Mike Ault's thoughts on various topics, Oracle related and not. Note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not contributing to the overall theme of the BLOG or are insulting or demeaning to anyone. The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Has Aggression been bred out of Western Europe?

I just spent a week in Nuremberg, Germany. While there I had some interesting discussions with a friend over why Europe seems to be less violent than the USA. Then I had an epiphany. Europe is less violent because it is normal for it to be less violent. Follow my logic here.

Between the various wars in Europe, they had been at a nearly continuous state of war for over 300 years or longer when World War II ended. Let’s start with the middle ages with the various wars, crusades and revolutions, then the Napoleonic wars, then World War I, then World War II. In each of these conflicts hundreds of thousands of the most aggressive of the men (and women) were killed off, usually before they could breed much. Add into this the constant drain of the most aggressive types out to the colonies and various explorations going on during the same period. Soon the majority of people left behind are those that are easily led and want the government, no matter how poor the government is, to take care of them, call it a serf mentality. Yes, I realize there are exceptions, but most of them are due to artificial suppression of hostilities by an outside force, otherwise the aggression would have worked its way out in many cases.

Now look at places like USA, South America and Australia. Most of these countries are areas that were settled by aggressive types or outcasts, people looking for a new life and willing to do anything to get it, folks who wanted to govern themselves and say stuff-it to their current governments. Now while we have participated in some of the wars, we haven’t had nearly the body counts that the European countries racked up, so many of our aggressive types returned to breed and reinforce the bloodlines. In addition, those that tired of the yoke of the government big enough to give them everything and big enough to take everything away fled to…yep…places like USA, South America and Australia re-introducing the aggressive genes and behaviors at every step of the way.

So is it some magic thing the governments have done in places like The UK, Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, etc? No! Will the way they govern work without a high ratio of people who want to be taken care of? No! They have less aggressive, independent people naturally, due to years of selective breeding and killing off or eliminating the aggressive types through war and encouraging them to go elsewhere. I hate to say it but the ratios of the people type known as Sheep to the type known as Sheepdogs and Sheep to the type known as Wolves are much higher in Europe than in the USA or other ex-colonies.

Of course what happens when the predators are eliminated in any ecology? The grazers over populate and soon you have a reduced quality of life. In human society when all that is left is the “sheep” social programs are soon overburdened and collapse just like ecologies where there are no predators to balance the grazer populations. Without the “gadflies” to constantly poke and prod and invent and create, society soon stagnates.


Noel said...

Makes a heck of a lot of sense to me. I've had some similar thoughts along those lines during the past couple of years. Great minds think alike.

Tony Giles said...

The UK has a higher rate of assaults per capita than the US (2.8% of the population in the UK, 1.2% of the population in the US) so from the point of aggression the UK (and Australia and Canada) is more aggressive that the US.

The death rate is much lower as the UK doesn't allow the carrying of firearms(the right to bear arms in the UK was removed in 1920) but this doesn't mean it isn't a violent country.

David Aldridge said...

That's an interesting perspective, Mike, but as Tony says there is no lack of violence in Europe.

I think that was was bred out of the population was its willingness to see militarism used as a means of foreign policy. Associated with that is a resistance to organised religion and patriotism, which previous generations have come to associate with manipulation of the population to get their young men into uniform in pursuit of causes that they do not identify with.