Ask A Genius 436 – Tolerance for Risk (3)
November 7, 2018
[Beginning of recorded material]
Rick Rosner: So, the purported softer generations that are cognizant of bullying is contradicted by what these tough older people are doing, which is getting fat and being stupid. You had a question.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Mores and norms change over time. What defines “weak” now compared to 60 years ago and 2 millennia ago?
Rosner: I think one is that people are more reluctant to die. If you look at history, there have been plenty of opportunities of people to go off to war. There has been a risk of death for ill-defined ideals of nationality.
World War I was a particularly ill-defined war. What were the countries fighting for, it wasn’t clear to the people fighting. It is not clear to us now. The Civil War was pretty clear, though people still argue about the causes.
World War II was particularly clear. In that, the German and Japanese agendas seemed super bad. But most wars via thoughts about nationality are vague and are based on the idea of, basically, not wanting to die.
The Vietnam War was, according to most measures, made things worse. Yes, Saddam Hussein was probably killing thousands and tens of thousands of his own people. Going in there and deposing him in a sloppy way has lead to the deaths of a million people or more since 2003, the prospect of even more deaths across the Middle East deriving from this too.
You can probably get 80% or more of reasonably informed people to say that that was a fucking terrible war. I would suggest that people on average are less willing to participate in war or run the risk of getting themselves killed.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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