Reading RURD -- Muslim & American discussion

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message 1: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 44 comments Introduction--North America


message 2: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Weber | 16 comments This section was enlightened by my reading of Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature. He discusses why the U.S. has more violence then Europe. Actually, more like why some states are more violent, as a lot of the northern states are less violent then the south. He pretty much says that Lawlessness and so on were a characteristic of the West and South, and the idea of giving up your rights to a state are more foreign there. I.e., they are less trustful of authority to take care of their problems, so they take care of them themselves. It's a good read. I'm giving a poor summary.


message 3: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 44 comments And I'm off...

The contrast of US and Europe here is rather important I think. Many of us of the 'intelligensia' tend to be urban bound and sympathetic to European political orientations (social democracy etc). But many americans are still Out West, Pioneer americans ; doing it themselves. It's almost like Little House on the Prairie sheds a whole lot of light on those folks who voted for Rump.

Also like the line about a string of cities in southern Canada which is basically Europe, with america above and below that line.

@Alexander -- possible material for working through Pinker's thesis with RURD -- He's got this thing somewhere (can't locate it atm) where he analyzes the violence as portrayed in the Icelandic Sagas and comes to the conclusion that their system of retaliatory violence significantly curtails violence from blooming out of proportion ;; all done with data and charts and things.


message 4: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Weber | 16 comments Who is HE in this instance? You mean Pinker, right? I'll look out for it


message 5: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 44 comments Alexander wrote: "Who is HE in this instance? You mean Pinker, right? I'll look out for it"

Me and my ambiguous antecedents! HE = RURD = Vollmann. It's in volume IV, "Deterrence, Retribution and Revenge. Beginning on page 40. Here's the opening gambit ::

"For less unencumbered anti-logic, we're better off reading the medieval Icelandic sagas, which tell the tales of blood-feuds which continued for generations. There are advantages to feuds: they build honor and sometimes prevent wars. More support for the 'hydraulic theory of violence:' Over the three centuries of its free dominion, medieval Iceland avoids the massive battle casualties of feudal Europe."

And there's likely more elsewhere ; I seem to recall a fairly extended discussion of the sagas.


message 6: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Weber | 16 comments HUH!
I'm not sure if avoiding massive battles actually helps anything, as many tiny battles can kill far more (per capita).
I'm not sure if there is any evidence for the hydraulic theory of violence. Perhaps we need to move the Pinker discussions somewhere else? As it seems it may open a can of worms...


message 7: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Weber | 16 comments I am, however, excited to get to Volume IV


message 8: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 44 comments Alexander wrote: "HUH!
I'm not sure if avoiding massive battles actually helps anything, as many tiny battles can kill far more (per capita)."


He runs the numbers. Have a look and maybe see how it jives with Pinker.


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