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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-20 12:37pm
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Carinthium - your moral communalisim, as you describe it, is the Social Contract.

a) a huge chunk of growing up is learning what this means and learning to restrain your own impulses for the good of all. if you didn't find this out till late, meh, your teachers failed.

b) what exactly is the 'problem of wealthy contributors' - do you mean them contributing to society or to a politcal contest? (by contributing do you mean paying taxes?)

c) yes - the whole point of unions was to make the bargaining power of members equal to that of hugely rich and powerful companies. Some compromises do exist - such as the coops and john lewis in the uk.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-20 03:16pm
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Carinthium wrote:
If anybody actually goes so far as to support 'Liberty, Egality, Fraternity' to the point of believing that people of a nation-state have an obligation to be metaphorically brothers to each other, and that the state actually has the right to enforce this, then I would probably both swear at and punch you if we met in person. None the less, hypothetical totalitarian, please give your views

I wonder just how you combined the slogans of the liberal Great French Revolution and called this "totalitarian", and your head did not explode at this very instant? But sure, people do have an obligation not to be dicks to each other at the very least (being a comrade or more, a brother, is I guess for a more enlightened society than the current ape-tribe). However, I do not believe the state has a right to "enforce" this - people can enforce this themselves when they're advanced enough. The state may or may not enforce certain beneficial rules, but it usually can, since a democratic power represents the members of society and their will.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-20 06:21pm
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Hey, Carinthium, you asshole, you wrote an entire essay to inform us that you have no idea? When the teacher asked a question in your school, did you raise your hand to say you don't know?

And on the matter, I'm a "moral communalist" if we go by the fucking terms you went and invented. It comes from the purely utilitarian view which you talked about. If somebody cannot understand why you should strive to create the maximum amount of happiness possible for all, perhaps he should have his shit taken away from him and be made unhappy.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-20 09:22pm
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I see a potential flamefest here in the making, yet, I have to chip my oar in.


1. How does holding lots of valuable shares= hoarding money? The shares are valuable only in the sense that other people want to buy those shares at said price. They don't draw value out of the general economy.

2. Just how much wealth redistribution is equitable? Also, shouldn't the focus be on what services society can do to help improve the quality of its members life, rather than focusing on juts how much power the rich shouldn't have?

Even if the focus is on creating a more equal society, a focus on punitive tax rates IMO focuses more on bringing everybody down to the same level, whereas a focus on social services, which requires increased taxation would have more practical benefits of empowering more people to rise up.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-20 09:38pm
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NOTE: I wrote this whilst PainRack was making his post. It's a seperate issue from the moral question, so I'm ignoring it as peripheral.

Overall, I should point out that NONE OF YOU HAVE JUSTIFIED SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY. How can you prove it better than Moral Individualism, and how can you demonstrate that a social contract exists even when people don't know the theory until taught it?

Both Moral Individualism and Moral Communalism face the problem of refuting the Amoralist view- that there is no rational reason to choose morality over amorality (how can you establish "should" from "is"?). How would a Moral Communalist go about doing this?

In addition, I would contend that if a society purely follows Moral Communalism it has no right to call itself a free society. People are born into the slavery of future obligations in such a world, their lives are run by the government 'for their own good' (sometimes true, sometimes not- depends on the wisdom of the laws), and they can't 'opt out'.

Dealing with madddoctor:
1- People are told to do things, but they are also told this is a free society. Not that many people are taught Social Contract theory, but just about everyone is taught that Australia is a free society. It is unreasonable to expect me, an autistic (Aspergers syndrome, but I'm given to understand that category no longer exists), to realise as a child that they're talking crap.

a- Some people are taught libertarian morals, some are taught Social Contract morals, many more are taught to do things and not given a decent explanation. Learning to restrain oneself can easily be justified in terms of Human Rights (capitalised because it's a key part of what I'm talking about and I wish to emphasise the phrase). More importantly, how can you justify Social Contract theory?
b- The degree they contribute to a political contest.
c- I admit this is contestable, but it is plausible enough to be arguable (though I am not sure if it's true or not) that if the political power of unions were to be restored, as long as they had financial power equivilant to the super-rich to influence political lobbies the problem of 'excessive wealth' would go away even under Moral Communalist assumptions. If this is true, it follows that restoring the power of Unions, not taxing the rich, is the priority.

Responding to Stas Bush:

1:
Defining totalitarianism, I prefer:
-dictatorship: a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)

If the dictator is a group, or The People, or Society, that is still dictatorship.

2:
Can you establish your viewpoint that people have an obligation not to be dicks to each other, please? "Being a dick" is very broad and very vague- there are at least circumstances when your claim can be called into question (responding to dickishness by the other person to you or others).

3:
What ARE your arguments for Moral Communalism over Moral Individualism, anyway?

4: (EDIT):
Even if it is theoretical for the time being, I'm curious to know- what would be the criterion for your 'more enlightened society'? And if these criterions were met, what would you consider the rights of the State to be to enforce brotherhood? I particularly want to know the most extreme situation you consider actually morally justifiable for the State to enforce and the criterion for said situation.

Responding to Doctor Trainwreck:
As I have pointed out, there are arguments both ways. It's better to admit uncertainty than to be an irrational fanatic for a viewpoint. I didn't put up my hand in class and say I didn't know because back in the classroom I DID know- here in more sophisticated debate, I'm simply making sure both sides get a fair hearing.

You seem to support the Empathic Argument. This argument is basically:

1- If you were in X circumstance, you would feel good/bad.
2- Another person is prospectively in X situation.
3- You should emphathise with them, and help them to get into/out of X situation.

As pure logic this does not follow, however much people might wish it does. How can you justify this premise, or utilitarianism in the first place?

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-21 05:07am
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Carinthium, you make several elementary mistakes in your arguments. Your first mistake is an assumption that your terms of Moral Individualism and Moral Communalism are somehow mutually exclusive and that society must be wholly one or wholly the other. This is not the case and the argument you make is a black and white fallacy.

Most societies are a mixture of both in varying degrees, where the need for individual liberty is balanced against the needs of the greater society as a whole. The point where that balance is set varies from society to society, but this is how the real world works. The reason why it works that way is that when you go into either extreme, the push against it becomes stronger.

If you go all the way into Moral Communalism with individual having no place, there will be unrest and trouble simply because while humans are social pack animals, they also have individual needs and will not let the society subsume them the same way ants are in an ant colony.

If you go all the way into your Moral Individualism, there are different problems. We live in the real world instead of some idealized fantasy, which means that when you maximize individual liberty, there will be a not inconsequential subset of the population who will abuse the fuck out of it, which in turn would turn things into a situation where might makes right. This is why society needs to have a big enough stick that if and when these people would get out of line, they can be soundly beaten over the head and punished for their overreach. In most societies this means the police or equivalent. And as soon as you need to have something like that which requires serious organization to make it happen and even more organization to make sure it stays under control instead of going rogue, you no longer have the pure Moral Individualism you have been frothing on about.

Black and white fallacies are the arguments of children.

