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"Tit for tat"

William Whittle writes,

"If you think about it, all of our laws – and indeed, the very idea of respect for and equality under the law – are written to protect Tit-for-Tat, because Tit-for-Tat produces the best results. You may sell your product at a profit, but if you lie about what it does we will call that fraud and you will go to jail because successful societies start nice but retaliate against those that decide to Screw the Other Guy. The punishment of fraud is what gives us confidence in the claims made by other products. Retaliating against Screw the Other Guy is not mean-spritedness or a lust for revenge. It is essential to protect the confidence needed to stay focused on long-term wins. And that’s how, in theory, you build a cooperative society.

You retaliate against those that take advantage of the common trust. In other words, you punish the cheaters.

If you do not punish the cheaters, you have an “always cooperate” society that produces, consistently and rapidly, the worst possible outcome because it encourages – it selects – competing nasty strategies, by providing them with what I can only describe as a food source. Without retaliation against cheaters, cheaters thrive because that becomes the smartest strategy. There’s nothing “kind” about non-retaliation, nothing noble or good. Non-retaliation is suicide. Plain and simple.

. . .Cheating in class (or getting a diploma without passing the required tests), cheating by crossing the border illegally, cheating by committing crimes and not paying for it, cheating by bribery and corruption, cheating in general rewards Screw the Other Guy as a social strategy and makes chumps of the people who need a level of societal trust – they need retaliation against Screw the Other Guy – in order to continue to cooperate. Society needs to retaliate against cheaters because not to do so flips the coin from cooperation to betrayal. And that’s the end of everything we have worked for and cherish. . .

When a tipping point is reached – when enough people are allowed to cheat – the system swings to a different stabiltiy mode (the default mode) and Screw the Other Guy becomes the only rational choice.

The rational choice. Think about that for a moment.

Does that make you angry? It damn well better. And if it does then you are not alone. . .

Real-world cases
London not only confiscated citizen’s handguns, they actively prosecute the few souls still willing to defend their own property. The London Police – once the envy of the world – now openly admit that they will not prosecute entire classes of crime. They have, in short, done precisely the inverse of what Giuliani and Braxton did: they have refused to retaliate, refused to punish the criminals and in doing so destroyed the trust needed for people to live in their own homes without fear. They have paid a large price for that already and I hope they have their checkbooks opened because they are a long, long way from being finished.

Large numbers of non-citizens want to live in the United States. Large numbers. A society can only assimilate so many people in a given year. If millions and millions of people come here illegally, they are loading the system to capacity at the expense of the honest, decent people who are doing the right thing by applying to immigrate legally. If we reward illegal immigration with amnesty, we have allowed the illegals not only to screw our own people and laws, but even more so they harm their own countrymen who are trying to get here by cooperating. . .

Everything the West has achieved – all the science, prosperity, security and freedom – is based upon the free exchange of ideas. We tolerate offensive ideas so that this free exchange of information may continue. Disagreement is the crucible of wisdom. The price we pay for this cooperation is the daily offense we suffer at the exposure to ideas we find distasteful.

However, when radical Muslims living in the West demand that their religion not undergo these same stresses and trials and turns violent – burning buildings or killing those who disagree with them – well, we as a society have a choice. We can be “always cooperating,” which rewards that behavior, or we can retaliate, which punishes it.

Which do you think – reward, or punishment – is likely to produce more of this savagery, and which less?"

You won’t want to miss the Remnant. You can read the whole thing here.

Thanks to Instapundit for the story tip.