NemoUtopia on May 24, 2010, 09:55:08 pm
One thing that's really been nitpicking me is strip 177 and the choose-your-spelling trials and principles as a counterargument. I even came up with a Hannibal Speech all about it, and an appropriate Shut Up, Hannibal. The shortcut of accepting Nurnberg as a complete and legitimate counter-argument is convenient but does a disservice to any reader who hasn't taken the effort to inform themselves by treating it as 'right'...when, if anything, any Libertarian would be up in arms about the conduct of said trials, regardless of the verdict or how correct it may have been. Hell, the word 'trials' is itself misleading, since they were military tribunals. Here's what I had going:

*weak-hope-face* "I was only following orders?"

Reggie: "Nurnberg."

*shock to scorn* "Nurnberg? NURNBERG? You're throwing that farce of victor's justice with its ill-defined principles at me? Forgetting the Fifth Principle? How about the Seventh? Everyone else on the bridge who said nothing, did nothing except act as the Butcher's hand until final mutiny should be here too if you're bothering to waste your breath with that tripe. Do you even know anything about UW military training? This isn't the old USMC that focuses on following orders except when they're contrary to laws and morals, it's everything their schools are a hundredfold! And we're talking about him, of all people. We don't just get the luxury of objecting and continuing duty, we either get shunted straight to poverty and  starvation on the streets or out the airlock if he's feeling foul! There's no such thing as a moral choice being possible under that maniac. You've got your man, he said he'd take the fall!"

Reggie: You followed that order the moment he said he'd take responsibility, and even 'that maniac' hasn't shoved subordinates out airlocks for consciencous objection to orders. They all still have UW military careers. This is a fair trial, of the facts, and you bring lies to it. You had a choice.

Emily: (*as in comic, skip to headshot*)



As far as nitpicks go, it's minor. Heck, the Nurnberg Principles when taken in full are ethical and moral. The problem is that the trails themselves neglected to notice the behavior of the Allied Powers, followed nothing resembling good legal and judicial conduct of any standard, and were among the most hypocritical actions in human history. One important idea, which I've noticed expressed on these boards a lot, is that "The right thing done for the wrong reason is not always the right thing"//"The ends do not justify the means." I'm still astounded that the Nurnberg trials are so often given full credit for the Principles which the trials themselves violated on numberous counts. Considering how thought-provoking EFT is, I also felt this was a prime 'teaching moment' missed, one capable of being done much better than the above Hannibal/Shut-Up. Why not instead use the Rome Statue of 1998? Or the [expressly 4th] Geneva Convention? At least to me, either does much more service to the morality involved and is easily researched by even ignorant readers and avoids the ridiculous situation of Nurnberg.


Please note that this is actually a very different thought than those expressed in the Command Responsibility thread and is about the choice to use Nurnberg as Reggie's one-word counter-argument, not about the final outcome of the Weapons Officer, especially since that and the guy's lack of remorse [and consequences otherwise] in my mind have been adequately addressed there, but the use of Nurnberg as counter-reasoning is only exacerbated because the Principles make statements of fair trial.

SandySandfort on May 25, 2010, 10:07:15 am
Whoof, I thought we had put this to rest some time ago.

One thing that's really been nitpicking me is strip 177 and the choose-your-spelling trials and principles as a counterargument. I even came up with a Hannibal Speech all about it, and an appropriate Shut Up, Hannibal. The shortcut of accepting Nurnberg as a complete and legitimate counter-argument is convenient but does a disservice to any reader who hasn't taken the effort to inform themselves by treating it as 'right'...when, if anything, any Libertarian would be up in arms about the conduct of said trials, regardless of the verdict or how correct it may have been. Hell, the word 'trials' is itself misleading, since they were military tribunals. Here's what I had going:

What makes you think Reggie's use of the word "Nurnberg" was an argument? It was simply a reference to the "I was only following orders" defense. (Hate to nitpick too, but by "Hannibal" do you mean "Harris" or am I missing some meaning here?)

[long tirades omitted] ...This is a fair trial, of the facts, and you bring lies to it. You had a choice.

