Tag Archives: greed

125. Emergence of Tyrants; Balancing Competition and Kindness

23 Oct

It is in my nature to want to understand how tyrants emerge from relatively peaceful populations. This is a real issue for our times (2018). The essay below addresses this question. This subject is difficult, political, provocative and controversial. I have tried to present a variety of ideas relevant to this topic. The reader may want to use these ideas together with his/her own experiences and knowledge to form conclusions.

Excessive competition and bullying early in life might lead to greed and corruption in our leaders. Many humans strive to be on top, others settle for a limited comfortable life. Kindness as a way of living, has many social benefits, but you may live in near poverty and may have to settle for things of less value.

Your needs are determined by parental training, teachers, peers, and accidental circumstances. A father may encourage a young boy to fight. “Stand up for your values” or “Hit him back.” A child might join a gang for protection and end up harming others. A child may be bullied in early life and take some type of revenge in later life. And, some children are trained to be peaceful and enjoy education and constructive activities.

Evolution leads men to compete for women that would be best for reproduction and child rearing. It takes ability and strength for good parenthood. The drive of men for the companionship of women can be very powerful. In our society there is a great emphasis on attractiveness and I imagine that in some cases, efforts to “win” a good partner could be exaggerated and lead to corruption and anti-social behavior.

Most advanced male animals fight for the right to mate. This is very clear in horses, gorillas, bighorn sheep, lions, elk, baboons, etc. The competition can be extreme and end in a death, or much milder and consist mostly of threats. The type of competition usually depends on the species.

In many human communities, there is peaceful competition or very little aggression. In some human groups, physical fighting is typical. A few humans have been known to kill for power or the right to pursue a particular women.

Should humans give up fighting sports like boxing and MMA (mixed martial arts)? Regarding the latter, I cannot see a “sport” in punching someone in the face while he (or she) is lying on the ground. I think most citizens would vote against this, but leaders may acquiesce because there is a lot of money in it, and strong proponents. A substantial part of the male population enjoys the fights and can exert a powerful political force.

In Thailand, children as young as five become kickboxers and later (age 6 or 7) viciously fight in the ring, watched by large audiences. An important part of these fights is betting. Most children say they enjoy it and like to help the family with earned money. When the parents of these children are interviewed, they say it is not dangerous, but some children do get brain damage. I have to say, without hesitation, this is just WRONG.

Most sports demand a competitive spirit. I admit that I enjoy watching many sports, even boxing (briefly) on rare occasions. I played a number of sports and at times made a great effort to win. If you cannot demonstrate your skill, you may not be invited to play. We are all controlled by many social factors. In my later life, when unable to play sports, I concentrated more on kindness. But some politicians can continue their desire for dominance in old age.

So we have a dilemma in balancing our love of competition and the negative desperate actions that may be created. In a democracy, competitive politicians emerge that are clever enough to get votes, but may be painfully unskilled at governing. Many citizens may not recognize the promises made by these politicians as unrealistic and almost impossible to implement. Previous behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. We must try to imagine how a candidate will govern, if elected. Studying history and developing methods for determining truth are important.

 

19. American Lazy Slackers ?

25 Apr

Bloggers that want to support the rising wealth of very rich people, love to find ways of distorting statistics to justify their goals.  Based on government surveys, one such writer states that 172 million persons in the United States are not working.  This may well be true, but he goes on to say that these 172 million are lazy slackers.

There is a long history of surveys being misinterpreted. He goes directly from the “number not working” to the conclusion that most or all of these are lazy.  The blogger does not cite any survey that explores slacking or laziness.  To make this conclusion, you would have to do a costly major investigation to find out which people are actually lazy and which have good reasons for their unemployment.  But, you can’t make such a survey, because few will admit to being lazy. We don’t even know what type of survey questions were used to arrive at the original “number not-working”.

Over interpretation of data is a device often used to justify political agendas.  “Not working” could include housewives raising children, disabled people, people who don’t interview well, children, retired people, students, unskilled and inexperienced persons, convicts, people in rehab, people who have large monetary resources, handymen doing odd jobs, volunteer workers, victims of identify theft, floods, drought, etc., etc.  Many informal studies have shown that most of those able to work would prefer to do so.  To penalize the many for the lazyness of a few is unjust.

It is sad that there is such a need in some to attack those that are less fortunate.  And even ironic that fair tax code and fair tax collection just for the wealthy could substantially benefit those that need help.