The second mistake you make is that you entirely ignore the evolutionary history of humans. We are and always have been pack animals, because we need a group to survive. This means that there is an evolutionary imperative to form social structures that benefit the group as a whole instead of maximizing the benefits for an individual. This is the root from where the social contract in its various forms throughout human societies springs. The pure moral individualism bullshit runs directly counter to that, because it seeks to set the individual before society and our societal structure is simply unable to accommodate that on a large scale.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-21 06:22am
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Put crudely, social contract theory is based on its suitability for human beings. Unlike "moral individualism" or whatever the rubbish of the week is, it makes allowances for human need. The great need here is "when you are a child, when you are old, when you are cheated or lied to, when you are sick or tired or hungry or just plain unlucky, when things go wrong and you can't fix them anymore by yourself, the system will be there to hold you up, not to grind you down."

We're not some kind of perfect, invincible beings. We need a support structure. And that is a need, not some kind of optional whim. Knowing you're in a society that won't do anything about it if you're in danger is like living among cannibals that are slowly sharpening their knives. Not an enviable place to be.

For Greek gods, "moral individualism" might sort of work... but then, the Greek gods were appallingly immoral and cruel, both to each other and to mortals, when they got the chance.

So for myself, I prefer my Liberty mixed with enough Equality and Brotherhood that I don't have to wonder which of my fellow men is going to sink the knife in my back next.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-21 06:30am
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Responding to Edi:
I wasn't talking about how society is in practice- I was talking about the philosophical basis behind society's rules. Depending on what Human Rights a Moral Individualist claims exist, and what obligations to society a Moral Communalist claims exist, it is at least theoretically possible to have a highly centralised left-wing socialist Moral Individualist state or an extreme libertarian Moral Communalist state. Let me make this very clear- Moral Individualism is not libertarianism. The Moral Individualism I have been semi-advocating would include a right to property, but that is not necessarily the only type.

A government may be necessary, but that govenment does NOT need to pass laws to do anything more than protect the citizens from each other and outside threats physically, ensure checks and balances on itself to avoid oppresion, and collect enough taxes to function- nothing else can be justifiably considered essential.

Just because something is natural does not mean it is morally right- pedophilia being an obvious example of a case where most people would agree with me. A society which merely protects people from each other physically can function.

Responding to Simon_Jester:
I'm talking about a PHILOSOPHICAL justification for social contract theory, not a "practical" justification. Even if it is true that there are certain consequences to not acting like a social contract exist, that does NOT logically imply that a social contract exists.

Two extra arguments against social contract theory:
1- It is a historical fact that an overwhelming majority of people in history would never have heard of the idea nor concieved of it- said majority would be led to believe (almost always true) that they had no choice. If you give a person an explicit contract and tell them they have no choice but to sign, such a contract is invalid even legally.
2- Say I am a poor individual who, for reasons probably inconcievable to you, wants to 'opt out' of society. To use the hypothetical where my argument is at its strongest, I have recently turned 18 and am a street bum without the money to go to anywhere lawless. In this hypothetical, I clearly have had no choice about whether to be part of society or not. No matter how close the state comes to a hypothetical utopia fitting your views perfectly, as long as I don't have the resources to leave for a place of anarchy I am a clear exception to the social contract theory with no justification possible for it.



Your claim that people need society ignores the existence of extraordinary people, ignores the fact that you are violating individual freedom (people don't have a choice about entering society), and ignores the fact that that sort of world children would be raised by their parents to the point where they could reasonably cope.

Just because there is no compulsory society does not mean there isn't the option to create voluntary social ties- friends and family could have an implicit social understanding (not enforced legally, obviously) that they help each other out when in trouble. Some could opt, others could opt out.

I should also point out that Even an extreme libertarian (assuming they believe in a right to life) would not object to the government protecting people from each other physically. An extreme libertarian would object to taxes and other forms of compulsion to make the government work, but not that aspect.


Last edited by Carinthium on 2012-09-21 06:40am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-21 06:38am
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Carinthium wrote:
Responding to Edi:
I wasn't talking about how society is in practice- I was talking about the philosophical basis behind society's rules. Depending on what Human Rights a Moral Individualist claims exist, and what obligations to society a Moral Communalist claims exist, it is at least theoretically possible to have a highly centralised left-wing socialist Moral Individualist state or an extreme libertarian Moral Communalist state. Let me make this very clear- Moral Individualism is not libertarianism. The Moral Individualism I have been semi-advocating would include a right to property, but that is not necessarily the only type.

A government may be necessary, but that govenment does NOT need to pass laws to do anything more than protect the citizens from each other and outside threats physically, ensure checks and balances on itself to avoid oppresion, and collect enough taxes to function- nothing else can be justifiably considered essential.

Just because something is natural does not mean it is morally right- pedophilia being an obvious example of a case where most people would agree with me. A society which merely protects people from each other physically can function.

And? Currently the problem your argument has is that it utterly ignores reality and any philosophy taht ignores the realities of the world is plain and simply worthless.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-21 06:47am
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You haven't adressed the other part of my argument- that there IS a practical way to achieve a libertarian world, which would involve a high price but would achieve it's objective. If you're going to argue that this can't be done, I would counter that a lot of proposals you almost certainly endorse (such as higher taxes for the rich, and Obama actually being like he said he would be) also can't be done- we argue about if they should be done because of the principle of the matter.

I will ask you the same question I asked Simon Jester- justify Social Contract Theory. You claim that because it somehow fits nature (it doesn't- philosophical ignorance is the most 'natural' state) it is morally justifiable- I disagree that such a so-called logic follows.

The question of whether Social Contract Theory is right or wrong is philosophical, but it has practical consequences for the real world- what people are and are not morally obliged to do. Since we care about the latter, we should care about the former.

EDIT:

Posing a question to both my opponents, and all comers:
What do you consider the purpose of asking moral questions (if you agree with it at all)? What do you consider to be the proper scope for arguments on moral questions? How much influence should what you conclude morally have on what you advocate politically?

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-21 07:03am
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Carinthium wrote:
Overall, I should point out that NONE OF YOU HAVE JUSTIFIED SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY.

Maybe because I don't give a crap about said theory... really?
Carinthium wrote:
Defining totalitarianism, I prefer: dictatorship: a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.) If the dictator is a group, or The People, or Society, that is still dictatorship.

By that definition either all or no governments are totalitarian dictatorships (since most of them allow the government to amend or adjust the constitution, laws are writted by government legislators). The presence or lack of opposition does not really tells us whether the government in question is a dictatorship or not. Opposition may be very weak almost to the point of nonexistence in a democracy, or it might be very strong in a dictatorship (up to the point of being able to dislodge the dictator(s) from power). Moreover, if you consider any dictatorship totalitarian, this makes the term rather meaningless. Why use it at all if you just want to say 'dictatorship'?
Carinthium wrote:
Can you establish your viewpoint that people have an obligation not to be dicks to each other, please? "Being a dick" is very broad and very vague- there are at least circumstances when your claim can be called into question (responding to dickishness by the other person to you or others).

