What would it take for you to fight for your liberty?

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
piwakawaka42
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:02 am UTC
Location: NZ

Re: What would it take for you to fight for your liberty?

Postby piwakawaka42 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:55 am UTC

The answer is never. Statistical analysis (I have forgotten the link, I think it was from a recently-published book) has shown that chaos and anarchy are far more dangerous for people than tyranny (note that there were no car-bombings in Iraq under Saddam), and a study of history shows that, except for rebellions against recent conquests, revolutions tend to lead to chaos until another tyrant takes over (the one exception was the American revolution, probably because the Americans already had a significant self-government system in place, so they didn't need to start from scratch. The tl;dr version: tyranny bad, chaos worse, most attempts to replace tyranny create chaos.
The difference between magic and technology is quite simple: If it works, it's technology; if it doesn't work, we call it magic and get all mushy about it-Theodore Gray

User avatar
lutzj
Posts: 898
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:20 am UTC
Location: Ontario

Re: What would it take for you to fight for your liberty?

Postby lutzj » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:44 pm UTC

piwakawaka42 wrote:revolutions tend to lead to chaos until another tyrant takes over (the one exception was the American revolution, probably because the Americans already had a significant self-government system in place, so they didn't need to start from scratch.


Your general point of "don't rock the boat, even if the boat sucks" might be valid, but you should give this point a thorough thinking-over. To insist that only the American revolution did not result in tyranny is essentially to insist that all other nation-states are currently run by tyrants.
addams wrote:I'm not a bot.
That is what a bot would type.

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5654
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: What would it take for you to fight for your liberty?

Postby Diadem » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:56 pm UTC

piwakawaka42 wrote:The answer is never. Statistical analysis (I have forgotten the link, I think it was from a recently-published book) has shown that chaos and anarchy are far more dangerous for people than tyranny (note that there were no car-bombings in Iraq under Saddam)

Wait, what? Cite that please.

I'm pretty sure this is not only not true, but opposite of true. Mao alone killed more people than every war in the history of humanity combined [counting only people who died as a direct consequence of the conflict, not deaths due to tyranny related to the conflict]. And most wars are in fact the result of tyranny. If you just look at deaths due to civil wars, that hardly even registers compared to total number of war deaths or total number of deaths due to tyranny. And revolutions are a small subset of that.

Anarchy and Civil war can be extremely destructive. There's no denying that. But such conflicts usually do not last a long time. Tyrannies do. And while most dictatorships are relatively mild, tyrannies can be even more destructive than civil war. Check the history of Cambodia for a particularly nasty example. The Kmer Rouge killed about one third of the entire population in 3 years time. No civil war comes even close to that.

and a study of history shows that, except for rebellions against recent conquests, revolutions tend to lead to chaos until another tyrant takes over (the one exception was the American revolution)

Oh, thanks for the extra helping of American Exceptionalism. This is an again very very false though. History has plenty of examples of succesful revolutions. And even more examples of revolutions that while not bringing perfect democracy right away did nevertheless help a lot.
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

User avatar
piwakawaka42
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:02 am UTC
Location: NZ

Re: What would it take for you to fight for your liberty?

Postby piwakawaka42 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:09 am UTC

lutzj wrote:
piwakawaka42 wrote:revolutions tend to lead to chaos until another tyrant takes over (the one exception was the American revolution, probably because the Americans already had a significant self-government system in place, so they didn't need to start from scratch.


Your general point of "don't rock the boat, even if the boat sucks" might be valid, but you should give this point a thorough thinking-over. To insist that only the American revolution did not result in tyranny is essentially to insist that all other nation-states are currently run by tyrants.


I don't think that all other nations are run by tyrants, but I do think that in most cases, freedom was arrived at by a slower route, while the revolutions descended into tyranny (the French revolution produced Napoleon, while Cromwell dissolved the English parliament when it no longer suited him)
Diadem wrote:
piwakawaka42 wrote:The answer is never. Statistical analysis (I have forgotten the link, I think it was from a recently-published book) has shown that chaos and anarchy are far more dangerous for people than tyranny (note that there were no car-bombings in Iraq under Saddam)

Wait, what? Cite that please.

I'm pretty sure this is not only not true, but opposite of true. Mao alone killed more people than every war in the history of humanity combined [counting only people who died as a direct consequence of the conflict, not deaths due to tyranny related to the conflict]. And most wars are in fact the result of tyranny. If you just look at deaths due to civil wars, that hardly even registers compared to total number of war deaths or total number of deaths due to tyranny. And revolutions are a small subset of that.

Anarchy and Civil war can be extremely destructive. There's no denying that. But such conflicts usually do not last a long time. Tyrannies do. And while most dictatorships are relatively mild, tyrannies can be even more destructive than civil war. Check the history of Cambodia for a particularly nasty example. The Kmer Rouge killed about one third of the entire population in 3 years time. No civil war comes even close to that.

and a study of history shows that, except for rebellions against recent conquests, revolutions tend to lead to chaos until another tyrant takes over (the one exception was the American revolution)

Oh, thanks for the extra helping of American Exceptionalism. This is an again very very false though. History has plenty of examples of successful revolutions. And even more examples of revolutions that while not bringing perfect democracy right away did nevertheless help a lot.

