X-Message-Number: 19638
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 09:04:12 -0700
Subject: Pirates and Piety
From: Peter Merel <>

Yvan Bozzonetti writes,

> How do you know that? At a time, caribean pirates was the richest
> organization in the world. What remains from that today?

Actually the Carribean pirates were far from the richest organization in 
the world. Their society had three periods of great success:

- The insurgency against the Spanish under Drake
- The rise of Port Royal as a Buccaneer capitol following Morgan's sack 
of Panama
- The "Golden Age" a generation later epitomized by the exploits of 
Roberts and Blackbeard

The first was not self-organized, but controlled by Spain's European 
rivals. The second was a self-propoagating rebellion against European 
laws and tarriffs, but it was never a match for any contemporaneous 
European state. Indeed it was wiped out by a single tsunami in 1692.

The third was much smaller, really more a rolling mutiny than an 
organization. Pirates such as Roberts would play threatening music and 
brandish frightening weapons to force their way onto a ship. They seldom 
had to do battle because, for most sailors, life on a state-controlled 
vessel really wasn't worth fighting for. The pirates would take money 
and goods and offer membership to all who'd join them. Those that joined 
could only go back if they concealed their identities - not tood 
difficult in those days, and something many did.

In fact Roberts himself was impressed "on the account" this way. But 
when the powers set privateers against the Golden Age crews, they 
quickly vanished as an organization. It was another two generations 
before the Americas really started to rival European organizations in 
wealth - but the American revolutionaries were seldom pirates.

Jeff Dee writes [as refutations],

> 1. God is the source of morality: Euthyphro's Dilemma
> 2. God is all knowing, all powerful, and all loving: The Problem of Evil

Actually the first isn't much of a dilemma. The question is whether god 
defines what is good, or whether she's bound by some external definition 
of goodness. If the former, then god isn't necessarily good, and if the 
latter then god isn't entirely the boss. Most theists refute with a 
third alternative, that goodness is an innate characteristic of their 
deity, and thereby escape.

The second is also no problem. Try 
http://clublet.com/c/c/why?GodLovesTheSpeciesNotTheIndividual . People 
can find arguments in support of almost anything.

Let me qualify this by declaring that, for myself, I prefer an open mind 
to belief in or against any proposition.

Peter Merel.

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