If a person goes around and and start storturing other people, this person is causing suffering to these other people. All people are sentient (intelligent) beings, so their suffering is evaluated on an equal basis. To minimize suffering, one should seek to prevent this happening to any person or most persons present. As such actions as described above are actively increasing the amount of suffering in society, it follows that to achieve a reduction of suffering, this person has to be constrained in his or her actions. Simple really.
Carinthium wrote:
What ARE your arguments for Moral Communalism over Moral Individualism, anyway?

Uh... see above. Moral individualism is a bit stupid since when faced with the above circumstances, it cannot even give us an answer whether any action should be taken.
Carinthium wrote:
Even if it is theoretical for the time being, I'm curious to know- what would be the criterion for your 'more enlightened society'? And if these criterions were met, what would you consider the rights of the State to be to enforce brotherhood? I particularly want to know the most extreme situation you consider actually morally justifiable for the State to enforce and the criterion for said situation.

A more enlightened society is where people do not assume that ad-hoc entities (like the nation-state or government) have "rights", for example. But of course there are many other criteria, especially concerning the human inter-relations, and I guess that's a topic for SLAM, not N&P - feel free to give a shout and I can kick a part of the discussion off there. Most extreme situations when the mechanism of opression like a government has to interfere and enforce - well, I'd say a violent anarchy. The state won't be enforcing brotherhood in this case anyway - only the basic and minimal rules of conduct to reduce violence and suffering.
Carinthium wrote:
Both Moral Individualism and Moral Communalism face the problem of refuting the Amoralist view- that there is no rational reason to choose morality over amorality (how can you establish "should" from "is"?). How would a Moral Communalist go about doing this?

Go from empathy and people's preferences which are aptly summed by the proverb "Better to be rich and healthy than to be poor and of ill health". Few people like suffering (and even those who enjoy it usually do so as part of a game or a part of a trial, rite, special "extreme" hobby which they engage in of their own free will, it is not forced upon them). Therefore it is logical to improve the well-being of humanity by reducing the amount of suffering for the greatest possible number of people.
Carinthium wrote:
I would contend that if a society purely follows Moral Communalism it has no right to call itself a free society. People are born into the slavery of future obligations in such a world, their lives are run by the government 'for their own good' (sometimes true, sometimes not- depends on the wisdom of the laws), and they can't 'opt out'.

If this society allows people to opt out by leaving this society (see Cruzoe), this society is free. If a person is adequately informed that he or she can leave this society for a lone existence or an existence in another "enclosed" society (see Amish) once they reach adulthood and simply ignore whatever obligations they had to other members of the greater society, I do not see how they are "unfree". This choice can be made, for example, at a time when the person chooses whether he or she would want to be a citizen of the society in question. If not, this person has no obligations to society. If the person opts to become a citizen, it gets a number of services from the society, but it must also fulfil its own part of the deal and follow society's rules. You see any problem?
Carinthium wrote:
Learning to restrain oneself can easily be justified in terms of Human Rights (capitalised because it's a key part of what I'm talking about and I wish to emphasise the phrase).

Cannot be, since it supposes some subset of rights exists, which are unique to humans only, and this set of rights is unchanging, too. For example, one person may recognize a human's right to life, but not a right to a painless life, and thus install a pain collar on the other's neck to electrocute him when he likes it. There's no right to painless existence, so...
Carinthium wrote:
If this is true, it follows that restoring the power of Unions, not taxing the rich, is the priority.

The idea of another hot/cold war between Unions and Capitalists while capitalist accumulation still remains unrestrained leads us to the natural assumption that Unions will lose this (again!) and be crushed once again, since capitalists always have greater influence over the political process. So the solution to erect a financing barrier and try to reduce the political clout of ultra-rich is a better idea than going for another round of Union fight, then union leadership co-option by the super-rich and finally the crushing of Unions.

P.S. And yes - this shit really needs to be moved to SLAM. Not sure whether we should do so for the entire thread or just this part though.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-21 07:24am
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EDIT: I'm fine with taking to SLAM any parts of this argument where both arguers would prefer to take it to SLAM.

To sum up an accusation against Stas Bush, and to an extent against all of you- you are arguing philosophy and ignoring many of my counter-arguments as philosophical. If Stas Bush is a utilitarian, not a social contract theorist (I suspect this but I can't be sure), this mitigates but does not eliminate the accusation.

1- Okay- perhaps I should have taken the 'dictatorship' part out of the definition (looked up from a dictionary in order to be impartial)- it's unhelpful. Basically, a system is more totalitarian the more control the ruler has over people's lives.
2- You are making PHILOSOPHICAL claims here- that suffering should be minimised, and that all humans are equal.
3- Moral Individualism says that people are FREE- to help others or not to help others is morally neutral. In such a system, helping or not helping is as moral as a choice of clothing.
4- If I met you in person, I would have almost but not quite punched you in the face after realising you weren't so extreme as to actually force people to be brothers.
5- Just because MOST people prefer it doesn't mean ALL people prefer it. Why let the majority enforce rules on the minority for their own good, especially when this interferes in extremis with the personal lives of the minority? Additionally, why do you assume that empathy should be given moral weight at all when it is so fickle? (Going by emotions alone, there are plenty of times when people do things because of empathy that Western morality would consider fucked up. I don't think I need to list any- this is too obvious)
6- I see a problem if for practical purposes the individual does NOT have the option not to be a member of a society.
7- This is an appeal to Moral Sentimentalism.

Moral Sentimentalism- Because something feels morally wrong, it is morally wrong.

The term Human Rights implies rights for humans only, and generally speaking that they are unchanging. In addition, you haven't considered the possiblity a right exists to 'security of the person' or something similiar or a right of property ownership over one's own body.

8- A question of clarification- ASSUMING Unions and capitalists have approximately equal funding, why should capitalists necessarily gain the advantage? I should point out that both sides have the advantage of knowing what happened last time. I don't know the history of the conflict, so I'm asking for clarification rather than making an outright argument here.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-21 09:53am
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you are arguing philosophy and ignoring many of my counter-arguments as philosophical. <snip> 2- You are making PHILOSOPHICAL claims here


Are you sure you even know what the word "philosophy" means? So far in this thread you are just using it as an excuse to dismiss your opponent's arguments, like you did to Edi. "Oh, well, I don't know how to respond to your criticism ... but I don't have to because PHILOSOPHY!"



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-21 10:30am
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Carinthium's problem is that he doesn't understand that all moral arguments are philosophical arguments. The moment you start arguing that something is "right" or "wrong", you are making a philosophical argument. The question then becomes: are you doing it properly, or are you proceeding from assumptions which you don't realize are assumptions?



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-21 10:35am
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First of all, I've taken the decision to move this entire thread to SLAM, since the discussion revolved around moral and philosophical justification of taxation, wealth accumulation, et cetera. as well as around finding the best ways to prevent abuses.
Carinthium wrote:
you are arguing philosophy and ignoring many of my counter-arguments as philosophical. If Stas Bush is a utilitarian, not a social contract theorist (I suspect this but I can't be sure), this mitigates but does not eliminate the accusation.

