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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

trade offs

I have had this theory brewing in my mind over the past few months, and I would like to share it with you (prior warning, This blog is proof that I conjured these ideas from my own mind at the date of publishing therefore anyone trying to say that these ideas are their own have been forewwarned).

In my mind society has been built on the theory of a line. Do you line up at the supermarket to pay for your shopping? Do you do so even in a rush? Do you wait behind that dear old lady who did not read and has brought 30 million items to the express checkout? If you answered yes to these questions I have one final question for you. What is stopping you from pushing in front of her? I mean what is physically stopping you?

To line up for things is a uniquely human trait. In a world of survival of the fittest, a line does not make sense as it is first come first served. The first one may have no ability to fight off those who are stronger than he, yet we all wait for them to finish before moving sedately along. (like anything I understand that there are exceptions, I call these people 'jerks')

The reason I put forth for this activity is that we as a society have traded our ability to push in front of those weaker for the security that those stronger than us will also abide by this rule. The only two exceptions to this rule are the one person who is strongest who has nothing to gain, and the one person who is weakest who loses nothing. The stongest person will not remain so forever so they in fact have future gains if they follow this rule as the future strongest person, who followed the rule prior is now the strongest and may very well follow this rule.

A line is seen as slow moving, and frustrating, but I ask you this: Is order more efficient? does it take less time to serve the person at the front of the line than it would to have to serve whoever is currently winning the battle of strength?

But joblesshobo. You are a jobless hobo what would you know about power and wealth? I can hear maybe a half a person saying. Exactly. Without a job I know what it is to be without strength or power, and I have spent many an hour in line, sending invisible daggers to the person in front of me at the welfare agency who has a poor grasp on the English language and thinks that they are entitled to enough money to afford a huge house, who slows up the whole process. Yet I wait in line. I do so because there are rules saying something along the lines that murder = no money from welfare agency.

Who enforces these rules? some argue the law, whilst others would say security or the police. Whilst technically true this is only the tip of the iceberg. I call the enforcer group power.

Statistically speaking the strength of all people if plotted on a graph would follow something like a bell curve with 65% of the population sitting roughly in the middle.

so lets discount the bottom half outside of this middle group. so 17.5% of people are the top echelons. now one on one these top people have little to fear from those below them, but how would they face off against the entire group below them? There are over four people for every one person in the top rungs of strength. have you ever seen one man fight five other guys at once? how did they end up? I am not talking about the scripted movie fights where the protagonist always wins with skill. I am talking about a street fight. Odds are the aggressor (strong man) came off second to the weak group who overcame them through sheer numbers.

We can take this a step further by arming everyone in society with a standard handgun. Don't get me wrong, I am not a gun nut who wants shoot outs left right and centre. I am merely bringing this point up for discussion. Now with everyone armed with a sidearm the sane people among us know that they might get off maybe five shots, or one well aimed one, after which time they would be shot by bystanders acting in self defence. Yes I understand that this is purely utopian viewpoint, but humour me. There would be people out there who cannot think far ahead enough to realise that aggression means death, I know, but for the vast majority of sane people out there, a duty to carry a sidearm would put everyone on a level strength playing field making a line the most suitable option for all involved to maintain the luxuries in life like breathing and life itself.

I expect comments and lots f them.


  1. What's this 'sane' thing, dear? How do you define 'sane'? If it's 'without mental illness', you've already taken away at least a quarter of the population. And offended me and yourself.

    And with this gun theory, what about people who are alone completely except for the perpetrator? They're screwed.

    What about the very weak? They're screwed.

    What about those with poor eyesight or bad coordination? They're screwed.

    Even if we take this from just the majority of 64 per cent or whatever you say, that's leaving 36 per cent of the population screwed, on top of all those above that I mentioned.

    But essentially what you've done here is eliminate the needs of half the population in order to make the other half somewhat safe.

    Still, what happens to the poor woman, alone in the alleyway, whose weapon has been disabled by the perpetrator?

    What about firearms and drugs (illicit and medical) and alcohol? Would those affected be unable to carry a weapon? You and I would both be out of weapons if that were the case. But if you let them carry, you'll end up with more shootings because of how substances affect people.

    What about people who don't believe in firearms? This lack of law or government would leave them completely unsafe.

    The law is here to protect us. All rules are here to protect us in some sense. I know you haven't entered words like 'democracy' and 'anarchy' yet but I know they're coming and I'll save my other issues for then.

    Are you guided by the greatest happiness for the greatest number or in doing what's right according to moral law? Whose moral law do we follow? We know yours isn't the typical. Defining moral law is tricky, but by the fact that you've already left half the population to essentially duke it out for themselves without law or protection, I'm guessing that's the option you're going for.

    I look forward to the next post.

  2. Like I said, you should read some Rousseau. I think you'd like Ethical Theory, I wouldn't bother with Applied Ethics just yet. I mean, you can if you want to. I guess it would be easier for you than for me since my views tend to deviate from the norm so I always have people attacking me.

  3. you two are waaaayyyy to smart for me, i really had to concentrate on what i was reading or o got lost and confused. but i agree with shinxy (mostly cos i'm weak n defenseless n cant shoot to save my life)although i have aimed a gun at a person as a warning i probably would have shot them too but they backed off i do not encorage the use of wepons but i was a child n had no option you may ask me privately if you want the story

  4. Also, I was thinking about a point I made about this when we were talking about it in the car the other week.

    I understand that you believe that society is based on a line, but you are still relying on the theory that people are inherently good. People would be willing to give up certain rights if it meant that they could do that to whoever they wanted. I assume you'll expand this in your next post but I just want people to think about this.

    What guy wouldn't want to sleep with any member of the opposite sex he wanted? I'm sure a few women would too. I believe that the majority of people would give up the right to not be raped by the opposite sex in order to be able to have sex with whoever they want without consequence. Even if it was only single people that could be raped. You'd get guys sleeping with porn stars and strippers (because apparently that's what's attractive) without consent, and over time, the notion of consent to sex would disintergrate and women {and some men) being violated would be even more of a fact of life than it is now (one in six of all women [and one in 33 men] have reported being sexually assaulted, and we all know that only a small percentage of people actually report sexual assault or rape).

    What say you?

  5. Oh come on, Mew! Play with me!