[extropy-chat] Rational force?

Thomas Thomas at thomasoliver.net
Mon Dec 11 17:29:39 UTC 2006

Lee Corbin wrote:

>Mike writes
>>[Thomas wrote]
>>>Lee Corbin wrote:
>>>>I may not choose to dispute that the Bush/neocon position is what
>>>>you'd call evil.  But I would suggest that it may be expedient, and
>>>>that failing to take a strong stand against enemies is, in the long
>>>>run, suicide.
>>>Lee:  If we're so smart, why must we revert to brutality in dealing  
>>>with brutes? -- Thomas
>>Perhaps because brutes fail to be swayed by marketing?
>Right, Mike, but your "brutes" not swayed by either marketing or *any*
>other civilized expedient. Woe be unto him who tries negotiating in any
>civilized fashion with them.
In any contest between the rational and the irrational (Rand pointed 
out), the irrational has dominated unless the terms of the contest were 
clearly defined, in which case the rational wins.

>The Geneva Convention, for example, was expressedly designed to
>rely upon the civilized conventions of modern advanced nations. It's
>the ultimate in foolhardiness for highly civilized nations to abide by it when the brutes are cutting people's heads off in the most painful,
>barbaric, and horrific manner that they can devise.
Sacrificing the clearly defined terms has guaranteed the victory of 
brutality.  Without conventions, constitutions, objective laws it was 
the more consistently irrational that won.  

>This has always been a fatal flaw in the Western psyche and in Western
>traditions. Barbaric mobsters were able to take over many neighborhoods
>in Chicago and New York in the 1920s and 30s simply because the
>civilized law-abiding people of Illinois and New York State could not
>understand that the circumstances were no longer as the American founders assumed.
I agree with Samantha.  Government interference with free trade created 
a market for barbarism.

>San Francisco, on the other hand, behaved much more appropriately in
>1850 when lawless and uncivilized men subborned the legal process, 
>bribing officials, judges, juries and so on in a manner to be reenacted by Al Capone and his ilk.  But the people of San Francisco would have none of it, and mounted the finest vigilante effort I know of. They arose en masse, rounded up the perpetrators, gave them quick but fair trials with no appeal, and hung most of them forthwith. And civilization was restored.
I admire that sort of initiative and applaud the establishment of 
justice.  If our protectors fail us let us protect ourselves.  But how? 
 As a lynch mob?  Can't we do a little better?  Were the judges and 
juries hanged too?  What caused them to take bribes?  With foresight we 
can choose the path that doesn't lead to barbarism.

>The "brutes" had to be hanged or shot, you understand. And if Thomas thinks that this is "brutal", then let him cheer as society crumbles in south central Los Angeles and other places---all quite legally.  Let the gangs rule:  many people, probably including Thomas, prefer gangs like those of Al Capone or the Cribs to be in control, to the "brutal" repression of such that is necessary by civlized men.
I would characterize this as an irrational belief in the efficacy of 
violent justice.  I understand that "big brother" is supposed to keep us 
safe from all the "little brothers," but as we approach the singularity, 
I feel it's time we got serious about establishing a non coercive society.  

>All that seems to matter to some people is that their own government play by all the niceties, no matter what ultimate loathsome consequences obtain, and that their own hands remain lily-white. 
: ) Lee, when's the last time you gunned down a mobster?  I don't think 
government niceties are the answer, but I'm not willing to toss out the 
Bill of Rights just because a crime was committed.  

>Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.
Evil doesn't triumph.  It defeats itself.  So don't be evil.  Do 
something good! -- Thomas

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