Uh... why can't one reject the argument on philosophical grounds? Especially an ad-hoc one?
Carinthium wrote:
1- Okay- perhaps I should have taken the 'dictatorship' part out of the definition (looked up from a dictionary in order to be impartial)- it's unhelpful. Basically, a system is more totalitarian the more control the ruler has over people's lives.
2- You are making PHILOSOPHICAL claims here- that suffering should be minimised, and that all humans are equal.
3- Moral Individualism says that people are FREE- to help others or not to help others is morally neutral. In such a system, helping or not helping is as moral as a choice of clothing.
4- If I met you in person, I would have almost but not quite punched you in the face after realising you weren't so extreme as to actually force people to be brothers.
5- Just because MOST people prefer it doesn't mean ALL people prefer it. Why let the majority enforce rules on the minority for their own good, especially when this interferes in extremis with the personal lives of the minority? Additionally, why do you assume that empathy should be given moral weight at all when it is so fickle? (Going by emotions alone, there are plenty of times when people do things because of empathy that Western morality would consider fucked up. I don't think I need to list any- this is too obvious)
6- I see a problem if for practical purposes the individual does NOT have the option not to be a member of a society.
7- This is an appeal to Moral Sentimentalism.

Moral Sentimentalism- Because something feels morally wrong, it is morally wrong.

The term Human Rights implies rights for humans only, and generally speaking that they are unchanging. In addition, you haven't considered the possiblity a right exists to 'security of the person' or something similiar or a right of property ownership over one's own body.

8- A question of clarification- ASSUMING Unions and capitalists have approximately equal funding, why should capitalists necessarily gain the advantage? I should point out that both sides have the advantage of knowing what happened last time. I don't know the history of the conflict, so I'm asking for clarification rather than making an outright argument here.

As for 1, this time you came up with a better idea, but it still does not really help. What if a democratically elected ruler (and say, with a right of recall at any time) has lots of control over the lives of the people - does this mean we are facing a totalitarian democracy? If so, I would say most nation-states qualify as totalitarian in your view. Many of them don't even have a right of representative recall. This once again makes the qualifier totalitarian hardly applicable. If Moral Individualism says it is morally neutral to withhold an insulin injection from a person who is dying in front of someone who has extra insulin, then this system is exactly as I imagined - it does not have any imperative for the improvement of people's well-being. Might be about as useful to humanity as nihilism. As for face-punching, I don't care (though I don't want to punch my political opponents in the face, really). Just because most people prefer this, it sets a vector for humanity to act on - I can understand that there are sadistic psyhopaths who derive happiness from the suffering of others, for example, and indeed they are a minority which needs to be locked away in asylum or prison as to not harm others. Since as you said the majority has no "right" to enforce any rules on any minority, I'm afraid we have to open the asylums and prisons and let them run free. I am not sure I am talking about empathy either. All people can have zero empathy towards one another so as long as they don't cause others to suffer. This is still pretty much acceptable. Utilitaranism does not rest on people's empathy, actually, but rather scientifically valid findings about normality, animal and human reaction to pain and pleasure and so on. These are facts of science, not made-up concepts. Sorry.
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I see a problem if for practical purposes the individual does NOT have the option not to be a member of a society.

This is a problem, but I specifically said that the individual is free to leave. Moreover, no member of society asks him to recompense the expense that were incurred by other members of society to give birth to this individual, give him an education, food, shelter and so on. He's completely obligation-free once he reaches maturity and he has obligations only if he voluntarily takes them on.

And there are no appeals to moral sentimentalism either - the normality of reactions is a scientific concept. Normality of avoiding pain is a well-certified biological observation for creatures with higher nervous activity.
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The term Human Rights implies rights for humans only, and generally speaking that they are unchanging. In addition, you haven't considered the possiblity a right exists to 'security of the person' or something similiar or a right of property ownership over one's own body.

Why? Who defined this set of rights? How are they different from the idea of a God or Sky Pixie or Unicorn? What can prove that these abstract concepts actually exist at all? Why are other beings (animals) excluded? Right to security of person sounds incredibly vague - what if a person only feels secure when he exterminated everyone in a radius of 10000 km around self? Why is a person having a "right" to own his or her body? When does this right arise - in the womb or later? Rights are nothing but ad-hoc constructions, a figment of human imagination. They are useful imaginary constructs, but that's about it.
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ASSUMING Unions and capitalists have approximately equal funding, why should capitalists necessarily gain the advantage? I should point out that both sides have the advantage of knowing what happened last time. I don't know the history of the conflict, so I'm asking for clarification rather than making an outright argument here.

Well... I guess I'm simply speaking from experience - in a pure Union-capitalist competition the capitalists always came out on top by either bribing union leaders, bribing the government to stomp unions or actually doing both. Examples of the opposite on a nation-wide scale are not know to me. Anarcho-syndicalist entities have not survived for long periods, no matter how sympathetic me or you might find them.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-21 12:34pm
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Carinthium wrote:
Dealing with myself:
1- People are told to do things, but they are also told this is a free society. Not that many people are taught Social Individualism theory, but just about everyone is taught that in Somewehereistan you are nice to other people. It is unreasonable to expect me, a naturally caring person (Inverted-Aspergers syndrome, but I'm given to understand that category never existed), to realise as a child that they're talking crap.

a- Some people are taught libertarian morals, some are taught Social Contract morals, many more are taught to do things and not given a decent explanation. Learning to restrain oneself can easily be justified in terms of Human Rights (capitalised because it's a key part of what I'm talking about and I wish to emphasise the phrase). More importantly, how can you justify Moral Individualism theory?
b- The degree they contribute to a political contest.
c- I admit this is contestable, but it is plausible enough to be arguable (though I am not sure if it's true or not) that if a highly progressive tax rate discourages excessive wealth concentration, it will impossible for an individual to be able able to unduly influence matters of justice. If this is true, it follows that taxing the rich, restoring the power of Unions,is the priority.



Childish really, but I just couldn't help myself.

being on the autistic spectrum is no excuse for being stupid. You have seen how society works and how humans interact. You've presumably come across ideas such as the prisoner's dilemma, where mutual cooperation is the best strategy in repeated long term games (like living with people).
It really isn't that fucking hard to build a model of rational agents in your head that recreate most human reactions.

It isn't that hard at all to try modelling a society where individualism is the highest good and seeing whether it would actually lead to everyone being happy. (hint - see what happens in the prisoner's dilemma. Either you have a nation of short sighted individuals that crashes and burns, or you have a long sighted nation where individuals voluntarily trade in portions of their freedom over mutually agreed goods, like the right not to get killed.
You've take Human Rights as an assumption. This is where they come from.

It is pretty childish to rail against being born into 'slavery.' but it's a society you're free to leave.
Hell. As i understand it Australia has some big open areas with very few people, so if you dislike the society around you so much, you are totally free to move out.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-21 09:48pm
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I know that all moral claims are philosophical claims- that was the basis on which I was criticisng my opponents. An appeal to 'practicality' is NOT a decent philosophical argument- morality is about how people are morally obliged to act, and thus moral base principles ignore practicality.

