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  1. #31
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    Except, I think when people normally rob others, they get more money than they lose.
    All power isn't just money. Their people may hate us but we have significantly more power there than we did when Saddam was in power.

    Americans! Making the world safer for other Americans by bombing people, occupying their country, and losing several Americans to suicide bombings every month! That is the American way!
    That's the nature of war. No nation has ever done anything for the benefit of others at their own expense, ever, when it comes to war. Every superpower in history has done this...just more overtly.

    Yeah, I would say the war in Iraq had more to do with letting a bunch of fundamentalist Christians go after a bunch of fundamentalist Muslims. And then you throw oil into the equation...but that is a different thread.
    I highly doubt that Crusading was the main motivation. It benefits politicians to appear religious (particularly Republicans) but that does not mean that they actually are. We could have killed significantly more Muslims than we did if that was the objective.

    My point is that Americans obviously let themselves get riled up with the idea of revenge. Now when I read the Bible is says a little something about turning the other cheek, or those without sin casting the first stone, or judging not ye be judged, or even thou shall not kill. But none of those have anything to do with gay marriage so I guess they aren't all that important. :rolli: What alternatives did the Bible suggest for when we are wronged? Love and forgiveness? Even though that is a considerably great philosophy, people just don't seem to find those as fun as getting theirs. It makes humans seem kindof hypocritical as an entire species.
    Humans are hypocritical. Although America is culturally more gunslinger-ish than most countries (due to our history)...I would be hard pressed to find any country that doesn't get riled up over the idea of revenge. Plus, despite what a lot of people think, America is not a Christian nation.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

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    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  2. #32
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    All power isn't just money. Their people may hate us but we have significantly more power there than we did when Saddam was in power.
    We do? I thought we were losing military force as a result of the war. How much of the oil resources is going to go towards balancing out what we have lost?
    That's the nature of war. No nation has ever done anything for the benefit of others at their own expense, ever, when it comes to war. Every superpower in history has done this...just more overtly.
    Doncha know? We got rid of Sadaam! We are heroes! Anyways, that is what Daddy Bush says makes the whole war worthwhile.

    I highly doubt that Crusading was the main motivation. It benefits politicians to appear religious (particularly Republicans) but that does not mean that they actually are. We could have killed significantly more Muslims than we did if that was the objective.
    A bunch of Evangelical Christians who have set up campaign after campaign in the world to fight ideas such as contraceptives? It would not surprise me if this was a lot more religiously motivated than even they are willing to admit.

    Humans are hypocritical. Although America is culturally more gunslinger-ish than most countries (due to our history)...I would be hard pressed to find any country that doesn't get riled up over the idea of revenge. Plus, despite what a lot of people think, America is not a Christian nation.
    Well there was this one dude in India who tried this civil disobedience thing. And then there was this black dude in America who tried boycotting buses and junk. And then there was this country is somewhere in south Africa, I forget what its called, but there were oppressed people and they took up a policy where they didn't seek vengeance when they elected a leader that had been imprisoned unjustly for some decades. But maybe I'm wrong and no country has ever had people who sought to not seek revenge but a resolution through peaceful means.

  3. #33
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    Except, I think when people normally rob others, they get more money than they lose.

    I believe the war was mostly "justified" by the threat of WMDs. The whole terrorism thing was just an added benefit.

    Americans! Making the world safer for other Americans by bombing people, occupying their country, and losing several Americans to suicide bombings every month! That is the American way!

    Yeah, I would say the war in Iraq had more to do with letting a bunch of fundamentalist Christians go after a bunch of fundamentalist Muslims. And then you throw oil into the equation...but that is a different thread.

