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Thursday, April 23, 2015

More Equal

For leaking classified documents to his mistress/biographer, former general and CIA director David Petraeus gets two years' probation  -- because some animals are more equal than others.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, yes, "more equal", but don't you think the story is just a little more interesting than that? The faithful of the "empire" (Federalist No. 1) are concerned about being too harsh on the empire's own former tools lest prospective new tools be discouraged from usefulness.

Let's think of the situation in terms of operant conditioning. (See diagram at

Start on the punishment side. Of course Petraeus can't be deterred by positive punishment from repeating the act, but others can be---and potential tools can learn that negative punishment, though harsh (cessation of career) will not be matched by a harsh positive punishment in the form of long incarceration or death.

I have more to write, esp. about the reinforcement side of imperial conditioning, but I must attend to something else now. Maybe, however, "libertarians" can learn to make use of this model with great sophistication.