I will list a few philosophical claims my opponents have made without justifying them.
1- All people are sentient (intelligent) beings, so their suffering is evaluated on an equal basis. (Stas Bush)
2- It is a good thing to minimise suffering. (Stas Bush)
3- Because something is natural, it is good. (Edi)
4- Because a moral claim is impractical to enforce in practice, it should be ignored. (Edi)

If it was impractical to prevent genocide or pedophilia, would Edi not object to it anyway? More importantly, how can you all justify the above claims? How can you JUSTIFY claims such that it is good to minimise suffering, and that all humans are equal?

To make things even clearer, I am accusing my opponents of proceeding from assumptions they have not justified. If people claim implicit assumptions of my arguments, lay them out- I will then defend them.

Responding to Stas Bush (see above for my response to your first point)

1- I would agree most democracies are totalitarian to a large degree- a state in which "brotherhood" was enforced would be WORSE. This is kind of a moot point, as I think we all agree that if (in theory) a state created laws well-drafted to the point they actually enforced fraternity and actually enforced them it would be an unjust tyranny.
2- Another philosophical assumption- that improving people's well-being is a good thing.
3- If these people are attacking the rights of others, then the People do have a right of self-defence. It depends on the Moral Individualist system whether or not prison could be justified.
4- I will lay my case here out in more detail:

You are assuming here that because (I may not get this precisely right, but) people find a certain system of morality instinctually normative (not true- most primitive tribes would refuse to be utilitarian, and most people have emotional objections to utilitiarianism) that people are morally obligated OBJECTIVELY to be utiltarian. This does not follow. I don't see how the fact that humans and animals feel pain and pleasure can possibly be relevant.

5- What is normal for a human being is a scientific concept- but just because something is normal does not mean it is good. Here, it seems we are in agreement- for a Social Contract system to work, there must be another option. Therefore, it only works in the real world at most FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO COULD CHOOSE TO LIVE IN A PART OF THE WORLD IN ANARCHY.

I should also add that it must be obvious to all that it is a Social Contract system or else you are asking people to be bound by a contract they can't have known about.

6- I never said I WAS a Moral Individualist- only that Moral Individualism and Moral Communalism are about equal in terms of their credibility. An actual Moral Individualist (though I wouldn't agree with him) would attempt to justify human rights on the basis that they are things that people instinctually want- again not a good argument.

However, my posistion is that Moral Individualism and Moral Communalism are about equally credible. I am demolishing Moral Communalist arguments in this thread to justify my claim. I agree that Human Rights are constructions, although I personally would prefer to live in a Moral Individualist society which actually took those claims to their logical conclusions.

7- So it can't work the way it is. You need safeguards to protect union leaders. However, I don't see why the unions can't counter-bribe the government to prevent themselves being stomped on.

Responding to maddoctor:

1- How was I supposed to know this mysterious claim that just because that was the way society worked there was a moral obligation to act that way? I was taught the opposite- just because something is natural does not mean it is good.

2- You are making an assumption that happiness is the highest good. Taking this to it's logical conclusion, this means that if you could you would use force to put everybody involuntarily into machines (if they existed) that would ultra-stimulate their happiness at the expense of living in a fantasy world.

3- My claim here is that Moral Individualism and Moral Communalism are about equally credible. THAT is what I am defending- not Moral Individualism itself.

4- If I killed somebody, I would still be under Australian law- even if it was self-defence. That is part of what I object to.

I personally, however stupid you accuse me of being, was raised being told I was free only to find that not only did this not extend to the freedom to harm others (which I realised) but that it also involved being forced to contribute to society and forced to obey laws 'for my own good'. Now is a different matter, but until I realised this it would be ridicolous to claim I am under a social contract.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-22 01:37am
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I only thought of this follow-up point when it it was too late to edit, but Stas Bush DID appeal to empathy.

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Go from empathy and people's preferences which are aptly summed by the proverb "Better to be rich and healthy than to be poor and of ill health".


If he's going to reject empathy, he has no way to refute the Amoralist viewpoint (that morality is irrational). He also should admit that, at least for the poor, it is a problem that they do not have the choice to live in anarchy for practical purposes.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-22 01:58am
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Precisely who gave you the imperial authority to declare that practicality is not a valid philosophical argument? You seem to think that practicality is somehow automatically disqualified from being either philosophy or morality, simply by virtue of declaring it so.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-22 02:25am
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My apologies- I thought it was so obvious everyone could see it. To counteract this, I figure I may as well go into detail on this point.

1- The argument "It is impractical to for the state to be X, therefore it cannot be ideal for the state to be X." is not a valid argument form in and of itself. Nor is the argument form "There are consequences we don't like from the state being X- therefore it cannot be morally obligatory for the state to be X." I don't see what other sort of argument from practicality you can have, and I've already these types as the underlying assumptions need to be proven.
2- As I have already mentioned, plenty of people on this website rail against things that cannot be realistically prevented by us and aren't realistically going to be stopped. Examples include Guantanamo Bay, corporate power in society, Obama being very different from what he promised, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-22 06:43am
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Carinthium wrote:
An appeal to 'practicality' is NOT a decent philosophical argument- morality is about how people are morally obliged to act, and thus moral base principles ignore practicality. ... 4- Because a moral claim is impractical to enforce in practice, it should be ignored. (Edi)

They do not ignore practicality, actually, and Edi's claim is quite true. Even though we might find racism or tribalism abhorrent, we rarely consider them to be a unique evil for proto-states and early nations. Practicality means feasibility as well. Saying that people should not injure or kill each other is perfectly valid as a practical demand for a peaceful society. It is a completely impractical demand for, say, a post-catastrophe environment where people have to kill each other to survive. Practicality matters. Morality must not be counterbeneficial to the development and survival of the species at the very least.
Carinthium wrote:
I will list a few philosophical claims my opponents have made without justifying them.
1- All people are sentient (intelligent) beings, so their suffering is evaluated on an equal basis. (Stas Bush)

The observation that people are sentient is an objective fact. I should have avoided the qualifier "all" though, since some are in a vegetative state, but I guess the observation that normally people are intelligent sentient creatures should suffice. There is no need to justify this 'claim' - this is just an observation. As for evaluation of suffering on an equal basis, I would say that this is the logical consequence of a scientific observation as well, unless you have some scientific observations that show for example Asian people being more immune to suffering or feeling suffering in a different way than say Europeans. I am not sure there are any (outside of racist pseudoscience), but feel free to correct me. I see no reason for an objective observer to give more weight to the suffering of one being with identical sentient capabilities to that of another such being.
Carinthium wrote:
2- It is a good thing to minimise suffering. (Stas Bush)

I think I have justified this sufficiently. It is a scientific observation as well - animals with higher nervous activity seek to avoid suffering. It is not "good" par se, but it is (1) coinciding with the normal vector of desires for most members of the species (2) is not actively hindering the development and survival of the species, but actually helping the survival and spread of the species.
Carinthium wrote:
How can you JUSTIFY claims such that it is good to minimise suffering, and that all humans are equal?
o make things even clearer, I am accusing my opponents of proceeding from assumptions they have not justified. If people claim implicit assumptions of my arguments, lay them out- I will then defend them.

