Big Head Press Forum

Online Comics => Escape From Terra => Topic started by: mellyrn on December 17, 2010, 07:03:55 pm

Title: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: mellyrn on December 17, 2010, 07:03:55 pm
I like Larry the bartender.

Oh, sure, I can imagine a more sympathetic character than Morris -- me, for example -- getting worked over unfairly or unjustly or something and wishing a Larry-guy would stand up for me.  Larry can't know what we readers know, that Morris totally had it coming; all he's got is Morris' latest behavior, which might not be representative.

If I want the Larrys to help me at need, I should give them inspiration that way, yes?

But who is "Mike", who called Suki's com?
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: jamesd on December 17, 2010, 08:45:40 pm
Actually it is his business.

The problem occurred in his pub, so the outcome reflects on pub security.  He should make sure that only cheaters and troublemakers get killed off when bad things happen in his pub.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: mellyrn on December 18, 2010, 07:41:26 am
OK, I almost sprayed my monitor with this morning's tea.  I stand corrected.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: SandySandfort on December 18, 2010, 07:46:09 am
But who is "Mike", who called Suki's com?

Drat! That will be fixed later today, probably. Good pickup, Mellyrn!
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: SandySandfort on December 18, 2010, 07:50:47 am
Actually it is his business.

Not really. Fights happen. The situation was contained. So the appropriate security measures were taken. End of story.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 18, 2010, 10:21:01 am
Actually it is his business.

The problem occurred in his pub, so the outcome reflects on pub security.  He should make sure that only cheaters and troublemakers get killed off when bad things happen in his pub.

A known patron accused a newcomer of cheating. The newcomer insulted the patron and invited a fight. The patron then kicked him in the head.

As far as we know there was no confirmation that he cheated. But he caused trouble by insulting the patron who called him a cheater and by getting kicked in the head. So he got in trouble.

This is not an unlikely outcome today, is it? Newbies who get into conflicts with established regulars are trouble-makers. An established regular is not often a trouble-maker or he would not have become an established regular in the first place.

Ceres in this story has a small-town feel to me. "Nobody's seen him since...." That a community could or would track somebody well enough to know that he'd disappeared.... He gets into one dispute and gets blackballed from every gambling hall in the Belt? Maybe Larry overstated that but maybe it was real. The whole Belt sounds like a small town. Larry did agree that the guy had cheated, though. Maybe he knew and wasn't just taking Suki's word for it.

OK, imagine the worst case. You're a newbie, and you visit a gambling hall. Somebody falsely accuses you of cheating. They attack you. The manager says you're a troublemaker and gets you blacklisted from every gambling hall in the Belt. He publicly says you're a cheater and a troublemaker. You don't get any second chances.

That isn't justice. But it doesn't really need to be. You don't really need to be in any gambling halls. You will probably be richer if you stay out of them. Apart from whatever it does to your reputation, it isn't that much loss.

Unless gambling halls are an important place to get job leads etc. Then maybe you have lost something important. But OK, excrement happens and you can find a way to get by.

We don't get ideal justice even when we claim that's what we're trying to do. When people are mostly trying to avoid trouble, you might get unlucky -- it's your own problem if you look like a trouble magnet. Every now and then somebody gets some bad luck, and they just deal with it.

Anyway, this is the worst-case interpretation from the story. The story might later rule out that interpretation. What I get from it is that the worst case isn't that bad. In the USA a poor newbie can get stuck in jail on trumped-up charges for a year waiting trial, and then get a choice between a plea bargain and a chance to spend more years in prison. it's unlikely that everybody will always get a fair break. But an alternative system has to be *really bad* before it's as bad as what we have.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: SandySandfort on December 18, 2010, 03:28:52 pm
A known patron accused a newcomer of cheating. The newcomer insulted the patron and invited a fight. The patron then kicked him in the head.

What does "known patron" have to do with it? Suki could just as well be known as someone who unfairly accuses people of cheating. Presumably, Larry/Mike (we are fixing that) knows his clientèle by their actions and reputation and does not make decision based on your simplistic "known guy, good; stranger, bad" analysis.

As far as we know there was no confirmation that he cheated. But he caused trouble by insulting the patron who called him a cheater and by getting kicked in the head. So he got in trouble.

Are we reading the same strip? He got kicked in the head because he physically threatened Suki if she tried to prove her accusation. Then they both leaped at each other. She was more skilled than Morris, so he got the short end of the stick. Then he sucker punched her after she was restrained and offered no threat. On the "proof" issue. This is a comic strip, not a motion picture. Panels only imply the action between them. We know he was cheating, so it is safe to assume the secreted card was discovered. I think others understand this, but feel free to draw your own panel that shows the card slipping out of his sleeve and someone shouting, "There it is!"

This is not an unlikely outcome today, is it? Newbies who get into conflicts with established regulars are trouble-makers. An established regular is not often a trouble-maker or he would not have become an established regular in the first place.

I have no way of knowing this and neither do you.  ;)

And here again, we have your special pleading by building up a totally unsupported assumption. But let's play, just for fun.

OK, imagine the worst case. You're a newbie, and you visit a gambling hall. Somebody falsely accuses you of cheating. They attack you.

When the facts of the story don't support you, you make up new ones. Nobody attacked Morris, so why posit that here? But as I said, let's play. So I haul all their sorry asses into arbitration and get an enormous settlement.

The manager says you're a troublemaker and gets you blacklisted from every gambling hall in the Belt.

And he has this power, how? He can say anything he wants. Yet there will always be those who do not believe him. Especially if he has a reputation for making wild accusations.

He publicly says you're a cheater and a troublemaker. You don't get any second chances.

Why wouldn't you get a second chance? Oh yes, because that is your scenario, so of course he gets no second chance. What would happen if you turned around and called him a pedophile? I guess he could never get a second chance either, right? Silly scenario, silly outcome.

Anyway, this is the worst-case interpretation from the story....

No it's not. You have materially altered the story to make it fit your improbably scenario. That's not an "interpretation; that's intellectual masturbation.

Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: Apollo-Soyuz on December 18, 2010, 05:08:06 pm
A known patron accused a newcomer of cheating. The newcomer insulted the patron and invited a fight. The patron then kicked him in the head.

Han shot first. Wait, nevermind.

OK, from what I see, Morris insulted Suki, and invited the brawl.

Both Suki and Morris decided to brawl. They both decided to meet each other over on top of the table. So neither can claim self-defense.

After the fight was broken up, Morris got himself banned, which is the right of the property owner. The owner can ban anyone they want.

Also, when Larry/Mike (transcript below needs to be fixed still, maybe his last name is Chekhov?) fails to reach someone on the comm and suspects foul play, something is going to happen by the third act.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: SandySandfort on December 18, 2010, 06:30:42 pm
Also, when Larry/Mike (transcript below needs to be fixed still, maybe his last name is Chekhov?)...

Maybe it's Schrödinger...
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 18, 2010, 08:38:49 pm

 On the "proof" issue. This is a comic strip, not a motion picture. Panels only imply the action between them. We know he was cheating, so it is safe to assume the secreted card was discovered. I think others understand this, but feel free to draw your own panel that shows the card slipping out of his sleeve and someone shouting, "There it is!"

I'm making a worst case interpretation. Which does not look so very bad to me.

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This is not an unlikely outcome today, is it? Newbies who get into conflicts with established regulars are trouble-makers. An established regular is not often a trouble-maker or he would not have become an established regular in the first place.

I have no way of knowing this and neither do you.  ;)

I'm remembering some bars. It was true for the particular bars I remember. Of course they were a biased sample of all the bars in the USA, because they were the kind of bars that I could be found in and I have never set foot in the vast majority of bars.

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And here again, we have your special pleading by building up a totally unsupported assumption. But let's play, just for fun.

I said myself I was building up an interpretation which I thought had not yet been falsified, but that did not have to be true. (Or I intended to say that. Maybe I was unclear.) Of course what happens to Morris doesn't give us a hint what would happen to a newbie who actually had done nothing wrong except be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But to see where it goes, I suppose he might get the same treatment when he's falsely accused.

I want to note that it can hardly hurt to keep your head and respond rationally. Something like "I do not cheat. What can I do to prove I didn't do what you say I've done?" They won't accuse you of having cards up your sleeve when you do not. Accuse you of dealing yourself extra cards? Count the cards still in the deck and see if it's the right number? Etc. If they accuse you of doing something that an innocent man can't show he didn't do, stress that point. The only way it hurts is if you get attacked while you aren't ready. But when you don't have any friends in the room and you don't know who your accuser's friends are, being ready might not help much.

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OK, imagine the worst case. You're a newbie, and you visit a gambling hall. Somebody falsely accuses you of cheating. They attack you.

When the facts of the story don't support you, you make up new ones. Nobody attacked Morris, so why posit that here? But as I said, let's play. So I haul all their sorry asses into arbitration and get an enormous settlement.

You take them into arbitration. They say you were cheating. You say you weren't. Where does it go from there? They should have hauled your sorry ass into arbitration for cheating? Perhaps there will be video records that will show you looking threatening or looking harmless, or looking like you're about to run away.... Would it look like an honest mistake on their part? "Of course, the outcome of a bona fide fair trial is always something of a tossup."

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The manager says you're a troublemaker and gets you blacklisted from every gambling hall in the Belt.

And he has this power, how? He can say anything he wants. Yet there will always be those who do not believe him. Especially if he has a reputation for making wild accusations.

If the gambling hall managers all know each other, they'll tend to back each other. But they might not. There could be several gambling halls in the Belt that will still accept you. Perhaps they will send you invitations. ?? But again, I'm assuming the worst case to see where it goes. The manager has the right to refuse your business. The other gambling hall managers have the right to do that if they want to, and I have assumed that they do. Larry talked like they would, and I'm going with it.

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He publicly says you're a cheater and a troublemaker. You don't get any second chances.

Why wouldn't you get a second chance? Oh yes, because that is your scenario, so of course he gets no second chance. What would happen if you turned around and called him a pedophile? I guess he could never get a second chance either, right?

Larry runs a gambling hall and has the right to keep you out of it. You are a newbie without much reputation. (Morris had lost a lawsuit and did not contest that he attempted murder of strangers for profit.) You can choose to believe Larry is a pedophile and you don't have to give  him a second chance. If he thinks that you harm him by making the accusation public, I guess he can call an arbitrator. Maybe he won't think your opinion actually harms him.

