink" it, and assume Wittgenstein's philosophy is either mind-bogglingly profound, or, perhaps, under the influence of a particularly potent psychedelic substance! Loomis 14:38, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Wittgenstein and Noam Chomsky are excellent sources for learning about semiotics or hermeneutics. You need to be prepared to accept jargon to find what the writer is saying. They try to decode language, which is not easy, and for many, not successful. There are several French philosophers who have written in this area. Good luck. I personally feel Loomis' description apt. DDB 09:10, 8 March 2007 (UTC)


Ah, Wittgenstein, Moneyhoped-both weird and wonderful! The Tractatus is, as you have discovered, is not an easy book to penetrate, despite its deceptive simplicity. There is also, it should be said, a background that may not be immediately apparent. If you ever look at his Notebooks you will see, amongst other things, that he was influenced in some measure by German idealist philosophy, particularly the work of Arthur Schopenhauer, whose greatest book advances the proposition that Die Welt ist meine Vorstellung-the world is my idea. The external world is a construct, an interpretation, sifted through the mind. Wittgenstein is not concerned with things, or immutable objects, but with facts in a dynamic relationship. It is the representation of facts in the mind, and the use of language that defines Wittgenstein's whole approach. Our world, in other words, is represented by thought, a proposition with sense. In the mind the world becomes, it might be said, a series of pictures or, as Wittgenstein puts it, 'the picture is a model of reality.'(2.12) Overall the aim of this wise little book is to penetrate the limits of the world, of thought and of language, and to distinguish between what is sense and what is nonsense; The book ...will draw a limit to thinking, or rather, not to thinking, but the expression of thoughts...The limit can...only be drawn by language and what lies on the other side of the limit will be simply nonsense. Only the factual state of affairs can be pictured. Keep going; it's worth it! Clio the Muse 10:01, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

I have had some supplementary thoughts on your problem, Moneyhoped. I'm assuming that you have no background in logic and epistemology? I'm also assuming that this is your first approach to the work of Wittgenstein? If this the case, a sudden launch into the white-waters of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus may not be the best way of doing things. It gets progressively more demanding, and I would hate to think that you might abandon all attempt to understand what Wittgenstein is trying to say. It might be wiser to have a guide to see you over the rapids. There are two books I can think of that may help you put matters into place: Wittgenstein: A Very Short Introduction by A. C. Grayling, and How to Read Wittgenstein, by R. Monk. Monk is also the author of a full scale biography, Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius, one of the best works of its kind that I have ever read. Clio the Muse 10:02, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

I'd just like to finally clarify, lest there be any misinterpretation of my words, that in describing Wittgenstein's ideas as "deceptively simple", I in no way intended to detract from their brilliance, or the brilliance of the man himself.
Take Einstein, for example, a man so brilliant that his very name has actually entered the English lexicon as being a synonym for "genius". Now, given my rather poor intellectual competencies with regard to the field of quantum physics, I must admit that for the most part, I haven't the slightest clue as to most of what the man was talking about. I barely have a clue as to what his " E=MC2 " means, not to mention his theories of relativity and the like. Yet to minds far more capable than mine in grasping quantum physics, I would only imagine that after the greatest deal of struggling to understand Einstein's brilliance, the brightest of minds in this field would be lucky enough to finally reach that "Eureka" moment: "AHHH!!!!! Now I get it! It's so deceptively simple even a child could understand it!" Well, even if a child would somehow be able to understand Einstein, I still wouldn't! Loomis 13:44, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Looking for Poetic Literature[edit]

Can anyone recommend either:

Works like the later romances of Shakespeare, such as Cymbeline and The Tempest, and Milton's Paradise Lost, and the Complete Works of Keats, which are rich in imagery and inverted syntax and with a deep sense of rhythm and lyricism?

or,

Works like the works of Ray Bradbury and Victory Hugo and Walt Whitman and Herman Melville and Dylan Thomas which are outrageously lyrical and read like a beautiful poem, in spite of the fact that they could be prose?

