I applaud what Mr. Mortenson has accomplished, but what he did (in Afghanistan at least) only became possible after the U.S. army invaded Afghanistan and fired all those expensive missiles.
"To get a school, villagers must provide the land and the labor to assure a local “buy-in,” and so far the Taliban have not bothered his schools. One anti-American mob rampaged through Baharak, Afghanistan, attacking aid groups — but stopped at the school that local people had just built with Mr. Mortenson. “This is our school,” the mob leaders decided, and they left it intact."
"Mr. Mortenson has had setbacks, including being kidnapped for eight days in Pakistan’s wild Waziristan region."
Strangely, the columnist adds in "It would be naïve to think that a few dozen schools will turn the tide in Afghanistan or Pakistan," right after that, undermining his own point... ?
And thus we created the enemy which we fight today.
And then we're shocked, SHOCKED! that the radical elements would win out over the more moderate ones.
edit: I agree that education is important and better than lobbing missiles and bullets at someone but at the same time...
The thirst for knowledge in the third world and true desire to learn combats the worst features of the Western education model.
I'm all for studying what you're interested in, and in general, I don't do things that I'm not at least marginally interested in, but let's not kid ourselves. This is a luxury that many don't have.
So now we have to build millions of schools around the world so people will love us.
Is this reddit, the "social" socialist propaganda site? What does this have to do with hacker news?
In that regard, schools and education are just another weapon in a combined military / social arsenal. As it turns out, the schools are cheaper than the missiles.
The point is, if we don't do this, we will lose.
Schools are great when people are reasonably open to living peacefully but can't work when people do not want peace and sabotage attempts at real education. So, unfortunately, we're going to need a bunch of missiles.
I know it's hard to grasp, but there are people who do things like destroy greenhouses of their own out of spite or hate. If you give them a a voluntary choice, some people don't want peace; their agenda for how the world should be comes first.
You know, it's funny, one of the memes strong enough to change some dangerous people enough to be safe is Christianity, but the idea of converting Muslims to Christianity is met with extremely loud screeching about how we shouldn't do that and they should be allowed to believe the (uncivilized) things they believe now. If we can't convert them to peaceful Western values then it's going to be missiles.
Doesn't this seem self-contradictory to you? What, exactly, is "peaceful" about a value system that advocates aggressive, ideologically motivated war?
The point is that those people are relatively few. Most people would rather live in peace unless taught otherwise.
Still, the cost of one missile pays for a bunch of schools. I think it's money far better spent.
Read the specific claims in the article about the mothers who persuaded their sons to leave the Taliban.
We need to imprison or kill the violent people who can't be reasoned with, but we need to offer an alternative to those who are capable of choosing one. Over time, their numbers will grow.
Educating, and eventually, empowering women helps on all fronts.
Not that I say that we should blatantly discriminate against women, but would you argue that the discrimination against women in our culture and history in any way seems to have inhibited the development of our civilization?
Women's liberation is a rather recent thing and I say we have still done quite well.
As far as I can tell from your comment, you agree with me. You, too, think there are people we need to kill.
What a fantasy. I wish. But what's easier: bombing and shooting or educating? (Same goes for most other non-violent measures that could have been taken. They're harder.)
The Hacker News RSS feed is in the same place it has always been.
Why do you find this story to be so objectionable?
From the guidelines:
>Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon. Videos of pratfalls or disasters, or cute animal pictures. If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic.
If it gets bad enough, then eventually people will start moving on to something better, that is actually about hacker news, and not the political article du jour. This article and discussion were both extremely off topic. And it's not just any off topic, it's politics, which brings out the lowest common denominator in most forums it's introduced in. I mean, how can people vote up stuff like "The system we are part of is not the best. In fact it is arguably the worst system since the caveman era." ? Apologies to rokhayakebe, but that's not serious, interesting discussion, it's hyperbole typical of thousands of other internet forums. I would prefer to try and keep HN from becoming just like all those other forums, although perhaps it's a vain hope.
I'll agree that the discussion in this thread is rather mediocre and is evidence of the phenomenon you are concerned about. But I've seen great discussions about politics and economics here and I like hearing it from the perspective of the users here. I've learned things and I just don't understand why you think we'll be better off not learning about these issues from each other. It reminds me too much of a generic rule for pleasant banal conversation, "don't talk about religion or politics."
We disagree about whether such discussion about things we are less knowledgeable is inevitably bad for the site. Ultimately the answer is unknown and I would like to see the limit pushed as far as possible to make the test of not degenerating into the lowest common denominator harder. I think it can be done, though downvoting stories may have to be enabled eventually.
Except we're beginning to have a new problem here at hn.
The only thing worse than threads about politics, religion, drugs, or popular culture are the comments about how they're not "hacker news".
We're starting to sound like a committee that gets together and spends most of our time writing the agenda.
But it's not hn.
Davidw is right, in my opinion.
Perhaps the reason we keep having this discussion is that the board continues to serve up material that we find innappropriate? That people vote based on emotion, not on whether it is good material for hackers, and political stuff has the most emotion-laden content of all?
This is a nice seque into our other favorite topic: how rating systems are broken. I'm afraid these two are highly connected.
Yes! Even more so with their purchasing dollars. A nonintuitive but incredibly important lesson for any budding entrepreneur.
If you cannot see the relation between this problem and how software can help solve it, then I suggest you look again. Even a self-centered hacker could see opportunity here.
In all fairness you have submitted 4 articles in the last 70 days i do not know how much that says about the "HN for the rest of us".
If you want to see less articles as this one make it to the top, then be my guest and SUBMIT.
It isn't news anymore, but I find it very heartening all the same.
I've always felt that taking people out of ignorance will always make them less inclined to kill. The more logical justification people have for doing good and not doing bad vs purely faith-based, the harder it is for some religious nut-job to come in and say "kill the infidels in the name of god".
Actually, taking people out of ignorance always results in warding off some error. The thing to be doing with the great bounty of western prosperity is reducing ignorance in ourselves and in others, not entertaining ourselves to imbecility.
People figured out at least 2,500 years ago that knowledge is the antidote for ignorance and even laid out the specific conditions for its acquisition. Unfortunately, designating that the economy is full of "knowledge workers" doesn't cut it.
The fun part is that it goes both ways.
In the end, both bullies will need reconstructive surgery.
Any genuinely effective techniques can be covered under this heading:
In the long-run, we can't win the GWOT through military force alone. Even relatively hawkish people like Richard Clarke recognize this.
But don't worry; first world nations don't want our education anyway.