Repression and Coercion - For and Against

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Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby Tab » Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:47 pm

[Dear Mods, plz move this into Debates]

[Dear ILP'ians - if you are not me, or Tentative, plz. don't post here, post here instead - thankyou muchly]

Okay, me to go first, and I'm taking the position that Coercion and Repression get their respective jobs done.
Last edited by Tab on Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby Tab » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:19 am

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When I was a little snot-nosed kid, and my Grandfather was alive and well, rather than dead and buried, I used to visit him often. He used, on rainy days, to show me his collection of old (and fairly knackered to be honest) pocket watches. We'd open the backs, and he'd try to explain what all the little cogs and springs and fiddly bits were, and I'd try his patience by asking endless questions, all along the lines of: "Hey Grandad, what's this bit do..?" These were, I hasten to add, the days before playstation™ - hell, even Pong was just a twinkle in some to-be-programmer's eye. We had to make our own fun.

To drag myself back to something resembling a point, there was always this one bit. It was usually made of a greyish dull metal, spike-toothed and asymetric, never really seeming to fit well with the more shiny, aesthetically-shaped pieces - and Grandad never knew what it was, nor its purpose. And yet, there was one in every watch. He used to say, eh - maybe just for ballast - but I always held the view that, since it was in every damn watch he had, without fail, it had to be good for something.


Verb (used with object): to Re·press
1.to keep under control, check, or suppress (desires, feelings, actions, tears, etc.).
2.to keep down or suppress (anything objectionable).
3.to put down or quell (sedition, disorder, etc.).
4.to reduce (persons) to subjection.
Adjective: Re-press-ed:
1.describing the state of trousers, or other such garments, upon their having been ironed twice.

Noun: Co·er·cion
1.the act of coercing; use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance.
2.force or the power to use force in gaining compliance, as by a government or police force.


I read a lot of history generally, and watch the news everyday, while I'm chowing down on breakfast. From what I've seen and read, you'd be hard pushed to find any example of a social system, Western, Eastern or wherever-ern, that doesn't or didn't contain some element of repression. I mean I'm not saying repression is a good thing, only that it's good for something, like Grandad's mystery watch-piece. It must be - it's everywhere. Ubiquitous.

No new regime starts out meaning to repress the very people who sponsored it. Usually when things change, and some new guy with gold braid on his epaulettes and his predecessor's blood on his shoes stands up and takes the mike, there's lots of cheering and clapping and general jubilation. People faint, hankies get flapped in their faces and small sandwiches are passed around. Free sandwiches even. It's a joyous event. Hope and faith restored after an oppressor has fallen.

All is good. Promises are made, prosperity is ensured, people rub their hands and count all the imaginary money they are sure they'll make. And maybe it happens. The good times roll. How long they roll exactly, and for whom they roll, varies. Then it happens. Slowly but surely, the screws begin to tighten. Along with people's belts usually. And so it goes. At best, you get er, reasonably transparent crackdowns on some sections of society - communists during the cold war for example - or terrorists™ now. Those held are kept somewhere, perhaps indefinitely, perhaps not - but at least not killed. At worst you get holocausts, massacres, pogroms: the midnight disappearances, the media blackouts, intrafamillial denunciations the whole horrific nine-yards of blood and terror.

Why always this drawn-out, blood-soaked interim of repression..? Wouldn't it be a better world, wouldn't things progress more speedily - if defunct regimes just chucked down the reins of power when they knew they were done, or if populations went straight from reasonably law-abiding citizens to a ravening mob at the first whiff of corruption..?

Maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't be better at all.

A good system of governance is effective. It can get shit done for the benefit of its populace. The systems of infrastructure, social control and guidance it engineers shape those they govern from loose collections of disgruntled individuals, at odds with eachother, ideally, into reasonably well-behaved, equally opportuned, productive and competitive (with respect to their neighboring states), happy populaces. The degree to which any government or ruling class achieves this, also reflects directly their (future) ability to repress, exploit and generally fuck-over that self-same populace at a later date, when or if things go bad, and they feel their pre-eminence slipping, because both modes of governance, supportive and repressive, use pretty much the same tools of power, albeit for different ends - that which once watched the borders, turns inward; that which once protected, persecutes.

Repression is a filtering device - ensuring the fitness of the next ruling body to surplant it.