It looks to me like these guys have the right to do you a minor injustice. But it is not a major injustice. Like, say you call an arbitrator. "Larry has harmed me by refusing to let me gamble in his bar. If he let me in I could make X grams of gold a night, and he's denying me that money." And then you prove in front of "official" witnesses that you could reliably make X grams of gold a night. At this point, who has hurt your gambling career more, Larry or you yourself?

Larry can blacklist you from his bar without any obligation to prove that you deserve it. That's an issue for Larry to resolve between him and himself. He is not obliged to take your money in exchange for something you want from him.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: jamesd on December 19, 2010, 03:25:00 pm
A known patron accused a newcomer of cheating. The newcomer insulted the patron and invited a fight. The patron then kicked him in the head.

What does "known patron" have to do with it? Suki could just as well be known as someone who unfairly accuses people of cheating. Presumably, Larry/Mike (we are fixing that) knows his clientèle by their actions and reputation and does not make decision based on your simplistic "known guy, good; stranger, bad" analysis.

You are stacking the deck by having your anarchy dominated by good people.  That is propagandistic, and also makes for a dull story.  More honest to show that in anarchy, flawed people have appropriate incentives to behave well, or at least no worse than they can get away with - which version also gives us more conflict, and more serious conflict, hence more dramatic tension.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: SandySandfort on December 19, 2010, 06:06:11 pm
You take them into arbitration. They say you were cheating. You say you weren't.

You win, duh. They are the one's with the burden of proof on the cheating issue, not you. Unless they can prove that you cheated, then they initiated force and you win. (FYI, your burden of proof is that you were attacked. Injuries, witnesses, security recordings and contemporaneous statements against interest should meet that burden.)

Larry runs a gambling hall and has the right to keep you out of it. You are a newbie without much reputation. (Morris had lost a lawsuit and did not contest that he attempted murder of strangers for profit.) You can choose to believe Larry is a pedophile and you don't have to give  him a second chance. If he thinks that you harm him by making the accusation public, I guess he can call an arbitrator.

THINK IT THROUGH. No, he cannot get arbitration. Please tell us what this has to do with the ZAP? Where is the initiation of force?

Here is the fallacy of your arguments and the arguments of several of you who just don't get it. Ayn Rand pointed out that when people don't like an argument they fall back on what she called "lifeboat" situations. The reality is that all systems will have problems dealing with edge situations. However, life rarely has edge situations (that's why they are called edge situations). If AnCap works 99% of the time, you will always argue about the 1%, as though that proves AnCap does not work. I, for one, do not intend to play that game any more. If you insist on positing lifeboat situations, my only response will be "Lifeboat." When you return to the real 99% world, we can talk.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: SandySandfort on December 19, 2010, 06:14:50 pm
You are stacking the deck by having your anarchy dominated by good people. 

Oh you poor damaged little soul. Yes, there are bad people, but the world is dominated by good people or at least "good enough" people.

That is propagandistic, and also makes for a dull story.  More honest to show that in anarchy, flawed people have appropriate incentives to behave well, or at least no worse than they can get away with - which version also gives us more conflict, and more serious conflict, hence more dramatic tension.

I think I have said this before, but don't try to teach your grandmother how to suck eggs. I don't think you could write your way out of a paper bag. Pretending that you can teach writers how to write is the hight of hubris and frankly, it makes you look like a pretentious ass. Strong post to follow.   ::)
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 19, 2010, 09:19:28 pm
You are stacking the deck by having your anarchy dominated by good people.

Oh you poor damaged little soul. Yes, there are bad people, but the world is dominated by good people or at least "good enough" people.

I don't disagree with you at all, and I have a slightly different slant on it.

One of the attractions of AnCap thinking is that it's possible you could have a world that isn't dominated by *anybody*.

It looks to me like arbitrators would get judged by how the public likes the "justice" they deal out. But bartenders would mostly get judged on how well they run their bars.

Similarly with AnCap webcomic creators. One who was too much of a curmudgeon in his forums, who insulted too many people and banned too many people might anger enough readers to reduce readership and do his site some harm. But it would take a *whole lot* to do that, because most of the audience is there for the comic, and will put up with a whole lot in the forums if they even notice them. Somebody that most interested parties think was unjustly banned might cause a stir for a week or possibly a month, but people forget him after a little while, even if a few others try to keep up a controversy and get banned themselves..

If somebody gets thrown out of a bar who didn't deserve to get thrown out, it isn't that big a deal. If they fail to throw out somebody who should have been, then likely they have a second incident and then they correct their mistake.

So if I get thrown out of a bar my thought is to pick myself up and yell "I've been thrown out of better bars than this" and go elsewhere. I don't call the arbitrators, they don't call the arbitrators, just let it go. Ordinary people don't have to do perfect justice, as long as it isn't real important.

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That is propagandistic, and also makes for a dull story.  More honest to show that in anarchy, flawed people have appropriate incentives to behave well, or at least no worse than they can get away with - which version also gives us more conflict, and more serious conflict, hence more dramatic tension.

I think I have said this before, but don't try to teach your grandmother how to suck eggs. I don't think you could write your way out of a paper bag. Pretending that you can teach writers how to write is the hight of hubris and frankly, it makes you look like a pretentious ass. Strong post to follow.   ::)

He gets to say what kind of story he likes, and you get to use his advice however you want. That's fair. David Gerrold told a story about the writing instructor he got the most from. The man was a pompous ass who did not actually know much about writing, who told Gerrold that he'd never make it as a writer and to just give up. Gerrold got mad and started publishing to sell, to show him. The anger fueled years of success.

Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: SandySandfort on December 20, 2010, 08:21:47 am
One of the attractions of AnCap thinking is that it's possible you could have a world that isn't dominated by *anybody*.

Exactly. Most human sorrow is caused by people trying to mind other people's business and initiating force to do it. Someone who believes in individual freedom will allow others to go to hell in their own way. To the extent there are "interventions" to stop people from taking drugs, engaging in risky sexual behavior or whatever, they take the form of talk therapy, if the person being helped is okay with hearing it.

It looks to me like arbitrators would get judged by how the public likes the "justice" they deal out. But bartenders would mostly get judged on how well they run their bars.

Bingo.

Similarly with AnCap webcomic creators. One who was too much of a curmudgeon in his forums, who insulted too many people and banned too many people might anger enough readers to reduce readership...

True enough, but this can be balanced out by people who say, "Good enough, that pompous ass deserved it!"   ;D

By the by, though Frank and Scott could certainly ban people from their forums, I think it would take some extraordinary provocation. The pompous asses on this list (you know who you are) serve at least one purpose. They show the ugly underbelly of statism ("nuke 'em all!") and provide convenient attenuated thinking for intelligent, pro-freedom contributors to practice on. The statists on this list are the Salk vaccine for preparing to fight the statist polio.

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That is propagandistic, and also makes for a dull story.  More honest to show that in anarchy, flawed people have appropriate incentives to behave well, or at least no worse than they can get away with - which version also gives us more conflict, and more serious conflict, hence more dramatic tension.

I think I have said this before, but don't try to teach your grandmother how to suck eggs. I don't think you could write your way out of a paper bag. Pretending that you can teach writers how to write is the hight of hubris and frankly, it makes you look like a pretentious ass. Strong post to follow.   ::)

He gets to say what kind of story he likes, and you get to use his advice however you want.

There are respectful ways to go into someone's home and criticize them and rude ways of doing it. You are incorrect. Jamesd did not say what he likes (i.e., "I prefer stories with more conflict/busty babes/spaceships"). Instead he went into lecture mode and made global pronouncements about what is boring, what is "honest," what is dramatic tension, etc. That is extremely disrespectful and confrontational. I would be more inclined to take that sort of shit from someone who actually knows about writing, someone in the trenches, writing and selling, but not from some envious, pompous, no-talent, tire-kicking, gas bag.

Jthomas, you regularly get in my face, but at least your mother taught you good manners. So the dialog goes on.

David Gerrold told a story about the writing instructor he got the most from. The man was a pompous ass who did not actually know much about writing, who told Gerrold that he'd never make it as a writer and to just give up. Gerrold got mad and started publishing to sell, to show him. The anger fueled years of success.

That can go either way. I got set back several years by someone who told me the same thing. He was wrong, but it took me some time to realize that publishers would actually pay me real Yankee dollars for putting words in a row. So the opinions of wannabee writers and literary critics, do not undermine my self-confidence. However, the hypocrisy and bad manners piss me off. When that happens, I will only let it pass so long before I start kicking ass and taking names.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: macsnafu on December 20, 2010, 08:50:00 am
Geez.  It's a story, not a treatise.  Why not just sit back and let the story unfold?   It's the creator's job to focus on what he thinks is important.  If you don't like it, or think he is focusing on the wrong things, why not write your own story?
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 20, 2010, 09:11:46 am

He gets to say what kind of story he likes, and you get to use his advice however you want.

There are respectful ways to go into someone's home and criticize them and rude ways of doing it. You are incorrect. Jamesd did not say what he likes (i.e., "I prefer stories with more conflict/busty babes/spaceships"). Instead he went into lecture mode and made global pronouncements about what is boring, what is "honest," what is dramatic tension, etc. That is extremely disrespectful and confrontational. I would be more inclined to take that sort of shit from someone who actually knows about writing, someone in the trenches, writing and selling, but not from some envious, pompous, no-talent, tire-kicking, gas bag.

Sorry about that. Not only disrespectful and confrontational, but also aristotelian as opposed to Null-A. I interpreted his comments about what is in terms of what he likes since that's how it made sense to me.

Oh well. You do get to use his advice however you want.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: jamesd on December 20, 2010, 05:20:01 pm
Oh you poor damaged little soul. Yes, there are bad people, but the world is dominated by good people or at least "good enough" people.

The argument that people are too wicked to rule others is considerably more persuasive than the argument that they are good enough to rule themselves, and the argument that governments are apt to do bad things considerably more persuasive than the argument that anarchists would not do bad things.

