Inspired by a current events journalのarticle on the Iran-Iraq war, I've spent considerable time today reading different perspectives and narratives of that war, the political entanglements that prevented it from having ended when it became visibly a stalemate (Iran: god is on our side, on the other side there are unbelievers), struggles between the political major players many of whom are still around, and the civilian experiences.
Idea of people having an inertia - having whipped up fervour, the idea of negotiating peace becomes impossible. Comparison to their actions since: a lost sense of idealism and purpose buys maturity at cost of much pain and lost face.
On one side, it's incredibly frustrating and depressing to read about this stuff, but on the other hand it gives me hope for humanity that in the end, peace was managed. It's hard to imagine peace when one imagines multiple actors that have fully engaged their pride and one or both of them must back down or be utterly defeated for there to be a reasonable resolution. Maybe someday we'll actually see peace in Israel-Palestine.
This depressing subject matter of war and pride and mess is counterbalanced by recently posting on slashdot a nuanced defense of unions and getting some support from others - hoping this means that the libertarian tendencies of a certain era of geekdom is no longer something that must be taken for granted. It has always "been time" for us to explain and justify (as imperfect but essential) the existing components of society that anarchocapitalists would dismantle, while we explain and justify our intuitions for pushing society onwards towards empathy, nuance, and our notions of justice. It's nice to think that if we're successful, we can gain traction, and perhaps in time we can recover from the McCarthy era.
(Afterthought: Or perhaps I am just so arrogant as to forget that there probably always were socialists about in some numbers in the US, but they were underrepresented in the (techie/academic) circles where I reside. It's been fairly rare that I've known more than one or two socialists socially at a time, and it's easy to mistake the people one bumps into for the society in which one lives)