At base, the job of governance is to provide social stability. Even if that system is corrupt, unfair, and downright cruel sometimes, the stability, the day-to-day predictability it brings is still preferable to utter chaos. Those repressed have at least some idea of what kind of behaviour, or which minority of them, is currently, erm, frowned upon, and either avoid it, or denounce it. And from this smidgin of predictabilty the majority can eke out some kind of living, some kind of future. If there is no stability at all, the halls of power empty, the barracks deserted and bandits on the streets, then pretty much everyone is fucked. If a governing body did just throw in the towel at the first bump in the road, the first grumblings of dissent amongst the punters, all hell, rather than some post-human egalitarian heaven, would break loose.

A period of repression weeds out the factions who would take over. And the last one standing - usually just beneath the gently-swinging corpse of the last ex-presidential bully-boy - have proved themselves competent enough to rule in their place, competent enough at least in potential, to rule a state or other form of collective and provide the stability critical to its function. Simply by virtue of having the ability to organize a force of sufficient power to overthrow, or otherwise undermine, the pre-existant regime. Without this resistant period of repression, the body-politic would change its head too often, and get grid-locked in a "this way - no-no - this way damnit" to-ing and fro-ing - fall behind its less egalitarian neighbors, and get invaded, raped, pillaged and generally wiped out of the pages of history.

And btw. that bunch of noobs who do eventually escape out from under the claws of repression, must do it themselves. If they get too much outside help, then they'll either topple as soon as that help goes home, or if that help never goes home, become simply the puppets of that help. [Cough] Afganistan. [Cough-cough] Iraq.

Anyway, I'll do coercion later, when I've worked out what it is exactly. And leave you with this for now: Repression - Not nice, not aesthetically pleasing, but useful as a social construct, working to control the quality of those who come later, to new waves of applause and small sandwiches.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby tentative » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:51 am

Repression and coercion doesn't work. The history of the world is littered with it's failures even though it is the most common result of social organization known. I would not be so foolish to deny that ultimately, most forms of governance end in repression and in far too many cases, violent coercion. The current revolutions occurring in the Middle East are perfect examples of the results of failing regimes whose only answers have been violent coercion. The idea that might makes right is still strong in human interaction. The cycle of revolution evolving into oppressive coercion which results in a new revolution and back and forth is obvious historically.

Why does this pattern continue to repeat? Can we not learn from our past failures? Are barricades and molotov cocktails really the ultimate answer? Surely there must be better forms of governance that lead us away from this endless pattern of human behavior.

So what might these better forms of governance be? I'll get to that, but first we need a bit more detail on where we're at before charging off into a blissful future.

First, we must accept that repression and coercion work – in the short run. Historically, repressive governments have had what could be termed long term success even though they ultimately ended in failure. Roman rule, Chinese dynasties, the Ottoman Empire are examples of repressive governments that lasted several hundred years. Today, we have a number of despotic governments that have or will last for several generations. North Korea is a good example. Iran is another. But in all of these regimes, the thread of violent suppression of dissidents spells their ultimate failure. Repressive government is a short-run phenomenon even if they persevere for decades or centuries. The current wave of revolutions in todays world is the beginning of the end of a cycle. The people who would govern have forgotten that they are servants of the people, not rulers. There are way too many chiefs and not enough indians and the people are rising up against the repression of the elites. The causes of discontent among the masses are manifold and are a sidebar discussion. Where we are is a world-wide revolt against failing governments whose only “solutions” are ever increasing levels of repression.

An axiom: The greater the repression the greater the push back.

Coming soon! A way to get out of this endless loop
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby Tab » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:05 pm

Hey Tents,

Must admit, when I read your post, for a second I wondered if I hadn't blacked out last night, somehow hacked your account, and written it myself. :-k So supportive it was of my own end of the argument.

And I wasn't going to stoop to potshots so early on but... How can I resist things like:
Tents decisively wrote:Repression and coercion doesn't work.

Followed almost instantly by:
Tents er...surprisingly wrote:we must accept that repression and coercion work

There had to be a catch...
Tents, scrabbling for attenuating circumstance, wrote:- in the short run... Roman rule, Chinese dynasties, the Ottoman Empire

The short run..? The Roman ever-lovin' Empire..? I mean, that short, almost negligible -(blink and you miss it)- 1300 years..? Or the Zhou Dynasty - 1066 BC-256 BC. Or...or... The Ottoman Empire - 1299-1923..? [Gets out calculator] That's 2734 years of successful repression-based governance. Compared to what..? Democracy..? Fuck that mayfly bullshit, sign me up for repression thank you very much. :lol:

That's it. Job done. I rest my case, who's for a cold one down the pub..? I'm buying.