Plus, of course, good people with serious flaws, and evil people that are thoroughly evil, just make for a better story, regardless of whether such people are typical.  Your characters need to be wicked enough for dramatic tension, rather than good enough to make the imagined society benign, regardless of how good or evil real people are. 
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: jamesd on December 20, 2010, 05:42:32 pm
Geez.  It's a story, not a treatise.  Why not just sit back and let the story unfold? 

Because it is, in substantial part, a treatise and not a story.

I have minor ideological disagreements with Sandy about the likely shape of anarchism, my preferred and expected form of anarchism having a distinct touch of anarcho piratism, and I fear that anarchism will need more than a touch or anarcho piratism to deal with statists and pirates. I also think his ideology is adversely affecting his story - all the anarchists being more virtuous than all the non anarchists.  I think that anarchy needs to be able to work with anarchists that are no better, and sometimes worse, than statists.

My preferred form of anarchy works successfully with homo economicus, who is notoriously not a nice guy. 

Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: jamesd on December 20, 2010, 06:15:54 pm
There are respectful ways to go into someone's home and criticize them and rude ways of doing it. You are incorrect. Jamesd did not say what he likes (i.e., "I prefer stories with more conflict/busty babes/spaceships"). Instead he went into lecture mode and made global pronouncements about what is boring, what is "honest," what is dramatic tension, etc. That is extremely disrespectful and confrontational
 I would be more inclined to take that sort of shit from someone who actually knows about writing, someone in the trenches, writing and selling, but not from some envious, pompous, no-talent, tire-kicking, gas bag.

It was not my intention to be disrespectful.

That character flaws make for more dramatic tension is indeed a preference that I should not have stated as a fact, and I apologize for doing so. That having wicked statists and virtuous anarchists looks like stacking the deck is as much a fact as the problems with the gravity.

Your gravity is wrong, in that people, except for one fight frame (out of two fight frames in the most recent story arc) and one introductory frame in a previous story arc, are acting as if in earth gravity.  I don't see how I could have phrased that more courteously than I did.  It is not that I prefer a different style of depicting low gravity, like one person preferring busty babes and another more realistically endowed babes. Your graphics really are inconsistent with the gravity stated in the story text.

A key question that people ask about anarchy is "Suppose anarchists do bad things?  Who will stop them"

To which there are two answers:  One is  "And who stops governments?", and then to point to all the bad things that police, politicians, and financial regulators do, and the other is to point to reputational enforcement.  We don't see Walmart security showing up on YouTube caught doing bad things, the way we see police showing up on YouTube caught doing bad things, and the reason is that Walmart security does not want to scare the customers. In order to illustrate the second answer, one needs to depict anarchists who are at least somewhat tempted to do bad things, but find that doing bad things in anarchy has consequences that government agents are unlikely to face when they do bad things, irrespective of whether characters who are tempted to bad things make for better drama.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: quadibloc on December 20, 2010, 08:43:19 pm
The argument that people are too wicked to rule others is considerably more persuasive than the argument that they are good enough to rule themselves, and the argument that governments are apt to do bad things considerably more persuasive than the argument that anarchists would not do bad things.
Yes. And I have seen the "more persuasive" argument advanced quite a bit here.

And it certainly is true that governments can do bad things; bad things in the "worst nightmare" category. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and so on. I'd really like to avoid that.

But this is exactly why I'm not eager to jump on the AnCap bandwagon. What is the best way of avoiding that kind of thing?

Just saying "we've got a rule here, no government allowed", or having a different kind of government - one that isn't so bad, a "democracy" - and which does have the powers of taxation and conscription so that one's community, nation, or landmass is a more effective unit at putting up a fight against anyone who would try to impose that kind of regime on you?

One could, I suppose, see Stalin, Hitler, and Mao as hoaxes dreamed up by local politicians to make themselves seem necessary. Or that guerilla warfare by an armed citizenry would do the job - but while that does work against regimes that care about people (think of Gandhi in India), the Nazis and Communists weren't above mass reprisals and the like. Bombing bridges in Amsterdam seems preferable to the residents of Dubuque to hand-to-hand fighting in Dubuque.

I see real external crazy guys, who are much more frightening to me than, say, Barack Obama. Of course eternal vigilance is required of the citizenry to keep a future dictator from rising up. At the moment, though, it seems that nothing is going to prevent Americans from voting for Obama instead of, say, Sarah Palin in 2012. So the ability to exercise that vigilance has not been taken away from the American people.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 20, 2010, 09:29:54 pm
I think that anarchy needs to be able to work with anarchists that are no better, and sometimes worse, than statists.

We are getting a look at how this particular anarchy deals with Morris, a not-very-particular not-very-good anarchist.

Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: jamesd on December 21, 2010, 02:23:32 am
But this is exactly why I'm not eager to jump on the AnCap bandwagon. What is the best way of avoiding [bad deeds by governments]?

Just saying "we've got a rule here, no government allowed", or having a different kind of government - one that isn't so bad, a "democracy" - and which does have the powers of taxation and conscription so that one's community, nation, or landmass is a more effective unit at putting up a fight against anyone who would try to impose that kind of regime on you?

Government does not seem to me particularly effective against Islam.  People are in fact getting creeping Islamic rule imposed on them.  Government's effectiveness against communism is debatable - looks to me like communism collapsed in a domino effect following defeat in Afghanistan.  They were defeated by a non state enemy.  Since they ruled by fear, and one defeat greatly diminished that fear, one thing led to another, the domino effect.  Reagan helped, helped a lot, but other people were doing the heavy lifting.

Indeed one of the reasons I favor anarchism is that it looks to me that it has been effective against Islam.  Muslims were successfully imposing Sharia law on Cronulla beach.  A series of anti Muslim riots ensued, the Cronulla Beach riots, one of them almost a pogrom.  This quelled Muslim efforts, restoring peace between the communities, reminding Muslims that they are outside Dar al Islam.

Its plausible that government was vital to defeating communism.  I am not convinced, but it is plausible.  The events following 9/11 are a pretty clear indication that government is an obstacle to defeating Dar al Islam.  Over the last thousand years, successful and lasting governmental efforts to defeat Dar al Islam have relied very heavily on non state forces.  The last twelve hundred years, and the last ten years, suggest that government, or at least large scale government, is at best seldom very useful in defeating Dar al Islam, and at worst an obstacle.

Though I agree with you that an anarchic society as peaceful, non violent, gentle, and forgiving, as some in these forums hope and expect, would be rolled up by Muslims, communists, nazis, or all three, in about ten minutes

the Nazis and Communists weren't above mass reprisals and the like.

That did not help the Russians in Afghanistan, nor their proxies in Nicaragua.  While indiscriminate mass murder is useful and necessary in quelling guerrillas, it is not all powerful.  Systematic state terror and indiscriminate mass murder won the recent war in Ceylon against the Tamil Tigers, but it was no walk in the park.

I see real external crazy guys, who are much more frightening to me than, say, Barack Obama.

And what is Barack Obama doing about them?  Strata has an entertaining tale. (http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/15633)
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 21, 2010, 03:09:58 am

Government's effectiveness against communism is debatable - looks to me like communism collapsed in a domino effect following defeat in Afghanistan.  They were defeated by a non state enemy.  Since they ruled by fear, and one defeat greatly diminished that fear, one thing led to another, the domino effect.  Reagan helped, helped a lot, but other people were doing the heavy lifting.

I'm not convinced that Reagan had much to do with it. He was good at taking credit, though.

The Afghan war looked like one big part of it. The Russians took more casualties than they were ready to accept for a cause they didn't believe in. The USA has it easier in a similar case, because we have better body armor and better emergency health care, and we don't take nearly so many casualties. Instead we spend great gobs of money that people don't notice much because China is picking up the tab, for now. US weapons made a difference fighting the Soviets, maybe a big difference. Could the Afghans have managed with only bootleg weapons bought by oil-rich muslims? I don't know.

I think Chernobyl may have had an even bigger effect. They had a great big nuclear accident and they lied about it. A whole lot of people decided that they couldn't trust the Soviet government with nuclear reactors.

Some people want to give the US government credit for that. We went in and sabotaged Chernobyl and it helped destroy the USSR. I tend to doubt that. "How do you know that the CIA was not behind Chernobyl?" "It blew up, didn't it?" When one government does something really stupid, you don't assume it was because some other government was real real smart, do you?

You can say that the Soviets ruled by fear, but I think that's mostly not the case. People tended to trust them. People believed the government was mostly doing an adequate job and they didn't want to do it themselves. There was fear, but for most people I doubt there was more fear than Americans have for the IRS. There's the possibility that the IRS might swoop down on you and audit your returns, and pick up on some little illegality you didn't know was wrong, and then put you through a year or so of legal trouble while you pay a tax lawyer, and then in the end you go to prison. And there's nothing you can do about it except keep your income simple -- if it's all wages and you don't get any money on the side you're probably safe. But most people don't lose a lot of sleep over it. They don't fear the US government even though the IRS could go after them and there's absolutely nothing they can do about it. They mostly accept that their government is the best government in the world. Wasn't it mostly that way in the USSR? The secret police will probably not bother you unless you do something wrong.

But I don't think we can trust the US government with nuclear reactors. Let's just not go there. We can't trust them to run reactors competently and we can't trust them not to misregulate reactors run by somebody else.

Of course people say that Chernobyl was a special case and nothing like that could ever happen again. The Soviet government was incompetent. Our government could never be incompetent like that. Our government is the best government in the world. Duh.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: GeoModder on December 21, 2010, 09:47:10 am
But I don't think we can trust the US government with nuclear reactors. Let's just not go there. We can't trust them to run reactors competently and we can't trust them not to misregulate reactors run by somebody else.

Of course people say that Chernobyl was a special case and nothing like that could ever happen again. The Soviet government was incompetent. Our government could never be incompetent like that. Our government is the best government in the world. Duh.


3-mile island?  ;)
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 21, 2010, 10:51:42 am

Of course people say that Chernobyl was a special case and nothing like that could ever happen again. The Soviet government was incompetent. Our government could never be incompetent like that. Our government is the best government in the world. Duh.

3-mile island?  ;)

It has been argued on this very board that Three Mile Island was not actually very bad. Only a completely insignificant amount of radioactivity was released. It's impossible for us to have a significant accident because our safety procedures are so good that we can never do worse than Three Mile Island.