You have made an assumption that rights exist and humans have these rights and you haven't justified any part of it. Unlike my explanations above, there is no scientific confirmation that rights exist. There is no scientific confirmation that rights are unique and belong to humans, or even to each and every human as an inalienable property of the creature.
Carinthium wrote:
1- I would agree most democracies are totalitarian to a large degree- a state in which "brotherhood" was enforced would be WORSE. This is kind of a moot point, as I think we all agree that if (in theory) a state created laws well-drafted to the point they actually enforced fraternity and actually enforced them it would be an unjust tyranny.

I hope you do understand that in this case your definition of totalitarian actually means a good thing. Why? Because people seek to escape non-totalitarian anarchies and enter (after passing hard trials of integration) these unjust tyrannical democracies. Somalis and other people from warzones and permanently lawless territories actively emigrate into totalitarian states. The reverse process is almost nonexistent, although a one-way ticket to Somali is well within the financial capabilities of even the least-paid First World workers. I think even those on social support could gather enough money in time to somehow escape their nation and enter a lawless anarchist territory elsewhere. Not to mention there are also many "internal enclaves" like the Amish, where essentially you escape the society without losing the benefits of national territory defense, and thus shouldn't worry about war. Yet it does not seem that the Amish face an influx of people wanting to escape tyrannical totalitarian democracies.
Carinthium wrote:
2- Another philosophical assumption- that improving people's well-being is a good thing.

This is not a philosophical assumption, but rather a practical scientific observation as well. Worsening people's well-being is counterbeneficial to the survival and spread of the species. At some point it might lead to an extinction of an ethnicity or even an entire species. The assumption is that systems which actively hinder the survival and improvement of your own species are harmful for the species; that is also a logical conclusion, not an ad-hoc invention.
Carinthium wrote:
3- If these people are attacking the rights of others, then the People do have a right of self-defence. It depends on the Moral Individualist system whether or not prison could be justified.

I am not sure that some people would agree that any rights exist at all. I mean, you assume that rights exist. For example, just now you assumed that a "right" to self-defence exists for a member of homo sapiens which is being attacked or tortured (perhaps even without injuring the body in the process - see clean torture). Why? I mean really... why?
Carinthium wrote:
You are assuming here that because (I may not get this precisely right, but) people find a certain system of morality instinctually normative (not true- most primitive tribes would refuse to be utilitarian, and most people have emotional objections to utilitiarianism) that people are morally obligated OBJECTIVELY to be utiltarian. This does not follow. I don't see how the fact that humans and animals feel pain and pleasure can possibly be relevant.

That's pretty stupid - primitive tribes still follow core utilitarian principles. They seek survival, not their own destruction. They seek to minimize their suffering, not maximize it to the point where they are threatened with extinction. Humans are animals. As for "emotional objections", I'm not sure I'm going to give that any weight compared to the well-established scientific observation on the behaviour of species. People are not obliged to follow utilitarian principles, of course (psychos do not have any obligations either) - but I guess they shouldn't complain if they try to do things that seem to increase suffering of other members of the species and then get offed or locked away in a prison or asylum.
Carinthium wrote:
5- What is normal for a human being is a scientific concept- but just because something is normal does not mean it is good.

Considering that the species has survived by staying close to the norm in mass behaviour (and on the other hand parts of the species have de-facto driven themselves to extinction by not following said norm, e.g. Easter Island), it follows that normality is beneficial and practical for survival of the species. Anormal actions lead to death of individual and might lead to death of the species. So even norm par se has clear beneficial effects, which are also derived from scientific observation.
Carinthium wrote:
Here, it seems we are in agreement- for a Social Contract system to work, there must be another option. Therefore, it only works in the real world at most FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO COULD CHOOSE TO LIVE IN A PART OF THE WORLD IN ANARCHY.

I already said above that there always is another option de-facto in the world we have now. Especially for First Worlders. People can leave for an anarchy easily or leave society for a self-governed enclave (see Amish) if they wish to retain First World security (that's a bit cheating, but let's give the people a chance to opt out this way as well). Fact is, almost none do.
Carinthium wrote:
I should also add that it must be obvious to all that it is a Social Contract system or else you are asking people to be bound by a contract they can't have known about.

I would say that the current Constitutions are sub-optimal, they should be formed more like a contract indeed if one wishes to follow that theory. However, I see no need to explain this in great detail since the choices to opt out are obvious.
Carinthium wrote:
An actual Moral Individualist (though I wouldn't agree with him) would attempt to justify human rights on the basis that they are things that people instinctually want- again not a good argument.

Uh.... :| Is there any scientific observation that people actually want some abstract "human rights" as opposed to a real and observable reduction of suffering which a certain right brings them? I mean... really? Observability and testability matters as well. I can test my theory with observation. What about your imaginary "individualist"?
Carinthium wrote:
However, my posistion is that Moral Individualism and Moral Communalism are about equally credible. I am demolishing Moral Communalist arguments in this thread to justify my claim. I agree that Human Rights are constructions, although I personally would prefer to live in a Moral Individualist society which actually took those claims to their logical conclusions.

So you agree that human rights don't really exist, cannot be observed, and in fact it is not even clear that humans desire them (as opposed to clear observations that humans don't want to suffer physiologically?)... I'm sorry C, but it seems you've just lost the entire argument.
Carinthium wrote:
However, I don't see why the unions can't counter-bribe the government to prevent themselves being stomped on.

Neither do I, but like I said, this has not happened before and I choose to rely on observation and evidence to make predictions, as opposed to just saying "It will work somehow".



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-22 07:39am
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All the people who have viewed this thread on my end have told me to stop arguing with Stas Bush because he's an idiot. None the less...

Quote:
They do not ignore practicality, actually, and Edi's claim is quite true. Even though we might find racism or tribalism abhorrent, we rarely consider them to be a unique evil for proto-states and early nations. Practicality means feasibility as well. Saying that people should not injure or kill each other is perfectly valid as a practical demand for a peaceful society. It is a completely impractical demand for, say, a post-catastrophe environment where people have to kill each other to survive. Practicality matters. Morality must not be counterbeneficial to the development and survival of the species at the very least.


I would dispute the claim that everybody finds tribalism abhorent. In a more detailed rebuttal, I will point out that every conception of practicality (and there are different ones in different cultures) has implicit within it philosophical claims of what is morally good. More importantly, they usually can't justify said claims. For example, in your case that the survival of the species is a good thing.

You might claim that such a principle is so basic no moral system can dispute it. My counter is the classical moral subjectivist argument- plenty of people, such as C.S Lewis, would have considered the extermination of the species justified in the protection of what they see as higher moral goods (C.S Lewis explicitly said this).