No, I'm sure he's got a trick or three up his sleeves. Better write some more stuff.

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I think the reason why me and Tentative seem to be singing much the same tune is that all coercion looks the same, but it's not. I mean okay, you could say the Romans were coercive, but at the same time they had some barbarian tribes standing in line to voluntarily join the Roman Empire, the great pax romana - and voluntary action - action of your own volition, is the very antithesis of coercion - so what gives..?

Legitimacy.

Say you're walking down my street when I rush out with a big stick and force you to tidy up my garden, whilst beating you black and blue. Help !!! You cry, and lo and behold, the public at large rush to your aid (well, ideally anyway :lol: ). Why..? Because I have no legitimate claim to authority, let alone stick-wielding, garden-forcing authority. The public agrees with you. However, if you are dressed in a stripy jumper and a black wool cap, toting a large bag with SWAG stencilled on the side and a policeman bops you over the head with his truncheon, and you cry HELP !!! The public does not help you, because they recognize the legitimacy of the policeman's bopping-power. They do not agree with you.

This is legitimacy in a nutshell: Public opinion as to someone's right to bop you over the head for some greater good. Coercive force, when coupled to recognized legitimacy, is no longer the big, bad 1984 kind of coercion, but tamed, er, 'nice' coercion.

Prod any political scientist and he'll tell you: "The ultimate power of any governing force resides in its monopoly of organized violence." These forces are the cell-walls of society - keeping out what should be out, and keeping in order whatever's inside. We recognize the legitimacy of governmental controlled force, and all other things's being equal, when the policeman says "move along" we're not obeying him or her so much as obeying the legitimate power they embody - the uniform, not the fleshy bit underneath.

And notice, more often than not - When someone catches the wrong end of a truncheon/batton/taser upside the head, and cry "police brutality" it is usually only the degree of coercive force used that is challenged, not that coercive force was used at all. The people accept that in some situations, legitimate coercive force works toward the public good.

Anyway, hope that helps you out.

In summary, repression on the part of a governing body (whose legitimacy is increasingly questioned) works to quality-control those who will eventually overthrow them, and to maintain an interim period of social stability - not a very pleasent stability admittedly, but stability nonetheless - until the heroes of the new regime finally get their arses in gear. And coercion is, however unfortunately, just another screwdriver in the toolbox of society; well, okay, a hammer - its legitimacy dependent upon exactly whom is holding the handle, and the situation in which things are bashed.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby tentative » Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:32 am

Sorry, need a King's X. RL interruption. Back by Sat... Maybe Sun.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby tentative » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:12 pm

I'm back!!!

OK. I'll repeat. Repression and coercion doesn't work. Despite the quoted centuries of “periods of social stability”, history simply shows a progression of cyclical failures. If you're satisfied to be in the middle of one of these cycles, good for you! But what do you tell your children or grandchildren when they are at the end of the cycle and entering chaos? What are your words of wisdom when they ask, What the !@#&%^!! were you people thinking? How many times do humans have to come up with the wrong answers and turn around and do it again? Isn't it about time to find a new approach to social organization?

The first thing needed is to admit that repression and coercion is a failure. It's an easy “fix”, but a plaster that only hides the wound, it doesn't solve the on-going problem. Answer a simple question: If repressive social organization works so well, why are things the way they are? Is the world really in a state of social stability?

I'll introduce a little-used concept and a quaint old-timey word: restraint. It's a concept that has always been around, just ignored. Restraint, something that finds little credence in our human history and yet is the key to break away from the constant boom and bust cycle of failed governments.

So what is restraint and what makes it the magic bullet? That's a toughie. There are too many colors and flavors to explain it fully in this debate, but I'll try to hit the highlights. Restraint is the opposite of the my-way-or-the-highway mentality. Instead of “me first”, it asks what is best for all. It introduces the novel ideas of cooperation, compromise, compassion, and fairness. It's a simple paradigm that focuses on an ever more simple fact; we're in this together and we need a way to live together.

