Re: Dodge City/was Re: The End of Privacy?

Michael Lorrey (
Thu, 09 Jul 1998 12:48:12 -0400

Ken Kittlitz wrote:

> At 05:53 PM 7/8/98 -0400, Michael Lorrey wrote:
> >Depends. It seems like the 'bad neighborhood' syndrome tends to spread like a
> >cancer, and only some serious work can turn such trends around. You might
> live
> This may be the trend in the U.S., but it doesn't seem to be happening in
> Canada. In fact, the inner city area I live in is a lot nicer place today
> than it was twenty years ago, and even then it was hardly dangerous. So
> from my perspective the trend is hardly inevitable.

I didn't say it was. It just takes a lot of work to fix once it happens. I would also say that Canada, up until the last 10 years has been much more culturally homogenous than the US.

> >in a nice neighborhood today, but what happens when some pretty bad people
> move
> >into your neighborhood either because they got scared of the really bad
> people
> >in their old neighborhood, or are looking for virgin territory to fleece? Are
> >you gonna move someplace else? And someplace else again? and again? and
> again?
> >When do you stop running and start shooting back?
> When I run out of neighborhoods ;-> If such a trend did develop, I can
> imagine situations in which I would buy a gun. I can also imagine
> situations in which I would do other extreme things, but I'm not going to
> worry too much about them. It's silly to underestimate risks, yes, but
> over-estimating them is also a mistake.

Refusing to prepare for either is the biggest mistake you can make, because you can never estimate anything with much precision. A number of wize old people have said on various occasions, when asked how they lived so long, and were so successful, "If you prepare for the worst, and prepare for the best, anything that happens you will be prepared to handle with ease."

> >Yes, why is Mutual Assured Destruction a fine policy for nation states but
> not
> >for individual people? Its worked fine for 50 years around the world, I think
> >that a personal policy of micro-MAD is a fine survival policy.
> Some societies manage to get along quite well without micro-MAD; perhaps
> nation states find it it a good policy because there is no real
> meta-authority to keep them in line, analogous to legal systems within
> nations.

Some societies get along fine without a built in, implied micro-MAD policy in their culture/government, but only in the short term. Such societies always tend to either self-destabilize due to a lack of internal checks and balances, or are interfered with by an outside party. You can praise the fine, pro-gun-control societies in Europe all you want, and they may be quaint places to visit, but they always seem to need rescuing every few decades when their quaint ideas delaminate from reality. I think that the only thing that has kept Europe from degrading into a continent wide version of yugoslavia is the implied threat that US forces represent.

Even the most civil society must have an implied threat of force on the part of the individual members of that society to hold it together, and to protect it from threats from higher authorities or from outside forces. If you beleive that all power originates in the individual, then the individual must be prepared and willing to take responsibility for the management of that power, no matter how much he or she has delegated it. They must also personally take responsibility for defending the power which they have not delegated to their governments. Anything less is head-in-the-sand abdication of the individual as the source of power.

Mike Lorrey