I would appreciate any recommendations that you could give! There's too little poetry in the world.

I am reminded of Haroun and the Sea of Stories, ..perhaps not at the level of some of the authors you mentioned (but what is?) Pfly 07:43, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
The works of the metaphysical poets, particularly folks like John Donne and Andrew Marvell, might interest you in respect of your first set of criteria. --Richardrj talk email 08:33, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Have you not read Keats? I envy you, because a great discovery lies ahead.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Might I also suggest that you read Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier, a work of outstanding lyrical and poetic beauty, the only novel of a young French writer killed at the outset of the Great War. Clio the Muse 10:14, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

I especially recommend 'The Eve of St. Agnes" by Keats. I know a group of scholars who have met annually for 30 years to study this work, and who never fail to find new insights in the rich imagery and use of language whilst consuming 'cates and dainties.' Edison 17:17, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Try Finnegans Wake by James Joyce. It is a work which, I believe, bridges the gap between poetry and prose. S.dedalus 01:20, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Some of the work of Annie Dillard is this way for me--you might try Pilgrim at Tinker Creek for a start. Umberto Eco, in a very different way, also has that quality for me. This is all highly subjective, though. Jwrosenzweig 02:05, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Non-violent protests in the military during the Vietnam War[edit]

During the Vietnam War, were there any cases where American soldiers refused to board troop transports or otherwise passively refused to carry out their duties as solders? Specifically were there any instances where large groups (platoons, companies, etc.) staged simultaneous non-violent protest or in which such groups simultaneously deserted? Thanks for your help. S.dedalus 09:14, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

There was a recent film on the subject Sir! No Sir! meltBanana 16:06, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Vietnam vets certainly demonstrated against the war, but for any organized group to refuse to board transports would have been mutiny and would certainly have been publicized among the antiwar movement people. The movie cited tries to associate all desertions during the Vietnam War with antiwar protest, which is way overreaching and seems like revisionist history. Why would a platoon, company etc. have mutinied in protest against the war and kept it a secret? The point of protest was to get maximum press coverage. Such large scale mutinies did in fact occur in Russian troops in WW1 and people heard about them. Edison 23:09, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
I hate how the term "revisionist history" is an insult rather than a compliment. I haven't seen the film so i'm not defending it, but it is an important difference between mutiny and civil disobedience that the former is easier to cover up. "Why would a platoon, company etc. have mutinied in protest against the war and kept it a secret?" perhaps they were not protesting against the war but their conditions, or their specific duties and perhaps they did not want to be connected to the civil protests. Also the Russian WWI mutinies were very different in different times and in a sense won the war (sort of) whereas similar mutinies among the French where known of but much more quickly forgotten. meltBanana 01:33, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm puzzled by your remarks on the Russian army mutinies, Meltbanana. In what way did they 'win the war'? They almost won the war for the Germans, that's true, but I feel sure that is not what you had in mind? Also, the French army mutinies were not 'quickly forgotten.' But whereas the Russian mutinies had been political in nature, the French incidents in 1917 focused on bad conditions for soldiers at the front, a problem much more readily addressed. Clio the Muse 19:28, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Revisionism in history is a serious issue which explores the question asked. Billy Jack featured a war crime that never happened, but which lives in popular history. Rabbit Proof Fence was based on a true story, but failed to accurately reflect it. The Vietnam war was a tragedy, but the ending was bad too, and many millions have been displaced from Vietnam as a result, often ignored or mistreated because they were opposed to the Communists, or an inconvenient truth for peace protestors.

