Evolution of societies

Its pretty obvious that there are a number of really important factors that determine a societies character. Its also obvious, if we wanna make that point, that societies of people have dispositions to act certain ways (its not racism if its true, etc).

Lets try to list the different factors that we think were important in the development of certain widely accepted behaviors/views in different societies. I know a lot of you will probably think religion has a really strong influence, but as Zuke points out,
zukiphile said:
The Koran teaches nothing. It is a book. The teachings to which we object are the teachings of men. Those men are opposed by others who also call themselves muslims.
and
zukiphile said:
The jews at Masada, the ones who killed their own children, and Maury the accountant who frets about current market risk both read the same Bible, but they are very different sorts. David Koresh and Mother Theresa both read the same book, but were very different sorts. Leading up to the Civil War, the Bible was used to both support and oppose slavery.

The book doesn't determine the form of your religion.

All over urban Pakistan and India, there are men who do not wear beards or turbins. They wear suits, have one wife, consider it important to tell the truth and not steal, like scotch, smoke cigarrettes, and want their children to be educated and well off - and are muslims. By appearance they could be presbyterians.
Im going to posit that in terms of government involvement, the government can't do much to positively affect future development of the people in their domain. The best that any gov. can do is apply force in a way that makes certain behaviors less capable of continuing. Religious authorities have been historically tied with government, though, and in that way, many such religious institutions have been retarded morally by their close political interests. Of course, the US is somewhat unique in this sense historically, but such a view wouldn't be tolerated by certain groups.

Im leaning towards saying that its not Islam that is what is really bad about the terrorists/muslims/people dancing in the streets after 9/11. If they all suddenly converted to christianity, that wouldn't make them better. Their behaviors were socially acceptable and vile, and the corruption of their societies was inimical to secular liberalism. The common anti-social, violent views many of these societies have adopted can be useful, but not if we were to destroy their ability to project their ideas onto the world. That just brings up what to do with the bad guys that are already in our country, like the girl from Woyzecks video.

Comments

  • said:

    Im going to posit that in terms of government involvement, the government can't do much to positively affect future development of the people in their domain.

    Many will agree that government can make people worse, i.e. poorer, less educated, less well housed, hungrier. One positive thing a government could do would be to refrain from making people worse, from exercising its negative power.
    said:

    The common anti-social, violent views many of these societies have adopted can be useful, but not if we were to destroy their ability to project their ideas onto the world. That just brings up what to do with the bad guys that are already in our country, like the girl from Woyzecks video.

    What would we do about someone with a bad opinion, or an erroneous belief? I would think we should let them have it.

    Prior to the 1940s, many americans had views of jews about as negative as that girl's muted support for the elimination of isrealis, and amongst even middle class people a degree of anti-jewish sentiment was ordinary. I don't think that means americans were "bad guys", and the films of starved dead people stacked like wood really gave even casual anti-jewish sentiment a bad name.

    I don't think that girl's anti-isreali position is the problem, and I expect that Horowitz used her utterance as a short-hand way to discredit her to an american audience. I expect that the problem with where the girl may stand is that she regards the US and the West as an adversary.

    When we had a war with Germany, if you belonged to a bund, you were locked up.

    When we were were at war with the nips, if you were japanese-american and in a part of the country vulnerable to nip attack, you were locked up. That and the german business were real wars with detained people either self-identifying or being easy to identify.

    When we had a problem with the international left, we didn't lock many of them up. There were many of them, they were partly a beast of our own creation and lots of them were closetted. Add to that confusion about our soviet policy. Were they really enemies, or do they have a different view with which we can co-exist, and do we really want to go to the effort of winning, and would winning be too horrible, and btw don't they have great healthcare?

    I am not sure which group american muslims most resemble.
  • I disagree that our government cannot influence the culture of the people. They do that every day and spend an inordinate amount of time in that venture.
  • Government can change the environment which creates Darwinian selection. Affirmative Action for example is unnatural selection.
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