1994-08-02 - Uniforms, Authority, and System “X”

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From: mpd@netcom.com (Mike Duvos)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: c77789a2ce7a269de5280540acc6a0fba5d94b794c8c19850b74bfde9d872b30
Message ID: <199408022111.OAA05387@netcom15.netcom.com>
Reply To: <3362@aiki.demon.co.uk>
UTC Datetime: 1994-08-02 21:11:44 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 2 Aug 94 14:11:44 PDT

Raw message

From: mpd@netcom.com (Mike Duvos)
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 94 14:11:44 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Uniforms, Authority, and System "X"
In-Reply-To: <3362@aiki.demon.co.uk>
Message-ID: <199408022111.OAA05387@netcom15.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

jdd@aiki.demon.co.uk (Jim Dixon) writes:

 > It's a much more general phenomenon that that.  Two or
 > three years ago, two doctors working for the National Health
 > Service in the northeast of England began applying new
 > diagnostic techniques routinely while examining children.
 > They found that some children had been sexually abused and
 > the children were taken into care.

The same thing happened in the United States a number of years
back.  Sex abuse "experts" began taking note of microscopic
abrasions and other signs of wear and tear on the genitals of
children who had been sexually abused.  They found that almost
all children who had been sexually abused showed such signs and
wrote lengthy papers on the subject.  They also appeared in court
with impressive diagrams and pointers and expounded at length
about the new "scientific evidence of abuse."

"So and so", they would proclaim, "showed a thickening of the
skin" or "a small scratch" which obviously proved something
sexual and inappropriate had taken place.  Lots of people went
straight to jail.

Then the scientists happened to examine a population of children
who had not been sexually abused and to their horror, they showed
the same statistical incidence of such findings as the "abused"
children did.  Mostly from normal self-exploration and play with
other kids their own age.  There was gigantic embarassment all
around and the scientists retreated.

Looks like England is going through the same learning curve.

 > The people at the center of the affair never saw that they
 > were wrong.

Well, there is a certain professional humiliation factor to be
contended with here. :)

 > It's not just the US government.

Most of the really goofy stuff along these lines seems to happen
in the US and Great Britain.  Other countries participate
occasionally, like Italy.  The Scandinavian countries and the
Netherlands seem mostly immune.

 > Personally I believe that some fraction of the population is
 > authoritarian in temperament and some fraction is credulous,
 > and that these attributes are uncorrelated and distributed
 > at random. The credulous authoritarian types can be very
 > dangerous.  They like uniforms.

Back during the "Gays in the Miliary" flamefest, someone wrote a
very funny parody suggesting that membership in the Republican
party was genetically determined.

I personally believe there is a large correlation between
genetically determined personality traits and an attraction to
right wing political thought.

All right wing memes seem to have as their underlying
reproductive mechanism the following schema...

      A.  Doomed are those who do not embrace System "X"
      B.  Anything I do to cause others to embrace
          System "X" is justified.

The classic Christian case is of course Pascal's Wager, where
avoiding any finite probability of eternal damnation outweighs
the benefits of agnosticism not only for oneself, but for the
rest of humanity as well.

It would seem quite likely that such anxiety-producing logic
would thrive best in a mind that is already predisposed to some
degree of nervous excitement and insecurity.

     Mike Duvos         $    PGP 2.6 Public Key available     $
     mpd@netcom.com     $    via Finger.                      $