quadibloc on November 28, 2010, 01:43:02 pm
those whose definition of "isolationism" excludes those who are willing and even eager to trade with outsiders, but not send military forces in to subjugate them;
That sounds like the definition of "isolationism" one finds in a dictionary; it has nothing to do with trade, but with the willingness to stand by and watch as peaceful nations not guilty of aggression are subjugated by aggressors for no reason.

jamesd on November 28, 2010, 06:28:11 pm
Claiming that the world would have been destroyed if the US had not "won" WW II is one of the more asinine pieces of counterfactual idiocy to clutter the landscape.

Hitler not only intended to eradicate the Jews, but also the French.

The Japanese had a similar plan for Australians.

Not the end of the world I suppose, except for Australians, but a world dominated by such powers, it might well be the end of the world.  When they acquired nukes, one would rule all, or the world would be destroyed.

« Last Edit: November 28, 2010, 09:42:06 pm by jamesd »

quadibloc on November 29, 2010, 08:13:46 am
I'm properly astounded by the last panel of today's comic. It almost appears that two of the miscreants will actually make an honest effort to take advantage of the chance provided them, by the way they're looking at each other.

Oneil on November 30, 2010, 03:43:03 am
Speaking of Atomic Bombs and in particular the usage mentioned against Japan in WWII. 

I am a Proud American, and as one I have the right to openly disagree and discuss any decisions made by my government with no fear of a midnight knock on my door.  So, some will see little value in my saying this on this topic.

I have always thought using the atomic bombs where a horrible mistake.  Now if you take a moment and realize that in the 1940's they did not have any concept of just how heinous and not just limited to "Local" area the effects of using even a few atomic weapons actually was.  How many years did various nations continue with above ground testing, using "Volunteers" marched into the exposure zones before they realized the stupidity of it.

If we could rewind time, and provide the decision makers with better information I would like to think they would never have dropped those Atomic Bombs on Japan. 

In the end, I think continued mass horror of fire bombing Japan would have ended the war with no invasion.

So, to see someone say something like "What if you had irradiated Germany and all points downwind for the half-life of the fissile material of 500 Atomic Bombs..."   Leaves me in udder shock

macsnafu on November 30, 2010, 11:24:43 am
I have always thought using the atomic bombs where a horrible mistake.  Now if you take a moment and realize that in the 1940's they did not have any concept of just how heinous and not just limited to "Local" area the effects of using even a few atomic weapons actually was.  How many years did various nations continue with above ground testing, using "Volunteers" marched into the exposure zones before they realized the stupidity of it.

When I think about it, I have to agree.  Even if they didn't know the full effect that an atomic bomb would have, dropping it upon civilians and not military targets is just plain wrong.  That makes President Harry Truman a war criminal for ordering the bombs to be dropped.
I love mankind.  It's PEOPLE I can't stand!  - Linus Van Pelt.

J Thomas on November 30, 2010, 12:11:07 pm

If we could rewind time, and provide the decision makers with better information I would like to think they would never have dropped those Atomic Bombs on Japan.

I would like to think that too. Certainly Truman lacked information. As Vice President he lacked a need-to-know and so they sprung it on him suddenly after he was the boss. But of course your guess is a countefactual, it didn't happen and so we have no way to find out how hard it would have been to make it happen.

Quote
In the end, I think continued mass horror of fire bombing Japan would have ended the war with no invasion.

I expect you're right. For that matter, the blockade might have been enough. The army in China lacked supplies. The women and old men in Japan lacked food and coal. They plain couldn't keep it going much longer. More counterfactuals, of course.

Quote
So, to see someone say something like "What if you had irradiated Germany and all points downwind for the half-life of the fissile material of 500 Atomic Bombs..."   Leaves me in udder shock

Well, but think about it. Imagine that we could have done that, and that we did it. Wouldn't apologists for it then argue that it was the only possible course of action? Of course they would. They would point out that without the bombing we would have lost the whole invasion force, millions of men. We would have invaded at D-Day, and we would have marched east, and as we spread out and our supply lines got longer, while the german lines got shorter, suddenly the germans would counter-attack. They would get behind our lines and cut them up. They would race to our ports and landing areas and take those, and the whole thing would be lost.

They would point out that if we had waited, the Germans would have killed everybody in the concentration camps. We could not have saved any of them.

And suppose we had somehow survived the Battle of the Bulge, after Hitler was gone we would have up to 90 divisions facing five times as many Russian divisions. Could we have held back the Russians? Could we fight an adequate rear-guard action so that many of our troops could be evacuated back to Britain?

