[extropy-chat] Appeasement

Technotranscendence neptune at superlink.net
Sat Apr 9 15:17:25 UTC 2005

Appeasement has been bandied about a lot in discussions of Iraq,
terrorism, and international relations in general.  The basic notion is
that if some act or other is allowed to pass, it will invite future acts
of a like nature.  (Of course, it's assumed that these are bad acts.
I'm not disagreeing that they are, but I don't want to get sidetracked
into a different discussion.)

Put schematically, the view was that if you appease X when X does Y,
then X will do more of Y or Y-like things in the future.  What I'm
questioning is whether inaction really leads to the purported bad
outcomes.  In other words, when X does Y -- and Y is something you
disapprove of -- and Z does nothing about it, does this make it more
likely X will do Y again or Y-like things again?  Further does it mean X
will think Z will not stop X from doing much worse things in the future?

The conventional view is that if Z doesn't react, X will keep testing
the limits.  I.e., there's a high cost for Z's inaction.  Along with
this view goes the policy prescription of acting sooner rather than
latter against a given X.  (Naturally, in a world full of real and
potential Xs, this would mean constant involvement everywhere for any
Z.)  Is there empirical evidence to back this claim?  I could be more
rhetorically charged here:  Does anyone have good reason to accept the
view that inaction always leads to these undesirable outcomes or is this
just something that's assumed because it's the conventional wisdom?


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