[extropy-chat] Anarchy + Transparent Society + Bushido =Survival

Technotranscendence neptune at superlink.net
Wed Apr 25 11:00:42 UTC 2007

On Wednesday, April 25, 2007 2:09 AM Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
> On 4/24/07, The Avantguardian <avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> No. Indeed it need not be everybody in society. In
>> Japan it was a specialized warrior-caste. But I do not
>> see why it would necessarily have to apply just to
>> some socio-economic elite. So why not everybody?
> I have a great admiration for the code of honor and discipline at the
> heart of bushido.  In particular, bushido demands that one treat those
> below oneself (in the class system) with the same strict respect for
> honor  (appropriate to their class) as those in the higher classes.
> This system worked very well in terms of enforcing social order,
> especially during the two and a half centuries of the Tokugawa era,
> but this stability was due to the severely enforced hierarchical power
> structure, ranked from emperor, shogun, daimyou, *four* classes of
> samurai, followed by peasants, artisans, and merchants at the bottom.
> Even within the samurai classes, totaling some 7-10% of the
> population, stratification was such that only the "high samurai" were
> allowed to ride horses, but all samurai were allowed to wear two
> swords.
> As I've said, I admire the honor at the core of bushido and I think it
> had great strengths compared to other feudal systems, but by its very
> nature, extremely demanding and rigid, it is impractical for any but
> an elite, and unsustainable without rigid stratification of power.

Yes, this is so.  I also think it's unrealistic to expect the code to be
widely practiced.  Even when it was popular in Japan, it seems, not
every last member of the samurai class strictly followed it.  Also, it's
interesting that the Japanese gave up the gun during this period.  See
_Giving Up the Gun: Japan's Reversion to the Sword, 1543-1879._ by Noel

Though Perrin seems to use this example to argue for nuclear
disarmament -- his case seems to be: if the feudal Japanese could give
up firearms, surely moderns can give up nuclear weapons -- he fails to
see the price paid: the social stratification you speak of.
Specifically, sticking to a society of sword-based warriors means
sticking to one where only a tiny minority have a chance of defending
themselves -- as using a sword is far more demanding, in terms of
training and physical strength, than a firearm.  Put another way, two
people each with a gun are far more equal than two people each with a
sword, especially if other things are unequal, such as skill, raw
physical strength, and agility.

I, for one, don't want to live in a society where I either have to spend
long hours on continuing martial training or end up a second-class
citizen.  Surely, that sort of thing makes for good films -- think
"Harakiri" and "47 Ronin" -- but I'd prefer something more libertarian.
(Though "Harakiri" can actually be seen as attacking the samurai as not
really practicing what they preach.)



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