The book (the citation you are looking for) is Atrocitology, by Mathew White ( a review: http://www.canongate.tv/atrocitology.html )
As for Mao, don't forget the length of his reign or the population of China-I was talking about the death rate (deaths per person per year), not the total deaths-if those are considered, of course tyranny will be worse-it lasts much longer.
For the Khmer Rouge, some (I don't know how much) was ethnic cleansing, which can lead to very high death rates for tyranny. I was thinking more about Western history, especially recent Western history (the most relevant to my situation).
Finally, please see above for the American exceptionalism-and for the record, I am a New Zealander, not an American.
The difference between magic and technology is quite simple: If it works, it's technology; if it doesn't work, we call it magic and get all mushy about it-Theodore Gray

Byrel
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:27 am UTC
Location: Michigan, USA

Re: What would it take for you to fight for your liberty?

Postby Byrel » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:46 am UTC

piwakawaka42 wrote:a study of history shows that, except for rebellions against recent conquests, revolutions tend to lead to chaos until another tyrant takes over (the one exception was the American revolution, probably because the Americans already had a significant self-government system in place, so they didn't need to start from scratch.)


Much as I would be like to be patriotic and tout American exceptionalism, this isn't quite true. There are quite a handful of revolutions which left their country in equal or better standing than the original. For instance, the English Glorious Revolution was comparatively bloodless (especially in England itself; it had more significant results in the rest of the British Isles which might or might not matter to your average Englishman.) It also resulted in the English Bill Of Rights. While that "Bill Of Rights" seems remarkably discriminatory and unpleasant to us ("That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law") it is a great improvement on a wholly unlimited monarchy.

Another good example is the Dutch Eighty Years' War which, although bloody, successfully brought an extremely free Netherlands out of dictatorial Spain. Or you could look at the Texan Revolution or India's struggle against British law.

In each of these cases though, your observation about a pre-existing governmental system is also applicable. Making a successful government out of whole-cloth is rare indeed, which justifies great caution in engaging in revolution. Nevertheless, as I said before, this isn't never. I believe there are intolerable states which justify the risk. Nazi Germany and modern Iran come forcefully to mind. It is really hard to imagine chaos worse than arbitrary executions.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7605
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: What would it take for you to fight for your liberty?

Postby Zamfir » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:27 am UTC

If anything, such examples show hard it is to draw general lessons from history.

For urban and protestant elites in the north-west of the Netherlands, the 80 years war lasted just a few years. From 1572 to 1577 or so. And then they were comfortably in power afterwards. They remembered it as a price worth paying. In the east and south of the current Netherlands and most of current Belgium, it meant a decades-long war between the armies of the northern cities and those of Spain, fought on their lands. And the fighting just determined whether they were going to be a subvervient buffer for the Hollanders, or for the Spanish and later the French. But history wasn't written by farmers from Brabant, it was written by merchants from Holland, so it's all about glory and freedom.

Or take Mao: is his power an example of tyranny worth rebelling against? It's also an example of where revolution can bring you. People would never have accepted his absolute rule in the 1950s, if they didn't have the memories of 4 decades of gruelling anarchy after the revolution of 1911.

It also raises the question: when should people have rebelled against Mao? Before 1959, when Mao's power seemed an clear improvement over chaos and over Chang? From 1959 on, he appeared to be losing his power anyway. And after 1966 Mao won the cultural revolution. He had enough support to fight the government itself, it's hard to imagine an effective popular countermovement short of full-scale civil war.

You can only turn such historic events into simple lessons, if you ignore most of the details. If you turn them into complicated lessons, they won't tell you what to do in a new situation with its own details.

ph1x3r
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:06 pm UTC

Re: What would it take for you to fight for your liberty?

Postby ph1x3r » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:29 pm UTC

Several years ago, an author 'John Ross' wrote a book dealing with the subject of fighting for liberty. This work of fiction takes place in the USA, but has some interesting thoughts on how the average citizen may become enraged enough about the erosion of their liberties to take direct action.

Amazon has this book listed, but the price seems rather high for a $28 cover price book.

http://www.amazon.com/Unintended-Consequences-John-Ross/dp/1888118040/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1331816737&sr=1-1-catcorr

The publisher has a shop, but the book does not appear to be in stock. However they do mention the possibility of the next printing being a paperback. An 800 page hardback is quite a tome to try reading on a commuter train!

http://www.accuratepress.net/ross.html

The book is/was quite controversial. Canadian customs officials were impounding copies of the book that were being imported and ATF agents were threatening dealers at gun shows if they had copies of the book for sale on their display tables.

I guess one of the points I am making, is that it is not necessarily one issue that makes people take action, it could be dozens of things that just takes time to brew. It will only take a few people to start taking action that others silently approve of and then things will cascade out of control as both sides escalate the issue.

--
ph1x3r

[edit] P.S. Sorry URLs are not links, just cut and paste if you are interested.

User avatar
Ipsum
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:34 pm UTC

Re: What would it take for you to fight for your liberty?

Postby Ipsum » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:13 pm UTC

Personally, I'm willing to fight for my liberty now. There's too much of a minority of irrational idiots who're unwilling to look for the truth in the issue. Most people would be willing to believe that 2+2=5, and as these people have votes, and bigotry, my liberty's at stake when they elect power-hungry, vicious, would-be dictators into positions of power. When my liberty's at stake because the majority of people don't care about their liberties, I'm going to fight anyone whose apathy took those freedoms from me.

Now I just have to figure out how to win.

User avatar
thorgold
Posts: 278
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:36 am UTC

Re: What would it take for you to fight for your liberty?

Postby thorgold » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:27 pm UTC

The line for me is the use of force to enforce unjust laws that violate basic rights. The government can ban free speech, and I'll peacefully defy the law - until force is used on me or others like me. If a system becomes one I. Which the rulers rule by bayonets, that is the point at which I'll fight, as is my right.
You can refuse to think, but you can't refuse the consequences of not thinking.


Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ivnja and 11 guests