To take the emotion of the euphoria peace activists feel for the appalling result of Vietnam, one might look at the Battle of Gallipoli campaign. The retreat was bloodless, largely because newsman Keith Murdoch had successfully campaigned for it, when the Turks had been exhausted of supplies. A different result there highlights the tragedy of peace activism. DDB 07:17, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

I think we may need some clarification on your point about Keith Murdoch, DDB. The retreat from Gallipoli was not bloodless because he 'successfully campaigned for it' (were the generals planning a bloody retreat?) but because the whole evacuation, unlike the campaign itself, was managed with considerable skill. Murdoch, along with Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, a fellow journalist, simply helped to make public the general discontent on the ground. But a number of senior soldiers had already reached the conclusion that the whole offensive was pointless. The entry of Bulgaria into the war in October 1915 on the side of the Central Powers, and the subsequent opening of the Salonika front, simply underlined the strategic futility of Gallipoli. Clio the Muse 19:50, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

A valid observation, muse, which also, similarly highlights that peace activists achieved nothing in the Vietnam war, as senior officers were of a similar opinion as to the progress of the war? But I feel that mischaracterises the Vietnam War, which ended as a result of home politics which held no real concern for Vietnamese Peoples. I feel, and it is a disputed claim, that Gallipolli failed through home politics, which Murdoch exploited. The political compromise works because the political convenience allowed blame shifting. in WWI, it was acceptable to say that the campaign was a mistake of Churchill. In the Vietnam war, it was acceptable to blame Richard Nixon. DDB 07:38, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi, DDB. I would love to debate Gallipoli with you, which I have always believed to be a great strategic error from the very outset, but I'm not sure this is really the place! I also have views on Vietnam, a war that could have been won, especially after the failure of the Communist Tet Offensive. If it was lost it was lost by a failure of both national morale and political will, not by the soldiers. Was it right, though, to blame Nixon specifically? However, I am conscious, once again, that this is taking us too far away from the original question. Clio the Muse 08:28, 10 March 2007 (UTC) Agreed DDB 10:28, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

High Court Judges in the UK[edit]

I've heard a rumour that it is not possible to arrest a High Court judge in the UK, wondered if anyone could tell me if this is true as it seems unlikely. No help on Yahoo! questions and the article on judges here on wikipedia (though very detailed) doesn't give any mention to the matter either.

Thanks,

J —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 88.106.82.125 (talk) 09:54, 8 March 2007 (UTC).

British judges are not above the law. Lord Justice Richards, who sits in the Court of Appeal, was arrested recently for allegedly exposing himself to a female passenger on a train. Clio the Muse 10:21, 8 March 2007 (UTC)


Lord Justice Richards, has been temporary suspended from the court.--Lerdthenerd 11:43, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

I think that what he means is that you cannot sue a judge for a decision they make against you. Don't like it, appeal it to a higher court. But don't attack the judge for his/her/its professional opinion.martianlostinspace 12:01, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

The only person in the UK who is literally "above the law" is the Sovereign, since the whole judicial system swears its allegiance to the Crown. Anyone else can be arrested, charged and/or convicted. -- Necrothesp 14:59, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

the whole judicial system swears its allegiance to the Crown - well, that's not exactly true. The Sovereign is the source of all legal authority - all prosecutions are carried out in the Sovereign's name, and logically the Sovereign can not prosecute her/himself. -- Arwel (talk) 23:04, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
In fact, a private prosecution can still be brought when the DPP (and CPS) refuse to take the case for the monarch. I read somewhere that the monarch can be sued, but will look this up. Martinp23 23:06, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, not what I was looking for, but the monarch can, apparantely, be sued. On the question, high court judges can be arrested and charged in the UK, as mentioned above. Martinp23 23:09, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
In the article you've linked to it says that HM the Queen is being sued under Egyptian law, not English law, and the case is, according to the article, likely to be thrown out on the grounds of a lack of jurisdiction. Still entertaining, though. --HughCharlesParker (talk - contribs) 23:18, 8 March 2007 (UTC)


