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richk449
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
richk449 wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
However, the pragmatic reality is that most people are not running around constantly in a brotherly love frame of mind, and it's almost always better for you prevent your face being slapped.

Better in what sense? While I don't know it for sure, but I have a feeling that this is an example of a tragedy of the commons - every time an individual is about to be slapped, it is in their self interest to prevent being slapped, but the net consequence of everyone acting in their own self interest is a more violent and barbaric society that is not to their benefit.

Thus spake the latte-drinkin', $900 bicycle-riding, Che T-shirt-wearing, San Francisco townhome-living, Menshevik. :P

Wow, your fantasy version of me is a lot more awesome the real version. I ride a 15 year old bike bought second hand, live in the ghetto of SF, splurge on a plain coffee (with a little milk) perhaps once a week, and the closest I have to a Che shirt is a "make compost, not war" shirt, although I could use one of these. And for the record, I don't drive a Volvo either.

Actually, I think my argument has some validity. Violence in society is a tragedy of the commons type of problem. Or more generally, it is like a stability problem in physics. Without government, it is possible to find equilibrium in which there is no violence, but if an act of violence does occur, the perturbation tends to grow, destroying the equilibrium. One solution, as in all tragedy of the commons problems, is to impose a tax on the use of the common good, which is exactly what government does when it creates penalties for crimes.

Most tragedy of the commons problems can also be solved by privatization though - giving ownership of the commons to individuals. What is the equivalent in this situation?
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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought you were some hifalutin laser cannon engineer or somethin'. Even the janitors in San Francisco were making six figures (and went on strike once, demanding stock options) when I lived out there.

The privatized equivalent in this case is Charles Bronson with a sawed-off shotgun. You've been away. I forgot what we were talking about. You want to talk about how much Obama sucks?

Have you noticed Rachel Maddow is getting on his case about targeted killing? She says his ratio of captured to killed for high-value targets is 1 to 4,500. Have you notice the victims of "Superstorm Sandy" are still homeless (despite Obama's 'excellent handling of the crisis' in the days leading up to the election)?
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richk449
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
I thought you were some hifalutin laser cannon engineer or somethin'. Even the janitors in San Francisco were making six figures (and went on strike once, demanding stock options) when I lived out there.

I bet the janitors make more than the lowly engineers do.

Quote:
The privatized equivalent in this case is Charles Bronson with a sawed-off shotgun. You've been away. I forgot what we were talking about. You want to talk about how much Obama sucks?

Why else would I come back?

Quote:
Have you noticed Rachel Maddow is getting on his case about targeted killing? She says his ratio of captured to killed for high-value targets is 1 to 4,500.

I haven't noticed, not watching her show. It is a good sign if she is though. It is very disappointing how few liberals seem to care that Obama is doing many of the things that they thought Bush should have been impeached for. As with most things in life, politics is 95% tribal loyalty, and 5% logic. Sigh.

Quote:
Have you notice the victims of "Superstorm Sandy" are still homeless (despite Obama's 'excellent handling of the crisis' in the days leading up to the election)?

I haven't noticed, nor am I sure why I should care.
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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like your metaphor of the stability problem. I have increasingly grown to see society as a mob, a complex mixture of cellular automata, or a vat of competing mind-viruses.

Over recent years (about 1995 through 2012), I had come to see this is a rapidly growing problem. Now I have realized that it may be more my awareness and perspective that are changing. I was a blind member of the mob until I was about 35. Recently reading Thucydides, I was shocked at how similar his description of life in ancient Greece (particularly Athens and what we would call "Sparta") was to my perceptions of our society. Much of what he described was these same issues of populist demagoguery, mob mentality, moments of collective enlightenment, the competing ideal of collectivism and individualism, the persecution of the enlightened, and the persistent corruption of those risen to power.

I think education (real education, not indoctrination) may be a big part of the answer. Enlightened people think critically, and think for themselves, and I think enlightenment serves to attenuate perturbations such as you spoke of, limiting their spread. I also think our society needs to find some kind of moral grounding, we increasingly resemble Sodom (and I'm not talking about homosexuality; I'm talking about fundamentally hedonistic behavior and materialistic values). Our gun violence is part of this broader problem.
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