Re: The Violence Problem

Michael Lorrey (
Mon, 22 Dec 1997 19:55:02 -0500

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> (David A Musick) writes:
> > I think this forum is an excellent one to discuss the violence
> > problem. Violent acts have a great potential to disrupt our visions of
> > the future. I don't think we can pursue our extropic ideas for long
> > without doing much to solve the violence problem. We need to consider
> > why humans are violent. From there, we can discuss ways of effectively
> > deterring violent behavior. I think discussing the violence problem will
> > be more interesting and more productive than discussing the issue of who
> > will be allowed to possess firearms.
> I agree completely. As I see it, it can be divided into two main
> problems: one is how to decrease the amount of violence in general,
> and the other is how less-violent groups should deal with violent
> groups.

This is an excellent differentiation. Law abiding gun owners typically
focus on the second while anti-gunners are focused on the first and
narrowmindedly see guns as an easy PR pseudo-solution to what seems to
be an intractable human condition. This difference in goals is probably
why the two groups always seem to be talking past each other.

> Violence is an expression of aggression, and deeply ingrained in our
> mental structure. This suggests that we cannot easily get rid of it
> without some clever re-structuring of out brains (not something we are
> likely to be able to do within close future), although it can likely
> be controlled by setting up good mental safeguards (which are of
> course fallible, given sufficient irritation) during maturation. The
> big question is how to do this well (without stopping other,
> beneficial behaviors or limiting defense ability), and how to spread
> useful controls among people who have dysfunctional controls.

A couple good reccomendations for producing well adjusted, non-violent
a) require a certificate level license to preproduce
b) make child abuse a corporal crime (not necessarily a death sentence,
but a public whipping or caning would be a good eye for an eye. For
those of you thinking that this may at cross purposes to the goal of
reducing violence, just think about what just the IDEA of publicly
televised canings would do as a deterrent factor. An exection, IMHO is a
poor deterrent, because the offender is not around afterward to live
through the public humiliation.)
c) Outlaw divorce while the children are minors. This would a) ensure
that people thought long and hard about getting married, ensuring that
only those truly commited would do it, and b) eliminate the severe
strife that typically occurs between divorcees, using kids as the pawns,
and c) would eliminate, eventually, families where there is no positive
male role model.

Don't like any of these? Hey, your dealing with human nature here.

> The second problem seems to be a variant of the Prisoners dilemma:
> mutual defection is much less valuable than mutual cooperation, but a
> defector can exploit cooperators. Axelrod's results suggest that the
> non-violent group should adopt a "nice" strategy (no first strike), be
> forgiving (do not try to punish competitors too much), provocable
> (respond immediately to aggression), avoid envy (focus on increasing
> their own absolute fitness rather than their relative fitness compared
> to competitors) and be clear (make sure others can interpret their
> actions).
> On a game theory website I also found the suggestion of attempting to
> change the rules so that one avoids getting caught in a prisoners
> dilemma. This might occur by becoming immune to attack in some way,
> for example by being essential for the defectors or moving out to a
> different niche (place); do we have any better meta-strategies?

The way to avoid being caught in a prisoners dilemma is to avoid being a
prisoner. Live Free or Die, buddy. The best defense is a good offense.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------	Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?