but after the English civil war King charles the 1st was charged with treason of the people and was beheaded, this means the crown is not above the law, although some royalists later dug up Oliver Cromwells corpse and hung it from a gibbet.--Lerdthenerd 10:18, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Lerdthenerd, the point you are making does not accord with the facts. There was no basis in law for the trial of King Charles, no statute which he had violated. The whole process was engineered by Cromwell and a section of the military by purging Parliament and then getting the remainder, the Rump, to sanction the trial of the king. Even then the House of Lords objected, and was simply ignored, turning the whole of the English constitution on its head. The whole shabby process was illegitimate and illegal from beginning to end, confirmed by the massive military presence during all the sessions of the 'court.' Charles himself made this plain in his opening remarks I would like to know by what power I am called hither...by what authority, I mean, lawful... When John Bradshaw, the president of the court, announced that the trial was taking place in the 'name of the people of England', Lady Anne Fairfax, the wife of the commander of the New Model Army, called out from the gallery Not a half, not a quarter of the people of England. Oliver Cromwell is a traitor!. Charles' execution was little better than an act of judicial murder. As for Cromwell, whose crimes against the people and constitution of England were far in excess of those alleged against the king, his remains were not dug up in an arbitrary act by 'some royalists.' He was condemned to posthumous execution by order of the courts after the Restoration. Arguably the most telling epitaph was that passed by of one of his many enemies, who called him The English monster, the centre of mischief, a shame of the British chronicle, a pattern of tyranny, murder and hypocrisy, whose bloody Caligula, Domitian, having at last attained the height of his ambition, for five years space, he wallowed in the blood of many gallant and heroic persons. Who said this? Not some rabid royalist but Gerrard Winstanley, political radical, quaker and democrat. Clio the Muse 19:15, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Prostitute Protests[edit]

I seem to remember hearing about a fairly famous nation-wide protest/march made by a bunch of prostitutes in response to unfair working conditions or something. I'm pretty sure this is pre-1980 or so in the USA, but I can't be sure. I even seem to remember that they marched on the White House, but again, I'm not sure. Anyone know what I'm rambling about? I've been searching Wikipedia and Google for a while but to no avail. Thanks! --pie4all88 12:42, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

A different thing, but I heard there was a huge party arranged in India by/for prostitutes annually. Just thought it was interesting. Last year, they had Richard Gere as a guest speaker on the usefulness of condoms. 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * 15:00, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
When marshal law was declared in Hawahi and prostitutes were denied the right to own property or even have bank accounts which one infamous prostitute defied as I recall reading somewhere but I do not know of anywhere prostitutes actually are licensed and have legal rights in the US except possibly some parts of Nevada. Usually if prostitute (or any woman for that matter) is unhappy they protest privately to the person they are unhappy with and then find a way passed locked doors to other shelter unless they are hooked on drugs in which case they just take more of. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 71.100.13.184 (talk) 16:36, 8 March 2007 (UTC).
No offense, but til next time, don't write things down exactly as you're thinking them. Split them up in shorter sentences... 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * 16:39, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
My understanding is that zoned brothels are legal in Nevada everywhere except Clark County, but prostitution in other forms is illegal. The Jade Knight 23:27, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Try checking out the links and references at COYOTE. Corvus cornix 22:26, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Great; thanks a bunch for the information, guys. Curiosity sated. :D --207.63.248.235 02:57, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

If you sentence someone to death, aren't you a murderer?[edit]