What makes you think we were witnessing a trial? If I said "trial" I apologize. It was simply the opportunity for Harris and Young to say anything in their own defense that would help Emily determine what was to be done with them.

... Considering how thought-provoking EFT is, I also felt this was a prime 'teaching moment' missed, one capable of being done much better than the above Hannibal/Shut-Up. Why not instead use the Rome Statue of 1998? Or the [expressly 4th] Geneva Convention? At least to me, either does much more service to the morality involved and is easily researched by even ignorant readers and avoids the ridiculous situation of Nurnberg.

It was a teaching moment, you just missed the point. It was not about legal (or extralegal) process. It was about what Emily explicitly said in her dialog. "My Daddy always told us, 'No one can take responsibility for anyone else's actions. Everyone has to answer for his own acts.'"

Now the good news (for some value of the word, "good") is that I will address process in a couple of upcoming arcs. The working titles for which are Trial and Error and Error and Trial. Please stand by.

Brugle on May 25, 2010, 11:18:47 am
Whoof, I thought we had put this to rest some time ago.

One thing that's really been nitpicking me is strip 177 and the choose-your-spelling trials and principles as a counterargument. I even came up with a Hannibal Speech all about it, and an appropriate Shut Up, Hannibal. The shortcut of accepting Nurnberg as a complete and legitimate counter-argument is convenient but does a disservice to any reader who hasn't taken the effort to inform themselves by treating it as 'right'...when, if anything, any Libertarian would be up in arms about the conduct of said trials, regardless of the verdict or how correct it may have been. Hell, the word 'trials' is itself misleading, since they were military tribunals. Here's what I had going:

What makes you think Reggie's use of the word "Nurnberg" was an argument? It was simply a reference to the "I was only following orders" defense. (Hate to nitpick too, but by "Hannibal" do you mean "Harris" or am I missing some meaning here?)
...
What NemoUtopia calls a "Hannibal Speech" is what tv tropes calls a "Hannibal Lecture", a talk by an evil prisoner that justifies his actions:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HannibalLecture

From that link, "Hannibal Lecture" is named for the character Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

"Shut Up, Hannibal" is also from tv tropes:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ShutUpHannibal

Brugle on May 25, 2010, 11:46:11 am
The problem is that the trails themselves neglected to notice the behavior of the Allied Powers,
EFT doesn't make that mistake.  From strip 130: "the British war criminal, 'Butcher Harris'".

I also felt this was a prime 'teaching moment' missed,
One reason I enjoy SF is that it is typically written for people who enjoy educating themselves.  I'd expect that a reader who never heard of the Nuremberg Trials (or Nuremberg Defense) would research them after reading strip 177.  I'd expect that a reader who had never thought about Allied WWII war criminals would do so after reading strip 130.  I prefer it that way, but I understand that you might prefer differently.

I'm reminded of Claire Wolfes review of Victor Koman's Kings of the High Frontier, where she said "(If you can't figure out how a drug smuggler could be one of the good guys, too bad.)".

NemoUtopia on May 25, 2010, 01:51:18 pm


[long tirades omitted] ...This is a fair trial, of the facts, and you bring lies to it. You had a choice.

What makes you think we were witnessing a trial? If I said "trial" I apologize. It was simply the opportunity for Harris and Young to say anything in their own defense that would help Emily determine what was to be done with them.




Actually, I know it was an execution, which is part of my problem with the Nurnberg reference. The basic point is that Nurnberg established the legal precedence for 'Superior Orders' not being a legitimate defense in an of itself in a trial, and includes the corallary about a moral choice being possible. This is why Reggie's use of it strikes me as out of place when there are plenty of other current history examples of the same thought, many as well known or even more well known than Nurnberg, which establish the criminality of murdering civilians but do not invoke the idea of trails [which the Weapons Officer didn't get] and legal defense as opposed to moral defense.