I have a story related to that. Around 20 years ago I read a story about how carefully they (yes, "They") design nuclear reactors and their containment. The story said they thought of every one-in-a-billion chance they could find and made sure it was handled. For example, they worked out what would happen if a fully-fueled fully-loaded 747 hit a reactor, and designed the containment so that the reactor would be completely unharmed. I remember I grumped about that. There were media reports about nuclear power plants sited very close to known earthquake fault lines, why didn't they deal with that? What's the chance a crashing 747 would happen to hit a nuclear reactor anyway? And then around 9 years ago, in the middle of the night on 9/14, I woke up and remembered the reactor story. Oh. Yeah. So whatever I say about them not foreseeing every possible accident, still at least once they did better than me.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: GeoModder on December 21, 2010, 12:13:32 pm
My "Three Mile Island" was a mere ironic dig at your "USA government is the best" duh.
I fully realize it wasn't as bad as say Chernobyl, it's just the worst nuclear incident I remembered out of memory to happen in the USA.

But, reading the rest of your reply, I am curious at why the terrorists planning 9/11 didn't attempt to  crash an airliner in a nuclear facility. Sure, there are the reassurances of the nuclear community on the safety of reactors in the western world, but they (the 9/11 planners) didn't have to believe those to be true.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: mellyrn on December 21, 2010, 12:36:50 pm
Quote
I am curious at why the terrorists planning 9/11 didn't attempt to  crash an airliner in a nuclear facility. Sure, there are the reassurances of the nuclear community on the safety of reactors in the western world, but they (the 9/11 planners) didn't have to believe those to be true.

Or all four.  Indian Point is just upriver from NYC, and the official flight paths of 3 of the planes pass within minutes of right overhead.  A reactor might be hardened against one, but three, bang-bang-bang?  I wonder about that one, too.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: SandySandfort on December 21, 2010, 03:45:34 pm
A reactor might be hardened against one, but three, bang-bang-bang?  I wonder about that one, too.

The purpose of terrorism is to create terror, not to do damage, per se. Collapsing buildings are a lot more photogenic than a cracked reactor and lingering deaths from radiation. A better question might be, who are the terrorists responsible for the fall of the towers? I do not have an answer or even a strong guess, but the official story smells to high heaven.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 21, 2010, 05:06:36 pm

I am curious at why the terrorists planning 9/11 didn't attempt to  crash an airliner in a nuclear facility. Sure, there are the reassurances of the nuclear community on the safety of reactors in the western world, but they (the 9/11 planners) didn't have to believe those to be true.

I can guess about that.

My first guess is that whoever planned it, wanted a great big symbol but did not actually want to damage the USA much materially. Presumably they believed along with everybody else that the WTC would not actually fall but would be left with a couple of big holes in visible buildings to remind everybody of the attack for a long time.

Al Qaeda had already attacked the WTC once, on the justification that the USA was running a sort of colonial empire, and US stockbrokers in the WTC were central to running it. So the WTC was a natural target this time -- either because they still believed the same, or because someone else wanted us to think it was them.

However, a US counterintelligence report claimed that AQ did indeed have teams hidden in the USA prepared to do not 4 attacks but 80 attacks. Only 4 attacks were actually carried out because nobody else got the message. The other teams were still waiting when the US rounded them up and interrogated them. Why would AQ sacrifice 76 teams for no purpose when they activated only 4 teams?

What makes sense to me, if we accept this story, is that AQ had 80 attacks planned, and intended to use them as retaliation for some awful atrocity that we might do. They were supposed to wait for that possibility, and if/when we did something really horrible then they would launch 80 air attacks against US targets, possibly including nuclear power plants, and announce they did it in retaliation for our action.

But somehow 4 of them were started without AQ planning it. Either they had a communications accident that sent off 4 teams when the rest of the organization had no clue what was happening, or somebody else broke into their communications and launched 4 teams while AQ did not know.

In that case it could have been sheer accident which 4 missions got launched. The US interrogations would have found out what others were targeted but presumably it's now a US secret. Or somebody else chose those particular missions to maximise US horror without reducing our ability to react.

Doesn't it seem plausible that the US government could release the secrets we found out about AQ from 9 years ago? Chances are they do not reveal anything important about AQ today. Does it help the US to keep those things secret today? I don't know. I don't know how to find out. They're secret.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: quadibloc on December 21, 2010, 09:44:28 pm
But, reading the rest of your reply, I am curious at why the terrorists planning 9/11 didn't attempt to  crash an airliner in a nuclear facility. Sure, there are the reassurances of the nuclear community on the safety of reactors in the western world, but they (the 9/11 planners) didn't have to believe those to be true.
And, even given that those assurances are true, and a fully-fueled jet or three would not breach a containment building, if the rest of the nuclear plant is destroyed, there might not be a radiation release, but there wouldn't be any more electrical power generation for a while either.

Given the large power failure across much of the United States brought on by a hot day in New York City, losing Indian Point could well have involved some risk of making the city uninhabitable - that is, a big chunk of its population would have to move elsewhere in order to have electricity for work and food preservation and so on.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: mellyrn on December 22, 2010, 06:08:06 am
There are a gazillion stories Sandy could be presenting.  This is the one he is presenting at this time.

It might be true that a tougher, grittier, downer-and-dirtier story would make a better "sell" for AnCap -- to the rational, thinking part of one's mind.  It might also be true that a story that is primarily an engaging story and only secondarily AnCap is a better "sell" precisely because the AnCap is background and has a better chance to do the ninja number on that same rational process.  Bwahaha.

Maybe Sandy will write one that is grittier and still a story first -- next arc, next graphic, next year.  Maybe he never will, because maybe (just maybe) that's not his story to write.

Maybe it's yours.


Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: SandySandfort on December 22, 2010, 08:18:00 am
There are a gazillion stories Sandy could be presenting.  This is the one he is presenting at this time.

It might be true that a tougher, grittier, downer-and-dirtier story would make a better "sell" for AnCap -- to the rational, thinking part of one's mind.  It might also be true that a story that is primarily an engaging story and only secondarily AnCap is a better "sell" precisely because the AnCap is background and has a better chance to do the ninja number on that same rational process.  Bwahaha.
...

Mellyn has been paying attention. I write to entertain. To the extent I am trying to "sell" anyone on Market anarchy, it is just because it makes more sense to me than what we have. One should always write for one's self and I like stories that exist in a world that operates on market principles (or fails to work on collectivist ones).

I think anyone would be hard pressed to explain how I was selling market anarchy in the Mystery of the Martian Melodies arc. Of course, I did mention the anti-statism comedy, Ninotchka, starring Greta Garbo and Melvyn-Douglas. Wow, that's a hard sell.

Similarly, market anarchy had nothing to do with Leap of Faith, where Bert and Ernie had to escape from 243 Ida.

The Big Heads arc did use some government types as foils, but it wasn't particularly ideological.

And so it goes. I write humor, mystery, intrigue, action and so on. It is the statists among EFT's readers who are the true ideologues. They assume I have some hidden political agenda any yearn to expose and defeat it. To date, they have not done a very good job. That's because their premise is wrong. (Well actually their political premises are wrong too, but that's another story.) I write to engage, amuse and entertain my readers. If any of my work causes readers to think and question, well, that's just gravy.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: jamesd on December 22, 2010, 06:32:29 pm
I think Chernobyl may have had an even bigger effect. They had a great big nuclear accident and they lied about it.

Let us look at the timing: They retreat in Afghanistan, and abruptly everything falls apart.

Before Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, Armenia, as a nation, stood aloof from the rebellion of some Armenians outside the official soviet set boundaries of Armenia

After Soviet defeat Afghanistan, Armenia, under the leadership of the Armenian soviet, immediately joined in as a nation.

in 1988 February Karabakh declared independence, a declaration similar to many past acts of rebellion against Soviet power, which was successfully repressed by the usual response to such past rebellions - martial law and occupation by interior ministry troops. Armenia did not join in, did not support that declaration of independence until after the fall of Afghanistan.  Immediately after the fall of Afghanistan, Armenia joined in.  Suddenly the interior ministry had more enemies, and more powerful enemies, and less will to fight them.

Before 1989 January, when things went pear shaped in Afghanistan, Soviet Union still conducted itself according to the Brezhnev doctrine, brutally and successfully suppressing rebellion in 1988 February, as it had previously suppressed rebellions by Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary in 1953, 1956, 1968, and 1981.

Before defeat in Afghanistan, we saw unchanged Soviet will and ruthlessness in suppressing rebellion, the last conspicuous demonstration of Soviet will to crush resistance being 1988 February.

After defeat in Afghanistan, after January 1989, we immediately saw, within weeks or months, rebellions comparable to 1953, 1956, 1968, and 1981 all over the place, and Gorbachev unwilling to confront them.

We now know that the Soviet Union lacked the economic capacity to sustain the war on multiple fronts that Reagan forced upon it, and so it had to retreat, and, since the Soviet Union ruled by fear, retreat, once begun, necessarily became uncontrollable.

The evil empire was held together by fear.  When it suffered an unambiguous military defeat in Afghanistan, something that looked suspiciously like a defeat in Nicaragua, and assorted rats knawing on its fingers and toes in various countries around the world, people stopped being afraid, and one country after another, no longer afraid, shrugged off communist dominion, the dominoes falling closer and closer and closer to the center, until eventually Moscow itself shrugged off communism.

I don't think we can entirely credit Ronald Reagan with rollback.  It had been tried, indecisively and ineffectually in small ways before Reagan, and then invariably Washington would have cold feet, and abandon its allies to torture and death.

But containment had failed in Vietnam, and it seemed that the Soviet Union was on a roll, that history was coming to a head, that inevitable communist world domination was imminent, so something had to be done.  In place of the failed policy of containment, the obvious solution was a more vigorous policy of rollback.  I think any administration, republican or democrat, including a re-elected Carter, would have done much the same, but Reagan, the great communicator, had the moral confidence to claim the policy was right and just, to reply to those who claimed that the US was terrorizing the oppressed masses into disbanding their beloved collectives.   Carter would have done the same things, but would have acted furtive and guilty, would have himself half believed that the US was terrorizing the oppressed masses into disbanding their beloved agricultural collectives so that the US could steal the world's resources,and the resulting Nixonian furtiveness would have given confidence to the enemies of freedom.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: mellyrn on December 23, 2010, 06:29:22 am
Quote
it seemed that the Soviet Union was on a roll, that history was coming to a head, that inevitable communist world domination was imminent, so something had to be done.