Quote:
The observation that people are sentient is an objective fact. I should have avoided the qualifier "all" though, since some are in a vegetative state, but I guess the observation that normally people are intelligent sentient creatures should suffice. There is no need to justify this 'claim' - this is just an observation. As for evaluation of suffering on an equal basis, I would say that this is the logical consequence of a scientific observation as well, unless you have some scientific observations that show for example Asian people being more immune to suffering or feeling suffering in a different way than say Europeans. I am not sure there are any (outside of racist pseudoscience), but feel free to correct me. I see no reason for an objective observer to give more weight to the suffering of one being with identical sentient capabilities to that of another such being.


The implicit claim is that one follows from the other. Your logic is flawed (as some people can suffer more or less than others), but even if hypothetically it were true, IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT ONE SHOULD CARE. In addition, you come across other problems- if you are to treat humans as higher than animals based on their intelligence, then shouldn't more intelligent humans be treated as more important (even if to a very minute degree) than less intelligent humans?

Say you are talking to a nationalist, who says "I care about my own people more than any others" but does not dispute your facts. How can you claim to him that his posistion is in any way inconsistent without appealing to a base principle he can disagree with?

There may be no reason for an objective observer to give more weight to the suffering of one being than another- but there is also no reason for an objective observer to give equal weight. There is no reason for an objective observer to give any weight to any suffering.

Basically, the whole thing comes down to first principles- which is why I maintain as I did from the start that Moral Individualism deserves a fair hearing.

Quote:
I think I have justified this sufficiently. It is a scientific observation as well - animals with higher nervous activity seek to avoid suffering. It is not "good" par se, but it is (1) coinciding with the normal vector of desires for most members of the species (2) is not actively hindering the development and survival of the species, but actually helping the survival and spread of the species.


No you haven't- why on earth should a type of action being normal and not hindering of the development and survival of the species be a good thing? Rape instincts are natural and don't hinder the development and survival of the species (at least in the case of women who wouldn't have children otherwise), which I suspect is a problem for you.

Quote:
You have made an assumption that rights exist and humans have these rights and you haven't justified any part of it. Unlike my explanations above, there is no scientific confirmation that rights exist. There is no scientific confirmation that rights are unique and belong to humans, or even to each and every human as an inalienable property of the creature.


As I said, I am arguing that Moral Individualism and Moral Communalism should be put an equal basis here.

Quote:
I hope you do understand that in this case your definition of totalitarian actually means a good thing. Why? Because people seek to escape non-totalitarian anarchies and enter (after passing hard trials of integration) these unjust tyrannical democracies. Somalis and other people from warzones and permanently lawless territories actively emigrate into totalitarian states. The reverse process is almost nonexistent, although a one-way ticket to Somali is well within the financial capabilities of even the least-paid First World workers. I think even those on social support could gather enough money in time to somehow escape their nation and enter a lawless anarchist territory elsewhere. Not to mention there are also many "internal enclaves" like the Amish, where essentially you escape the society without losing the benefits of national territory defense, and thus shouldn't worry about war. Yet it does not seem that the Amish face an influx of people wanting to escape tyrannical totalitarian democracies.


I take it you agree with my claim about if brotherhood was enforced, then?

Maybe most people see totalitarianism as a good thing, but that does not make it an objective good. Anyway, as I said I was justifying my original use of the word 'totalitarian' by reference to the dictionary.

In addition:
1- There are de facto governments throughout Somalia, even if not internationally recognised ones.
2- There are de facto laws (and I think de jure laws as well) enforced on the Amish. I am given to understand they are actually harsher than the rest of the U.S.

Quote:
This is not a philosophical assumption, but rather a practical scientific observation as well. Worsening people's well-being is counterbeneficial to the survival and spread of the species. At some point it might lead to an extinction of an ethnicity or even an entire species. The assumption is that systems which actively hinder the survival and improvement of your own species are harmful for the species; that is also a logical conclusion, not an ad-hoc invention.


You're being about as scientific as Karl Marx- how can you justify the claim that the survival and spread of the species is an objective good?

Quote:
I am not sure that some people would agree that any rights exist at all. I mean, you assume that rights exist. For example, just now you assumed that a "right" to self-defence exists for a member of homo sapiens which is being attacked or tortured (perhaps even without injuring the body in the process - see clean torture). Why? I mean really... why?


Slipped into the wrong grammar here, as I was trying to speak for a Moral Individualist posistion I do not in fact hold. Moral Individualists would probably argue that human behaviour implicitly acts to defend said rights, or (as in a case I learned of recently) that said rights are granted by God.

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That's pretty stupid - primitive tribes still follow core utilitarian principles. They seek survival, not their own destruction. They seek to minimize their suffering, not maximize it to the point where they are threatened with extinction. Humans are animals. As for "emotional objections", I'm not sure I'm going to give that any weight compared to the well-established scientific observation on the behaviour of species. People are not obliged to follow utilitarian principles, of course (psychos do not have any obligations either) - but I guess they shouldn't complain if they try to do things that seem to increase suffering of other members of the species and then get offed or locked away in a prison or asylum.


Primitive tribes do not in fact follow utiltarian principles on many matters. Examples include religion in general, honour codes (honour-killings being a prime example), and others. Plenty of idealists throughout history have also done things which do not make sense from a utilitarian perspective- I don't think I need to provide examples.

Your language is that of moral superiority- something you haven't justified. Finally, you keep ASSUMING that just because science observes humans behaving in a certain way that it is a morally good thing somehow to behave that way. You have not justified this moral claim.

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Considering that the species has survived by staying close to the norm in mass behaviour (and on the other hand parts of the species have de-facto driven themselves to extinction by not following said norm, e.g. Easter Island), it follows that normality is beneficial and practical for survival of the species. Anormal actions lead to death of individual and might lead to death of the species. So even norm par se has clear beneficial effects, which are also derived from scientific observation.


Already addressed this.

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I already said above that there always is another option de-facto in the world we have now. Especially for First Worlders. People can leave for an anarchy easily or leave society for a self-governed enclave (see Amish) if they wish to retain First World security (that's a bit cheating, but let's give the people a chance to opt out this way as well). Fact is, almost none do.


The Amish ARE A SOCIETY, WITH LAWS. If you murder somebody on Amish ground, the government will punish you. If you commit fraud on Amish ground on a large enough scale, you will be punished.

In addition, Somalia has de facto governments in place.

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I would say that the current Constitutions are sub-optimal, they should be formed more like a contract indeed if one wishes to follow that theory. However, I see no need to explain this in great detail since the choices to opt out are obvious.


I only learned of the idea when it was first pointed out to me- it's clearly not that obvious.

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Uh.... Is there any scientific observation that people actually want some abstract "human rights" as opposed to a real and observable reduction of suffering which a certain right brings them? I mean... really? Observability and testability matters as well. I can test my theory with observation. What about your imaginary "individualist"?


The argument that because people want something it is good has been seen as a fallacy since Ancient Greece (ergo you are stupid for believing it, or your education has been lacking). I do not think the hypothetical individualist would be able to justify his positions, but really you can't either.