So how do we make this work? It would take several generations because restraint is taught from infancy through adulthood. Children who learn to consider others before self will carry this understanding into all their evolving relationships – even into their notions of governing and being governed. The over-riding question is, what is best for all of us – including me? As such a novel idea becomes the “umbrella” paradigm, real social stability becomes possible.

Is this too “fluffy”? Perhaps. Our cynicism would say so, but we are in need of change and change from the constant failure generated by the convenient use of repression and coercion.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby Tab » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:53 pm

planning for the weekend, don't worry..!
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby Tab » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:33 pm

Okay, wife is due back in town tomorrow, so I'd better get this out of the way. :D

Must admit, that last post had me stymied. It's like when I'm playing chess and someone makes a move so bizzare that I'm left only with two conclusions: That the other player is just so good as to be unfathomable, or that they come from some alternate universe where that move is a sure-fire game-winner. ie. they're crazy.

Hence to my opponent I say:

"Okay, where's the real Tentative, and what have you done to him..?"

Restraint. Restraint..? Restraint..???

And you're using that word in conjunction with human beings..? That branch of primates renowed for displaying its lack - those bloat-headed monkies that raven all in their paths..? Hmm.

I'm protesting too much. Okay, in the abstract, if everyone was restrained in their behaviour then yes, everything would be lovely - bluebirds would alight upon every shoulder and sing Disneyesque tunes while we skipped along wooded paths dressed in ribbons and bows. Pink ones even.

I have kids, you have kids, so we know the amount of blood, sweat and tears we've had to expend just to get them to think of their sisters and brothers when sharing out the sweets. And you reckon we can do that to the entire population of the Earth. In a couple of generations. Presumably without using any form of coercion and repression in the process..?

Smileys fail me.

I'm sorry, but I'm seeing droves of jack-booted Restraint-Police trampling over helplessly consumption-addicted teens who're chanting "We're entitled !!! We deserve the best, fuck the rest !!!" and crushing their fingers as they tap spastically on keyboards updating twitter and facebook. And I'm seeing that going on for centuries. And still not doing any good.

Obviously, anyone with half a brain can see that Tentative's right and the human vice of 'too much and right now' is going to kill us all, or at the very least force us right to the brink of extinction. And yet we keep right on with the slash and burn bullshit we've always done since we picked up the first stone axe. Why..? Why keep taking the pill we know will kill us in the end..?

That's easy, if the same pill keeps you alive right now.

Retraint is not a stable behavioural gambit. It only works if everyone is as equally as restrained as you. The first individual, or group of individuals that reneagues on the new and shiny 'restrained' social contract will surge ahead like a Mustang on nitro. Unless they are massively repressed instantly, by some (scrupulously neutral, unbribable) coercive force that er... wouldn't exist anymore in our restrained eden.

Anyway. I drew a graph. Can't remember why now, as I did it on Monday, but here you go.

Image

It's a bit general, but it's intended to illustrate the cycles Tentative mentioned. [Stability is in green btw. I forgot to label it].When legitimacy is high, people toe the line because it is overwelmingly apparent that that line is the right one to toe, and the governence is equally right in supporting that line. However, times change as do circumstances and legitimacy fades as rulers do stupid things like buy one too many Ferraris and get caught with one or four too many super-models while everyone else is stuck with a Volkswagon Beetle and the not-so-bad-looking-if-you-squint-a-little, girl next door.

When the lines cross, things get ugly fast. The secret-police get their capes out and wars on terror are declared, whether terror knows about it or not. Unlike the graph, this period of high repression and low legitimacy can extend for as long as it takes. Then, come the revolution, the ratios of repression to legitimacy reverse again, though in the interim, stability goes out the window as infrastructure gets blown up, people get killed and general mayhem rules. Rinse and repeat. It's not rocket-science. It's a stable relationship. Stable because for a society to work, it needs to be held to some predictable standard of conduct. People need to be able to bank on next week being pretty much the same as this week, otherwise they'll go to the bank, withdraw all their money, convert it into gold or cans of baked beans or whatever and hide it under the matress - then act all surprised when their neighbor comes round with a machete, removes the stash from under the matress, takes a dump on their living room carpet and fucks off into the wild blue yonder.

Stability must be maintained, and mutual restraint, at least without a gun to the head somewhere involved, ain't stable. And that's the irony. Tentative's restrained society would be more repressed than mine ever would. :-k - Food-stamps and ration-books and women drawing lines up the backs of their legs.