--59.189.65.254 14:52, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Not if the country you're in has the death penalty on its statute book, no. In the eyes of the law, at least. --Richardrj talk email 14:53, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Any more than you are if you kill someone in war. It's judicial or justifiable homicide. Murder is a legal concept and law is determined by the state, so theoretically the state may determine whether a killing is or is not murder. -- Necrothesp 14:56, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
No, you're a judge. P.S. Wikipedia is not a soapbox. Clarityfiend 16:18, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
A judge perhaps in the sense of making the decision of what the penalty should be or to give the order to actually carry it out or carry it out yourself but a murder nonetheless if for instance you make a video with a bunch of fellow terrorists an read a sentence you have determined in front of viewers and then carry it out in front of them. In that case it is definitely murder. 71.100.13.184 16:44, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Didn't Schwarzenegger get in trouble with his homeland Austria when he allowed executions in his state of California?Evilbu 17:00, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
See Law , especially the philosophy of law. To show why the question is sophistry, consider the corollaries: If a policeman takes away from the robber the money he stole, or fines someone, isn't the policeman a robber? If the jailer takes the kidnapper away to jail against his will, isn't he a kidnapper? No, because he is authorized enforcer of Law and of the orders of the judiciary system. This is not to say that the system never breaks down,, since sometimes people are murdered, robbed, tortured, or kidnapped by judicial systems, in efforts to prevent societal change, to keep an underclass downtrodden, to suppress minorities, as part of a war effort, or even to fight terrorism. German officials and law enforcement people who participated in the Holocaust in WW2 were in fact found to be murderers after the war in courts run by the victors. Edison 17:07, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
The important distinction is whether a trial is fair. This involves having an impartial judge and jury, being allowed to question witnesses, having a competent lawyer, actually following the laws of that country, etc. StuRat 17:16, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
I would guess it also depends on whether the person is innocent or not. If a country has the death penalty for rape, you sentence the rapist to death, and it turns out he was innocent, I guess that would make you a murderer, for killing an innocent person. -Solid Reign 18:11, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
As a moral issue I would think the whole country guilty for no providing safeguards against such tragedy. 71.100.13.184 17:44, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Murder is defined as unlawful killing. Sentencing someone to death as part of a trial is lawful killing; in reality you are saying that the law, or the state, killed the person, not any individual working for it, though this is a purposeful legal fiction and any real ethical issues are more complicated than that, and obviously it depends on whether you recognize the lawful nature of the trial. Ditto with killing combatants as a result of war. (The Bible, by the way, does not say "thou shalt not kill" — almost every translation of it says "thou shalt not murder", which is a big difference). --Fastfission 23:20, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, that's a new development. The Hebrews certainly understood the difference between murder and lawful execution, because they sentenced people to be stoned to death for certain crimes. Are you saying that God got His wording wrong when he gave Moses the commandments, or has the world been mistranslating His words for 4,000 years and has only recently fixed the error? JackofOz 04:24, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm certain you've got something interesting buried in your post above, yet this time around I'm at a loss. Could you please clarify your point Jack? I'm genuinely interested. Loomis 04:32, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Certainly. But I must admit a lack of research on my part has left me somewhat vulnerable on this occasion. I went to Catholic schools until I was 13, and I was always told the relevant commandment was "Thou shalt not kill". It was explained that this was not to be intepreted as an all-encompassing ban on all killing in all circumstances. For example, it did not prevent a person from killing another in the course of defending themselves or their family, where there was no other choice. In essence, it was about murder. I see there is a debate (here) about the correct translation of the original words. One view is that the original commandment used the Hebrew equivalent of murder, not the word for kill. I wasn't aware of that. But I note the Catechism of the Catholic Church still says "You shall not kill" [1]. JackofOz 05:11, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Jack. Without weighing into any debate on the issue one way or the other, I'll simply address the linguistics of the commandment in question. The Hebrew verb "to kill" is based on the infinitive "le'harag", whereas the verb "to murder" is based on the infinive "le'ratzach". Exodus 20:13, containing the comandment in question, is expressed as "lo tirtzach", "lo" (in this context) meaning "do not", and "tirtzach", being the future tense conjugation of the verb "to murder", or "le'ratzach". Apparently, armed only with the original Hebrew text of the commandment, a pocket Hebrew dictionary, and very rudimentary understanding of Hebrew, still, the commandment would seem to be clearly properly translated as "do not murder", and not "do not kill". As I said, I won't enter into any debate on the implications of this literal translation, rather, I'll leave it to the rest of you to decide what to make of it. Loomis 13:06, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Humm... When I tell my kids something I tell it to them in the words they understand not in the words that scholars understand. When I tell them something I would rather they err on the side of caution than to end up, for lack o sufficient knowledge, to have committed a heinous transgression. Consequently I tell my kids "Thou shall not kill." because they understand what kill means. On the other hand as a police captain I tell my officers their authorization to use deadly force does not include murder. Diligent 01:27, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
But do you tell your officers "do not not kill under any circumstances"? No. You tell them that they're permitted to use deadly force only when justified, as a last resort. Otherwise, what they're committing is murder, which is of course forbidden. Your instructions to your officers seem almost identical to the commandment "do not murder". I suppose it all depends on whether God considers mankind as mature enough to know right from wrong, like your officers, or as children, not yet mature enough to appreciate the difference. I tend to believe the former. In fact, a good portion of the Biblical account of Adam and Eve being cast out of Eden for eating from the tree of "knowledge of good and evil" would seem to indicate that from that point on, mankind is deemed to know the difference, and should therefore be communicated with in the manner you communicate with your officers, rather than how you communicate with your children. Loomis 04:30, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Stock Market[edit]