After we won the war using 500 nukes, it would seem obvious that we could not have won any other way. Suppose that we had only 3 bombs. We drop them on Berlin and two other cities and it would not be decisive; Germany would keep fighting and would put US POWs in each of their remaining cities.

More counterfactuals. More claims about what must have inevitably happened if we had not done what we did. And a lot of americans would believe those claims to the point that they would argue as long as you liked any time the topic came up.

I'm not sure it would be like that, but doesn't it seem plausible? It's lucky we did not have 500 nukes then or we would be testing my claims. Those people would be arguing that it was 100% necessary to use those nukes and that when you claim there could have been another way, you don't know how wrong  you are.

ShireSilver on December 01, 2010, 05:56:03 am
After we won the war using 500 nukes, it would seem obvious that we could not have won any other way.

I just want to point out that the same thing can be said for dropping hundreds of tons of conventional bombs on cities. It seems obvious (to most people) that we wouldn't have won the war if we didn't send hundreds of planes over large cities, firebombing some in ways that were pretty much as destructive and horrifying as using nukes.

I like the idea that if the U.S. hadn't gotten involved in WWI, there wouldn't have been a WWII. I think that is the better scenario.

quadibloc on December 01, 2010, 05:56:51 am
So, to see someone say something like "What if you had irradiated Germany and all points downwind for the half-life of the fissile material of 500 Atomic Bombs..."   Leaves me in udder shock
Well, but think about it. Imagine that we could have done that, and that we did it. Wouldn't apologists for it then argue that it was the only possible course of action? Of course they would. They would point out that without the bombing we would have lost the whole invasion force, millions of men. We would have invaded at D-Day,
A great many people died on D-Day in the invasion force, even if enough survived to continue the attack.

They would point out that if we had waited, the Germans would have killed everybody in the concentration camps. We could not have saved any of them.
While there were a few survivors of the concentration camps, most of the killing took place late in the war. Had Germany been defeated a year earlier, hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million or more, lives could have been saved.

Thus, rather than your examples showing how ridiculous it was to argue that we should have used atomic bombs before D-Day, it shows that this would have saved many lives. And, of course, before D-Day, it wasn't absolutely certain World War II would have resulted in an Allied victory. That's already enough reason to hit them with everything we've got.

And, of course, had that happened before Hitler invaded Russia, as a nice bonus the Allies would have been occupying Russia as well as Germany - so Poland and Czechoslovakia and Hungary would have been free after the war ended, just like France and Holland and Belgium and Norway.

Now, you are right that the civilian populations of countries under dictatorship are still people, so they shouldn't really be off the moral radar - but given the horrific consequences of dictatorship, and the immense human costs if it spreads, I really don't see that there is an alternative.

I like the idea that if the U.S. hadn't gotten involved in WWI, there wouldn't have been a WWII. I think that is the better scenario.
Then Germany shouldn't have sunk the Lusitania, and it shouldn't have promised Mexico a chunk of the United States.

Somalian pirates are attacking ships belonging to companies in Japan and other major world nations with impunity these days, even taking Europeans hostage. This is the sort of thing that happens when the industrialized democracies, for one reason or another (specifically the Cold War and its legacy) do not make it abundantly clear that you do not mess around with their citizens if you know what's good for you.

Suppressing aggression is precisely what is required for free markets to function, isn't it?

Also, had nukes been dropped on Germany before Lenin arrived in Russia in that sealed train, before the Mensheviks were overthrown... we could have ended up living in a world in which Russia, starting from Alexander Kerensky, and China, starting from Sun Yat-Sen, became thriving democracies and close friends of the United States.

Germany in World War I was very destructive. American intervention helped promote the survival of many of the civilized nations of Europe, such as France; how can that possibly be considered dispensable?
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 06:04:19 am by quadibloc »

ShireSilver on December 01, 2010, 06:17:25 am
I like the idea that if the U.S. hadn't gotten involved in WWI, there wouldn't have been a WWII. I think that is the better scenario.

Then Germany shouldn't have sunk the Lusitania, and it shouldn't have promised Mexico a chunk of the United States.

Somalian pirates are attacking ships belonging to companies in Japan and other major world nations with impunity these days, even taking Europeans hostage. This is the sort of thing that happens when the industrialized democracies, for one reason or another (specifically the Cold War and its legacy) do not make it abundantly clear that you do not mess around with their citizens if you know what's good for you.

Suppressing aggression is precisely what is required for free markets to function, isn't it?

