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

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More Warmonger’s Fallacies Exposed

This post continues the previous post and the quotes are taken from this discussion.

stephenduplantier

„Peace is slow war, because conflict can occur in peacetime; and war is fast peace, because cooperation can occur during wartime.“

Fallacy: Abstract meaning fallacy
I ask myself if the author of this assertion is aware of his/her great predecessor. „War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, and Ignorance Is Strength“ phrased Orwell already. This fallacy, maybe, is not so obvious to everyone. It has to do with redefining the meaning of words. Usually this is accomplished by making it more abstract, and the author of the above quote is just caught in the act. The author tries to convince us that there are similarities between peace and war and by that tries to blur in our minds the borderlines between them. This is just an intermediate step to what G. Orwell wrote sarcastically.

Ross David H

“The main thing that war provides, is the same thing that bankruptcy provides in a market economy, which is that if an organization (nation or company) drops … , then it is removed.”

Fallacy: False analogy (at least partially) which again leads to redefinition of war.
To put it simple, there are great differences (obvious to everyone) between war and bankruptcy, which is the reason why we use different words. One of the great advantages of bankruptcy is that it involves less collateral damage. So I suppose, we all may agree, if war were transformed into bankruptcy, humanity would enormously benefit. Thus, let us study the following questions: What blocks states from competing like companies, or what allows them to cause so much destruction in the wake of their competition? Why bankrupted states manage to merely change facade instead of being removed completely?

Richard

“You put a fallacy here yourself (appeal to common sense). In fact, it is not obvious to everyone why that is a false analogy.”
“Another fallacy (straw man; putting words in someone else’s mouth). Nowhere did I try to justify wars as engines of progress (you seem to lack the liberal arts skills of critical reasoning and close reading as well).”
“But how can you disagree with a conclusion before studying something first?”
Fallacy: Red Herring.
He is probably good at selling Red Herrings. The post is neither about fallacies nor about studying slavery. The post is about beneficial effects of war ‘in the long run’ (whatever that means). BTW “beneficial effects” in connection with war sounds equally wrong to me as “progress” connected with war, so there is no straw man in rephrasing a false claim. Sorry I won’t discuss the other allegations. Peace is more important though.


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

Warmonger’s Fallacies Exposed

A book “War! What is it Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots” by Ian Morris.
caused many cons like here and here. I analyze a pro. Actually, what I discovered was not a single argument in favor of war, but a fertile source of logical fallacies.

Peter

„ … just returned from California, … “
„ … I started at Stanford, then went to Davis.“
„ … I gave talks at Irvine and Riverside.“
„ … I also met with Ian Morris, the author of the widely acclaimed … he gave an invited lecture at Yale … “
„ … workshop I organized at Stanford on … The main proponents … at the workshop were Peter Richerson, David Sloan Wilson, and I. “

Fallacy: Appeal to authority.
Obvious to everyone I guess 🙂

„ … Morris argues that ‘the main function of war in cultural evolution across the past 15,000 years—and particularly across the past 500 years—has been to integrate societies, increasing material wellbeing.’ … the argument here is ‘over the long run.’ It goes without saying that wars created, and continue to create an enormous amount of human misery. … Thus, wars have not only a destructive side, but also a creative one.“

Fallacy: Straw man.
Though Peter successfully knocked down the straw man that over the short run war causes misery, it doesn’t prove anything about beneficial effects of war over the long run.

„ … I was soundly berated by one irate member of the audience … “

Fallacy: poisoning the well.
Declaring an counter argument irrational doesn’t say anything about the argument itself.

“ … several reviews from reputable commentators that I’ve seen were cautiously positive.”

Fallacy: celebrating the well (the opposite of poisoning the well).
Who says that those commentators are reputable. Where does their reputation derive from.

“Most people who react negatively to Ian’s book have not read it. … he hadn’t read the book. He explained that he disliked the title, … “

Fallacy: Hasty Generalization.
He met just one.

Also

Fallacy: poisoning the well.
As this little anecdote is mentioned to discredit all critic.

Besides, the next paragraph contradicts:
“ … indicating lots of sales. … ”
People wouldn’t buy without reading, would they?

Richard

“You can be vegetarian, but it’s really hard to argue that humans would have evolved in to what they are if they had been herbivores.”

Fallacy: False analogy.
I think it is obvious to everyone.

“ … Would you not be interested in studying why slavery happens, why it still exists today, what could cause it to be more prevalent in the future, … ”

Fallacy: Red Herring.
What studying slavery has to do with justifying wars as engines of progress?

“But how can you disagree with a conclusion before studying something first?

You seem to have a closed mind where you find some conclusions objectionable before ever considering any evidence.”

Fallacy: Poisoning the well.
An accusation of the opponent being closely minded does not prove the initial argument

Besides this accusation was what the Red Herring was abused for.

“It seems that you are not very good with the liberal arts skills of critical reasoning and close reading.”

Fallacy: Personal Attack.
At this point eventually, the opponent realized that he was tricked and quitted the thread.

The Rest

What follows is several other rephrased Red Herrings, the main question being unanswered by anyone. Why war purportedly is more effective in promoting cooperation?


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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.

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

Militant Atheists

Militant Atheist

Hypothetical (?) militant Atheist

In some atheist blogs, the notion of a militant atheist is mocked.  This claim might attest these peoples peacefulness. You can believe it or not. It is a matter of fact that terrible crimes have been perpetrated by communists, self-proclaimed atheists. And if you add fascists that are not theists either, you come up with the past century’s most terrible crimes perpetrated by atheists.

See also a newer post here.


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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.