quadibloc on January 04, 2011, 01:22:15 am
From the current strip, and the previous one, I see that the maxim "An armed society is a polite society" does not fully apply to this one... instead, the principles of another Heinlein work apply with respect to this issue.

Iron Lightning on January 04, 2011, 01:31:36 am
Yeah, I prefer this sort of society over a "fightin' words" sort.  You know, before I started reading these comics I never would've thought that an anarchic society would get so caught up in technicalities  :P.

quadibloc on January 04, 2011, 01:47:33 am
To me, a "fighting words" sort of society is simply... natural. Since one places a man's life in danger by, say, accusing him of being homosexual, doing so is placing him  under an obligation to react.

So, to simplify matters, and avoid using this as a trick to provoke someone into a fight he would lose, the simplest remedy is: if someone calls you, or one of your friends or fellow citizens, a homosexual, or a whore, or something else that would place that person's social reputation in grave jeopardy... shooting him in the back, dead, is an appropriate and perfectly legal response.

If society ever evolved to the point where it was so advanced that people could just laugh off such accusations in safety - that one incident of not reacting to an accusation of being gay with anger wouldn't lead to a whispering campaign and ultimate ostracism - things might be different. But as long as there is reason to doubt that this could never happen, people must be free to defend themselves as may be necessary.

SandySandfort on January 04, 2011, 05:48:59 am
To me, a "fighting words" sort of society is simply... natural.

Why am I not surprised?  ::)

mellyrn on January 04, 2011, 06:27:45 am
One does not place another in physical danger by calling him, say, a pedophile to his face and in public

Calling someone names to his face (or near it) and in public is baiting, pure and simple.  May I ask you a question, quadibloc?  When you overhear someone else being called an ugly name, do you automatically believe the baiter?  Just completely shelve your own judgment and accept the insulter's?  Say to yourself, "Gosh, I didn't know that [about the recipient]!  Glad I was here to get this important information!"

I really can't see a whisper campaign getting started from people witnessing an obvious attempt at baiting. 

The insulter puts his own reputation more at risk than the insultee's.  How much respect do you have, now, for Carlos?  For Carlos as compared to for Rhonda?

And when the witnesses also see the "fish" declining to take the bait, and the insulter thereby being made to lose the exchange, the insulter has made a fool of himself.  In public.  And that will get passed around, because it will be funny in the retelling.

As a side note, if you do take the bait, you're announcing your personal emotional vulnerabilities to the whole world.

J Thomas on January 04, 2011, 08:50:57 am

Calling someone names to his face (or near it) and in public is baiting, pure and simple.  May I ask you a question, quadibloc?  When you overhear someone else being called an ugly name, do you automatically believe the baiter?  Just completely shelve your own judgment and accept the insulter's?  Say to yourself, "Gosh, I didn't know that [about the recipient]!  Glad I was here to get this important information!"

I really can't see a whisper campaign getting started from people witnessing an obvious attempt at baiting.  

The insulter puts his own reputation more at risk than the insultee's.

I see this as a cultural issue. Some places, if somebody tries to pick a fight with you and you refuse, you can look like a coward. When there's no doubt you'd win easily then not so much. Other places it isn't like that.

I turned down some gratuitous fights in eighth grade because it looked stupid to me to fight over words. So some guys kept pushing until they found something I would fight over. Looking back it would have been easier to do it their way when there was nothing riding on it. But I thought I was right and they were wrong.

I don't see that there's anything "natural" about a society like that. It's just one way things can go. Would a society where people habitually carry guns do it like that? Would they have fistfights where you prove you aren't scared to fight a bigger guy who insults you, and everybody trusts the guy who's losing not to shoot? Everybody trusts the winner not to take it too far? I can imagine it either way, but it seems to me it takes less of a social consensus to take serious concerns to arbitration, unless they turn into gunfights.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 10:14:14 am by J Thomas »

mellyrn on January 04, 2011, 09:48:15 am
Quote
I see this as a cultural issue. Some places, if somebody tries to pick a fight with you and you refuse, you can look like a coward.

Oh, true.  Good point.  I need to travel more.

Even then, though, you don't have to play it their way.  If you think your only options are 'go ahead and fight as if you'd taken the bait' or 'decline to fight and look like a coward', then the problem is in your own head and your own limitations.  I most enjoy fight scenes in novels &c where the recipient throws a complete monkey wrench into the instigator's pattern . . .

 . . . aaand of course I can't think of a good example at the moment, so I'll settle for the knife fight in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."  It ain't a perfect example, but what the hey.

