It is currently Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:11 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 127 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:46 pm 
Offline
I miss Prim ...
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:13 pm
Posts: 14201
Location: Florida
( :wave: hal)

eta - I'm gonna quote hal so his post doesn't get lost at the bottom of the last page.

halplm wrote:
(Hello everyone :) I hope I don’t regret posting this… )

I couldn’t not comment on this thread, as it actually asks the question a class I help teach attempts to answer, and I am in the middle of 10 weeks were this thought is driving me all the time.

Lets start at the beginning, what is Government? Well, the government exists to enforce the law with coercive force (with respect to its own citizens… for the moment lets ignore the concept of dealing with other governments). This is, of course, if you require a government at all, but that’s another thought really.

With that in mind, what is the law? To me, the law is what ethical considerations individuals (and thus the collective society) are willing to coercively force on everyone else and themselves.

Aside: To me, this is currently easily observable in the divide in US Politics inside the political classes. Both Republicans and Democrats are perfectly fine with increasing the power and reach of the government, because that’s how they maintain or increase their own influence. Furthermore, as long as “their guys” are pushing an agenda that imposed ethical ideas they agree with, everything is fine. However, when the “other guys” push an agenda they don’t think is ethical, it’s the end of the world. This is why spending is continually out of control, because very few in government on either side actually think that government spending is unethical.

Anyway, in the class we are trying to optimize personal freedom, which I guess would be my answer to the question this thread asks. The most basic maxim that such a society could possibly function on is that “Everyone has the right to be left alone.” This is a bit difficult to deal with outside of the abstract, so we actually go with “Peaceful, honest people have the right to be left alone.” This is imposing the ethical concepts of being peaceful (non-violent, or physically threatening violence), and honesty (in the sense of fraud in a transaction, or theft, not in telling lies) on everyone, but that makes a society much more functional.

Since this maxim uses the term “right” I thought I’d give my thoughts on that here. I would argue that a “right” is something that is inherent in human nature, and collectively we as a society can recognize that it is somehow “wrong” to take that away from someone.

There are two kinds of rights in general: “Negative rights” would be rights that require nothing from anyone else. The right to be left alone is one such right. You can sit in the middle of the desert and get nothing from anyone until you are sick of it or die, and no one can force you to leave or eat or drink water or anything… that’s your right. Might not be what you want, but still your right. “Positive rights” on the other hand, are for things that must be provided or given to you. The “right to an education” for example, would be a positive right. It might be nice, but there has to be someone to educate you before you can get it, and how do you force them to give it to you?

Interestingly, most “rights” we think about in the US are “negative rights” at least as far as the constitution is concerned. Free speech, free religion, bear arms, not incriminate ourselves… these are all “negative.”

Anyway, back to my ideal society. We have the right to be left alone. There are lots of implications of this (enough to spend 10 weeks on at least), but with regards to the topics mentioned in this thread, I thought I would highlight a few.

-No government… and thus no taxes. There’s an interesting book by John Stuart Mill called On Liberty (it’s available for free online). In the fifth and final section he talks about applying his theory of liberty in actuality. Everything gets along well enough until he assumes the existence of a state, and government. Well, if the government must be there (because how could it not be?) then it must have money to function, and if it must have money to function then it must have the power to tax (this isn’t necessarily a logical step, but he still makes it). If this government has money, it must have something to do, so we have to come up with what we think is the “right thing” to do… education, regulation, etc. Every single thing he defines is eliminating some freedom, but for no other purpose than because the government exists and should do stuff…

-No mandatory education (or anything else for that matter). This leads to the question of how do we get anyone who wants something what they want when we think it is a good idea. Obviously everyone getting as much education as they want to do what they want is a good idea… society will benefit usually. I could talk about how I think this could work for a very long time but this post is already too long… simply put, if we treated learning like we did athletics… we’d all be a lot more interested in it. (Professional athletes are the cream of the cream of the crop to make that kind of money… wouldn’t it be cool if say the cream of the cream of the crop of mathematicians could get that too? Currently the market does do this to some extent, but people aren’t trading contracts of mathematicians out of high school and giving them specific training and encouragement in any manner that compares to say… baseball)

-No mandatory charity (although I already said taxes). This is the part that is hardest for people to grasp in the class. I don’t expect Nin to think it is possible to function as a society this way, but I disagree. Prim said earlier in the thread that the problem with charity is that it doesn’t work, it’s not enough, and it never has been. My question of that would be, what is the goal of charity? I would argue that it cannot be to eliminate poverty. Charity is not only about giving money to people who have little, it is about helping people who need help. That help can be in any number of forms. If Charity could eliminate poverty, and we already have forced charity though government programs, we should have long ago eliminated poverty.