The Sovereign Individual (http://www.amazon.com/Sovereign-Individual-Mastering-Transition-Information/dp/0684832720) takes a very interesting look at history. 

It seems to me that vast Illuminati-like conspiracy stories (no, you're right, that is out of left field, but don't worry, I'm not going there) are popular because people would rather have an evil overlord than no overlord (ref. today's strip (http://www.bigheadpress.com/eft?page=599)!  Bing!), that  it's less scary if bad, or stupid, things happen because someone meant to do them, than if they happened accidentally, out of anyone's control.  This makes The Sovereign Individual's thesis unpalatable since it discusses ways the best-laid plans go awry due to factors no one can control or, often, even anticipate. 

They make quite an excellent case that the demise of the USSR was "like watching one of a pair of fraternal twins die of old age".

One guess as to the remaining twin.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 23, 2010, 06:44:06 am
I think Chernobyl may have had an even bigger effect. They had a great big nuclear accident and they lied about it.

Let us look at the timing: They retreat in Afghanistan, and abruptly everything falls apart.

Sure. So was Afghanistan the cause or one of the effects?

You point out that the USSR was ruled by fear, and you figure that the retreat from Afghanistan showed people they didn't have to be afraid. I say that after Chernobyl an increasing number of subjects thought of the Soviet government with contempt.

They cooperated 100% with the Soviet government when the alternative was being conquered by the Nazis. Sometimes Soviet generals would tell large groups of civilians to attack the German army with whatever weapons they could scrounge, as a distraction, and they did it and got slaughtered. They did whatever they thought they had to, and only a few of them tried to run away -- and survive -- rather than get shelled.

They put up with an incredible amount of government secrecy, to counter the threat of the crazy militarist Americans. They assumed the government knew what it was doing.

Then they found out that the same government tried to keep Chernobyl a secret, and was willing to expose large numbers of Soviet citizens to radiation pollution, because the government would look bad if the truth got out. And it was something that they couldn't possibly keep secret for real. There was no way to argue that they were trying to keep the secret to protect the USSR from the USA. They screwed up and then they tried to hide it.

Some crazy Americans had been arguing that the USSR had an effective civilian fallout shelter program, because they intended to survive a nuclear war which would wipe out the USA. Hahaha. All they had was lies and secrecy. Is it any wonder their people disrespected them?

Of course it didn't start with Cherobyl. Andropov tried to make serious reforms, and of course corrupt officials anonymously opposed him while the public got to see little hints of how bad it was. Picture Andropov singing the lumberjack song....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clPYfaTvHT0
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: jamesd on December 23, 2010, 05:05:56 pm
Let us look at the timing: They retreat in Afghanistan, and abruptly everything falls apart.

Sure. So was Afghanistan the cause or one of the effects?

Perestroika and Chernobyl and the rest had no significant effect, because, when push came to shove, as in 1988 February, the Soviets were willing to murder anyone who gave them trouble.

Defeat in Afghanistan had big effect, because, when push came to shove, as in 1989 March, the Soviets now found it difficult to murder everyone who gave them trouble.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 23, 2010, 06:32:50 pm
Let us look at the timing: They retreat in Afghanistan, and abruptly everything falls apart.

Sure. So was Afghanistan the cause or one of the effects?

Perestroika and Chernobyl and the rest had no significant effect, because, when push came to shove, as in 1988 February, the Soviets were willing to murder anyone who gave them trouble.

To be able to murder anybody who gave them trouble, the Soviets needed a loyal core who would murder less-loyal subjects for not murdering on command. It required that the core have high morale and that the governed not object too much.

Both of those were gradually becoming less true. And that loss of morale drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan. They could have stayed longer if they had the will -- they left after 10 years while the USA is talking about staying for 15, for beyond the political horizon -- but they did not.

Quote
Defeat in Afghanistan had big effect, because, when push came to shove, as in 1989 March, the Soviets now found it difficult to murder everyone who gave them trouble.

That's a possible interpretation. Another is that a lot of russians had once had ideals. Some of them believed in the Communist paradise to come. Lots of them believed it was worthwhile to protect Russia from the Nazis. And some of them believed the USA was a terrible threat.  But they were starting to see through it all.
A bunch of clowns protecting their privileges. Idealists will do all sorts of things for their ideals, but it's hard to get people to suffer privations so they can stay in a privileged class....

They ran out of idealists. Andropov wanted reform, and he couldn't get reform without admitting the corruption he wanted to reform -- because if he tried to keep it secret then people who found out about some of it anyway would get all disillusioned. But when he admitted it, he needed more reform than he could actually do. It was all downhill from there.

The USA is in similar shape but later. It's taking us a lot longer to run out of idealists despite senseless wars and blatant corruption and failed attempts at reform.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: terry_freeman on December 24, 2010, 03:00:26 pm
In 1990 or '91, A Russian professor explained the rapidity of the change this way: "We were all radishes ( white on the inside, red on the outside ), and we were just waiting for the right moment."

Although the USSR government had tight control for 75 years, eventually they lost the consensus which gave them a right to continue as they were. We observe a milder form of this in American elections; from time to time, the governing party loses its "mandate", and the base, the die-hard Republicans or Democrats, as the case may be, stay home or vote for the opposition, and an incumbent loses an election. In the former USSR, mass protests and withdrawal of support by armed forces and highly-placed figures signaled that the reign of the Soviets was at an end.

The USSA is approaching such a time. Dissidents who were laughed at or ignored are gaining traction. Academics who previously toed the line as court intellectuals are writing articles which challenge the fundamental premises by which we are governed. The Federal Reserve, the government schools, the military-industrial-complex - all are rapidly losing credibility. The other day, Pat Robertson, of all people, admitted that the war on marijuana is wrong. ( Robertson is an influential Christian Conservative - one of the last people you'd expect to come out for marijuana legalization. )

A research paper on science education in America revealed that American children are terrible at math and science, but American adults are better than most - and the difference is that American schools do badly, but adults are finding ways to educate themselves - TV shows, science centers, the internet. One of the reasons is the desire to educate their children; that is, to make up for the deficiencies of government schools.

Change is coming faster than you think. There is a very powerful current running deep under the surface of mainstream media and political mouthpieces. If the change is big enough to already be producing observable results on the level of adult knowledge, it is far too big to be stopped.

I recall when my libertarian ideas were entirely unfamiliar to most of my audience; today, just about everybody is unhappy with the Federal Reserve, the educational system, the high imprisonment rates, and so forth. "We are all radishes" nowadays.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: jamesd on December 24, 2010, 04:53:12 pm
Let us look at the timing: They retreat in Afghanistan, and abruptly everything falls apart.

Sure. So was Afghanistan the cause or one of the effects?

Perestroika and Chernobyl and the rest had no significant effect, because, when push came to shove, as in 1988 February, the Soviets were willing to murder anyone who gave them trouble.

To be able to murder anybody who gave them trouble, the Soviets needed a loyal core who would murder less-loyal subjects for not murdering on command. It required that the core have high morale and that the governed not object too much.

No, they required that the governed be afraid.  Before defeat in Afghanistan, the governed were afraid, as demonstrated by the fact that in 1988 February, Armenia did not come to the aid of the rebel province of Karabakh.  After defeat in Afghanistan, unafraid, as demonstrated by the fact that Armenia promptly came to the aid of the rebel province of Karabakh.

The Soviet occupation of Karabakh in 1988 March succeeded.

In 1988 April, Soviets announced withdrawal from Afghanistan.

In 1988 August Soviet troops begin withdrawal from Afghanistan.

In 1988 November, Armenian forces furtively start operations in the rebel province of Karabakh and in territories between Karabakh and Amenia

In 1989 January, Soviet troops receive substantial reinforcements, successfully regain control of Karabakh - you will notice that each "success" involves ever larger numbers of fresh troops.

and, to cut the long story short, by 1990 August, the Armenian regular army is piling in wearing their own uniforms and flying the Armenian flag, and the Soviet army is nowhere to be seen.

Defeat in Afghanistan had big effect, because, when push came to shove, as in 1989 March, the Soviets now found it difficult to murder everyone who gave them trouble.

That's a possible interpretation. Another is that a lot of russians had once had ideals. Some of them believed in the Communist paradise to come. Lots of them believed it was worthwhile to protect Russia from the Nazis. And some of them believed the USA was a terrible threat.  But they were starting to see through it all.

Cynicism and doubt were slowly increasing.  But between 1988 and 1990 something dramatic changed, and that dramatic change was not a decline in the willingness or ability to murder opponents, but rather a that they were now facing a lot more opponents, opponents that were now using tanks rather than protest songs.  There was no a big battle, because when their opponents switched to tanks, the Soviets switched away form tanks, and that they switched away from tanks, avoiding a bloody civil war, no doubt reflects the cynicism and disbelief you describe.  But first, their opponents had to get serious about killing people, and they got serious about killing people after the fall of Afghanistan.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 24, 2010, 06:42:18 pm
Let us look at the timing: They retreat in Afghanistan, and abruptly everything falls apart.

Sure. So was Afghanistan the cause or one of the effects?

Perestroika and Chernobyl and the rest had no significant effect, because, when push came to shove, as in 1988 February, the Soviets were willing to murder anyone who gave them trouble.

To be able to murder anybody who gave them trouble, the Soviets needed a loyal core who would murder less-loyal subjects for not murdering on command. It required that the core have high morale and that the governed not object too much.

No, they required that the governed be afraid.

I don't want to argue this subtle point too much because we simply disagree and there is no evidence either of us could point to which might convince the other.

But my opinion is that most Russian citizens were no more afraid of the KGB than Americans are afraid of the IRS. And most citizens of Poland, Czechoslovakia etc were no more afraid of the Soviet army than most Panamanians or Salvadorans are afraid of the US army.

Most of the people were ready to put up with their government, and they didn't think too much about how they had to put up with it whether they wanted to or not. Just as few Americans even think about ways to reform the system. When it became obvious that the American system needed reforms, they settled for voting for Obama.

Quote
The Soviet occupation of Karabakh in 1988 March succeeded.

In 1988 April, Soviets announced withdrawal from Afghanistan.

