Carrots and Sticks

There are two schools of thought on how to elicit behavior that someone or a group has decided is the way things 'should be'. Each group religious, economic, military, intellectual etc. has ways that they think things should be. Some actually have power to try and make it happen.

What is common to all of these people is that they know how others 'should be', they have a hot-line to God or they know right from wrong or they are the 'smart ones'. That is to say that the 'others' have none of these advantages; the others are poor saps that need 'parenting' because they can't figure it out on their own, they have 'bad' tendencies. So, … how do we create this Utopian dream that we have in our heads? How do we get the children to behave?

The 'carrot school' gives a nice feeling of benevolent superiority. Encourage people, give them incentives to behave the way that they should. It feels good to be the power that gives pleasure, come to daddy, I have candy. Be good. Carrot people want to be rewarded for their good behavior, they are good people and they know it, they want to be acknowledged. They want the rewards for living properly and contributing to society, my daddy showed me this. People are not evil by nature. We want a nice world, life is short, lets enjoy it. We are alive! come smell the roses. We want a pleasant world so lets build one. 

The 'stick school' provides a feeling righteousness and definitive power. Discourage people from following their wicked nature. It feels good to show people the penalties of transgress, go and sin no more. Do not force me to hunt you down, there will be pain. The stick people feel good about being beaten when caught transgressing the rules; breaking the rules is bad, we all want to do that but that is evil, that is letting our true nature out; we deserve the pain, my daddy showed me this. People are evil by nature. Stick people do not like rewarding people for doing what they should be doing anyway. It will spoil them. We want a harsh world, it makes us strong. It makes us invincible. The others, the evil ones will not get us, ever.

That being said, the stick people worry me, profoundly. Sometimes I think that many of them rather enjoy punishing others for their 'sins'. Sometimes I think that they make some rules simply to assure a steady supply of people to punish. They think it works best. "Damn, don't make me beat you again". They clearly like the stick. They like it a lot. They do not really have a problem with people breaking the rules. Hey, it gives is the opportunity to show the others what the penalties are. The harsher and nastier the punishment the more effective it is. You do want to work effectively and efficiently toward having the society that I want us to have, don't you? Yeah, the stick people worry me.