Ok, I think I’m coming to a conclusion. I don’t mean this to be a direct argument to Nin’s point of view, but it is that philosophy that struck me as so baffling. It is not surprising, though as it is based on Kant, who I have mostly looked at through an ethical lens, but wouldn’t expect to ever agree with him. In other words the ends do not justify the means. I have never understood why people think it is ok to just take from other people who have something they want, or they think they need (or they think someone else needs). That’s all taxes are, accepted stealing.

I do not believe we can eliminate all poverty, sickness, and war, but I believe this for religious reasons, and it doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying. But the answer is not to forcibly take property from some and have a small group (representative or not) decide how best to use it. Let the people who earned it decide what to do with it. People these days seem to forget that most of the famous rich people in history spent the first half of their lives getting rich, and the second half of their lives trying to give it all away (Rockefeller, Carnegie, Gates, etc..). Is the government who gets money “freely” (by stealing it) a better judge of who to spend it that the people who worked to earn it? They are certainly not going to be as careful with it. But that’s not even where the people who can actually do most of the good charity are coming from. You don’t have to be rich to share a meal with your neighbor, or invite them over to watch the game on your big screen. The couple across the hall that is out of work would probably much more appreciate a home cooked meal than an EBT card to go to Burger King. Most taxes are paid by the middle class… imagine how much more they could help the people around them if they literally had twice as much money…

Where did this concept that only the government could spend our money most appropriately come from?

_________________
I wanna love somebody but I don't know how
I wanna throw my body in the river and drown
-The Decemberists


Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:02 pm 
Offline
1000%
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:41 am
Posts: 35249
Hi hal! Very interesting and worthwhile thoughts.

Sent from my VS985 4G using Tapatalk

_________________
In gratitude forever … .


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:44 pm 
Offline
Meanwhile...
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:31 pm
Posts: 15354
Location: Out on the banks
Hal, how have you been? What's the class that you are teaching?

Don't have time to read properly, let alone reply, just wanted to say hi. Laters, folks. :)

_________________
Image

“I am not so blind that I can't see darkness.”
Dangerous Beans
Terry Pratchett, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:53 am 
Offline
Just Keep Singin'
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:35 am
Posts: 4660
Location: Boston, MA
Hal! Really great to "see" you and have you weigh in here.

I read your post twice, but can't properly respond right now. However, I think that it is obvious so far in this thread that people's ideas of what would make a "better world" differ widely.

(Also, is inordinately pleased that MY thread brought Hal out of hibernation!)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

_________________
"Live! Live! Live! Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" - Auntie Mame

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 4:19 am 
Offline
I miss Prim ...
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:13 pm
Posts: 14201
Location: Florida
JewelSong wrote:
However, I think that it is obvious so far in this thread that people's ideas of what would make a "better world" differ widely.


The means, yes, but I still say the desired ends are just about the same. If you were to state some of your desired "end goals", I bet hal would agree with you most any of them that they would be desirable; he would just not agree with you on what would be the best way to get there.

_________________
I wanna love somebody but I don't know how
I wanna throw my body in the river and drown
-The Decemberists


Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 4:53 am 
Offline
Throw me a rope.
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:13 pm
Posts: 6207
Location: Deep in Oz
I have an ambivalent attitude to charity also (though I work for a charitable organisation. Heh!), because I think charity takes place in a situation where real justice, social justice, is absent. It's a stop-gap, in other words, which mitigates but doesn't solve the core problem of inequality.

There was also a philosopher in the '30s whose name I cannot remember at the moment who argued that charity is an expression of personal pity combined with a demonstration of personal power; in other words, it depends on the powerful (economically powerful/socially powerful/politically powerful) having an opportunity to demonstrate their largesse, and perpetuates the system of inequality.

Giving charity, or philanthropy, can distract from or camouflage the structural problems in society that perpetuate problems such as poverty; in fact, philanthropy could be seen as necessary to perpetuating these structural problems because it subdues discontent (prevents the revolution ;) ).