(I mean, so okay - that worked in World-War II, but then again, it was only World-War II that made it work. There's a catch there somewhere, with '22' written on it).
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby tentative » Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:31 pm

First, I have to thank you for agreeing that restraint would make social interaction a better (and more stable) world. But best of all, is your graph. With the vertical scale of 0-100, it proves what I've been saying. Repression and coercion doesn't provide stability. The repeat cycles of crash and burn was a wonderful visual. Thank you.

I've no illusion that repression and coercion will ever disappear completely. It can't. It's an important tool in "civilizing" our children. "No, you can't pee in daddy's shoes. If you do, he'll swat your bottom." Every form of governance, whether child rearing or international relations carries some form of repression and coercion. But this in no way suggests that it has to be the dominate paradigm as it is today.

Whether it take two or three generations or a hundred makes no difference. If restraint is taught long enough, genuine social stability finally takes hold.

Back to your graph: What I'm suggesting is the reduction of the amplitude of your wave pattern. Get the ups and downs someplace between forty and sixty. The graph looks better now, doesn't it? The crux of this is to begin moving away from the failed paradigm of repression toward a new paradigm of restraint. It will take time, but after 10,000 years of failure, it's time to try something new, and you have to start some place.

An overview: It seems like we half-agree on most points made by the other. If there is a difference in our perspectives, you seem to be saying "That's the way it is." I can't argue that this hasn't been the case, but I'm saying that it's well past time for humanity to look for better answers.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby Tab » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:28 pm

[psst - are we finished..? I've got one more "finishing statements" type post left in me, or we can leave it here if you like.]
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby tentative » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:42 pm

Tab wrote:[psst - are we finished..? I've got one more "finishing statements" type post left in me, or we can leave it here if you like.]

The original deal was two back -and-forths and one summation, but we've boon-doggled this to the point of pub talk. So go ahead. Wouldn't want to inhibit any thoughts you may have. If I can think of anything else do I get a fourth shot?
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby Tab » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:25 pm

Sure, I started first so you've one in hand. I'll get to it.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby Tab » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:57 pm

Actually, screw it, I wasn't gonna do anything more than point out some obvious niggles, and I guess the judges will be shrewd enough to do that for themselves.

Let the judging commence I say.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby tentative » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:55 pm

Tab wrote:Actually, screw it, I wasn't gonna do anything more than point out some obvious niggles, and I guess the judges will be shrewd enough to do that for themselves.

Let the judging commence I say.


I'm fine with that. Did we have anyone but UPF consent to judging this (cough) debate?

Hey Mods! Can someone sort out the judging and get this show on the road?

UPF, the honorium check is in the mail. Trust me. :^o :lol:
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby PavlovianModel146 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:11 pm

Two more Judges?

I'll be one, I haven't really read any of it yet, so I'll be neutral.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby Tab » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:00 pm

Okay, UPF, Pav, and who..?

We could do with a lady to balance stuff out. How about Blurred..? Anita has already pulled a wobbley and bailed on us, Arc's a wee-bit too romantically inclined - no offence - for my taste and I can't think of anyone else. At a push the man with a line for his name and Pezer owe us a judgement, if they fancy it.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby uglypeoplefucking » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:27 pm

So i just issue my own judgment right? i don't collaborate with the other judges, do i?

i'll need a couple days to go through the whole thing again, before i post my expert opinion.

and Tent, when you make out that check you should include a gratuity, as i'll be working over the holiday weekend.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby tentative » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:28 pm

UPF and Pav,

Could you come up with a third judge? Tab and I have established "reputations" that seem to make people wary of dealing with either of us. :lol:

UPF, so you get to work this weekend? Who did you piss off to get that fucking deal? Anyway, Cookies and a carton of milk on it's way....
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby Tab » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:07 pm

I could get you a camel no problem. For real. :-$
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby tentative » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:55 am

Tab wrote:I could get you a camel no problem. For real. :-$
Go for it, UPF. A camel would be a cool chick magnet. I mean, what a pick up line! "Hi beautiful. Wanna ride home on my camel?" What girl could resist that? :lol:

Oh, it's a good deal if Tab picks up the Fed Ex freight charges, the costs of the mandantory quarantine period, and the vet bill for appropriate vaccinations. I'm sure he'd be happy to oblige.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby uglypeoplefucking » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:47 pm

tentative wrote:UPF, so you get to work this weekend? Who did you piss off to get that fucking deal? Anyway, Cookies and a carton of milk on it's way....