Is there a book/website which can finally help me understand what the Stock Market is? I have tried to read "For Dummies" and "Idiots Guide to" but apparently I either lack the patience to read these guides or I am something greater than a Idiotic Dummy. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Juliet5935 (talkcontribs) 18:45, 8 March 2007 (UTC).

The obvious response is to suggest that you read Stock market and come back if you have any additional questions. Marco polo 18:57, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Amish in Bolivia, Other Countries Outside of Europe/North America[edit]

There is a beautiful photo essay by Jordi Busque about a supposed Amish family in Bolivia at [2]. I don't know the validity of Busque's essay or research. I know that there are many Mennonite conferences in Bolivia and elsewhere, but I have never heard of any Amish order living in South America.

Does anyone know about this or other Amish orders outside of Europe and North America? I've just got personal curiosity. If you could point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it. Mvblair 20:17, 8 March 2007 (UTC)—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mvblair (talkcontribs) 20:09, 8 March 2007 (UTC).

Not sure of the country (may have been Brazil, Venezuela or Argentina) but I do recall seeing video of an Amish family that was part of a group living in South America. Seems like it was on the Discovery Channel or a brief part of a NOVA program or the like. Perhaps the folks at [3] will know. 71.100.13.184 01:26, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Some Mennonites also live in Paraguay, particularly Filadelfia: see here. zafiroblue05 | Talk 07:58, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Racism[edit]

Why is it that when a black person calls a white male..."white boy" or "cracker" its perfectly fine. but when a white person calls a black male "black boy" or "nigger" its racist.. Also why is there a "Miss black america" but black females can also participate in "miss america" ... i would love to see what would happen if there was a "miss white america" ..please enlighten me on why black people are such racist ignorant hypocrites...

