Re: Tolerance strategies (was: Two Essays on the violence...) (fwd)

From: Alex F. Bokov (
Date: Wed Oct 24 2001 - 16:07:21 MDT


On Wed, 24 Oct 2001, Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:

> A tolerant society allows all ideas to be expressed; it even allows
> actions many people find objectionable so long as they are done with
> consent of all parties affected, but even the most liberal society
> cannot tolerate coercive and violent actions except in self-defense,
> and even to most peaceful society must occasionally itself respond
> to such actions with defensive force. It is not acceptable to allow
> murderers to run free, for example; they must be forcibly detained
> and prevented from killing others.

What if a particular meme is acted upon with high frequency, and this
action is a violent one? What if a promoter of this meme moves in next
to you, should you seek to stop them or wait until the meme spread and
is acted upon and then defend against or avenge each individual

> Eli's point is quite valid: a tolerant society in which ideas are
> expressed freely will result in better technologies, including those
> technologies that are useful for defense. And such a society will
> recognize that using them is necessary.

A tolerant society will by its nature also relinquish certain very
effective weapons it invents, such as mind control and germ warfare.

> > 1a. Furthermore, when an ends-justify-means calculus is employed, you
> > end up with the problem of entrusting somebody with the priviledged
> > position of deciding which ends justify which which means. Your
> > friendly AI might do it Eliezer, but even the best intentioned humans
> > inevitably lapse into "MY ends justify the means".
> Again, how is this at all relevant to the argument given? Yes, evil
> people do evil things. No kidding. How is this in any way related to
> the idea that tolerant societies will have a better military AND more
> open policies.

I'm not talking about evil here. I'm merely saying that if any amount
of secrecy or fiat rule is necessary to the survival of a society,
then it will be leveraged by those in on the secret for personal gain
and to the detriment of the society that entrusted them with the
secret. Since you disagree with my premise that secrecy is necessary
to a society's survival (and I don't blame you, I'm not sure I think
it's actually necessary-- I just see that it's omnipresent) we can't
really debate point 1a at this point.

> > 3. Superior technology and economy does not necesserily trump a
> > superior strategic position. Witness American Revolution, siege of
> > Stalingrad, Italy's invasion of Ethiopia, Vietnam War, Chechnya, and
> > of course our current war against a delocalized enemy with wide
> > popular support.
> In the long run, it does. Sure, there will be setbacks, but a closed

Let's keep in mind that any one of these setbacks could usher in a new
Dark Ages that will delay the singularity by a couple of generations,
halt life extension research, and/or destroy your cryo-provider's
ability to maintain the temperature of your DeWar.

> society is self-defeating: even if it wins one war, its closedness
> will cause it to fall even further behind and lose the power to
> maintain itself. It will be beseiged by rebellion from within. Even
> tolerant-minded people will not stand idly by while government use
> force to oppress and murder their citizens--they can and will rebel,
> and establish new order, just as we did here, or else they will
> leave for somewhere else, and the remains of the intolerant society
> will collapse from brain-drain.

I agree, and this is precisely why the closed vs open society dilemma
reminds me of Prisoner's Dilemma cellular automata that I mentioned in
my post-- it appears that neither cooperators nor defectors can
completely win... but defectors can destroy the game by driving the
cooperators to extinction. Perhaps if there are ways to make a PD-CA
game stable, their geopolitical analogues can be applied to the
present situation.

- --
* I believe that the majority of the world's Muslims are good, *
* honorable people. If you are a Muslim and want to reassure me and *
* others that you are part of this good, honorable majority, all *
* you need to say are nine simple words: "I OPPOSE the Wahhabi cult *
* and its Jihad." *

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