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

From: Alex F. Bokov (
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 09:32:33 MDT


On Thu, 25 Oct 2001, Samantha Atkins wrote:

> "Alex F. Bokov" wrote:
> >
> >
> > Okay, here is a rephrased an simplified version of my question:
> >
> > Given that intolerant and absolutist memes can by definition exist
> > within a tolerant and relativist society, but not vice versa, what
> > strategies can the tolerant and relativist society use to survive?
> > Will these strategies require it to relinquish some of its tolerance
> > and relativism?
> Your not vice versa is unwarranted as almost all tolerance
> and/or relativism grew out of experience with intolerant
> societies. The tolerant society will survive simply because it
> is the most flexible, peaceful, prosperous and generally happy
> if truly tolernat and open. Intolerant absolutist meme systems
> are seen to simply not be competitive or preferable over time in
> the contrast of their effects. Becoming less good is not a
> productive way to oppose something more evil. It muddies the
> difference unnecessarily.

Note my comments about prisoner's dilemma later in the post. An open
society cannot prevail completely because it can be taken advantage of
by closed societies. A closed society can't prevail completely because
it is less efficient than an open society... it will either get out
competed by open societies or turn into one itself.

Problem is, translated into geopolitical terms this means a perpetually
unstable world punctuated by periods where there are few places where
you can be free.

ZeroPowers suggested what amounts to tit-for-tat. That creates three
types of players-- cooperators, defectors, and tit-for-tatters. There
is still instability (oddly enough, conflict between cooperators and
tit-for-tatters) but perhaps a better scenario overall.

In fact if our state department, military, and spies functioned as
intended, we would be a tit-for-tat entity. As you've amply pointed
out, this is not happening. I wonder, what sorts of changes we need to
make to keep our defenses in line with a tit-for-tat strategy without
becoming either cooperators or defectors?

- --
* 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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