It also requests gratitude from the recipient (in general; this is the 'feel-good' pay off for the giver), and is what was traditionally considered the difference between the 'deserving' - those who were adequately grateful and showed humility - and the undeserving, who did not humble themselves by bending to the social mores and continued to make noise about social injustice. That kind of social humility is another way of maintaining the social inequities - keeps the power with the powerful.

As Nin said, charity is a personal act, when what is needed is social justice that recognises the innate right of each person to live with dignity.

EDIT: I feel the need to add that when I speak about demonstrations of power, I'm speaking about the bigger picture - societies that rely on philanthropy as a social band aid; and big givers who have hospital wings and orphanages named after themselves (and then claim back charitable tax deductions); I don't mean the actual individuals who anonymously give to their local food drive or staff the soup kitchen - though the PtB still rely on this goodwill to keep the power balance as it is.

_________________
Mornings wouldn't suck so badly if they came later in the day.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:31 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 8:37 am
Posts: 5088
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
There's too much for me to comment on here, but I agree with yov.

I also happen to be a big supporter of charity and volunteering, in a large part because they are often a more efficient way of helping people than government programs. Someone who starts a soup kitchen can feed far more homeless people for the same money than a government agency, where the funds need to be centrally-directed and managed by paid staff. Likewise my volunteering at the Mental Health Legal Centre for two hours a fortnight does far more good than taking two hours' worth of my salary in tax and giving it to an agency doing the same function.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:44 am 
Offline
Ni Dieu, ni maître
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 6:19 pm
Posts: 1824
Location: Home
First, I fully agree with Impy (no surprise there).

Then I have little time, but of course, I have several huge disagreements with the statements from hal, mostly because I do think that the basic assumptions are wrong.

Society is not an option. It is a necessity. The human being is a social creature, he cannot live alone. So, in my opinion, the most basic maxim of a society is not "Everybody has the right to be left alone". But "we need each other." And we all need each other. Thus, we all have a place and rights within that society. And it must be organized in a way to give every person the possibility to take a meaningful place.

And: the amount of money someone can make in his life, is just to too hugely different to be justified by any term of "earning". No amount of work or responsibility can justify differences which thousand and million times.

Also, I do think that this is wrong for most of the wealthy:
Quote:
People these days seem to forget that most of the famous rich people in history spent the first half of their lives getting rich, and the second half of their lives trying to give it all away (Rockefeller, Carnegie, Gates, etc..).


These are by far not most of the famous rich people, but a very select few, living in a society which encourages charity - the American society. Historically, most of the richness comes from belonging to the right group in the right moment. And not from any work. On the contrary. (Also, on a side note, work has not always been considered a positive value. For the ancient Greek, work is what alienates you from being human, in order to be fully human you have to be free from the contraint of work. If you have to work you are slave.) I am quite sure that the Rockefeller family kept more than necessary for a bare living of its wealth and did not give "all" away. Same for M. Gates. And of course his children. And let's not talk about the Saudi Arab sheiks who have their oil wealth and how much they spend in charity.

I have to head off to school.

_________________
"nolite te bastardes carborundorum".


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:40 am 
Offline
hooked

Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:15 am
Posts: 4864
First of all, I want to say that Nin, I entirely respect your point of view. As I mentioned before, I have religious believes that make me think a utopia is impossible. Similarly, I think that many people have inherently selfish ethical codes, and greed will trump altruism far more often than not.

The thing is, I don't think government (or whatever entity) coercion is particularly useful as a solution.

Also, the maxim you propose, that "we all need each other" is not necessarily contrary to mine. In a society where everyone has the right to be left alone, there is nothing preventing a group of people (as large as they wish) from banding together and saying, "We want to ensure that all of our group will be cared for in all respects no matter what." And they can set the rules they wish to set regarding their members and any situations that might arise.

The difference between that situation and the current accepted government structure... is that currently people are forced to be part of that group, rather than joining voluntarily (and there is little to no accountability for total failure). There are a large number of people who would rather choose to live alone than be part of that group. While I agree with you that we are social creatures... we do not all flourish in purely social structures.

As for the earning potential of individuals... I agree that our societies do not appropriately fund the most important industries and celebrities... but... I don't completely agree that this is a "problem" that needs to be solved. If person A has a skill that is valued at a million dollars, and person B has a skill that is only valued at a thousand dollars... what are we supposed to do? If someone spends half their life learning how to do brain surgery to save peoples lives, are we supposed to say that has the same value as someone who fills in potholes in the streets from the moment they can shovel gravel?