In 1988 August Soviet troops begin withdrawal from Afghanistan.

In 1988 November, Armenian forces furtively start operations in the rebel province of Karabakh and in territories between Karabakh and Amenia

In 1989 January, Soviet troops receive substantial reinforcements, successfully regain control of Karabakh - you will notice that each "success" involves ever larger numbers of fresh troops.

Kind of like the USA keeps putting more troops into Afghanistan? But we don't have so many "successes" to point to.

So anyway, was the withdrawal from Afghanistan the cause or merely the first completely visible effect? I think of it as the latter, but I don't see any way to prove it one way or another. There's no way to repeat the experiment. But imagine -- if the Soviet government had decided to stay in Afghanistan to the bitter end, would that have saved them? What do you think?
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: jamesd on December 25, 2010, 03:50:56 am
To be able to murder anybody who gave them trouble, the Soviets needed a loyal core who would murder less-loyal subjects for not murdering on command. It required that the core have high morale and that the governed not object too much.

No, they required that the governed be afraid.

I don't want to argue this subtle point too much because we simply disagree and there is no evidence either of us could point to which might convince the other.

But my opinion is that most Russian citizens were no more afraid of the KGB than Americans are afraid of the IRS. And most citizens of Poland, Czechoslovakia etc were no more afraid of the Soviet army than most Panamanians or Salvadorans are afraid of the US army.

That is crazy.  The Soviet Union was a totalitarian terror state.  The Soviet Union had a great big wall with guards with orders to shoot to kill.  The Soviet Union killed millions of its own citizens.  The Soviet Union still had loads of political prisoners in 1989.  Not many political prisoners in the US, though you can lose your job for political incorrectness, particularly if it is a government or quasi government job.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 25, 2010, 04:35:33 am

But my opinion is that most Russian citizens were no more afraid of the KGB than Americans are afraid of the IRS. And most citizens of Poland, Czechoslovakia etc were no more afraid of the Soviet army than most Panamanians or Salvadorans are afraid of the US army.

That is crazy.  The Soviet Union was a totalitarian terror state.  The Soviet Union had a great big wall with guards with orders to shoot to kill.  The Soviet Union killed millions of its own citizens.  The Soviet Union still had loads of political prisoners in 1989.  Not many political prisoners in the US, though you can lose your job for political incorrectness, particularly if it is a government or quasi government job.

You could maybe mark it up to the human capacity for self-deception. Or maybe the mammalian capacity. Most of the time, cows on farms are not afraid of farmers even when they are being raised for meat.

People were not afraid of the KGB until they thought the KGB had noticed them. Just like Americans are mostly not afraid of the IRS until the possibility gets raised that they might be audited.

Alexander Dolgun, a US citizen who worked at the US embassy in Moscow, wrote about traveling with his Russian girlfriend to her uncle's dacha. He was nervous that they crossed a soviet internal border and neither of them had the internal passport that would make that OK. She said it was a technicality. When they got to the dacha he saw a pair of her uncle's pants that had the special purple stripe and he got afraid then. He could be arrested for espionage and her uncle was a KGB agent, and he marveled at how the fear just popped out of nowhere, like an instinct. As it turned out, her uncle welcomed both of them and there was no trouble. But later when Dolgun was arrested the interrogators already knew about the incident -- apparently it had come out when the uncle was arrested and interrogated.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: mellyrn on December 25, 2010, 02:30:16 pm
Quote
If the change is big enough to already be producing observable results on the level of adult knowledge, it is far too big to be stopped.

Thank you, terry.  I think that just made my holidays!

I wonder what form it will take.  In Romania, things were tense but essentially normal, and then boom!  Two weeks of rioting and then Ceaucescu's dead.  Very differently, the USSR took its own flag down.  I'd purely love to know more about how that came about, who they were who made that decision and what they said to each other and to themselves.

In '06, I made a bet with a generally sensible and well-informed young friend that the US as we know it would not exist in 2016 (he bet that it would continue).  We have one US dollar riding on it.  A few weeks ago, he emailed me saying he thinks he may already owe me that dollar:  "This is not the US I was born in," he wrote, and he's only just past 30.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: jamesd on December 25, 2010, 04:29:28 pm
Quote
If the change is big enough to already be producing observable results on the level of adult knowledge, it is far too big to be stopped.

Thank you, terry.  I think that just made my holidays!

I wonder what form it will take.  In Romania, things were tense but essentially normal, and then boom!  Two weeks of rioting and then Ceaucescu's dead.  Very differently, the USSR took its own flag down.
Not so differently - it looked to me that they were on the very edge of winding up like Ceaucescu and made a strategic retreat at the absolute last minute.  Gorbachev had lost power, power was lying in the street, and they were wondering who would pick it up.

In '06, I made a bet with a generally sensible and well-informed young friend that the US as we know it would not exist in 2016 (he bet that it would continue).  We have one US dollar riding on it.  A few weeks ago, he emailed me saying he thinks he may already owe me that dollar:  "This is not the US I was born in," he wrote, and he's only just past 30.

Since 1992, (during a visit to Cuba) I have been predicting collapse in 2020-2025 or thereabouts.  Of course, what constitutes collapse is not well defined, and what follows collapse is not necessarily an improvement.  

n 1992 I visited Cuba.  Thereafter, I argued it was a totalitarian state, because when I asked certain questions some people fled, fearing that merely hearing the question would result in them being punished for the thoughts it might elicit, and others answered furtively.

Yesterday, I asked someone very close to me a question apt to have a politically incorrect answer (I cannot identify him further, for he swore me to secrecy)

He looked around furtively.  We were on top of a hill overlooking the Coral Sea in a semi rural area, the other side of the world from his workplace.  He lowered his voice.  He then proceeded to utter a series of politically correct platitudes, with gestures and grimaces reversing their meaning, his grimaces implying the opposite of the ostensible meaning, the same sort of communication coded against possible eavesdroppers and hidden microphones that I encountered in Cuba, where they would swear loyalty to Castro and communism, while making a gesture of their throats being cut.

Like Havel's green grocer, the truth would destroy his career.

This is the behavior that in 1992 I saw in Cuba and thereafter used as evidence that Cuba was a totalitarian state, a state of omnipresent fear.

So if Cuba was totalitarian in 1992, America is totalitarian in 2010.   We have arrived at the end of Hayek's “road to serfdom”.

In America, unlike Soviet Russia, we don't send dissidents to Alaska, and although lots of American psychiatrists are eager to diagnose political deviation as mental illness and treat it with electroshock and lobotomy, government has as yet declined to employ them in this capacity.  But what government does do is ensure that political deviation blights your career.  If a company knowingly employs political deviants, it is apt to be sued by quasi governmental organization for a "hostile work environment", in which lawsuit, no evidence will be presented of anyone saying unkind things to those for which the work environment was supposedly hostile, but evidence will be presented that employees had subversive thoughts – often evidence that they expressed subversive thoughts far from their workplace, as perhaps on a hill overlooking the Coral sea the other side of the world from his workplace - so the company will be punished, for failure to punish subversive thoughts.

Hayek, in “the road to serfdom”, argued that regulatory welfare state must inevitably become totalitarian.  Lo and behold, totalitarianism has arrived.

And what is totalitarianism?  Hayek's totalitarianism seems to be pretty much Havel's totalitarianism, and here is Havel on totalitarianism (http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2010/08/vaclav-havels-poster-test.html)

As Vaclav Havel tells us:
Quote from: Vaclav Havel
The manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!”

Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment’s thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean?

I think I can safely assume that the overwhelming majority of shopkeepers never think about the slogans they put in their windows, nor do they use them to express their real opinions. That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and the carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be.

If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper decoration in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life “in harmony with society,” as they say.

Obviously the greengrocer is indifferent to the semantic content of the slogan on exhibit; he does not put the slogan in his window from any personal desire to acquaint the public with the ideal it expresses. This, of course, does not mean that his action has no motive or significance at all, or that the slogan communicates nothing to anyone.

The slogan is really a sign, and as such it contains a subliminal but very definite message. Verbally, it might be expressed this way: “I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace.”

This message, of course, has an addressee: it is directed above, to the greengrocer’s superior, and at the same time is a shield that protects the greengrocer from potential informers. The slogan’s real meaning, therefore, is rooted firmly in the greengrocer’s existence. It reflects his vital interests. But what are those vital interests?

Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan ‘I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient,' he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth.

The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation in the shop window, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign which, at least on its textual surface, indicates a level of disinterested conviction. It must allow the greengrocer to say, “What’s wrong with the workers of the world uniting?”

Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the façade of something high. And that something is ideology.

As Bruce Charlton points out:
Quote from: Bruce Charlton
If you go into an institutional environment - a government office, a school or college, a hospital or doctor's surgery, a museum, public transportation - and you observe posters adorning the walls on politically-correct topics such as diversity, fair trade, global warming, approved victim groups, third world aid - remember Havel's essay, and that the correct translation of such posters is as follows:

"I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient"

Such posters are a coded admission of submission to ideology - except in the rare instance where they advertise genuine corruption by ideology.  

The frequency of such posters nowadays, compared with a generation ago, is a quantitative measure of the progress of totalitarian government.




Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: jamesd on December 25, 2010, 05:08:10 pm

But my opinion is that most Russian citizens were no more afraid of the KGB than Americans are afraid of the IRS. And most citizens of Poland, Czechoslovakia etc were no more afraid of the Soviet army than most Panamanians or Salvadorans are afraid of the US army.

That is crazy.  The Soviet Union was a totalitarian terror state.  The Soviet Union had a great big wall with guards with orders to shoot to kill.  The Soviet Union killed millions of its own citizens.  The Soviet Union still had loads of political prisoners in 1989.  Not many political prisoners in the US, though you can lose your job for political incorrectness, particularly if it is a government or quasi government job.

People were not afraid of the KGB until they thought the KGB had noticed them.

Everyone everywhere thought the KGB had noticed them, and usually they were right.  The KGB kept files on everyone.  When I visited Cuba, and asked people certain questions, some people fled in abject terror, as if they feared that they might be punished for the dangerous thoughts such questions might elicit, and others, after first furtively checking to make sure we had total privacy, checking for microphones and hidden listeners, would reply in code, giving politically correct answers for the hidden microphone to pick up, while making a throat slitting gesture or some such to reverse the nominal meaning of their words - pretty much what people in America do, except in America they fear that they will lose their job, while in Cuba they expected to be diagnosed as mentally ill and given electroshock therapy followed by radical lobotomy.

Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: terry_freeman on December 25, 2010, 06:33:43 pm
It is now the case that the Department of Homeland Security keeps files on practically everyone. The reasons for being "on the list" can be unimaginably trivial; a case was recently reported of a person observed taking pictures of a ferry. Who has not done something similar?

A man is in solitary confinement in Guatanamo Bay for allegedly leaking low-level "classified" materials which embarrass the Beltway Regime. Convicted spies who sold much more serious top secret material to the Soviets were not treated so harshly.

If this path continues, the USSA will be every bit as totalitarian as the former USSR.

The only thing preventing it is that millions of Americans still genuinely believe in - and will defend - the rights of free people. Millions of people still mock the TSA, the DHS, and all the myriads of government snoops.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 25, 2010, 08:19:45 pm

But my opinion is that most Russian citizens were no more afraid of the KGB than Americans are afraid of the IRS. And most citizens of Poland, Czechoslovakia etc were no more afraid of the Soviet army than most Panamanians or Salvadorans are afraid of the US army.

... would reply in code, giving politically correct answers for the hidden microphone to pick up, while making a throat slitting gesture or some such to reverse the nominal meaning of their words - pretty much what people in America do, except in America they fear that they will lose their job, while in Cuba they expected to be diagnosed as mentally ill and given electroshock therapy followed by radical lobotomy.

You agree with me, then, but you stress that Americans are as fearful as Soviet citizens were, while I stress that Soviet citizens were hardly more fearful than Americans are.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: Plane on December 26, 2010, 04:57:50 pm
Quote
If the change is big enough to already be producing observable results on the level of adult knowledge, it is far too big to be stopped.

In '06, I made a bet with a generally sensible and well-informed young friend that the US as we know it would not exist in 2016 (he bet that it would continue).  We have one US dollar riding on it.  A few weeks ago, he emailed me saying he thinks he may already owe me that dollar:  "This is not the US I was born in," he wrote, and he's only just past 30.



The USA is very flexable ,in what period of thirty years in our history has the US continued without major change of some sort?

My Father turned 50 in 1976 He was therfore "witness" to a quarter of USA history. I turned fifty in 2009 so I am just old enough to well remember segregation being the law.If I live to be seventy I wil be witness to a quarter of the history of my nation myself. I don't expect that in any thirty year period that we will be frozen into place.

Claim your dollar, but you will still hae a place to spend it.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: Plane on December 26, 2010, 05:13:14 pm
If I ran a bar on Ceries ...



If I noticed that cheating was causing fights , casualties of my regulars and being bad for my business.

I might install cameras, hire bouncers , monitor for cheating and post warnings against the forms of cheating I would not tolerate.

Within my bar I might become big brother.

But would this attract patrons or repell them?

If I were to notice a cheat and want to avoid fighting , I think I would just spike his drink with phenolphthalein.Then I would be a sneak but not get known as BB.  Does government grow accidentally in ungoverned situations?


http://www.answers.com/topic/phenolphthalein
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: mellyrn on December 26, 2010, 06:38:07 pm
Quote
Within my bar I might become big brother.

But would this attract patrons or repell them?

Surveillance cameras would repel me, but that's just my preference.  It's your house.  Try 'em and see how business goes, and adjust accordingly.

Quote
Does government grow accidentally in ungoverned situations?

Government does seem to be the H. sapiens postagriculturis version of termite mounds or bowerbird bowers.

When we wake up and start paying attention, using more of our reason and less of our patterns & habits, we find our mounds and bowers inadequate to a fully conscious life.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: SandySandfort on December 26, 2010, 07:50:12 pm
Claim your dollar, but you will still hae a place to spend it.

My best guess is that within a dozen years, there will be no dollar. Maybe a variety of "new" dollars, but not what we have today. Variety, because there will be no United States as we know it today. Remember the economic implosion of the USSR? The man in the street didn't see that one coming either. Good luck.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: SandySandfort on December 26, 2010, 08:00:17 pm
If I ran a bar on Ceries ...
Within my bar I might become big brother.
But would this attract patrons or repell them?

Yes, both. That is the free market in action.

If I were to notice a cheat and want to avoid fighting , I think I would just spike his drink...

So let me get this straight, you would initiate force against someone, just because you think he is cheating. Hell, why not just use arsenic and kill the cheater? Man, you are going to lose your bar, your reputation and maybe your freedom. Again, good luck.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: Plane on December 27, 2010, 06:57:43 am
If I ran a bar on Ceries ...
Within my bar I might become big brother.
But would this attract patrons or repell them?

Yes, both. That is the free market in action.

If I were to notice a cheat and want to avoid fighting , I think I would just spike his drink...

So let me get this straight, you would initiate force against someone, just because you think he is cheating. Hell, why not just use arsenic and kill the cheater? Man, you are going to lose your bar, your reputation and maybe your freedom. Again, good luck.

I notice a guy cheating a group of brusers who will surely kill him when they notice , and I do what ? Sell tickets?
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: SandySandfort on December 27, 2010, 07:44:23 am
I notice a guy cheating a group of brusers who will surely kill him when they notice , and I do what ? Sell tickets?

Aside from your own violent fantasies, what reason do you have to believe:

1) The cheated "bruisers" will take any action much less extreme physical action? They could just stop playing with the guy.

2) If they took action, they would start with a physical, instead of a verbal, confrontation? I think, "Hey, give us back the money you cheated from us!" might be more then sufficient when demanded by your mythical bruisers.

3) If they they took physical action it would be violent? After all, they are bruisers and the cheat is only one person. They could just reach across the table and confiscate his chips. Do you think the cheat would start a fight with the bruisers?

Your response reeks of special pleading concocted to reach your pre-determined conclusion. Before we can accept it, you have to justify your assumptions that are addressed in my three questions, above.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on December 27, 2010, 08:08:30 am

If I were to notice a cheat and want to avoid fighting , I think I would just spike his drink...

So let me get this straight, you would initiate force against someone, just because you think he is cheating. Hell, why not just use arsenic and kill the cheater? Man, you are going to lose your bar, your reputation and maybe your freedom. Again, good luck.

I notice a guy cheating a group of brusers who will surely kill him when they notice , and I do what ? Sell tickets?

It's your call. You could just tell him to leave and not come back, make a scene. He's likely pretty clueless if he's cheating dangerous people in a way that you notice, so he'll likely yell about his rights and so on. And he could be clueless that way and still be far more dangerous than he looks. He could be carrying any sort of concealed weapon in existence.

Bartenders have traditionally used chloral hydrate for this sort of thing. There are surely better drugs available.

If your customers trust you, you could have electronic cards. Arrange it so they get a fair deal and no mechanical chances to cheat. That could reduce problems. Do they trust you? You could buy an open-source sealed system from me, if they trust me....

So anyway, you have a customer that you think is about to cause problems for you and maybe for himself. You drug him. You protect his unconscious (or excrement-spurting) body from anybody who might hurt him, and you protect his property. He later gets evidence that he's been drugged and he sues you. Did you have a right to do that? It depends on local custom, Was he drinking alcohol, a drug that in excess would leave him vomiting or unconscious? Some places you could make the argument that you had that right, and you swear you'd only do it when it was necessary in your mature judgement, and customers who trust you and your judgement would not hold it against you.

If you actually have evidence he was cheating (video or whatever) he'll likely not want to sue. Your evidence comes out and he has his own troubles. But will he sue anyway? Then it comes out that he was cheating and you protected him (and his early winnings) from your other customers. Maybe that makes you look bad too. Depending on what he has to lose, he might try to blackmail you. You have an established business which could lose its reputation. He has to survive in your town for two days before he ships out to parts unknown. Who comes out worse?

Your rights as a bartender depend entirely on local custom. Giving somebody a mickey is obviously illegal by government law, but there are bars within 30 miles of my home where it happens, and for that matter where customers can sometimes pay to have it done to other customers at the bartender's judgement.

On the other hand, you could wait until a fight has broken out and then take sides. You could make all your furnishings bulletproof. You could have a bulletproof holo display of your decorative bottles behind the bar..... Then you don't have to initiate force against anybody until after he has initiated force against your property by for example shooting somebody who then bleeds on it.... There's people who'd prefer a bar like that.

Horses for courses. Do it the way you think best, and then if the wrong sort of customer walks in you could get sued almost no matter what you do. Hope for a good arbitrator. "The outcome of a bona fide fair trial is always something of a tossup."
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: mellyrn on December 27, 2010, 08:12:01 am
Quote
I notice a guy cheating a group of brusers who will surely kill him when they notice , and I do what ? Sell tickets?

Ooo, could be a good one, with the right bar owner!

What, specifically, would you do, your own self, if you were in a bar and the owner suddenly started hawking tickets like a carnie, for a ringside seat at a fight between patron A, "The Great Flying Lizard!!!" and patrons B, C, and D, "The Killing Quartet!!!"  (yes, I know I listed 3; so I'm not a stand-up comic, OK?)

What would [insert real-life known person, like your best college bud, here] be likely to do?

If the owner were funny enough, the whole thing could collapse, ending in the cheater's searing public humiliation.

If the bruisers were regulars, they might well have seen the performance before, which (since they have obviously returned to this bar or they wouldn't be "regulars") would then be even more effective, as they played along and had their fun watching the consternation of the cheater.

If it were me -- not funny enough -- I'd loudly remind the bruisers (and everyone else) of the house rule:  No Killing Other Patrons Under My Roof And Most Especially NO Killing Other Patrons Before They've Paid Their Tab.

Outside, after his tab's paid?  Not my business.  A free society is a dangerous place to live.  A statist society is even more dangerous, owing to its illusion of safety.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: Holt on January 01, 2011, 09:03:13 am
It is now the case that the Department of Homeland Security keeps files on practically everyone. The reasons for being "on the list" can be unimaginably trivial; a case was recently reported of a person observed taking pictures of a ferry. Who has not done something similar?

A man is in solitary confinement in Guatanamo Bay for allegedly leaking low-level "classified" materials which embarrass the Beltway Regime. Convicted spies who sold much more serious top secret material to the Soviets were not treated so harshly.

