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One way of imagining the future is that you and I, the so-called current generation, will selfishly party until we die, leaving to our children nothing but crushing debt, a boiling turd of a planet, and various Apple products. The problem with this analysis is that young adults have most of the guns and muscles. So isn't the younger generation complicit in stealing from itself?

Imagine a 20-something, muscular thug on the street, with a loaded gun in his waistband. A 60-year old banker with a bad back waddles up to him and says, "Give me your wallet!" The thug reaches past his gun and hands over his wallet. That's how our society is organized. I'm not complaining, since I have more in common with the banker than the thug.

In theory, the young soldiers in any country could collectively decide that they deserve most of the national wealth and then simply take it. If you think that sounds like a crime, assume that the first thing the soldiers could do is force lawmakers to rewrite the laws. If you think that sounds unethical, I would argue that the people who take the most physical and mental risks for the benefit of society should get the most pay. That seems perfectly reasonable and moral to me. And let's assume the soldiers are smart enough to leave enough money in the capitalist system that it still works. Perhaps the CEO of a major corporation would only earn $250K per year. If he wants more, he can join the Navy.

I only bring this up because I'm fascinated by the degree to which brains have evolved to become more powerful than guns. Society's founding geniuses engineered a social system that encourages the young people who have guns to shoot at each other instead of robbing old people. Forgive me for calling that awesome.

Arguably, the most important function of human language is to protect the smart from the strong. Humans use words to create sentences, and sentences to create concepts, such as our notions of duty and honor. Powerful concepts control behavior.

Without our language and concepts, the strong would kill the smart, and humans wouldn't evolve to be any smarter. I think you could say that human evolution is being guided at least partly by the power of ideas.

I can't remember if I had a point.

 
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Sep 10, 2010
I love your brain, Scott. Hand it over.
 
 
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Sep 4, 2010
I'm the same when my grandparents I know everything ok but I get a call from any other family member exept my parents someones in the hospital I stick with text.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 4, 2010
I'm the same when my grandparents I know everything ok but I get a call from any other family member exept my parents someones in the hospital I stick with text.
 
 
Sep 3, 2010
I feel so empowered now :)
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 2, 2010
That does sound like a major crime. I have had a few lecturs about my generation being wastful. I look around however so many recyle alternatives have been found.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 2, 2010
I just watched the behind the scenes thing on the Dilbert tv show DVD. That is what your voice sounds like!?!? Holy !$%*! It sounds like Seth MacFarlane's voice. Wow.
 
 
Sep 2, 2010
This reminds me of "The Extended Phenotype" by Richard Dawkins.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 2, 2010
Scott,

That first line is pure GENIUS. Very funny. Thanks
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 2, 2010
"Now, let's say a bigger, more powerful country comes in and declares that the diamond mines are, in fact, theirs. You haven't got the military power to fight them, so they get their way."

What part of this was a voluntary transaction?
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 2, 2010
webgrunt:


Your entire point is moot, because the first thing you did was inject involuntary force into the transaction. You completely ruined your own argument in the first couple of sentences by completely ignoring what I actually said. IF a stronger country seizes ownership by force, that is not a VOLUNTARY transaction. All transactions preceded by that seizure would be tainted by that INVOLUNTARY transaction.

WOw! And you got plus 3 when I get minus 1. Your post was the perfect display of cognitive dissonance. I'm literally astonished. This is why I hate the dilbert blog comment sections. I can make a solid point with a true philosophical argument, receive minus a thousand, while somebody who disagrees with me can say something profoundly stupid, and receive plus a million.
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 2, 2010
In theory, the young soldiers in any country could collectively decide that they deserve most of the national wealth and then simply take it.

Hasn't that already happened? Those rich bankers/oil barrons are the ones who benefit the most from the soldiers or rather police and judicial system. The young thugs know where their guns come from and whose paying for their ammo. Try not paying a bank fee or taxes or only paying part of a telephone or electric bill because they added hidden fees and didn't deliver promised service, they put a lien on property, steal directly from your paycheck and then send the thugs with guns to steal your property or haul you away using the intimidation of force if you dare to use their methods to protest. Stop kidding yourselves we live in a police state run by the thugs with guns. The rich bankers are thugs with guns, they've just contracted out the gun toting to others.

