[extropy-chat] Rational force?

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Dec 12 05:41:01 UTC 2006

Thomas writes

> [Lee wrote]
> > 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.  

Oh, I don't agree, unless you entertain an idealistic notion of what 
"rational" is.  To say that "irrationality consistenty won" in human
history is an error, I think.  I fear that once again, idealism has struck.
Instead of comparing the ideal against the real---as any sensible
realist would---I suspect you of comparing the real against the ideal,
and (as always) finding the real to be unacceptable.  Often times in
history the *more* civilized and *less* barbaric won. For example,
the Spanish defeated the Aztecs.  Of course, today, with idealism
reigning supreme, all we remember is the brutality of the Spanish.
But what they replaced was far, far worse:  ritual torture and human
sacrifice were an integral part of both the Aztec and Mayan religions.

> > 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
> > [knew].
> > San Francisco, on the other hand...., 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?

Please stay within the confines of what is realistic.  We may *try* always
to do the best we can, but let not the good become the enemy of the perfect.

> Were the judges and juries hanged too?


> What caused them to take bribes?

This conversation is getting ridiculous.  But just what I'd expect
from an idealist!  I suppose.

> With foresight we can choose the path that doesn't lead to barbarism.

Try telling that to Romulus Augustus, the last emperor, or any of
a dozen of his predecessors. Sometimes you're lucky to just stay
alive.   Again, we can *try*, but there is no guarantee of success,
as you know, and often we must settle for something far from

> > 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.  

Oh, good grief.  What a dreamer.  Here we have the acme of non-coercive
societies in all of human history, and you want to put to deadly risk what
we have achieved, all for the illusion of perfection. "We" will never have
any "non-coercive society" that will meet your idealistic standards.  Until
human nature changes there will be brutal cops to deal with brutal criminals.
And the fact that more of those brutal criminals are not behind bars is
entirely due to the bloody idealists who grant them stay after stay after
stay of judicial niceties.

> > Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.
> Evil doesn't triumph.  It defeats itself.

What a load of crap, pardon my english.  I suppose that the Nazis defeated
themselves?  I suppose that the hewing and slaughtering Vikings defeated
themselves?  This is so typical.  What rubbish.


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