Is There a Purging War – Part 1 Definition

This is a comment on this Aeon article, which ones again promotes the idea of a creative war. Last time it was clearly fallacious, this time the argument is rather intriguing though imprecise and implying fallacious thought.

The best way to analyze the phenomenon of war is again to adapt the fauceir position. War is conflict between social groups, collection of people that are united by some social contract. Usually war is conflict between states and/or organizations that strive for state like power. Sometimes this term is extended to include conflict between political factions and smaller groups within organizations or companies, especially if casualties are involved.

All these concepts have in common that they are only flat or descriptive. Fauceir Theory instead provides a functional definition based on fauceir hierarchies. According that two types of war may be distinguished.

  1. War between social groups at the same level of the fauceir hierarchy. This type of war clearly has the character of competition as we know it in free market economy.
  2. War waged from a higher ranking social group to suppress its elements. This type of war has many characteristics of enslavement. Sometimes also called war against its own people.

The amazing thing about these two definitions is that they are often confused to produce logically wrong conclusions. This is, I have to say, intentionally planned by ideologists.

For instance, the war against its own people is always justified by competition with other state like organizations. The most recent example is the war on terror that lead to substantial cutbacks in private rights and freedom worldwide, and to give the most horrible example remember the holocaust.

On the other hand, the own people often are intimidated by threads of war. As an example may serve the Social Democrats in Germany after WW1. They successfully prevented a revolution by coining the slogan “We don’t need an other war.”

Conclusively, if we were talking about the cleansing effect of war we have to state that only the first type, the competition between organizations bears progress. The other type is reactionaryism.

Admittedly, in any major conflict involves both types, so it is a well known fact that in times of external war internal repressions are common. People even the critical ones rally behind a leader if there is an external thread.

That said I think celebrating war’s creative power nowadays is equal to committing a fallacy as we don’t live in Rabindranath Tagore’s time any more. Our knowledge about history is broader and more detailed now. We ought to formulate more precisely to make our claims distinctive. After all celebrating Shiva as God of War was characteristic of a period of Indian economic and social stagnation.


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This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.

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Why ad hominem attacks in science are so successful

Reading this blog post I wonder if personal information are required in scientific publications for a single reason: to allow ad hominem attacks afterwards 😉

More seriously now:

I wonder if relevant scientific articles shouldn’t have been better published anonymously. For two reasons

  1. to avoid ad hominem attacks, as in the above mentioned example, and
  2. to prevent toadies in case of “big” names

In other words, it would allow to evaluate research on its scientific merits instead of celebrity. I can’t help but thinking that this was one the primary intentions of that very article in question.


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This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.

Never ask a parasite

Never ask a parasite how to fight parasitism. You certainly would get the wrong answer.

The interpretation of advantage, advancement, and even progress is relative. It depends on the observer’s position. The same is true for social parasites.

  • Ask a mafiosi and he will probably suggest that he should take over police control to reduce crime.
  • Ask a beggar and he would probably suggest giving more to charity.
  • Ask an academic and she would probably suggest raising taxes.
  • Ask a politician and she would probably suggest a reduction in people’s freedom.
  • Ask a bureaucrat and she would probably disapprove bureaucracy in other departments.

Therefore, never judge a political opinion without analyzing the social background it derives from.


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This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.

Evolution of (anti-)social behavior by penitentiaries?

This is actually a comment made to this blog entry slightly extended and embellished by pictures and links to the quoted websites. Further, this blog entry refers to a book which offer an interesting discussion at amazon. Probably I will tackle some points made in this discussion later. Probably, I will not buy this book though—you simply cannot buy all interesting books.

Now about the argument and the fallacies involved. The blog article claims that because violent people go into jail where is less opportunity to reproduce, “we are still selecting against antisocial behaviour very strongly in our societies”.

  1. Humans are endowed with natural reflexes not to harm other members of the same species. By the way all mammals are. People who train martial art have to make great efforts to overrule those reflexes, so there is no need to biologically evolve that trait.
  2. The most serious crimes in history have been committed by men in behalf of the society they were a member of. [There are only few examples, and those of course exist, where men or women killed or tortured other people for sheer pleasure. Those instances are so rare that we safely may call them pathologic and not normal human behavior.]

Suicide bombers have no personal benefit from destroying the lives of other, obviously, but the social fauceir that created them obviously has. Suicide bomber are weapons in the fight between societies.
Picture from http://www.waronline.org/en/terror/suicide.htm

Conclusively, cultural and not genetic inheritance is responsible for crime. What isolation of criminals into a penitentiary contributes to cultural evolution is an entirely different question I’m not going to cover here. Some aspects have been discussed already. But now and here other questions concern me.

To solve the question why people commit crimes despite their inborn reflexes, you have to apply fauceir theory: As biological beings humans are slave fauceirs to societies they live with, and those societies in early human history acquired (evolved) the capability to overrun the inborn human reflexes. Social fauceirs evolved that trait because it was beneficial, a selectional advantage. If a primeval group was able to kill members of an other group, their chances to survive on limited resources increased. Later on, societies evolved ideologies to mobilize ever more people to kill ever more other people. The holocaust and WW2 that killed millions of people were initiated in behalf of social interests justified by a specific ideology. But even less serious crimes have had their origin in societies, gangs or murderous families, that taught their members to pursue group interests and not to be too merciful against others.

