Statehood & Violence After Medieval Times: My Analysis

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Gurimbom
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Statehood & Violence After Medieval Times: My Analysis

Post by Gurimbom » Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:38 pm

Link to My Article

I address the Neo-Hobbesian theory of Steven Pinker that holds that state-formation in the 16th century led to a large decline of European homicide rates over time due to the monopolization of the justice system by the state. This is very often the most important consideration for Minarchists in their judgment of the viability of stateless institutions of justice.

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William
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Re: Statehood & Violence After Medieval Times: My Analysis

Post by William » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:00 am

super busy, doing a slow read of this, hopefully can reply within a week
I have come to feel strongly that the greatest service I can still render to my fellow men would be that I could make the speakers and writers among them thoroughly ashamed ever again to employ the term 'social justice'.
F.A Hayek

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Gurimbom
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Re: Statehood & Violence After Medieval Times: My Analysis

Post by Gurimbom » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:41 am

Thank you very much, appreciate it. :D

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Physiocrat
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Re: Statehood & Violence After Medieval Times: My Analysis

Post by Physiocrat » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:43 pm

Gurimbom wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:38 pm
Link to My Article

I address the Neo-Hobbesian theory of Steven Pinker that holds that state-formation in the 16th century led to a large decline of European homicide rates over time due to the monopolization of the justice system by the state. This is very often the most important consideration for Minarchists in their judgment of the viability of stateless institutions of justice.
That was an excellent article. A great detailed survey of why the theory that the State reduced violence. Another theory for the decline in violence in the Middle Ages is essentially a biological one. In a study of three obscure English surnames of wealthy merchants prior to the Industrial Revolution by Gregory Clark he finds the prominence of the names increases of a number of years and many of the most common names dies out. Essentially the middle class children survived and the poor died which led to the civilising of society as the children of more civilised parents predominated in society. If you wanted to put an even more biological interpetation that the middle class would tend to have higher IQs so the environmental conditions in the pre-industrial period in England was essentially eugenic. This is part of Hoppe's explanation as to why the Industrial Revolution took place in England. Further higher IQs are associated with delayal of gratification and more long-term thinking which would likely reduce the brawling tavern violence associated with the middle ages.
The atoms tell the atoms so, for I never was or will but atoms forevermore be.

Yours sincerely,

Physiocrat

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William
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Re: Statehood & Violence After Medieval Times: My Analysis

Post by William » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:55 pm

The article is great. I think I generally agree with it.

I do especially like paragraphs like this:

Furthermore, even if historical changes concerning self-control e.g. alcohol consumption could reliably be attributed mainly to Victorian civilizing offenses, this would say little about which particular elite was successful in each instance. For instance, were bureaucrats; religious leaders; academics, or economic elites more influential in the instilment of self-discipline? These correlations again say nothing about this question. Nonetheless, for whatever reason, historical evidence illustrated by Eisner (2003; 2014) among other authors is indicative of the theory that the elites were the first groups whose homicide rate fell drastically, to be followed by lower classes only afterward.

Where the word "elite" is forced to not be an empty abstraction in a social theory.

I don't think your article got too much on this, as you were focused more on the Hobessian aspect of it, but I would also say being tied to a progressive / whiggish perspective is going to naturally skew statistics. Come to think of it, if one's world view is that of Hobbes, it will play into how one goes about gathering and interpreting data. Moral: at the end of the day worldview, interpretation of facts, and underlying premises are going to matter and I think discussions are bound to go there when push comes to shove.
I have come to feel strongly that the greatest service I can still render to my fellow men would be that I could make the speakers and writers among them thoroughly ashamed ever again to employ the term 'social justice'.
F.A Hayek

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Merlin
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Re: Statehood & Violence After Medieval Times: My Analysis

Post by Merlin » Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:24 am

Great read Gurimbom. My two cents:

Certain mountainous areas of my homeland only emerged from an autarchic lifestyle within recent memory (early to mid 20th century), recently enough to leave commentary on death rates seen in pre-modern societies.

These appear to have been indeed far, far larger than any we see today but I myself have always though this to be a function of the Malthusian limit rather than the lack of any centralized authority. If some outside power had succeeded in establishing control over these areas in centuries past it would have been unable to bring down the violent death rate significantly: at most it would have replaced part of that with executions is a futile attempt to stave of the endemic vendettas.

This is not to say that the argument for or against the state having decreased the overall violence rates does no stand: but there is a further confounding variable (Malthusian limits) which may account for much of the data we are able to reconstruct. How to control for it, I cannot say.

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