For more information on this controversy, see Positive_discrimination#Controversy and race-blindness. In my view you have a valid point that there is some discrimination in favour of ethnic minorities, but some people tend to disagree. In the United States, Democrats tend to favour "positive discrimination" to artificially increase the economic and social status of ethnic minority groups, while Republicans take the stance that the law should be color-blind, i.e. that people of all races should be treated with absolute equality. Both points of view are widely held. Walton Vivat Regina! 21:06, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
It's usually considered a question of power. White people being racist against black people can have more of an effect on the prospects of black people than the other way round, because white people have more power. Similarly, male sexism against women is frowned upon but women can get away with breathtaking sexism against men, because men have more power than women. Doesn't excuse the behaviour, but it makes tackling it less urgent. --Nicknack009 21:18, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
The difference between "black" and "white" is that "black" is considered an individual ethnicity as well as a racial category. "Miss Black America" is no different than "Miss Greek America" or "Miss Tamil America." -- Mwalcoff 23:24, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Were it not for your last sentence, I was considering taking this question seriously. However words such as: "please enlighten me on why black people are such racist ignorant hypocrites...", is irony in the extreme. That particular phrase represents, in and of itself, proof of your own racism, ignorance and hypocrisy. Loomis 04:25, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I'd also just like to voice my equal irritation with the surprising acceptabilty of male-bashing, or misandry in western society, as Nicknack seems to be referring to. One of my pet peeves is the way that in TV ads featuring a male and a female, the female is invariably the wittier of the two, invariably outsmarting her relatively simple-minded, clumsy, bumbling, male counterpart. Ok so I'm soapboxing here a touch. What do you expect? I'm just another stupid male, I don't know any better. ;) Loomis 04:25, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Loomis that misandry is possibly the more serious problem, but would add that so-called "positive discrimination" on the grounds of race is also an issue. In response to Mwalcoff: even if it is considered an "individual ethnicity", if there were a contest called "Miss White Anglo-Saxon America", there would be an outcry. Why is it that we are discriminated against, just by virtue of being members of the majority racial group? Walton Vivat Regina! 13:15, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I'd say it's precisely because you're the majority group. You're dominant in your society, so excluding minorities from things you have access to disadvantages those minorities. A minority group banding together to promote its interests is not the same as a majority group banding together to protect its interests. Having said that, in music, the "r&b" and "urban" genres seem to be increasingly sold separately from "mainstream" music, ghettoising black artists as effectively as the old "race chart" used to, and I can't figure out why British women novelists need the Orange Prize to promote them, when the novel is one art form where women are extremely well represented - they'd be better off funding a prize for female film-makers, or a similarly marginalised minority in their art-form. And yes, I am annoyed by casual misandry in the media and the workplace, and I think we should start challenging it more. --Nicknack009 20:57, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I would half-disagree with Walton. I think a "Miss English America" or "Miss German America" pageant would go over OK. "Anglo-Saxon" is a term that has traditionally been used in an exclusive sense rather than an inclusive one -- in other words, to define who is not one of the "real" Americans rather than who is a member of a particular minority. I don't see too many people listing their nationality as "Anglo-Saxon" on their census forms. -- Mwalcoff 23:32, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying, Mwalcoff. I've always assumed the term "WASP" was at the very least mildly pejorative. I doubt any White Anglo-Saxon Protestant would appreciate being referred to as a WASP, despite the fact that the acronym is made up of no derogatory terms whatsoever. But perhaps I'm misunderstanding your point. Loomis 04:46, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
Interesting. I just skimmed through the article on WASP and it seemed to represent the acronym as perfectly legitimate and entirely inoffensive. Strange. Perhaps it's because I'm a Canadian from Quebec, but I've always understood the term to be considered mildly offensive; definitely nothing along the lines of Nigger, Kike or Gook, but at the very least, a word to definitely be avoided when conversing with White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Is the term really as completely inoffensive in the US as it seems to be represented in the article? Loomis 04:57, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
What I meant is that being "WASP" is defined by what you're not rather than what you are: non-black, non-Catholic, non-Jewish. (Of course, Arabs, Pakistanis, Greeks, etc., aren't WASPS either, but you know what I mean.) -- Mwalcoff 23:47, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, for most of the history of the Miss America pageant (1921-1970), it was only for Miss White America, so perhaps the original poster can just quietly savor those fifty-one years of fairness. As for women coming out on top on TV commercials, I think it's just the advertisers winking at the audience about women's inferior social status; a commercial where David Beckham wins a soccer match against a child wouldn't be interesting, but if the (clearly inferior) child came out on top through some cleverness, then that's funny and interesting. Maybe someday when men are unable to get paid the same amount for performing the same jobs as women, and lose their 230-year winning streak in the presidential elections, we'll start seeing ads where the wily fellow manages to beat the oafish woman at her own game. --TotoBaggins 04:05, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm actually quite eager to see a woman elected President, just not in 2008, for reasons completely unrelated to gender. ;) Loomis 13:47, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
I know you're saying that from a different place, but speaking as a pinko commie fag, I agree! Any Democrat who voted enthusiastically for the current martial clusterf**k and co-sponsored an anti-flag-burning amendment bill ain't getting my vote. --TotoBaggins 01:29, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Negrid civilizations[edit]

These ethiopian boys are closer to caucasians by their facial features despite their dark skin

I am asking partially the same thing as someone did earlier, but this is still new question. Which were the most advanced pure negrid civilizations and how advanced they were? Did they know wheel? Did they write? Did they have agriculture? Did they have bigger and more advanced societies than tribes? I am not talking about African or Black people, but people with clearly negrid features. For example egyptians, ethiopians and somalis are excluded because most of them, amongst Egyptians almost everyone, is clearly caucasian by their facial features even though they may have dark skin. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Practicing user (talkcontribs) 20:42, 8 March 2007 (UTC).

