The Condition of Being an O-10

OK, hint, an O-10 is a general.

So a fascinating thing is when people talk in generalities, and yet they plainly do not know the relevant statistics their generality is an approximation of. The obvious one is the thing I've been harping on, the priest scandal; Catholics have a lower rate of clergy abuse than most other religions, and they're basically the only ones who've revised any rules RE: reporting.

Another example would be some Brit on a forum I used to go to, who said, in essence, that British cops aren't "armed to the teeth" like American ones and yet the crime rate "certainly isn't any higher". So I, being acquainted with the concept of research, checked the crime stats: Britain's rate for every violent crime except murder is 5 to 8 times the US's. And the UK's crime stats don't count any crime whose victim is under 16. So it's probably actually higher.

I can see why they don't look up the stats, I don't like being proven wrong either.

Here's some others.
  • So people who support abortion object to it being compared to the Holocaust. Um, actually, fun fact: the Holocaust killed (just under) 6 million Jews in 4 years (the 4 million other people, half of them Poles, may be ignored in this debate, just like they always are). 6 million divided by 4 is 1.5 million a year—guess how many abortions we perform every year in America? Still though, the Argumentum ad Hitlerum is lame.

  • So you think the Crusades were terrible, right? So who's reading you this blog? They killed 1.5 million people in 300 years. And don't let's forget, they were a war between a society with no slaves, and one with them. Oh, except that unlike in the American "Civil War" (it was actually a failed secession attempt, but who's counting?) the free society weren't the aggressors, the slave society was. The Turks were invaders, the Crusaders were there at the request of the Byzantines (whose military effectiveness was severely damaged by their epic screwup at Manzikert).

    And the American Civil War killed 600,000 people in 4 years—150,000 a year, or 30 times as many as the Crusades. The civilian casualties were comparable between the two wars—and that, not terribly high (the current death-toll estimate for the sack of Jerusalem is 3000 civilians, which is the same as the sack of Atlanta)—the atrocities in the Civil War were during Reconstruction, not the war proper. But also consider how poor medieval discipline was; the Crusaders have nothing to be ashamed of.

  • Not only were the English in 1798 the first to systematically use rape as a weapon of terror, when they were putting down the Irish Uprising, they also killed 50,000 people. In one year. What's funny is, in 700 years, all three Inquisitions killed only 40,000. So let's review: English Protestants, 50,000 in a year (not counting the first use of terror-rape in Western history). The Inquisitions, 40,000 in 700 years (and much more restricted use of torture than contemporary secular courts).

  • Not a statistic but an error of context, some well-meaning person was trying to say economics is more likely to cause wars than religion is. It's true, actually—only 7% of wars have been religious—but he was trying to say "need of resources" was responsible for the Crusades. Except the Seljuks came to prominence precisely because they were the richest of all the leading Turkish clans, and Europe was in the middle of an agricultural revolution that tripled their production.

    Economic factors, scarcity among them, cause wars. They don't cause all wars, and they didn't cause the Crusades.

  • Notice that stat for the Irish Uprising? Yeah, here's another fun fact: the Great Terror or Reign of Terror, about a year long starting in 1793, probably killed about half as many people. The highest estimate is 40,000, still 10,000 short of England's score in Ireland. And, even with all the misogyny and cruelty of the Jacobins, Charlotte Corday died a virgin after assassinating Marat. That could not have happened to an Irishwoman who assassinated a comparable English figure.

  • Finally, you know the Leyenda Negra, about how bad the Spanish were in the New World? Here's a hint. Look at the population of New Spain. Now look at the population of New England. Who had the more genocidal policies regarding Indians? Hint: it's not the ones whose modern population is not white.

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