Again, it's a nitpick based on Reggie's use of the one word Nurnberg to establish the fallacy of Superior Orders, not anything else about the panel. If anything, I fully appreciate the rest of what goes on and on a personal level agree with it. It may just be a 'me' thing, but the idea of a truly An-Cap individual using one of largest fallacies of WWII to destroy the 'superior orders' concept while denying the officer a trial or making an attempt to establish the culpability of others seems very skewed. Reggie strikes me as the kind of person who would know all about Nurnberg and the later cases, and would be more likely to quote the 4th Geneva Convention (namely the third Article) to establish the criminality of such an act regardless of orders. Similarly, the Rome Statute of 98 establishes the two together, that regardless of jurisdiction or the orders of a superior an individual shall be held responsible for such an action. It also refers to 'criminal responsibility' and not to any mention of due process, stating that such action is 'manifestly unlawful'. It's a level of nuance I doubt crosses most people's minds, but it's still a thorn that niggles in mine.


On an unrelated note: TV Tropes is Bad and TV Tropes is Good
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 01:56:52 pm by NemoUtopia »

SandySandfort on May 25, 2010, 02:26:51 pm


[long tirades omitted] ...This is a fair trial, of the facts, and you bring lies to it. You had a choice.

What makes you think we were witnessing a trial? If I said "trial" I apologize. It was simply the opportunity for Harris and Young to say anything in their own defense that would help Emily determine what was to be done with them.


Actually, I know it was an execution, which is part of my problem with the Nurnberg reference. The basic point is that Nurnberg established the legal precedence for 'Superior Orders' not being a legitimate defense in an of itself in a trial, and includes the corallary about a moral choice being possible.

Actually Nurnberg is a city in Germany. Reggie didn't say "Nurnberg trial" he just said "Nurnberg." He could have been referring to the city, but context rules that out. He could have been referring to the trial (but he wasn't). Instead, he was referring to the bogus idea that you are not responsible for your acts if somebody told you to commit them; no matter who they are. This was made explicit in Emily's words.

Reggie and I are old guys. When we say Nurnberg, we know it refers to the defense not the trial. The trials were bogus, but that is clearly not the issue EFT was addressing in this strip.

This is why Reggie's use of it strikes me as out of place when there are plenty of other current history examples of the same thought, many as well known or even more well known than Nurnberg...

Well, none come to my mind and I'm the guy who wrote the story. A writer always walks a tightrope between explaining too much and boring his readers to death, or saying too little and leaving them in the dark. We try to hit a reasonable medium, but that means we will always have people saying "boooring" or "huh?" at the same time. Actually, you fit neither of those. You understood the reference, but would have written it differently. That is why there are horse races; differences of opinion. My Nurnberg didn't satisfy you. I am sorry. It did, however, satisfy me and I believe the majority of readers. That has to be good enough for me.

... which establish the criminality of murdering civilians but do not invoke the idea of trails [which the Weapons Officer didn't get] and legal defense as opposed to moral defense.

Harris did not get a trial either. EFT is not about legalism (I am a lawyer and believe-you-me I could bend it in that direction if I wanted to, but I don't want to). EFT is about making moral choices and trying to do the right thing in an anarchist world.

Again, it's a nitpick based on Reggie's use of the one word Nurnberg to establish the fallacy of Superior Orders, not anything else about the panel.

Repeatedly misunderstanding Reggie's motives after they have been repeatedly explained, will not make it so.

If anything, I fully appreciate the rest of what goes on and on a personal level agree with it. It may just be a 'me' thing, but the idea of a truly An-Cap individual using one of largest fallacies of WWII to destroy the 'superior orders' concept while denying the officer a trial or making an attempt to establish the culpability of others seems very skewed. Reggie strikes me as the kind of person who would know all about Nurnberg and the later cases, and would be more likely to quote the 4th Geneva Convention (namely the third Article) to establish the criminality of such an act regardless of orders. Similarly, the Rome Statute of 98 establishes the two together, that regardless of jurisdiction or the orders of a superior an individual shall be held responsible for such an action. It also refers to 'criminal responsibility' and not to any mention of due process, stating that such action is 'manifestly unlawful'. It's a level of nuance I doubt crosses most people's minds, but it's still a thorn that niggles in mine.