File:SomalipeopleSawir.jpg
Somali people are also closer to caucasian than negrid
Such racial distinctions are basically meaningless. Skin colour is about the only thing linking the many disparate groups native to sub-Saharan Africa, and the definition of the outdated term negroid is just a person with Black skin. There is no such thing as a "pure negrid civilization" as there is less genetic, historical, and cultural, unity in sub-Saharan Africa than pretty much any other part of the world.
But, to try and answer your question, there were many states in African history who had advanced societies, with agriculture, writing, and other technologies. The unquestionably Black societies of Nubia, such as Kush, Meroe, and Makuria were prominent for thousands of years. In West Africa the Kingdom of Ghana, the Ashanti Confederacy, the Sultanate of Sokoto and many others states existed in the pre-colonial area. While in southern Africa Great Zimbabwe is evidence of a once highly developed society. - SimonP 21:20, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
To add to this list of precolonial African states: Mali Empire, Songhai Empire, Kanem-Bornu Empire, Darfur, Dahomey, the Benin Empire, and the Luba Empire. There were also many rather advanced city-states in West Africa, such as Ife and the Hausa Kingdoms. Marco polo 00:30, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for answers and information! Now I know a lot more. However I dont think negroid type is meaningless, but on the contrary I think that color of skin is meaningless. Color of skin is just one superficial feature while cranial and body form are a lot more deep rooted and complex features. Negroids are clearly a physical and genetic group but black people are just people with darker skin. And I am interested in this certain group, negroids, and their civizations. Anyway I am not claiming that negroids are race, its irrelevant question here. They are clearly visible type despite are they defined as a race or not. Practicing user 10:30, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

How can you declare that Egyptians are really caucasians who just happen to have dark skin rather than "negrids" who just happen to have caucasian noses? It doesn't make any sense, except for sniping counterexamples to some thesis that civilization is based on facial bone-structure. The largest empire in history was created by people who today are living in tents on 5 bucks a day. That was only 700 years ago, and their race hasn't changed. --TotoBaggins 04:29, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

If you are really interested in what brings about successful civilizations you might read Jared Diamond's book, Guns, Germs and Steel which puts forth a pretty credible case for biological diversity, rather than race, being the major factor. --killing sparrows (chirp!) 06:45, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Small Arms Solutions[edit]

What are some solutions to the small arms problem. does anyone know any solutions that can stop this conflict or at least bring it under control? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 72.134.73.15 (talk) 23:42, 8 March 2007 (UTC).

Sorry, but which conflict do you mean? Marco polo 01:54, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
In Western Countries? --The Dark Side 03:14, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Not necessarily in western countries, but throughout the world. Small arms is a big problem because they cause so many deaths to innocent civilians. One of the main conflicts regaurding them right now is them being smuggled into countries illegaly. Another main conflict with small arms is the illicit trade of them happening everywhere.

I don't really think you can, you can make a dent with regulations, and vigilant law enforcement, but as long as there are people who want to kill other people, there will always be guns, and as long as there is money to be made smuggling them, there will always be gun runners. Until humanity gives up violence (HAH!) there is little hope that the tools of violence will go away. Cyraan 05:11, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

There used to be a weapons advocate cry 'Guns don't kill people, people kill people.' In military terms, small arms, like pistols, are defensive weapons. I once heard a statistic of one million rounds fired for each fatality in WW2 Europe. However, guns are not defensive in the community. People may use whatever it takes to do whatever job they will. That is no reason for arming rapists and thugs with small arms. Police need the weapons, ordinary citizens do not. I am sure, were there to be an advocate for prohibition, there would be a lobby saying 'prohibition does not work.' In fact, there is. In Africa, nations are held to ransom by well armed young boys. DDB 05:22, 9 March 2007 (UTC)