Re: WAR: appropriate first use (was: If we do get Afghanistan...)

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sat Nov 24 2001 - 20:33:59 MST

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> On Sat, Nov 24, 2001 at 10:54:54AM -0800, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> >
> > Actually, I think it will be unlikely to be a problem if any
> > secular democratic society acquires military nanotechnology.
> > We've generally avoided the use of offensive technologies
> > unless we are attacked first.
> So far, democratic nations have never declared war on each other (of
> course, plenty of nations *call* themselves democratic, but we are here
> talking about real democracies).

What about the Weimar Republic? Although it is not exactly true to say
that Hitler was elected (the Nazi Party did not achieve a majority in the
last free election held in Germany), Hitler's dictatorial powers were
granted him by parliamentary vote of elected parties.

"Thus was parliamentary democracy finally interred in Germany. Except for
the arrests of the Communists and some of the Social Democratic deputies,
it was all done quite legally, although accompanied by terror. Parliament
had turned over its constitutional authority to Hitler and thereby
committed suicide."
        -- "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", William L. Shirer

One also recalls our media's eternal use of the term "strongman" to
describe Slobodan Milosevic in order to quietly skip over the fact that
Milosevic was elected.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:21 MDT