That being said I still prefer a country ruled by law with safegaurds to those laws as opposed to open anarchy. Get to know the police, soldiers, courts, volunteer to help watch the neighborhood, join others who refuse to pay unethical charges, go to law school, run for office. Most thugs with guns are just people too.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 2, 2010
"human evolution is being guided at least partly by the power of ideas. "

Ideas, yes - but also cooperation. Human potential can only develop with help from other humans. Kids need good schools, stable homes, mentors and exposure to enriching experiences to make the most of their individual gifts. Creativity (and technical advancement) thrives when people work together, share ideas and mentor one another.

Societies that are ruled by military dictatorships don't develop as well as others - because they invariably hamstring their greatest assets (their people) in order to maintain power.

No country values and develops all their human potential - but the ones who do the best win over time.
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 2, 2010
But that's exactly what the banker does when he charges the young thug fees for his bank account, where he keeps his ill-gotten gains. Then when Mr. Thug needs some cash to buy more ammo to keep robbing people, he goes to the ATM where the banker robs him of another buck or two.

A much more sensible way, really. Hardly anyone kills bankers or ATMs, but gun-toting thugs have a statistically shorter lifespan.

The banker is just a smarter, less obvious thug.



 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 2, 2010
There is a concept in martial arts that is relevant. The 20 somethings have more powerful technique and faster reflexes. But one has more to fear from the 60 somethings....because they have survived to that age by learning to be devious. Pulling the wool over someone's eyes doesn't necessarily only involve words.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 2, 2010
Meh basically it's all about progression- people are generally happier and more productive when they have something to strive for- which is why no job in the world ever pays you up front and tells you to get to work. The young man accepts the old guy taking home more because he knows one day he'll reach that status.
 
 
Sep 2, 2010
To expand Tigerh8r point - possibly extrapolating beyond his intent, I have known quite a few police and service types, in my family and beyond. Some have a calling and are fabulous people with the concepts of honour and justice firmly embedded, who I greatly admire.

Many more like shooting big guns and driving helicopters or fast cars, or exerting authority over others. If they got big money as well it would only go to their heads.
 
 
Sep 2, 2010
Scott,

Excellent observation and very interesting.

Almost makes up for that whole 'taste of pants' thing.
 
 
Sep 1, 2010
I hate to double post, but the concept of the strong and smart is interesting. Looking at our recent presidential history, I see that Obama was a strong basketball player, GWB played rugby in college and was a fighter pilot, Bill Clinton played rugby in college, GHW Bush was the captain of the Yale baseball team and a fighter pilot, Ronald Reagan was a football player, lifeguard, and captain of his college swim team, Jimmy Carter was a basketball star, Richard Nixon was on his college's baseball, football, and track teams, and JFK was on the Harvard swim team. Only LBJ wasn't notably athletic.
It's apparent that while being either smart or strong is good, smart AND strong is much, much, better.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 1, 2010
I haven't looked into it, but is there any evidence that the distribution of intelligence is different between the "strong" and the "weak?" Hollywood stereotypes aside, I've played football in college and rugby for over twenty years: my teammates didn't seem any dumber on average than say, the nurses I work with every day, or the garden variety college students I sit next to.
Perhaps our language and concepts have evolved to serve those who are both strong and smart.
Humans have developed tools (like guns and tractors) which level out the playing field between the physically strong and the physically weak. Today when we think of the physically strong and the smart, perhaps we should instead view the dichotomy as the mentally strong, and the mentally weak.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 1, 2010
webgrunt said: "Since the only mechanism I know of through which evolution takes place is natural selection (of which prolific breeding is a part), and it seems to me that the people having the most kids aren't usually among the top 50% in terms of intelligence (of course there are obvious exceptions) and many of the most intelligent people choose to remain childless, humanity is evolving to become stupider."

You're wrong. Recent studies have actually shown that human evolution has sped up recently, and that we're still becoming smarter. I didn't read deeply enough to find out the theorized reasons for this, but it shouldn't be hard to find them with a Google search.
 
 
 
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