    My point is that Americans obviously let themselves get riled up with the idea of revenge. Now when I read the Bible is says a little something about turning the other cheek, or those without sin casting the first stone, or judging not ye be judged, or even thou shall not kill. But none of those have anything to do with gay marriage so I guess they aren't all that important. :rolli: What alternatives did the Bible suggest for when we are wronged? Love and forgiveness? Even though that is a considerably great philosophy, people just don't seem to find those as fun as getting theirs. It makes humans seem kindof hypocritical as an entire species.
    Christianity isn't meant to be a system of national government. This should be reflected in things like the justice system which should be just, defense which should defend, and civil rights, which should be tolerant.

    I think the war is mostly about the oil. Big oil does not care what expense the government goes to as long as they keep making the big bucks. It's not their money being spent, after all, so why should they care how much is being spent?

    I think we would be much better off putting money into developing and building sustainable energy sources here rather than spending a kajillion dollars trying to make sure we can steal it from across the globe and that defense should be about defense, not about trying to manipulate the rest of the world for our own advantage, but what do I know?
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  4. #34
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    We do? I thought we were losing military force as a result of the war. How much of the oil resources is going to go towards balancing out what we have lost?
    Speaking in pure cost. I would suspect that the amount we have lost is negligible in terms of most long-term wars/occupations. I didn't say that it was done in the possible way, I am just saying that there are obvious tangible benefits, strategically and otherwise.

    Doncha know? We got rid of Sadaam! We are heroes! Anyways, that is what Daddy Bush says makes the whole war worthwhile.
    No politician ever tells the whole truth. If they did they wouldn't be successful for long. The American public isn't "in the know" enough to make big time decisions so they get fed what they want to hear. It works (generally).

    A bunch of Evangelical Christians who have set up campaign after campaign in the world to fight ideas such as contraceptives? It would not surprise me if this was a lot more religiously motivated than even they are willing to admit.
    Republican politicians have to cater to a host of different ideas due to the fact that so many conservative groups represent the party. There is a big difference between being religiously motivated and politically motivated based on a religious constituency. Religious conservatives are a big powerbase of the Republican party.

    Well there was this one dude in India who tried this civil disobedience thing. And then there was this black dude in America who tried boycotting buses and junk. And then there was this country is somewhere in south Africa, I forget what its called, but there were oppressed people and they took up a policy where they didn't seek vengeance when they elected a leader that had been imprisoned unjustly for some decades. But maybe I'm wrong and no country has ever had people who sought to not seek revenge but a resolution through peaceful means.
    "I would be hard pressed to find any country that doesn't get riled up over the idea of revenge."

    as in...the vast majority...

    You said yourself that America gets riled up over revenge...and then use examples from America to counter my argument? There was also Malcolm X and the Black Panthers and a lot of militant dissidents in South Africa. Civil disobedience works because it plays on pity and guilt, not because the government in charge realizes they were wrong...but because of an unsustainable position on their part.

    Disclaimer: I'm interested in this argument, but I don't want you to get the wrong impression. I'm not a neo-con per-se...since I'm more of a libertarian. Whether the war was worth it not, though, I'm just pointing out that it wasn't entirely senseless and does have some tangible benefit. I'm too Machiavellian.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  5. #35
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    But the entire point, that I can't tell whether or not you are agreeing with, is that, wherever possible, positive incentives should be used over negative. Do you disagree?
    I absolutely agree.

    I think our disagreement is in how it is possible to give positive incentives. Wherever possible, positive incentives are more effective, although they both suffer from the same issues (ie: positive incentives, like "money for good grades" causes a spiral of needing higher and higher incentives to continue performance, but that's the same as negative incentives).


    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    What do you base that conclusion on? I disagree with that 100%, but I'm curious as to your reasoning.
    Least as far as crime goes, in terms of people calculating if they should commit a crime, % chance of being caught, depth of punishment and %chance of punishment are all factored in.

    That is, if you know that you will be punished for, say, downloading that song, you are much less likely to do it - likewise, if you know that you won't really be punished if you are a casual user, or if there is only a small chance of being caught, you are more likely to download the song.