Now what about the the genetic selection against anti-social behavior. That exists of course since the advent of human societies, so I cannot agree more. That tendency is a typical evolutionary one (the fauceir rule of increasing enslavement), but I disagree that this means reduced crime rates. Josef Mengele for instance, exhibited perfect social behavior in his society, Nazi Germany, whereas an other person from the same period, Claus von Stauffenberg, showed typical anti-social behavior, which would have saved many human lives but regrettably failed.


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This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.

Legal and Penal Systems: the Fauceir Stance

This actually is a reply to M. Pigliucci’s post on the American prison system.

By contrast, I admire the American prison system. Besides it is like the Russian system, and both countries share some features that probably make such a prison system more likely.

  1. Both are large countries. Nor primarily in the sense of a large population—China and India have even larger populations—but rather in the sense of vast and sparsely inhabited areas that make it easy for a criminal to disappear from a region where the crime was committed and reappear elsewhere to commit the next crime.
  2. And even more important. Both countries harbor a highly heterogeneous multicultural population that requires a high degree of tolerance which in turn makes it much more difficult to control potential criminals by customs such as neighbor watch.

Given these two reasons for a more severe penal system in large countries, I wonder if the present European system will change now that Europe becomes larger, easier to move home, and multicultural by significant immigrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. And those changes can be sensed already. Not surprisingly though, in Western Europe, Moslems are more likely to be imprisoned, same as Latinos and African Americans in the US. With the population of Moslems rapidly growing by immigration and height fecundity rate, the number of prisoners will happen to rapidly increase too.

That immigration in Europe has something to do with imprisonment can be sensed from the next chart. Switzerland and Scandinavia have a low prisoner rate as they also have greater impediments to immigration: A language difficult to learn, especially Finnish, a restrictive immigration policy, Switzerland for instance, and no former colonies that often serve as bridgeheads to immigrate to the motherland, UK is the predominant example.

It is rather naive to gauge the effectiveness of a legal system by summing up the cost of their prisoners alone. Criminals are always a burden to a society either by draining a society’s wealth when pursuing criminal acts or by consuming society’s resources during legal action or imprisonment. By contrast to the US, the Europeans legal system chose other priorities. In Europe they try to keep calm those criminal elements outside prison, but this also comes at a price. Add the costly European social systems, the various subsidies, and all kinds of social transfer payments and you get a rough estimate of that cost.

At this point, you may argue spending money for a social system is more beneficial to a society than say spending it for a penal system. That fits only partly. The way of bolstering the social system to prevent crime has serious drawbacks too.

  1. Laziness is infectious. If people learn that you can live a decent life based on social subsidies without work, it will spoil others.
  2. The increasing number of people who depend directly or indirectly on social transfer payments exerts a ripple effect on politics. Influential political parties exist that exclusively rely on such potential criminal elements. The effect of an altered constituency on the outcome of democratic election is described elsewhere by a mathematical model.

I strongly disagree over the five reasons why we want to incarcerate people. It is neither retribution, crime deterrence, rehabilitation, restitution to the victims, nor social denunciation that makes incarceration necessary as all these goals can be achieved by other probably cheaper methods. The only reason that makes practical sense is isolation to prevent people who are a burden to society from influencing the course of society.

Back to Fauceir Theory, a legal system in its capacity to isolate criminal elements is a fauceir and therefore its control function is characterized by imprecision and consumed resources. We talked about consumed resources already. Imprecision is an other issue. Imprecision not only includes those who are sentenced despite their innocence or vice versa. Imprecision also includes punishments that are either not effective to isolate criminal attributes or isolate favorable attributes as well. To give an example, a child abuser probably may become a valuable member of the society on an island where there are no children around. Same with a rapist. Put him into a coal mine and allow occasional well observed trips to a brothel and he probably will make a decent contribution to the society’s wealth.

Thus Fauceir theory does not tackle the rather ideological question why which legal system is better. Fauceir Theory asks how to evolve an existing legal system in term of improved precision and reduced resource consumption. This according fauceir rules can only be accomplished by including additional sub-fauceirs.


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Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.

A Clockwork Orange revisited

Sometimes it is difficult to resume writing after such a pause. The first think one wants to talk about is the cause of a writers block, if there is one. Well, there is a cause as far as I can understand it. I made a long journey and during this journey I was listening to an audiobook. It was the  Clockwork Orange that I found worth going deep with after this little passage on a web page on English Grammar. No, it was not disappointing. The book is well written as the comment made me guess. Yes, it was annoying. Probably I’m one of very few people on this planet who instantly understood all words in this audiobook, as in fact all the words that may sound so strange to native English speakers are in fact Russian words, easily comprehensible to someone who speaks both languages. But this was the annoying point. Why did he use Russian words? Easy enough, it is clear to everybody that the writer invented this alien jargon to characterize a group of youngsters as detached from normal social behavior. The unfamiliar language creates a distinct reality in which the degree of brutality exposed by this group of criminals becomes out-of-this-world and hence tolerable, though not acceptable.