Germany in World War I was very destructive. American intervention helped promote the survival of many of the civilized nations of Europe, such as France; how can that possibly be considered dispensable?

What did sinking a known British warship have to do with Americans? The Lusitania had been registered and reported as an armed merchant cruiser, under the control of the Royal Navy. From the perspective of a sub commander, who likely didn't have up to date information anyway, it was a valid target.

And the Great War had become pretty much a stalemate, with no side clearly winning. That changed when the U.S. entered. So the situation changed from one where all sides were getting fatigued and possibly ready to end the war with a mutually acceptable agreement to one where one side demanded total and humiliating surrender. In great part it was the overwhelmingly punitive demands of the winners that allowed Hitler to rise to power.

And as far as the Somali pirates go, they don't seem to be attacking armed ships, only the ones that are defenseless. In an an-cap world, the pirates would be far fewer and probably only survive at all by their attacks being inside jobs.

Yes, a free market requires the suppression of aggression, but the best suppressor of aggression is the free market itself. Free people defending themselves can do a far better job of it than governments can.

J Thomas on December 01, 2010, 12:33:32 pm
Wouldn't apologists for it then argue that it was the only possible course of action? Of course they would.

Thus, rather than your examples showing how ridiculous it was to argue that we should have used atomic bombs before D-Day, it shows that this would have saved many lives. And, of course, before D-Day, it wasn't absolutely certain World War II would have resulted in an Allied victory. That's already enough reason to hit them with everything we've got.

I rest my case.

jamesd on December 01, 2010, 03:37:44 pm
Somalian pirates are attacking ships belonging to companies in Japan and other major world nations with impunity these days, even taking Europeans hostage. This is the sort of thing that happens when the industrialized democracies, for one reason or another (specifically the Cold War and its legacy) do not make it abundantly clear that you do not mess around with their citizens if you know what's good for you.

Before 1920, every merchant ship had some light artillery, and a big bunch of light arms in the captain's locker.  If today every merchant ship had similar, the Somali pirates would be dead or out of business.

What we are seeing is not that past governments were better at defending their subjects, but that government stops people from defending themselves, then fails to defend them.

Right now, the most pressing threat is that from Islam.  After nine-eleven, I set to reading a bit of history, and found that this was in fact the most common failure mode - that by and large, Muslims succeeded in subjugating people disarmed, but not defended, by their governments.

There were three big and important successes in state to state warfare between Islam and Christendom - Charles the hammer, King Sobieski, and the Holy League, and one could argue that lacking those great victories, we would all be subject to Islam today - but that was three victories in thirteen hundred years.  Most of the real successes, such as the reconquest of Spain, primarily relied on small scale warfare by non state, ministate, and quasi state groups, with the heavy lifting done by settlers, settler militias, mercenaries, state sponsored pirates, and state sponsored brigands.

The greatest success in the war with Islam was Charles the Great, and what made him great was not creating a desert between Dar al Islam and Christendom by conventional state to state warfare, but sponsoring private smaller scale warfare:  He franchised the brand name of the Holy Roman Empire out to private adventurers, much as Al Quaeda franchises its brand name.

Plane on December 01, 2010, 07:40:29 pm
5. If the remaining one pays off the other two's debt, does he automatically have a claim against the other two?



        I am perplexed at the expectation that this is a possibility.

         Hog farms on the moon a century in the future are less mechanised than the hog farms of the US  are at present?

         The unskilled labor of a farm worker will pay off the value of a spaceship or was the damage to the spaceship relitively minor?

          Poorly skilled criminals have always been able to cause havoc or damage of far more value than they were able to repay with unskilled labor, I don't know how this would change in a society even more dependant on highly skilled labor than the present or the past.

          If a criminal caused destruction far in excess of his earning power over any reasonable expectation for his lifespan , should his indenturement become generational?

 


           This leads me to wonder what a man hour of unskilled labor is going to be worth in the future , are robots and automatic equipment going to be hard to obtain in space? Will there be an intrinsic worth to a human being doing a task that a robot could have done? Will robots be more expensive for some reason I haven't imagined?

   Menial labor is already obsolite in some applications, how is good honest but less skilled labor going to valued in our future?




SandySandfort on December 01, 2010, 08:30:46 pm
5. If the remaining one pays off the other two's debt, does he automatically have a claim against the other two?

        I am perplexed at the expectation that this is a possibility.

Depends. Under the common law, when two or more miscreants are found jointly and severally liable (i.e., each is responsible for the entire debt), One may sue another "in contribution." I'm sure the common law will be the basis for many arbitration systems, but we never defined what was at work here. However, I think equity requires that miscreants be able to sue the slackers in contribution.

