Thursday, January 31, 2013

Peace through mutual threat

A re-post from FB:

Having a society where everyone is extremely well armed with a super-deadly force (but not WMD) is having a free society. Free of violence and coercion. Sounds crazy? Well, let me explain:

Imagine we come to some island where the resources are limited, and we have to cooperate. The only thing is: each of us is armed with a magic wand (or, better yet, has a magic ring on his finger), which, if pointed in another's direction with a violent intention leads to the target's pulverization within seconds. But the target gets to know who "hexed" him and respond with the same hex before he dies.

What does this mean? This means everyone is going to be afraid to use violence of any sort. If I am going to try to compel you to do something, what threat can I use? That I will pulverize you with my magic weapon? But in your last seconds, you will do the same to me. If my goal is to be alive, I have to cooperate and only use words, never threats of violence.

This is why some people say that as many nations arming themselves with nuclear weapons as possible actually reduces war. We are afraid to attack Russia or N. Korea, because we know they will respond. The only problem is: nations are run by violent homicidal maniacs. Aka politicians.

Most people are not violent nutjobs, though.

This is why mutual armament is conducive to peace and non-aggression. It forces people to negotiate with each other with utmost respect for each other's point of view and each person's "pursuit of happiness".

The pictorial representation of this concept is this (taken from Robert Murphy's book Chaos Theory):

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