Saturday, 13 April 2013

Politics, Religion and Diet.

Three subjects that people love to argue about, as they are about beliefs ;-)
Human population vs Year.

 

Politics:

In Palaeolithic times, there weren't many people living on this planet. People hunted and gathered their food, and had relatively non-hierarchical, egalitarian social structures. According to archaeologists, violence in hunter-gatherer societies was ubiquitous. Approximately 25% to 30% of adult male deaths in these societies were due to homicide, compared to an upper estimate of 3% of all deaths in the 20th century. The cause of this is near constant tribal warfare: "From the !Kung in the Kalahari to the Inuit in the Arctic and the aborigines in Australia, two-thirds of modern hunter-gatherers are in a state of almost constant tribal warfare, and nearly 90% go to war at least once a year." However, due to the extremely low population back then, extremely few people were killed in absolute terms. Then, around 10,000 BC, some bright spark/bulb invented agriculture...

Fast-forward a few thousand years to the time of Genghis Khan. He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of north-east Asia. The Mongol invasions resulted in wholesale massacres of civilian populations. His descendants went on to stretch the Mongol Empire across most of Eurasia by conquering or creating vassal states out of all of modern-day China, Korea, the Caucasus, Central Asian countries, and substantial portions of modern Eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East. Many of these invasions repeated the earlier large-scale slaughters of local populations. However, due to the low population (around 300 million), few people were killed in absolute terms. Then, around 1,600 AD, some bright spark/bulb invented government...

As mentioned in How did we get to where we are today? Part 2., the invention of liberal government encouraged the exchange of ideas and entrepreneurship. Monarchies taxed people, but their bureaucracies stifled entrepreneurship, so the French and the Chinese invented loads of stuff that never saw the light of day. We Brits got lucky. As a result, the Industrial Revolution created wealth out of dirt, which led to rapid economic growth and rapid population growth. The Green Revolution led to more rapid population growth.

Fast-forward to the 21st Century. Warfare has killed millions of people. Rulers have killed hundreds of millions of people (the vast majority by totalitarian & authoritarian regimes), according to Anarchy Begins at Home: The Blog Series Part 6 – Democide. However, due to the extremely high population, only approximately 5.6% of the total population have been killed by rulers. That's what I call relative peace.

EDIT: I don't want a system where entire populations can be slaughtered by armies led by a charismatic leader. I also don't want a system where the poor & underprivileged are "free" to die in poverty. Some people scrounge off Social Security, but the amount of money scrounged by them pales into insignificance compared to the amount of money scrounged off the rest of us by the wealthiest people on this planet.

 

Religion:

I'm not religious. I have no problem with people believing in God, as long as they have no problem with me not believing in God. A thought experiment that you may find interesting is God's Debris, by Scott Adams.

 

Diet:

Read the rest of my blog, dammit!

In other news...
Mum is now in a coma, but her breathing is regular.

8 comments:

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Hmmm. No comment?

justjuliebean said...

My politics are likely somewhat similar to yours, religion as well. diet, not so much. I like my rice and beans and fruit, and even a cookie. Your mom was lucky to have you by her side. My condolences (Yes, I realize wrong post, but computer too difficult to comment 2x)

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Hi Julie,

Now that I have corrected my insulin resistance, I can eat carbs without feeling drowsy or getting horrendous hunger pangs later. I eat fruit and the occasional cookie. I find rice too bland & beanz meanz fartz!

Thank you for your kind thoughts & words.

Best, Nige

Kade Storm said...

I've been on and off with activity while only getting into long-winded discussions over at Facebook.

However, I think you--much like most, including fringe political dissidents in denial--are on the same page as the rest of the populace.

The idea of a safe environment with a basic standard of living is not intricately tied into totalitarian douchebaggery. That is narrowminded nonsense and one of the weakest social experiments since you only have a few regimes that every went down that road, and it wasn't even that road to begin with since they used the name and idealisms of an ideology to essentially create their own temples of power.

Hitchens are commented numerous times about this when emotionally stunted dim-wits have brought up the old 'communist-atheist experiment' fallacy to the table. These people were totalitarian scum, and they can actually exist in many mediums; from the outright and often short-lived centralist states to the subversive and cunning crony free market environments.

Just because a system is exploited, doesn't mean that the system or the aims of the system are misplaced. Design an intelligent means to minimise the problem, and it is largely--as you put it--minimal.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I wondered whether anyone would leave a comment on this controversial post. Thoughts popped into my head and I wrote them down. I hope that they made sense.

It's funny how I totally agree with Richard's religious & dietary beliefs, but I totally disagree with his political beliefs.

As a certain meat-based artist sang:- Now don't be sad, 'cos two out of three ain't bad.

Kade Storm said...

Problem, in my case, is that I don't consider the other two as viable or important. This kind of makes politics--in certain cases--a strong determining factor.

Don't get me wrong; diet and religion are very important. However, religion and politics are very closely related and in this brave new world, political and sociological thought have started to take the active place of religion. A lot of our future and sense of direction depends on this subject. Ultimately, though, it's the goals that count more than how we individually choose to get to those points. I don't believe that many of the Libertaraian mindset actually condone leaving people to rot in chaos, but their faith in the invisible 'hand of balance' in the minarchist environment is grossly overplayed and misplaced.

This is why, in my opinion, it's a serious difference, but certainly nothing to spill blood over. We're fortunate to even have the luxury to discuss these issues.

N Matheson said...

Is that an extrapolation from modern hunter gatherers to the Paleolithic? If so it is invalid. Hunter Gatherers are essentially loathed by their neighbours and many of their "wars" are the result of defending themselves from attack. Some hunter gatherers (such as Plain Indians) were reversions from farmers, while some anthropologists rather disingenously included horticulturalists as hunter gatherers. Modern Hunter gatherers have been living in more-or less the apocalypse for a long time.
Hardly any Paleolithic humans show signs of death by violence, very much not the case in the Mesolithic (huge changes to environment and resource base) or the Neolithic which produced mass graves and actual battles.
Studies done of forager/horticulturalist violence have shown no real selection advantage in the behaviour or being "good" at fighting. I have alot of experience with martial arts and fighting, people are really bad at it in the main and it takes massive amounts of training to produce mediocre results.
Wounds caused by violence are very pronounced and identifiable. Defensive wounds repeated strikes and specific targetting being the hall marks. Humans are quite tough and it takes a fair amount of brutality to kill one meaning themarks are highly likely to be archaeologically visible.
Being a hunter gatherer is by no means a guarantee of living a life free of violence. We may have bodies/minds of people from the Paleolithic but the environment has changed drastically since then and models of behaviour, positive or negative, are poor models for contemporary societies.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

N Matheson said...
"Is that an extrapolation..."
Is what exactly an extrapolation? As human population density increases, human conflict tends to increase. Would you agree?

Human population density was lower in Palaeolithic times than in Mesolithic times. Therefore, human conflict in Palaeolithic times would have been lower than in Mesolithic times.

Nowadays, human population density is very high (extremely high in inner-city areas). What do you think would happen in inner-city areas if there were no rules or laws? I predict (a) riot(s).

Nige