If this path continues, the USSA will be every bit as totalitarian as the former USSR.

The only thing preventing it is that millions of Americans still genuinely believe in - and will defend - the rights of free people. Millions of people still mock the TSA, the DHS, and all the myriads of government snoops.


Yes but once the millennial generation becomes a voter block that'll change since the majority of them are completely amoral puppets of anyone they perceive as having authority. The Boomers are a mixed bag on it as they're the ones demanding all this extra safety but they're also speaking out against it. Fucking worthless bunch I say. Gen X is even more mixed and Gen Y tends to be pretty consistent in hating government (not that we ever have enough money to use planes or warrant the government snooping in our lives).

Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: quadibloc on January 01, 2011, 02:13:39 pm
A free society is a dangerous place to live.
No wonder I don't understand AnCap properly.

I had believed that a necessary condition that a society must fulfill in order to be free is to be utterly safe. If there are people who are threatening you with violence that you need to be concerned about, then you are not free - even if it is not the government that is your master.

Now, it may be that you are able to defend yourself against them, so that you have the hope of becoming free, which may be lacking in some statist societies, particularly the non-democratic kind. But freedom is what you have in between attempts to rob you or bully you - when the reward for leaving others in peace is that you are left in peace, and the fruits of your labor are yours to keep.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on January 01, 2011, 03:06:51 pm
A free society is a dangerous place to live.
No wonder I don't understand AnCap properly.

I had believed that a necessary condition that a society must fulfill in order to be free is to be utterly safe.

OK, that's one possible way to look at it.

So, for you to be utterly safe from everybody else, and for everybody else to be utterly safe from you, perhaps everybody should be locked up in cages that will keep them apart where they can't hurt each other?

Here's another way to look at it. Maybe human beings don't feel fulfilled unless they get some occasional excitement. And maybe one of the ways they can get some excitement is to face the possibility of danger. (Which reminds me of a line from RA Lafferty's Annals of Klepsis. A slave came to an important foreign dignitary with a plate of grapes and she said she did not want grapes, she only wanted fruit that had the possibility of worms. Sometime later the slave came back with apples and peaches etc, and she found a worm in an apple. She complained vociferously. "I said I wanted the possibility of worms! I sure do not want the actuality of worms!")

If you interact with a lot of other people, and there is a chance that they will overstep all polite boundaries, and if so you can threaten them over it and probably they will apologize but just maybe you'll wind up fighting them to the death or something -- that might be a more satisfying way to live than when there is a government that prevents all possibility of anything like that. At least for some people. Maybe a lot of people. I guess you could try it both ways and see what's true for you.

Obviously you don't want a society where other people often rob you and get away with it. Or commit rape or other personal indignities. We want a reasonable balance between excitement and loss. But societies go every which way. I can even imagine in an AnCap society it might be possible to make a living by getting paid to threaten people and then back down, so they look good. Stranger things have happened.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7etaaeMr-FY&feature=player_embedded
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: Plane on January 01, 2011, 03:52:25 pm
A free society is a dangerous place to live.
No wonder I don't understand AnCap properly.

I had believed that a necessary condition that a society must fulfill in order to be free is to be utterly safe.




I utterly disagree, I think you have this backwards.

If I have no freedom to depart the orthodox I have no freedom of thought , if I have no freedom to risk my fortune I have no freedom in economic terms , if I must perform only the optimal behaviors for my health I have no freedom of action.

If I want to become a sky diver or a scuba diver , or if I want to found a sky and sea diveing school at the risk that I won't get a lot of paying customers , is this my business or my nannys?

I don't really take extreme risk frequently , but if I lost the right I would frequently miss the oppurtunity to decide for myself not to take a risk.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: mellyrn on January 02, 2011, 11:16:14 am
Quote
Quote from: mellyrn on December 27, 2010, 08:12:01 AM
Quote
A free society is a dangerous place to live.
No wonder I don't understand AnCap properly.

I had believed that a necessary condition that a society must fulfill in order to be free is to be utterly safe.

Life isn't safe.  "It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid." -- one of the few things I ever liked about Q, or NextGen for that matter.

The state can't protect you from life.  It, too, is a part of life and thus just as dangerous as anything else.  But we set up states to give us a feeling of safety.  And a feeling of safety when the safety isn't there is far more dangerous than acknowledging the hazards you can and being mindful, with all the resource you can summon.

Sadly, the state often blocks your ability to meet threats (apart from being a threat in and of itself, I mean).  If someone invades my home, I'd better kill him outright; if I merely wound him, he may sue me for bodily injury -- thanks to the state.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: terry_freeman on January 02, 2011, 11:35:58 am
How backwards! A society which is "utterly safe" - if such a society can exist - would be a society where one is very much not free. Sci-fi author Harry Harrison explored this topic in the context of robots who worked tirelessly to "keep man safe." No human was ever permitted to handle sharp objects, nor to bicycle, nor to drive an automobile. I read his novels as an allegory about the omnipresent State.

Today, the TSA claims that its goal is to keep us "utterly safe" - hence, we may not travel with pen knives, nail clippers, bottles of soda, nor anything else which might conceivably be used as a weapon. Taken to its natural limit, eventually the TSA will strip everyone, do a full cavity search, then lock all passengers into restraints so that they may not use brute force to harm others. This will be the price of "utter safety."

Who wants to live like that? If that be "freedom", I'll do without, thank you so very much not.

Freedom is when we are free to succeed, free to fail, free to defend ourselves and the people whom we care about. This does not mean a "dog eat dog" world. Ask someone who is in the habit of carrying a concealed weapon if he or she feels "unfree" as a result.

In reality, people who are prepared to defend themselves do not live lives of fear; they seldom need to use that capability. This is a lot like having a fire extinguisher in one's home - it might never be used in all one's lifetime, but it sure beats having to call 9-1-1 and wait for the fire company or the police to arrive.
 
I have cooked many a meal in kitchens equipped with fire extinguishers; I never felt un-free as a consequence; nor has my cooking experience been that terrible state of anxiety which quadibloc describes, waiting for the next fire to engulf me. Likewise, when armed, I am not anxious; life-and-death struggles are not so ubiquitous as statists and other alarmists would like us to think.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: J Thomas on January 02, 2011, 12:33:21 pm

Sadly, the state often blocks your ability to meet threats (apart from being a threat in and of itself, I mean).  If someone invades my home, I'd better kill him outright; if I merely wound him, he may sue me for bodily injury -- thanks to the state.

Does it often turn out that way? I've heard of examples, but for all I know they could be like urban legends. Does it happen 10% of the time when homeowners shoot burglars? 1%? 0.1%? I suppose I should look it up but there's a strong chance that if I just ask the question somebody who has the info handy will provide a link.

A legal system that's based on competing lawyers will naturally provide bad results occasionally. Superb lawyers can sometimes subvert justice -- that's why they get the big bucks.

So, say we had an AnCap society with arbitration. If you let a wounded burglar survive, is there a chance he will call for arbitration on the grounds you had no right to sue him? He has the right to do that, doesn't he? And we assume that the arbitrator will laugh at him.

We would assume that a government court would make you pay if we hear about occasional well-publicized failures of justice. And we would also assume that if in some states the legal system makes that the deferred outcome.

So the big difference I see is that when a private arbitrator makes a judgement you don't like, you can tell everybody you know that he screwed you over and he's a bad arbitrator and he shouldn't get anybody's business. But if a government court makes a judgement you don't like there's nothing you can do about it.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: terry_freeman on January 03, 2011, 08:47:45 am
I think government courts versus AnCap courts would tend to different outcomes along well-defined lines.

Government courts have a bias toward preserving their privilege. Hence, government officials, including police, prosecutors, and tax collectors tend to be favored; their victims get less than a fair shake. Courts in some jurisdictions have a definite bias against the use of guns by private citizens; in other jurisdictions, there is much less of a bias.

In AnCap courts, the courts themselves must compete in the marketplace; they have to strive to be as unbiased as possible. Of course there will be good and bad courts, but the bad courts will not have the advantage of claiming jurisdiction, since there will be no legal monopolies.

A large part of today's legal practice involves maneuvers to obtain the "right" venue; state X may be prone to hand out large punitive damages, for example. In an AnCap society, that maneuver will not be so effective, since the concept of geographical "jurisdiction" will be meaningless.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: macsnafu on January 03, 2011, 11:03:18 am
A free society is a dangerous place to live.
No wonder I don't understand AnCap properly.

I had believed that a necessary condition that a society must fulfill in order to be free is to be utterly safe. If there are people who are threatening you with violence that you need to be concerned about, then you are not free - even if it is not the government that is your master.


Freedom and safety are complementary, to wildly reword Benjamin Franklin's old saying...It is because one has a degree of freedom that one can achieve a degree of safety.  In a similar vein, many people seem to think that the rules must already be in place before a market can develop, when in reality, the rules are developed at the same time as the market does.  It is a process that occurs over time, just as common law itself is a process, and not merely a set of laws.
Title: Re: "Well, none of my business."
Post by: quadibloc on January 03, 2011, 01:17:23 pm
Upon reflection, I think I do see my mistake.

I am free when I am not subject to coercion. This indifferently lumps together all possible sources of coercion, whether it be coercion from the State, or coercion from dishonest private individuals.

So, clearly, if I could not possibly be subject to coercion (hence, I was "utterly safe"), I would be the most free and the most secure in my freedom.

Of course, what applies to me also applies to everyone else.

Now then; if everyone else, just like me, is totally impossible to coerce... what, exactly, is stopping them from behaving badly and coercing me - or each other?

This perhaps is why I see a statist society as a natural way of achieving freedom. People are more likely to be subject to unjust coercion in a situation of chaos - when any group of thugs might try to make themselves the government - than when there is a strong government, but firmly under the democratic control of the people, so that it only does good things, not bad things.

Many posters in this forum have noted that what I am imagining to be the normal state of affairs in the Western industrialized world is, instead, but a fairytale.

And thus, the absence of an omnipresent constabulary is expected to leave room for occasional misbehavior - but that is the price of freedom, and in a free society, there will be less of a burden of taxes, and people will be free to defend themselves, so crime should be rare, rather than the commonplace that inspires panic and supports the ambitions of control-minded politicians.