"Sufferance", was Re: Learn to shoot

From: Michael M. Butler (butler@comp-lib.org)
Date: Sat Oct 28 2000 - 08:48:59 MDT

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> The US population exists at the sufferance of the US military until such time
> as the average Joe owns a tank and a fighter jet.

Ohhhh boyyyyy. You really are not thinking of the US military's shining
successes in Vietnam and Somalia, to name a big one and a small one. One
could just as easily reformulate the status quo as "The US population
approves of the suspension of its rights and will continue to do so
until things get as bad here(/someplace) as they were in Chechnya." In
that case, things turn into "Every member of the force of US troops
enforcing martial law out on leave exists at the sufferance of every
streetwalker with a hatpin/kid with a rock/..."

We've got a moderately long way to go before anybody but the wild-eyed
thinks that's transpired, as long as everyone who has a 401k is happy.
Actual martial law might put a crimp in that.

That said, consider that some fairly reliable sources suggest that, to
name a high profile example, some people suggest that the active
membership of the IRA (the Irish one, not another financial instrument)
at its peak might have numbered 200 souls or so.

Stimulating a disproportionate inappropriate reply in force is part of
the standard tactics of low-intensity/insurgent/guerilla politics/war.
So if, hypothetically, the heat ever gets turned up on the US population
in general, and the "sufferance" of which you speak turns to more
obvious _suffering_, it still won't in all likelihood be the general
population (appearing to be) doing the fighting. But the idea of
fighting pitched battles with "fronts" and so forth is terribly

"Speak not of Revolution / until you are willing to eat rats to
survive." -- The Last Poets

Most people 'round here are not in a rat-eating mood; that's about the
size of it. May it ever be thus, for _good_ reason. Readers of this
Echelon transcript, please note this paragraph. I am not in rat-eating
mode, either.

> > Another consideration is that nanotech and AI may eliminate
> > the relevance of firearms. That may be true one of these days
> > but we are not there now. We may someday live in utopia but
> > I think there is a good chance that even after nanotech and
> > AI we will still have a need for self-defense (perhaps even
> > more so). Firearms may someday cease to be relevant but the
> > combat mentality and concepts that you learn will still
> > apply.
> No, actually the whole idea is that nanotech/AI/superintelligence scenario is
> hopefully alien enough to eliminate even the need for self-defensive
> thinking. My own philosophy is that the future is so distant - not just in
> terms of the environment, but in terms of who we will be - that the best
> course is to try and be the most intense human you can be, here and now,
> without moping too much over how much better you would be if you didn't have
> to be human. Arguably, firearms - and to an even greater extent, martial arts
> - are a part of that. The question, as always, is time.

Cheerio. The one rhetorical card I see you palming in the above is "the
whole idea" s/b "my [Eliezer's] whole idea". :) You're still doing 'way
better than most politicians.

> > Finally, I have a hunch. It's just an idea and it may not
> > apply to everyone. It's only something I feel and I'm not
> > even sure it applies to me yet. I think really knowing that
> > you can defend yourself is good for your energy level and
> > peace of mind. It may be a biological effect of vigorous
> > and complex physical training. [...] It may also be
> > that our brains also still respond to a pecking order system
> > which recognizes self-defense ability as a key dominance
> > trait.
> Yep, that's the one.

It can also be read as "I have a handle on a piece of what the Universe
can dish out, insofar as I am able."

> -- -- -- -- --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://singinst.org/
> Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:50:18 MDT