But, why Russian? I guess the answer to this question is that this book was written by Anthony Burgess in 1962. It was the period of cold war, and Russia was the enemy. An here it occurs to me that it was an intended effect a means to subconsciously infuse hatred against Russian people who speak the same tongue. In fauceir terms it is the imprecision ingrained in every information process here employed intentionally in terms of propaganda to manipulate people. Nowadays an author would probably rather use Arabian.

All this was clear to me right from the beginning. There was something else that made me nervous that subconsciously infused something in my mind that made me depressed and silent. Now I know what it was. By contrast to native English speakers these words were not alien to me. They have a meaning that aroused feelings and these feelings were in stark contrast with what happened in the plot.

To give an example that can be apprehended by English speakers, imagine members of a gang addressing each other by words like ‘my friend’ or ‘my dear one’. Sounds strange doesn’t it. An English speaking gang would use words like pal, crony, buddy, and so on,  and in Russian, of course, such words exist, too. Droog, however, the word frequently used by gang members in that Burgess’ book,  when used among criminals has a rare sarcastic taste.

An other example, devotchka in Russian is an innocent girl and the word is synonymous with virgin. Russian criminals wouldn’t use that word to address a normal female person, if they were not sex criminals. Even among ordinary criminals this word is reserved for someone they harbor sincere feelings for. An ordinary woman is called by Russian criminals whore or bitch like supposingly everywhere in the world.

Having said that, I hope everyone can understand how I took in this book. It was detestable. It was as if these criminals not only showed an extraordinary degree of brutality, but also trampled the least bit of their own feelings, as if they were not humans at all but robots programmed only to destroy.  It was unbearable. But it was unreal, too,  as every robot has its programmer. Robots don’t brutally destroy everything on their own account. They must have a programmer.

Finally, I got over it because I understood that everything was my mere misconception, imprecision in fauceir terms so to speak.


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Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.

Evolution of Political Assassinations

Triggered by the latest assassination that took place in Arizona, and inspired by reviews of facts from the POV of a more democratic and a more conservative bloggers, I want to outline a short history of political assassination. My intention is not to list all the millions of victims that happend over thousands years or so, I’d rather focus on common rules. The most general rule was already outlined on this blog. It is the rule that natural selection works against human individual capabilities. In other words, statistically, the better a politician’s capabilities the higher the risk of being assassinated. Apart from this general rule that holds for the whole human history, there are distinct historical periods that had their specific rules. This blog entry is focused on these rules.

Stone age people probably did not know political assassination. As we can deduce from animal behavior, stone age men surely fought for dominance, to become the tribe’s alpha male, but this probably seldom resulted in killing each other. Animals evolved an inborn aversion to killing its own kind, and the same is reasonably true for prehistoric humans.

Political assassination emerged when humans became political beings, homo politicus. In fauceir terms, political considerations superseded biological behavioral patterns, or in even more abstract terms social fauceirs dominated biological fauceirs. This coincides with the formation of human societies, division of labor, and the backbone of altered behavior religion.

The primordial political structures were based on individuals. These were called Emperor, Cesar, King, or Pharaoh depending on the scene. Individual political leaders were the immediate successors of alpha males in stone age tribes. Economic and religious reasons allowed those political leaders to gain more and more power, and by the same token their job became more and more dangerous. It was within that period that killing a single person helped to changed the whole political direction. We know about regicides, but what we know is probably the tip of the iceberg only. I dare say that almost every political leader suffered an unnatural death even if he grew old. The extraordinary death rate among royals had been outweighed by the death rate of common people that was height, too, because of starvation, infectious disease, and crime.

The picture changed significantly when political parties appeared. By contrast to individual leaders, political parties could not be removed by killing a single person or a large quantity of members. This Germans convincingly demonstrated. First they killed Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the founders of the German Communist Party which did not succeed in stopping the communists. Almost a decade later Hitler tried to mass murder them in concentration camps, but the communists prevailed.

By the advent of political parties, fundamental political changes could not be expected by killing the leader of a political party as a surrogate always exists eager to succeed, but this by far did not stop political assassination. On the contrary, the picture became more complex only. While in royal times, we could have been sure that the successor had been involved in the assassination, this simple rule does not hold true anymore. Nowadays it might be friend and foe.

Now follows a list of reasons for political assassination today:

  1. The murder is engineered by the political enemy
    1. to eliminate an preeminent leader,
      successful only if the prospective successor is easier to handle
    2. to blame others,
      successful only if a scam exists
  2. The murder is engineered by the same political camp
    1. to promote a successor,
      reasonable only if the successor is more capable
    2. to blame the political enemy,
      successful only if the enemy made the mistake to behave suspiciously

Today, uncovering the reason of a political assassination requires a much more subtle analysis.


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This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.