Forum .LRN Q&A: Response to Request for Comment: dotLRN Technology Governance
124: Response to Request for Comment: dotLRN Technology Governance (response to 1)
Posted by Neophytos Demetriou on 08/13/02 10:54 AM
Those wars were purely piratical. Pride, gold, women, slaves excitement were their only motives. In the Peloponesian war, for example, the Athenians ask the inhabitants of Melos (the island where the "Venus de Milo" was found), hitherto neutral, to own their lordship. The envoys meet, and hold a debate which Thucydides gives in full, and which, for sweet reasonableness of form, would have satisfied Matthew Arnold. "The powerful exact what they can," said the Athenians, "and the weak grant what they must." When the Meleans say that sooner than be slaves they will appeal to the gods, the Athenians reply, "Of the gods we believe and of men we know that, by a law of their nature, wherever they can rule they will. This law was not made by us, and we are not the first to have acted upon it; we did but inherit it, and we know that you and all mankind, if you were as strong as we are, would do as we do. So much for the gods; we have told you why we expect to stand as high in their good opinion as you." Well, the Meleans still refused, and their town was taken. "The Athenians," Thucydides quietly says, "thereupon put to death all who were of military age and made slaves of the women and children. They then colonized the island, sending thither five hundred settlers of their own.Al, could you please let us know if you're planning of posting a revised proposal? After a private chat last night, it seems to me that it is not enough to .LRN for OpenACS to remain neutral. Is this the case?
-- William James, The Moral Equivalent of War.
MeliansWell, then, since you set aside justice and invite us to speak of expediency, in our judgment it is certainly expedient that you should respect a principle which you know is for the common good; that to every man in peril a reasonable claim should be accounted a claim of right, and that any plea which he is disposed to urge, even if failing of the point a little, should help his cause. Your interest in this principle is quite as great as ours, inasmuch as you, if you fall, will incur the heaviest vengeance, and will be the most terrible example to mankind.
AtheniansThe fall of our empire, if it should fall, is not an event to which we look forward with dismay; for ruling states such as Lacedaemon are not cruel to their vanquished enemies. With the Lacedaemonians, however, we are not now arguing; the real danger is from our many subject states, who may of their own motion rise up and overcome us, their masters. But this is a danger which you may leave to us. And we will now endeavor to show that we have come in the interests of our empire, and that in what we are about to say we are only seeking the preservation of your city. For we want to make you ours with the least trouble to ourselves, and it is for the interests of us both that you should not be destroyed.
MeliansIt may be your interest to be our masters, but how can it be ours to be your slaves?
AtheniansTo you the gain will be that by submission you will avert the worst; and we shall be all the richer for your preservation.
MeliansBut must we be your enemies? Will you not receive us as friends if we are neutral and remain at peace with you?
AtheniansNo, your enmity is not half so mischievous to us as your friendship; for the one is in the eyes of our subjects an argument of our power, the other of our weakness.
-- Thucydides, The Melian Debate (http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/GREECE/MELIAN.HTM)