killer apes

Anton Sherwood (
Wed, 15 Apr 1998 20:10:40 -0700 (PDT)

Erik writes:
: When you make claims about your own behavior and there are no reasons to
: believe that you are kidding or lying, I don't see any need to question
: your credibility. That's why I suppose that the Extropians in favor of the
: right to possess guns who gave the desire to protect their own property as
: a reason for their attitude were a sufficient source. ...

Consider context. When such a statement is made, seems to me it's usually
in response to a threat *to property* (rather than, say, life or limb).
Given your open hostility to individualism in general, and in particular
to the notion of leaving others in peace to enjoy what they've worked for
in good faith, it's no wonder that you run into a lot of macho snarling
on the same subject.

But that's all talk, not behavior. Here is a statement about my own
behavior. I have twice (I think) picked up my gun "in anger", both
times at night: when a woman's voice called for help, and when something
in my kitchen made loud noises and frightened the cat. (In the former
case, somebody threw a punch or two in a quarrel over parking; it was
all over before I reached the scene. The noise in the kitchen was
raccoons; they fled my light.) Assuming I'm not lying, would you
like to infer anything from these anecdotes?

: >Of course, the environment determines which behaviors are beneficial.
: >A market environment rewards giving; a socialist environment rewards taking.
: A market environment rewards giving. Really. That's why more money flows
: from the developing countries to the industrial countries than vice versa.
: They just like to give.

Irrelevant on two counts. If both parties benefit from trade, it's worse
than pointless to quibble which benefits more. But more importantly,
which "developing" (ha) countries have you in mind, that have genuine
market economies - where the dictator hasn't got a monopoly of everything
that might be valuable?

: That's why the US have one of the highest crime rates in the world.
: The criminals just like to give (what? fear? hatred? death?).

As a nation of immigrants, we have an excess of young single males,
the class most likely to be criminals. Still, most ethnic groups here
are more peaceful than their counterparts back home (or so I've heard),
and our crime rate had been dropping for decades (even through the Great
Depression!) before Big Brother got serious about suppressing the market
(oo, that nasty word again) in specialty pharmaceuticals.

: That's why big capital eats little capital, little capital likes to give.

No, silly, *big* capital likes to give bribes ("campaign contributions")
to legislators, to make life harder for little capital. Such giving is,
unfortunately, rewarded.

The degree to which "big capital eats little capital" is exaggerated,
of course. A merger of dinosaurs makes headlines; its subsequent
loss of market share to upstarts is ignored.

: The workers like to give, too, with their net wages and standard of living
: declining.

Which is why we're so much poorer than our great-grandparents, eh?

: They all give. But who takes?

That's the beauty of the market: you take by giving.

Anton Sherwood *\\* +1 415 267 0685 *\\*