TED Conversations

David Hamilton


This conversation is closed.

Now that the The United States Government has won the war on terror... Other human emotions better watch out!

Coming soon... The Tet "I'm Offended". The Battle of the Bored. The Troubles, with Anxiety. The Skirmish Against Insecurity.

And, of course, it will all culminate... With The Police Action to Institute Happiness... Agree or disagree?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 9 2012: I'm sorry, David. I understand your topic is an attempt at humor, but...

    I don't concur with you that when someone commits suicide with a body-bomb attached to them, or using an airplane to fly into occupied buildings filled with human beings, with the intent on killing as many people around them as possible, that only "emotions" have been killed. Nor that any retaliatory action taken to prevent that from happening again is strictly an attempt to stop an "emotional loss".

    Lots of actual LIVES are ended when terrorist attacks are conducted.

    Just my opinion, but I think your topic post here in this case is very disrespectful towards the loss of those Human lives. There is nothing "funny" about killing other people.

    Respectfully submitted, of course.

    Is this topic appropriate, as presented, for a TED conversation?
    • thumb
      Oct 10 2012: I think it fits into the entertainment category... and yes it is funny, that we declared a war on terror. We should have gone after the truly insane people who helped finance and commit this act, as the CIA wanted to. The two wars that followed 9/11, and the ongoing call to war whether the UN supports us or not, have nothing to do with the lives lost, and they are incredibly embarassing.

      The language, of an unwinnable war on fear, is disturbingly humorous, to many people, and I think this made an interesting attempt to put it into perspective. I could have made it longer and more in depth... but, with flying killer robots operating above our own soil, I felt the Police Action to Institue Happiness was the perfect place to stop.
      • thumb
        Oct 10 2012: Your topic is important David but your packaging is not optimum as evidenced by Mr. Ryan's response. QUOTE: "Humor is typically used to treat warm-hearted, sympathetic, or good-natured treatment of small failings or ironies, those that prompt smiles rather than laughter or derision." Prof. S.I. Hayakawa, Univ. of San Francisco.
        I think I get your point about declaring war on an emotion being ludicrous. I also agree the phrase "War on Terror" conjures-up the image of The Thought Police. The phrase should be "War With Terrorism". I do not get why you say "Now that we have won"? Did I miss a meeting? Thank you!
        • thumb
          Oct 10 2012: I'll admit... I just thought it was funnier written that way. It is pretty poor wording though, we don't seem to be winning much of anything.
        • Oct 12 2012: Edward I profoundly disagree with your professor. Humor is often the only way that societies can address the most profound issues that they face. The comic can say that which is true but cannot be said. The comic uses irony to lay out the uncomfortable truth.

          Look a the key source of information for the demographic from which David belongs - The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Comedy central.

          This use of comedy is well know and well studied.
      • thumb
        Oct 10 2012: (Quote): "We should have gone after the truly insane people who helped finance and commit this act, as the CIA wanted to."

        What makes you think that didn't happen? Once they were identified?

        There is also another concept of preventing attacks against you. Your first priority is to identify the immediate threats against you, and stop the actual people carrying out the attacks. In that regard, you don't need to get the ring-leader who is hiding out in caves and giving the orders. You go after the guy who is actually going to strap the bomb to himself and carry out the attack. During the course of your actions, you acquire more information about the entire organization carrying out the attacks against you.

        It's a very well known concept of military doctrine. Look at the histories of wars. You don't necessarily take out the entire leadership of an enemy to end a war. If you do, you have nobody "in power" left to negotiate with as the war progresses. Or worse...nobody to negotiate with about the "peace" that will follow the end of the war. There's a reason we didn't drop either of the atomic bombs against Japan on Tokyo.
        • thumb
          Oct 10 2012: It didn't happen. You can read all about it in several books which chronicle the history of the lead up to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. There can be a remotely sane military argument for one of the wars we fought against terror, in Afghanistan, but still there can be no sane excuse for us engaging in regime change. The regime didn't sponsor the attack.

          We're not at war with any group of people or nation... that's the problem... We're at war with being scared, and you can be scared of anyone. It was a matter for the police, and CIA to deal with... We turned it into an unwinnable war.
      • thumb
        Oct 10 2012: I'm totally lost on the logic of this thread. On one hand in your topic title, you say we have won the war. Now in your post above you say it is/was an unwinnable war.