    But think about it logically; Theft is a postive incentive - you gain from the action. Therefore you need some form of offsetting balance. When the incentive for theft is higher than the alternative, then you steal. By adding a negative incentive to the calculation, you make the calculation favor the other positive incentives more... It is vastly harder to create an positive incentive not to steal (ie: give more money than would be stolen? The only way is to hold back an alternative, like losing your job.)

    What I'm saying is that it is fundamentally impossible not to add negative incentives to certain actions because the balance will always favor the easiest method... and the easiest method will often involve violence or theft, which individually is beneficial but is a net drain on society.

    If you want to get down to the psychological grit, then it's proven that punishment is very effective, in the short term. Meaning in your analogy, that you would stop swearing as much initially, but as you got used to the shock over a period of time, you would continue to swear with increasing frequencey. So of course, to get the same response, they have to increase the amount of punishment.
    Behaviour modification can stick extremely well - it just depends on how it is being applied. It is unlikely that one would start to increase swearing... unlike, say, being forced to labor under threat of punishment reduces the likelyhood of working without the punishment present.

    However, that may have been a bad example due to the repetitive nature - it can be very ineffective. Having a very high cost for an action is, however, effective when an alternative is available (ie: if I have two spots next to each other, but one is handicapped, and I know the fine for parking in the handicapped is high, I'm not going to part there. Without a negative incentive there is no particular reason not to do so, so long as I gain from parking there.)

    What? I would like to see what you base this on? Reward studies have found them to be vastly more effective in the long term compared to punishment.
    The swearing example is good because it's easy to see how positive encouragement doesn't work in every situation.

    Someone who swears 1% of the time (%words) will end up with 99$ out of $100 positive dollars. Net incentive? Minute. That's an example of offering an incentive to not steal, when all it takes is one time where it is beneficial (with the negative punishment as well). In the "large sum of money", you have a single trigger loss - it can't rewire habits over the long term (no repeated trial).

    This differs than negative conditioning - for example, repeated swear words increase the amount of punishment and there are automatically repeated trials.

    It's nice to say that positive works better than negative, and it's true, but life doesn't exist in a vaccum. Positive rewards cannot be equally applied - in most cases it's simply a transfer of negative incentives.

    Torture has been found to be very ineffective. That is a psychological fact. People will just lie and tell you what they think you want to know. It's often information that isn't even usable.
    You are missing my point. They will do anything to make it stop. It is highly effective at behaviour modification. It's just useless for its stated goal. After the fact, even the threat of torture creates such a negative incentive that, in some cases, they are willing to kill themselves first. That's not "ineffective" at all.

    I don't understand your example. The positive incentive for any company to do anything is money and power.
    Rhetoric, but points out the problem. Companies = money. Negative incentive = loss. When loss > gain, then an action isn't taken.

    I work with huge risk matrixes - that's the best example of how negative incentives are critical. If an action needs to be discouraged, you almost always will have to add a negative incentive... it's nearly impossible to engineer a situation in which a rationally calculating individual can be convinced with escalating positive incentives (the goal then is to find the worst situation possible and "black mail" a more positive incentive).

    You can't provide a positive incentive for behaviour in every case.

    In the pirating example, without the use of negative incentives, how do you make a company pay for software rather than copy it? Pollution is another example. (Although there is fuzzy ground here, like witholding or giving liscences/etc - it can be seen as negative or positive depending on the norm).

    I disagree. I believe there are many, many cases, if not the majority, in violence and theft where positive incentive is much more effective than negative. I know firsthand because there have been times when I would not have had any problem going to jail for hitting someone, but I chose not to simply because I wanted to be the better person.
    Rationalising is what happens after the calculation happens. "Being a better person" is not a positive incentive - it's a socialised cost... effectively a negative incentive (loss of self image, loss of public appearance, self-identity).



    Also, I believe punishment should only be used with the greatest discretion toward the circumstances in order for it to maintain any degree of effectiveness in the long term.
    Well, I won't argue this. Punishment is there to increase the costs of certain actions - it's still a calculation... but the legal enforcement is very complicated.

