2 of 2
2
Madmen
Posted: 28 July 2007 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

Yes, H.G., it was my observations of the behavior of GWB that caused me to start this thread.  I agree with you. LOL

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 August 2007 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  14
Joined  2007-08-06

There is an excellent book I have read about the topic from Clifford Pickover . Surely some of us have heard about him. His writings are funny and cynic enough to be qouted on this forum.
Here is the link for the book:
http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/pickover/strange.htm

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 August 2007 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

Kat, I agree that the scientists mentioned in that book were strongly eccentric, to be gentle, however, they are a different breed than the mad leaders of countries.  First, their madness affected only those immediately around them, and second, they didn’t seem to crave great personal power and control over civilizations.  I think your point that the subjects of Pickover’s book are funny shows the differentiation.  Anecdotes about Tesla’s eccentricities make us smile.  Offhand, I can’t think of anything cute or funny about Torquemada, Stalin, or Hitler.

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 August 2007 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1161
Joined  2007-07-16

what about churchill and reagan? i cant find anything cute or funny about those tyrants.

 Signature 

“Unsustainable systems can’t be sustained.” ~ Robert Jensen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 August 2007 03:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  14
Joined  2007-08-06

Wow. Slow down everybody. Don’t take my head for that comment. I didn’t mean that the above mentioned tyrants are funny. I meant Pickover writings are GENERALLY very enjoyable to read. All his books ( that I read anyway) are written with a thought provoking manner but still manage to be funny.
I have even sent him an email to join us and check out this thread. He promised he would.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 August 2007 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1161
Joined  2007-07-16

off with her head!!!!!!

shes a witch!!!!!

burn her!!!!

she turned me into a newt!!!! well, I got better!

———

kat,

my comment was a tongue-in-cheek comment to Occam. Im sorry, I didnt think to address him explicitly or that you would misinterpret it!

anyway, live long and prosper [you cant see it but i gave you the vulcan salute!]

 Signature 

“Unsustainable systems can’t be sustained.” ~ Robert Jensen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 August 2007 08:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

Sorry Kat.  Since I was referring to the evil madmen who become national leaders when I started this thread, I didn’t realize your comment about Pickover was a bit of a side trip.  I assumed you were relating your comment to my original post.  I see my assumption was wrong.

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 August 2007 10:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  195
Joined  2007-07-24

First, I know it’s a hobbyhorse, but instant runoff won’t do anything. In Australia, it hasn’t prevented a two-party system, and in many IRV election scenarios, you can make a candidate win by voting against him. What you want to get a multiparty system is proportional representation…

More to the point, most people have nothing to gain from voting, which means they have nothing to gain from being politically informed. You have to rely on the public’s sense of civic values before you start applying rational choice theory to voting.

A person who doesn’t vote might be socially ostracized, so he needs some mechanism for deciding who to vote for. Sometimes he’ll do it by voting what’s acceptable among his peer group, for example, for the social democratic party if he’s working class; as a corollary, when the peer group has no clear party to vote for, its voter turnout will be lower, and indeed the presence of a working class party tends to increase voter turnout. Other times, he’ll vote based on his perceived interests, but those will again be mediated by the peer group.

People are surprisingly rational. They are informed about what they do, and about any number of hobbies they might acquire to have a life outside work. However, groups are irrational, and voting is more a group exercise than an individual one, even with the secret ballot. A white racist may care very deeply about having health insurance, but if he believes that the correct vote for a member of his (white) peer group is for the (racist, anti-public health) conservative over the (racially inclusive, pro-public health) liberal, he’ll vote conservative. He’s not voting against his interests; his single vote, and even the votes of everyone he knows, will never be enough to tip the election.

That’s why normal political marketing is so weak. It can tip close elections, but not do much more than that. The greatest invention of modern American political marketing, direct mail, is not about rhetorical strategies or language, but about being able to say things to your core supporters that you’d face a massive backlash if you said in public. Political junkies, who are committed to one side and who have a financial, social, or psychological stake in being politically informed, respond to different campaigns from the general population.

Now, Hitler’s a pretty good example here. He was successful at a time when the economy was in shambles and regime support was low; before the Great Depression, his party was a fringe movement. The German who wanted to protest government inaction had two options: the Nazis and the communists. The communists made some gains among socialist voters, but the socialists and communists were never successful outside their working class peer group. The parties that were acceptable among the Protestant middle class and the unemployed were the two liberal parties, the conservative nationalists, and the Nazis, and of those only the Nazis promised fundamental change.

I’m probably going to come off as more of a functionalist than I really am… obviously, things like charisma and political talent matter. That’s why Hitler got so far while the conservative nationalists, who were against the democratic system just as much, became his junior coalition partners. But conversely, American racists managed to hold power for many decades despite producing only one strong leader, George Wallace, who was most active during their final hour.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 August 2007 02:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1161
Joined  2007-07-16
dougsmith - 10 July 2007 05:20 PM

Excellent question, T. Ruth ... that experiment demonstrates how normal, healthy adult humans can turn into monsters if given the wrong incentives ...

I was going to say roughly the same thing, but put an emphasis on how the structure or hierarchy of society breeds those “incentives.”

In other words, when you structure a society to be maintained through any form of authoritarianism, elitist-based hierarchy or rule by force (which the US aims to do via “full spectrum dominance”*)  - elected or not - then you are opening the floodgates of “madmen.”

Think about why we would call them “madmen.” What is it about their actions - the motives behind them and the interests being served - that inclines us to call them insane or madmen?

Why is Bush and his “cabal” looked at as madmen? Why are Hitler, Stalin, Hussein, Reagan, Churchill, et cetera, referred to as madmen? My impression is that it is deeply rooted in the structure and interests of the prevailing concept of power and authority. So-called leaders will commit unspeakable acts of barbarism to maintain and extend, what Dean Acheson called the “power, position, and prestige of the United States.” [Acheson was commenting on why we were stepping up our economic warfare against Cuba following the Bay of Pigs failure. Their “successful defiance” of US policies deserved the wrath in order to preserve, again, our “power, position, and prestige.”]

*Joint Vision 2020 Emphasizes Full-spectrum Dominance
http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=45289

 Signature 

“Unsustainable systems can’t be sustained.” ~ Robert Jensen

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 2
2