        And it appears you have something against the use of military force to fight a war, but not the CIA? The CIA conducts warfare too, and most of their efforts could be argued they do it in an attempt to conduct "regime change".

        The police? Yeah...them to. That's why someone came up with the idea of calling the deployment of military forces a "police action" instead of calling it an actual "war".

        Semantics don't solve problems.
        • thumb
          Oct 10 2012: It was a piece of entertaining humor. I'm sorry you don't feel that way. The idea of declaring a war... on an emotion... Is nonsense. You can police, actual terrorists, as was already the law, and we already did. We didn't need a war. It's not semantic, it's a matter of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians dying.
      • thumb
        Oct 11 2012: I didn't make it a case of semantics. You did. Your topic title says we won the "war" on terrorism. And now we will be conducting the "war on emotions".

        "War" was never declared by the government in your terrorism example. It wasn't allowed for within the Constitution. And the same thing applies for the "wars" against Iraq, Afghanistan, and any other conflict since WW2...the last official "war" declared by the U.S. Government.

        So you say it is OK to use "police actions". Seems like the same philosophy entrusted to the United Nations, but they just call them what? Peacekeeping Missions. But the "peacekeepers" are still using "military forces".

        It's all semantics, David. It's not the words that somebody dreams up to label a conflict, for whatever agenda they may have for labeling it that way. It's the nature of the actual conflict that matters, and the reasons for conducting that conflict.

        I challenge you to find any historical record...a reputable source...that shows any war in mankind's history was fought strictly against an emotion.

        And those hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians dying (can you cite references for that number of civilian casualties, please?) would not have occured in the first place if we hadn't been attacked first.

        We disagree on some things. That's OK.
        • thumb
          Oct 11 2012: You don't get it... It's supposed to make you laugh... If we disagree, it is not about semantics however. I am not okay with "police actions"... I am okay with policing... like an adult civillization, that has a constitution, like the United States did a mere 15 years ago.

          The "War on Terror" began when we invaded 2 nations, and declared an intent to invade or crush 2 others, Iran and North Korea, the "Axis of Evil". That we invaded 2 nations, to fight an emotion... or to fight the purpetrators, or causes of an emotion... terror, I find hilarious. I also find it incredibly embarassing, and depressing.

          As to how you actually fight terrorists? Like a sane person, who lives in a country with a constitution, no matter where your "enemy" lives. A "War on Terror", in my mind is an insanely stupid concept. If you don't agree... This isn't funny. If you do agree, it is, but it's also a bit sad.
    • Oct 12 2012: Rick Ryan I disagree with your assessment. David's words are awesome! A war on terror is a horrible idea. The words matter and David outs it perfectly. It is without a doubt the best type of topic for TED. Humor points out the naked king. With luck we learn to laugh with him not at him. You cannot possibly win a WAR on an emotion. You ask us to fight a war against the RESULT of the actions of terrorists. We can never win that and the military industrial complex keeps killing people in search of profit. We need to fight a war on extremism. A war on oppression, we fight wars on behavior - not on the emotion that results from that behavior.

      David's words are brilliant and did what he wanted: started a conversation about terrorism. I say bravo.
      • thumb
        Oct 12 2012: You are free to disagree, and I respect that. And so is David.

        I just seriously doubt I will ever see a TED video conference given by someone who was invited by TED with the title of this topic. Edward explained why very succinctly in his post.

        And can you clarify please, with respectable references and sources, that your statement, "We can never win that and the military industrial complex keeps killing people in search of profit" is not a conspiracy theory? I doubt I will ever see a TED video titled, "The Military Industrial Complex Is In Business Solely To Make Money By Killing People."
    • thumb
      Oct 27 2012: My mom first introduced me to the idea that mocking something makes it acceptable. It was because I was shocked to hear someone openly mock a gay person, this being in the late 90s. She told me that she found it funny, but not at the victim's expense. She was laughing at the conflict to resolve the conflict. Homosexuality is now becoming less scary.

      I think it is vital that we laugh at everything. It makes the unknown and traumatic comfortable to talk about.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.