    (Whoa, 2000th post! O_O)

  6. #36
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    You said yourself that America gets riled up over revenge...and then use examples from America to counter my argument? There was also Malcolm X and the Black Panthers and a lot of militant dissidents in South Africa. Civil disobedience works because it plays on pity and guilt, not because the government in charge realizes they were wrong...but because of an unsustainable position on their part.
    I guess my next political thread will have to be, "Why does civil disobedience work?" I disagree wholeheartedly with your analysis. For example, bus companies lost a tremendous amount of money due to the boycott lead by Martin Luther King. It worked because they had them in a pinch.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    ...
    Well the point I would like to make from this thread is that deterrence is typically not as effective as positive incentive. America has a lot more to gain from going out in the world and making itself indispensable than it does from warring with other nations and imposing restrictions on those it doesn't agree with. If America was an example of love and forgiveness, and we only practiced self defense, then wouldn't we be a more secure? And if our government worked in such a way that we educated people on the incentives for living a good life, wouldn't that be more effective than continually raising the penalties for breaking the law until they become so obscenely high that no one takes them seriously anymore?

    But maybe that is just idealistic ranting.

  8. #38
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    Well the point I would like to make from this thread is that deterrence is typically not as effective as positive incentive. America has a lot more to gain from going out in the world and making itself indispensable than it does from warring with other nations and imposing restrictions on those it doesn't agree with. If America was an example of love and forgiveness, and we only practiced self defense, then wouldn't we be a more secure? And if our government worked in such a way that we educated people on the incentives for living a good life, wouldn't that be more effective than continually raising the penalties for breaking the law until they become so obscenely high that no one takes them seriously anymore?

    But maybe that is just idealistic ranting.
    Ok, that I can agree with. Well, in part, anyway (Love and forgiveness! LOVE AN PIZZA! Eh, Trigun.)

    The big picture is very complicated and I think negative incentives are a fundamental part of life... however, note that there is a frame of reference issue here too. We can call the war in Afghanistan revenge, or we can call 9/11 revenge - from each person's persepective, these are negative incentives... And they result in a net loss for both sides. It's just not as simple as adding negative - or positive - incentives... or calling them that either. It's rather like personality, actually - we can group and define them, but it has limited ability to help in a complex world.

    Just as you say that positive incentives are good at getting people out of drug habits - it could be said that non-drug addicts have a negative incentive to try drugs (they would lose a lot in their present life).

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Ok, that I can agree with. Well, in part, anyway (Love and forgiveness! LOVE AN PIZZA! Eh, Trigun.)

    The big picture is very complicated and I think negative incentives are a fundamental part of life... however, note that there is a frame of reference issue here too. We can call the war in Afghanistan revenge, or we can call 9/11 revenge - from each person's persepective, these are negative incentives... And they result in a net loss for both sides. It's just not as simple as adding negative - or positive - incentives... or calling them that either. It's rather like personality, actually - we can group and define them, but it has limited ability to help in a complex world.

    Just as you say that positive incentives are good at getting people out of drug habits - it could be said that non-drug addicts have a negative incentive to try drugs (they would lose a lot in their present life).
    I would call 9-11 and the war in Afghanistan a cycle of violence. We spent hundreds of billions in a war in Iraq, and yet we never could be bothered to go after those who supposedly perpetrated the attack on our country. No matter how you sum it, it just doesn't add up.

  10. #40
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    and yet we never could be bothered to go after those who supposedly perpetrated the attack on our country. No matter how you sum it, it just doesn't add up.
    Not true. A conventional war that deals with the invasion and occupation of a country is bound to use more manpower and garner more media attention than a Special Operations dominated war in a tribal state that can barely be called a country...but we were kicking ass in Afghanistan well before we invaded Iraq. And eventhough all of the major terrorist leaders were not apprehended, many were, and the structure of Al Qaeda obviously took a blow.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

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