This is NOT a factual debate about what people really want, but a MORAL debate about what is OBJECTIVELY right.

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So you agree that human rights don't really exist, cannot be observed, and in fact it is not even clear that humans desire them (as opposed to clear observations that humans don't want to suffer physiologically?)... I'm sorry C, but it seems you've just lost the entire argument.


That's what I've been arguing from the start, moron! I was discussing another perspective merely to bring it to people's attention!

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Neither do I, but like I said, this has not happened before and I choose to rely on observation and evidence to make predictions, as opposed to just saying "It will work somehow".


There is probably some reason why it didn't work- if it can be identified, then Unions can be fixed.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-22 08:54am
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Carinthium, you are an idiot.

There is no such thing as a moral debate about what is objectively right. Morality in itself is a subjective issue, with various justifications for various ethics systems leaning on various observed, verified facts of reality (and not always even that).

Because of this, there is no such thing as a universally objective right thing unless you confine yourself to discussing a specific system of morality and what is objectively right within the context and premises (accepted by all participants in the discussion) of that system

However, in this debate such is not the case.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-22 09:14am
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I assumed it was implicit we were discussing objective morality (or "ethical obligations" or something else that effectively amounts to the same thing) because everybody else was making objective moral claims.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-22 02:58pm
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Carinthium wrote:
My apologies- I thought it was so obvious everyone could see it. To counteract this, I figure I may as well go into detail on this point.

1- The argument "It is impractical to for the state to be X, therefore it cannot be ideal for the state to be X." is not a valid argument form in and of itself. Nor is the argument form "There are consequences we don't like from the state being X- therefore it cannot be morally obligatory for the state to be X." I don't see what other sort of argument from practicality you can have, and I've already these types as the underlying assumptions need to be proven.
Why are these arguments not valid?

The ideal state should work; if it doesn't work, then what's the point? By what standard of 'ideal' is a broken system more ideal than one that works? Is a broken car more ideal than a running one? Is a dead tree more ideal than a living one? Is a dull knife more ideal than a sharp one?


Carinthium wrote:
Responding to Edi:
I wasn't talking about how society is in practice- I was talking about the philosophical basis behind society's rules. Depending on what Human Rights a Moral Individualist claims exist, and what obligations to society a Moral Communalist claims exist, it is at least theoretically possible to have a highly centralised left-wing socialist Moral Individualist state or an extreme libertarian Moral Communalist state. Let me make this very clear- Moral Individualism is not libertarianism. The Moral Individualism I have been semi-advocating would include a right to property, but that is not necessarily the only type.

A government may be necessary, but that govenment does NOT need to pass laws to do anything more than protect the citizens from each other and outside threats physically, ensure checks and balances on itself to avoid oppresion, and collect enough taxes to function- nothing else can be justifiably considered essential.
How is that not libertarianism?

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Responding to Simon_Jester:
I'm talking about a PHILOSOPHICAL justification for social contract theory, not a "practical" justification. Even if it is true that there are certain consequences to not acting like a social contract exist, that does NOT logically imply that a social contract exists.
A social contract exists by default if people follow it. People do follow it, because it's common bloody sense. A few people resent the contract, but so what? You can probably find someone who resents the law of gravity if you look hard enough; that doesn't mean it's not there.

You're making a deep mistake by thinking a "social contract" is a paper document which we opt into or opt out of. It's not; it's an emergent property of what we call 'culture' or 'civilization.' To live as anything but a fearful outlaw you must abide by such a contract. You can agitate to have it modified, but you can't wish it away unless you want to destroy the metaphorical ground upon which you stand.

And as far as I'm concerned that's a perfectly good philosophical justification. I don't understand where you get the idea that philosophy is supposed to work independent of practical concerns.

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Two extra arguments against social contract theory:
1- It is a historical fact that an overwhelming majority of people in history would never have heard of the idea nor concieved of it- said majority would be led to believe (almost always true) that they had no choice. If you give a person an explicit contract and tell them they have no choice but to sign, such a contract is invalid even legally.
Bullshit.

The overwhelming majority of people in history lived in societies, with interlocking webs of duty, authority, responsibility and power. They had a social contract, in one form or another, and knew it. They knew that people were supposed to do certain things to look out for the common good, that they were in turn expected to not commit crimes or turn against each other. And the overwhelming majority of people, aside from criminals and the occasional whiny intellectual, have consented to this. They may want to change the details, but do you have any idea how rare it really is that someone says "I oppose the idea that society cares for the weak today, so that we may be cared for when we are weak tomorrow!"

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2- Say I am a poor individual who, for reasons probably inconcievable to you, wants to 'opt out' of society. To use the hypothetical where my argument is at its strongest, I have recently turned 18 and am a street bum without the money to go to anywhere lawless. In this hypothetical, I clearly have had no choice about whether to be part of society or not. No matter how close the state comes to a hypothetical utopia fitting your views perfectly, as long as I don't have the resources to leave for a place of anarchy I am a clear exception to the social contract theory with no justification possible for it.
Hippie communes exist. I don't mind leaving them alone. I can accept the idea that society has dropouts. What I cannot accept is this ambition to wreck society itself by tearing up the framework that holds it together.

People, by and large, need each other. They need each other for practical things, and also to fulfill each other's higher needs and desires. Without mechanisms to bond people together and create some kind of mutual trust, nearly all people will spend nearly all their time being miserable and unfulfilled.

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Your claim that people need society ignores the existence of extraordinary people, ignores the fact that you are violating individual freedom (people don't have a choice about entering society), and ignores the fact that that sort of world children would be raised by their parents to the point where they could reasonably cope.
Extraordinary people who want to 'drop out' should be able to make it stick, if they're that extraordinary. Most aren't; delusions of genius are more common than real genius.

And am I talking about violating individual freedom? I don't think so. How free can I be, if I'm at the mercy of wandering 'dissenters' who want to ignore the rules of my society, while still being in a good position to exploit my own willingness to follow those rules? How free would we really be, if we all left each other alone to the whims of fate?

Most people I know, myself included, would be miserable or dead. Probably dead young.

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Just because there is no compulsory society does not mean there isn't the option to create voluntary social ties- friends and family could have an implicit social understanding (not enforced legally, obviously) that they help each other out when in trouble. Some could opt, others could opt out.
How is that not a social contract?

The social contract exists even among tribes held together by extended family bonds, Carinthium. It's there whenever you have the idea of "follow our rules in exchange for our protection and aid and support and care."

In societies dominated by tribal relations, you don't get to opt out, except by being an outlaw. Who is hunted and hated by all because they are the enemy of all. The man who won't follow rules against stealing or cheating cannot be trusted and left alone; it simply doesn't work.

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I should also point out that Even an extreme libertarian (assuming they believe in a right to life) would not object to the government protecting people from each other physically. An extreme libertarian would object to taxes and other forms of compulsion to make the government work, but not that aspect.
You can ruin someone's life without laying a finger on them. Refusal to admit this is one of the simplest ways to take libertarianism and drive it off a cliff.

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