A real-life example involved an old professor of mine, a psychiatrist and psychology teacher.  He had this schizophrenic patient, "Jim", who was doing OK on his meds, so was out & about.  So it's late afternoon; the only ones left in Dr. Shutt's building were himself, who was a middle-aged overweight out-of shape professor, and his secretary "90 pounds soaking wet".  Jim appears in Dr. Shutt's doorway, clearly in the middle of a psychotic episode, with a big kitchen knife -- and Jim is a big muscular hulk.

"Apples and tomatoes and water," says Jim, "and I've got to kill you."

Dr. Shutt mentally notes the proximity of the phone versus the proximity of Jim.  Erg.  Forcing himself to stay calm, he replies, "You can't kill me, Jim."

"Why not?" Jim roars.  "I'm big!  I gotta knife!"

"Yes, you do.  But I'm faculty, Jim."

"So??"

With exaggerated patience and kindliness, Dr. Shutt explains, "You have to be a member of the alumni association to kill faculty, Jim.  Are you a member?"

Jim grunts, frustrated.  "No.  I'm not."

"Well, then . . . "  Dr. Shutt spreads his hands hopelessly.

Jim stands there, thinking furiously (and Shutt sits there thinking furiously!), hefting his knife.  At last he says, "OK.  You wait here.  I'm gonna go join, and then I'll be right back!"

"Okay, Jim.  See you in a bit."

And of course the moment Jim left, Shutt was on the phone to campus security to "come drop a net over the guy."

OK, sure, Jim was a crazy person.  But Shutt was used to crazies; it was his job.  It remains that anybody's patterns can be interrupted -- by someone who can get outside his own patterns.  And when you've had your pattern interrupted, in that moment you are very, very confused, because you've lost your blueprint, your script for what's supposed to happen next.  In that moment, the other guy's got you, if he's awake and aware himself.  He now owns the combat field and he will set the terms.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 09:50:44 am by mellyrn »

J Thomas on January 04, 2011, 10:41:37 am
Quote
I see this as a cultural issue. Some places, if somebody tries to pick a fight with you and you refuse, you can look like a coward.

Oh, true.  Good point.  I need to travel more.

Even then, though, you don't have to play it their way.  If you think your only options are 'go ahead and fight as if you'd taken the bait' or 'decline to fight and look like a coward', then the problem is in your own head and your own limitations.  I most enjoy fight scenes in novels &c where the recipient throws a complete monkey wrench into the instigator's pattern . . .

I like that too. A complete change of subject can boggle people. But if it's people you keep interacting with, you can't expect that to keep working. If they really want to know whether you're a coward, at some point they'll find out.

It can be great for random encounters. "These are not the droids victims you are looking for." And it's fine when it's decisive. But when you're going against the culture it only puts things off -- which can be worth something too.

terry_freeman on January 04, 2011, 11:53:51 am
Reacting to words with a fight is not the only natural response. It's a response. Odds are that in an armed society, physical conflict would tend to become confined within social norms, at least over the long term; otherwise, there'd be shootings every day, and the population would kill itself off.

Some form of Code Duello would probably arise to mediate such conflicts. The initial response to an insult would probably be some form of verbal signal to "take that back!"; if the other replied appropriately, that would end the conflict. Otherwise, it would escalate, possibly reaching "meet me with your second at such-and-such time and place."

Merely calling a person a homosexual or a whore in an anarchist society is unlikely to be life-threatening. Google "Pink Pistols" - there is no reason that homosexuals cannot arm and defend themselves.

 

SandySandfort on January 04, 2011, 02:14:53 pm
I don't see that there's anything "natural" about a society like that. It's just one way things can go. Would a society where people habitually carry guns do it like that? Would they have fistfights where you prove you aren't scared to fight a bigger guy who insults you, and everybody trusts the guy who's losing not to shoot? Everybody trusts the winner not to take it too far? I can imagine it either way, but it seems to me it takes less of a social consensus to take serious concerns to arbitration, unless they turn into gunfights.

"An armed society is a polite society"
Robert Heinlein

Want to see people of all races, sexes, ages and socioeconomic level, get along in near perfect harmony? Hang out at a shooting range. Guns are the great equalizer in more ways than one.

spudit on January 04, 2011, 02:39:01 pm
A better Heinlein fit might be Beyond This Horizon, remember the incident with the food falling on someone and the exaggerated courtesy, formalized challenge, apology and amends.

I have had some recent discussions about pistols and carrying of same with my brother in Chicago. Our worlds are different. There they are finally being allowed to own a side arm with only a $200 a year fee, and yearly qualification. For that they can carry in their house only. Here in rural Washington State, I carry when it suits me.

Since he has not carried in public my brother has no idea what it is like, imagines it's the old west every day. Surely anyone with a deadly weapon must be a swaggering lout because hey, he's got a gun. Explain that to a black belt who is a deadly weapon. Mellow fellows in the vast majority, armed folks too.