         Hog farms on the moon a century in the future are less mechanised than the hog farms of the US  are at present?

I don't know. Pigs is pigs. Maybe people like "organic" pigs, so robot swineherds are out.

         The unskilled labor of a farm worker will pay off the value of a spaceship or was the damage to the spaceship relitively minor?

The ship was trashed, but there wasn't much damage. In any case, humans rendering personal services are very highly paid. As I am sure you are aware, the richer a society is, the rarer are people being servants or doing menial labor. An upcoming arc will touch on this phenomenon.

          Poorly skilled criminals have always been able to cause havoc or damage of far more value than they were able to repay with unskilled labor, I don't know how this would change in a society even more dependant on highly skilled labor than the present or the past.

Who said these criminals were poorly skilled? Again, re-examine your premises about economics in a very rich society. Example: I have a maid who comes in once a week. I could no more afford that service in the US than to fly to the moon. In Panama, I can. The richer the society, the more expensive people are, no matter what they are doing.

          If a criminal caused destruction far in excess of his earning power over any reasonable expectation for his lifespan , should his indenturement become generational?
 
Of course not. That would be deeply immoral. I am shocked anyone would ask such a question. The cornerstones of Belter society are individualism, free market anarchism and the Zero Aggression Principle. And if you are wondering what happens if the working off the debt dies before he has finished, it's simple. The person to whom the debt is owned is SOL (shit out of luck). Tough. Life is not only not fair, it cannot even be made fair. "Fairer" is about the best you can hope for.

           This leads me to wonder what a man hour of unskilled labor is going to be worth in the future , are robots and automatic equipment going to be hard to obtain in space? Will there be an intrinsic worth to a human being doing a task that a robot could have done? Will robots be more expensive for some reason I haven't imagined?

   Menial labor is already obsolite in some applications, how is good honest but less skilled labor going to valued in our future?

¿Quien sabe? I am not a time traveler from the future. (Though I am a time traveler from the past. I have traveled 64 years into the future. Things are really different than in my time.) I just write stories that I think made some sense, given some presumptions. Change the presumptions, change the logical future.

J Thomas on December 01, 2010, 10:29:18 pm
5. If the remaining one pays off the other two's debt, does he automatically have a claim against the other two?

        I am perplexed at the expectation that this is a possibility.

Depends. Under the common law, when two or more miscreants are found jointly and severally liable (i.e., each is responsible for the entire debt), One may sue another "in contribution." I'm sure the common law will be the basis for many arbitration systems, but we never defined what was at work here. However, I think equity requires that miscreants be able to sue the slackers in contribution.

So, uh. You are responsible for the whole debt. That's OK. Some slacker doesn't do his share so you have to do it for him if you want it to be done and you to no longer have the debt. Sure. Then you get to sue him.

He's already slacked off on the debt he owed somebody else. What's to keep him from slacking off you his debt to you? If you don't subscribe to ZAP you might hope to take him out back around the barn and apply some pesuasion.

What's your likely result from suing him? Well, you get to make it publicly known that he's still in debt. If you don't, he gets free of his obligation when you do, and people might trust him the same way they'd trust you. So you at least keep that from happening. Also if you sue him, you/re stating publicly that he isn't your good friend any more. That could help your reputation some.

There could be indirect advantages to suing him. But the direct advantage looks unlikely. He didn't pay off the debt you paid off for him. What's the chance he'll pay off yours?

terry_freeman on December 01, 2010, 11:16:52 pm
Why might person A work off person B's debt, B being a fellow felon in the same crime?

It is an error to think that the behavior of B toward "all of society" is the same as the behavior of B toward more closely coupled people; it can fairly be assumed that people who choose to jointly engage in a felony have some trust of each other.

You have heard of "prisoner's dilemma", right? In the real world, social norms among bands of thieves make snitching rare. Their judicial methods might not exactly adhere to ZAP, but they do enforce the "don't snitch" rule.

In a hypothetical future AnCap society, it is likely that bands of thieves will also develop "don't slack off when repaying debt" norms. Exceptions will exist - as Sandy said, not only is life unfair, you can't make it fair - so let's accept what we can work with.

I don't know if the debt will be "joint and several" or will be apportioned equally in law; if it is joint and several, then anti-slacking norms will evolve fairly quickly. The extrajudicial enforcement methods may involve a certain amount of "take him out to the woodshed" methodology.






 

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