i work every weekend - gotta keep food in my belly and shoes on me feets. but i meant i'd be working on my judgment over the weekend, which i think warrants at least a batch of pot brownies and a carton of chocolate milk, as well as at least 20% of whatever money you have in the bank. And a camel.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby Tab » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:13 pm

It's on its way - she's called Delores, two-hump fighting dromedary. Eats dried moss and kicks like a couple of mules all cellotaped together.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby PavlovianModel146 » Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:58 am

tentative wrote:UPF and Pav,

Could you come up with a third judge? Tab and I have established "reputations" that seem to make people wary of dealing with either of us. :lol:

UPF, so you get to work this weekend? Who did you piss off to get that fucking deal? Anyway, Cookies and a carton of milk on it's way....


We'll come up with a third Judge who has not read the Debate if UPF and myself don't make it unanimous. I'll not read his judgment nor he mine.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby uglypeoplefucking » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:24 pm

This will be my judgment: Pav, read no further until you've posted your own . . .

. . .

i feel as though the debate was a draw, here's why:

The topic itself raises two seperate questions:

First, do repression and coercion work for providing social stability? (Tab's primary focus)

and

Second, ought repression and coercion be used in the first place? (this would be the "for and against" question - Tent's primary focus)

- So, right off the bat, we have our two participants in the debate focusing on seperate issues, and in the ensuing confusion little (beyond what we already knew going in) is actually resolved.

Tab argues that repression and coercion work to provide the aforementioned social stabilty, at least for finite, though sometimes quite extended, stretches of time. Here, he seems to have the good fortune of arguing for the self-evident in that regard. Though he does so with his usual verve and wit (and cool little visuals), there is no escaping the fact that he is simply pointing out the obvious. Even Tent agrees with the basic point here. Now, Tab, as we all know, is a wiley enough debater not to stop there. He goes on to make the very interesting assertion that periods of repression are actually beneficial for societies in transition because they weed out the dross from the pool of potential up and coming leaders,
Tab wrote:Repression is a filtering device - ensuring the fitness of the next ruling body to surplant it.
- Quite a fascinating proposal, but, here, he does not have the advantage of arguing what is already readily apparent, and, imo, fails to persuasively demonstrate his theory beyond simply stating how it might work if it were true, leaving the impression that it's just a cool, clever idea he thought up over a bowl of wheatabix and camel-milk one morning, rather than something he actually knows to be the case. As for coercion, he again points out the obvious (as he very well should) when he talks of the need for recognized, legitimate enforcement of social rules and the essential role it plays in society as we have come to understand it, but does not make the case for the more extreme forms of coercion (brutality and systemic killings, say), or how those might be any more likely to stabilize, rather than destabilize, a given society.

Tent, for his part, acknowledges that both repression and coercion as described by Tab can work, for finite periods of time - but rightfully points to the perennial, social crash-and-burn that we see occuring throughout the history of highly repressive regimes, and so posits that it is time for an alternative approach. Reasonable enough, but he fails to really make the case, or to demonstrate the ways in which such boom-bust cycles might be maladaptive. Instead, he talks in vague terms of "restraint", saying:
tentative wrote:Whether it take two or three generations or a hundred makes no difference. If restraint is taught long enough, genuine social stability finally takes hold.
He fails, however, to demonstrate this, even admitting that the idea (as appealing as such a paradigm-shift might seem for many of us) finds little creedence historically. So, ultimately, he's just doing what Tab did: making stuff up to suit his position. It's good stuff, granted, but he doesn't really develop it enough to be fully persuasive.

So, in the end, we basically have Tab and Tent kind of talking past one another: Tab making an empirical argument while Tent makes a moral one - and, alas, IMO, neither actually makes a fully developed case FOR or AGAINST repression and coercion.
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Re: Repression and Coercion - For and Against

Postby Tab » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:43 pm

fails to persuasively demonstrate his theory beyond simply stating how it might work if it were true, leaving the impression that it's just a cool, clever idea he thought up over a bowl of wheatabix and camel-milk one morning,


Yea. Damn. It was just a cool idea I pulled out of my ass. Thinking back I should have used India and Ghandi's eventual arisal to illustrate a historical precedent. But, being a lazy scuzz, I didn't bother. Gosh-darnarize it.

Thanks for the "You both equally lose" verdict. :lol:
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