Are you a frustrated writer or a frustrated lawyer? Your ideas are find. I encourage you to develop them, write a story that involves them, whatever, but do it on your own dime. I have heard and dealt with your discomfort. Sorry about that, but the choice was mine and I made it. Thank you for your comments and I invite you to let us know whatever else you find disturbing. Sometimes we have blind spots.

BTW, someone objected to something I wrote in the arc that takes place on The Little Prince. When I wrote that Mac was covered with freckles--at least everywhere the boys could see, he said it made him uneasy, because he felt it was saying that we are all dirty on the inside (meaning mentally). Wow! Trust me, if I had meant that, I would have been a lot more clear about it.   ::)

NemoUtopia on May 25, 2010, 06:00:21 pm
Thanks for taking the time to respond so completely, I definitely see what you mean now. You might say I'm a frustrated writer with a rather lawyer like mind...while this makes for some amusing Abbot and Costello style scenes in some of my short writing it can be no end of frustration other places. Keep up the great work with EFT and everything else! I've already gotten some friends addicted to Big Head through a Drug War Carol [DWC as a gateway drug... ::)], and they all love it too.

SandySandfort on May 25, 2010, 09:00:26 pm
Thanks for taking the time to respond so completely, I definitely see what you mean now. You might say I'm a frustrated writer with a rather lawyer like mind...

My god! The worst possible combination!   ;)

It took a lot of time to beat the lawyer out of me when I started writing. Generally, lawyers are really bad writers. This is further compounded by their arrogant belief that they are great writers. I had to learn some humility before I got any good.

... while this makes for some amusing Abbot and Costello style scenes in some of my short writing it can be no end of frustration other places. Keep up the great work with EFT and everything else! I've already gotten some friends addicted to Big Head through a Drug War Carol [DWC as a gateway drug... ::)], and they all love it too.

Listen, there is no reason for anyone to be a frustrated writer. If you want to be a writer you can be a writer. You may be good at it or you may suck, but you can write and you can always get better. The only way you are going to find out, is to write. Read and write.

A good way to put a toe in the water is to sign up with LeanPub.com. (I don't have any connection with the LeanPub folks, nor do I have anything on their site, nor do a get nickel one for mentioning them.) I recently discovered them and I see them as a great place to see if you have the right stuff. SmashWords.com, where I just published my Heinlein clone story, is also another venue with pretty much no downside (except maybe a crushed ego).

quadibloc on May 26, 2010, 08:25:01 am
Although attempts were made at the Nurenberg trials to show that Hitler's assumption of power was illegal, so that the Nazis could be tried under the pre-existing laws of the Weimar republic - a standard the United States has not consistently applied before or since, because then it couldn't defend mineral concessions purchased by U.S. firms from dictatorial regimes in Latin America - it is true that, in effect, those responsible for the Holocaust were prosecuted under ex post facto laws.

Which is, of course, a thing specifically prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.

However, the question arises, "this is a bad thing how"?

It would be a bad thing if the government passed a law that starting last week, acetylsalicilic acid (also known as Aspirin) was a prohibited narcotic, or that traffic is to stop at green lights and proceed at red lights, and then prosecute selected violators of those laws during the period before they were passed.

However, an act that is clearly wrong, injuring an innocent victim, that happened not to be prohibited by law - because the criminals themselves were writing the law - is not one that should be forever immune to punishment.

One possibility, of course, is to make outlawry the punishment. If one accepts the idea that the law might overlook some violent acts, that people don't really have the right (or at least an enforceable right, as opposed to a moral right) not to have force initiated against them unless the government grants that right, then repealing the law against murder as it applies to legal murderers would fit within that framework nicely.

Making odium in re instead of odium in lex the standard, however, has its own problems. Making abortion illegal yesterday is one obvious case; even if abortion is murder, under current circumstances, it is possible for a person not to realize that. Even outlawing Negro slavery retroactively would seem problematic: justice might seem to demand prosecuting some of the extreme cases, but punishing every slaveowner as if slavery had never been legal would not quite seem just either.

 

anything