Nope, it's scary, the world is kindling and you have the only fire extinguisher in the room. What if, hope not, but what if, can I, would I, should I and then what?  Oh crap this is hard work, why bother?

No, RAH had it right once again. to function an armed society has to be a polite one and that includes built in relief valves like the apology sequence in the novel or the words are just words philosophy in the comic.

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SandySandfort on January 04, 2011, 03:12:35 pm
To me, a "fighting words" sort of society is simply... natural. Since one places a man's life in danger by, say, accusing him of being homosexual, doing so is placing him  under an obligation to react.

O H   M Y   GOD!   I don't know why I didn't see it before! It all adds up. Isn't it obvious what Quadibloc's fear of being called a homosexual, his tough-guy facade and his obvious misogyny, imply?

Next thing you know, we'll find out he's an aboriginal Australian...

BTW, I place you under no obligation to react.

ZeissIkon on January 04, 2011, 03:56:50 pm
If society ever evolved to the point where it was so advanced that people could just laugh off such accusations in safety - that one incident of not reacting to an accusation of being gay with anger wouldn't lead to a whispering campaign and ultimate ostracism - things might be different. But as long as there is reason to doubt that this could never happen, people must be free to defend themselves as may be necessary.

Well, two sides to this, I think.

First, it looks like you're telling me that I ought to sneak-shoot anyone who, say, calls me a pedophile (calling someone gay, even in North Carolina, just doesn't seem that threatening -- maybe I live a sheltered life), and that I ought to be able to justify such an action as self-defense.  You go first; I'm pretty sure this is a bad idea and want to see how you make out.

Second, however, you seem to be implying that in a society sane enough to operate under AnCap, it'll still be a mortal insult to use words like "pederast" or "motherfucker" or "cocksucker".  I think this is highly unlikely; even in our (pretty ill) American society of the early 21st century, none of those words are seen as justification for homicide or as mortal threats (or even as credible accusations, absent some level of evidence even if not admissible in court), outside certain fairly sharply defined subcultures (and not necessarily the ones you might think -- I've heard from many sources that convicted child molesters have a very hard time in the general population of most state and Federal prisons, a population that's mostly composed of drug- and gang-related felons).  As a matter of fact, a couple of those words figured prominently in a very well known comedy monolog some thirty years ago (which, in violation of its own internal prophecy, has been seen/heard on TV at least a couple times).

P.S. I see one of those words got, um, "translated" by the board software, but anyone who ever watched the 21st century version of Battlestar Galactica will recognize the Bowdlerized form...

spudit on January 04, 2011, 04:32:10 pm
Words are still just words.

In Glory Road, more RAH, Star says something like "an insult is like a drink, it only effects if accepted". 

Starting a rumor truly detrimental to a person's well being, say that he is a card cheat like Morris, comes close to fraud. It could hurt his ability to function. Accusing him of being one of that sort, pick one, is neither here nor there. Even today it's no big deal except among bigots.

Call me most anything but not late for dinner.

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terry_freeman on January 04, 2011, 04:38:00 pm
I may have told this story before. A friend, whom I will call John, sort of cut somebody off in traffic. The other guy's response was not merely to hit the horn and flip a one-fingered salute, but to go into full road-rage berserker mode. John pulled off at a ramp to escape the road rage guy, but was then stuck at a traffic signal. Mr RR, as we shall call him, jumps out with a tire iron and runs toward John's car. John slips out the passenger side door, runs around to the trunk, unlocks the trunk, retrieves and loads his gun, and continues running around the car to escape Mr. RR and his tire-iron.

Mr RR hits John with the tire-iron, badly enough that it might be broken. John continues to elude Mr RR, trying to resolve the situation without shooting Mr. RR.

The police finally arrive, the usual "Put down your weapons, hands above the head, etc."

The police hears the story, and asks John one question: "Why didn't you shoot him?"

John answers, "It would have ruined my day."

If John could save his life without killing another, that was his strong preference; taking a severe blow and not shooting showed admirable restraint on his part.

This (mostly) true tale runs totally counter to the usual bedwetting statist theory, which is that people with guns would be subject to sudden fits, and would shoot people in a wild moment of road rage.

I say mostly true because John was relating his story to a California newsman, and California law required John ( who did not have a CCW permit at that time ) to have his weapon unloaded and locked in his trunk - or openly visible if inside the passenger compartment. The latter option is rarely practiced, as it has a tendency to freak out police officers. The most likely scenario is that John had a loaded gun concealed, under the seat or in the glovebox, but amended the story to avoid legal complications.

I was once advised - by a police officer - to put my gun under a newspaper, and flip the newspaper away when pulled over, if one wished to appear to comply with the "openly visible" law. Of course, keep one's hands away from the gun; to do otherwise might be taken as evidence of suicidal tendencies.

 

anything