I'm not saying the filling of the potholes is not a valuable job. It's highly valuable, and in its own way can save lives as well! However, for every one person that can be a brain surgeon there are a thousand people that can fill potholes (completely made up statistic).

The idea seems to be that everyone could be the brain surgeon, if only they had the chance... If that is what you believe, then I have no argument against it. I just think that is not reality.

A few other responses:

Dave_LF: I don't see any disagreement with your position, I just think it would be better if the "system/government" was redundant because society/charity made it redundant. Given the historical record, I think the second is more likely.

Maria: I agree that StNG is a much better society :D

Frelga: The class goes by a couple of names... Officially it is called "Voluntary social systems." I don't really know what that means, but apparently the administration likes it better. We (being the professor and myself) usually refer to it as "Building a free society." In any respect, it is a thought experiment of how to maximize personal freedoms, and trying to visualize how such a society could work.

JS, look forward to your thoughts.

Yov, I think you're right. All of us here have a fairly standard set of ideals for what we wish the world could be like. I too, am glad I am not as fanatical in my desire all agree with me religiously (or politically or any other way). In fact, I have a lot of differing thoughts than I have said before on such subjects, but don't quite know how to articulate them. I have a feeling you would enjoy the class I'm involved with, but wouldn't have much to say other than "yeah, duh."

Impy/Nin: The concept of social injustice is a real problem. I'm not sure what this is, or how it can be contemplated to be solved. "Inequality" is also very vague in its definition. In the "right to be left alone" society, everyone is entirely equal in any possible legal way. However, this does not mean everyone has the same level of wealth. Opportunity is highly dependent on random events, and cannot be regulated in any way.

Nin: I recognize that many rich people do not prioritize charity. However, my examples are the biggest, not because only the biggest could afford it, but because they are known for their wealth, and it's far too easy to forget they are also known for their philanthropy. The point is that just because someone is good at making money, doesn't mean they aren't good at giving it away as well. I don't know much about the oil magnates in the middle east, but I'm not sure I could provide an unbiased opinion of them for a variety of reasons.

At a fundamental level, I believe in freedom. I think this is the only "right" that is necessarily fought for. Obviously, I wish everyone agreed with me on everything, but I would by far wish everyone had the freedom to disagree with me rather than forcing anyone to agree with me. The thought of forcing people to agree is repulsive to me...

_________________
For the TROUBLED may you find PEACE
For the DESPAIRING may you find HOPE
For the LONELY may you find LOVE
For the SKEPTICAL may you find FAITH
-Frances C. Arrillaga 1941-1995


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:47 am 
Offline
Throw me a rope.
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:13 pm
Posts: 6207
Location: Deep in Oz
Nothing substantive to add, but I want to clarify that I hadn't seen Hal's post when I posted, nor any of the posts on this page, in fact. I was probably typing as he posted.

(and it just happened again! Hi Hal)

_________________
Mornings wouldn't suck so badly if they came later in the day.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:54 am 
Offline
hooked

Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:15 am
Posts: 4864
:wooper:

_________________
For the TROUBLED may you find PEACE
For the DESPAIRING may you find HOPE
For the LONELY may you find LOVE
For the SKEPTICAL may you find FAITH
-Frances C. Arrillaga 1941-1995


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:01 am 
Offline
Throw me a rope.
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:13 pm
Posts: 6207
Location: Deep in Oz
halplm wrote:
... Similarly, I think that many people have inherently selfish ethical codes, and greed will trump altruism far more often than not.


This. Human beings are coded to look after our own first; then to our monkey sphere; and only then will we glimpse beyond it.

So, I'd say the kind of world I'd like to live in is one in which we will all have evolved beyond homo sapiens, to a more empathetic step in our evolution. The way to get there, I guess, is for humanity to survive long enough.

Not realistic, I know, but I'm not sure we can ever get past our coding to create the kind of world I'd like to live in. Maria's suggestion works for me.

_________________
Mornings wouldn't suck so badly if they came later in the day.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:39 pm 
Offline
I miss Prim ...
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:13 pm
Posts: 14201
Location: Florida
Impenitent wrote:
There was also a philosopher in the '30s whose name I cannot remember at the moment who argued that charity is an expression of personal pity combined with a demonstration of personal power; in other words, it depends on the powerful (economically powerful/socially powerful/politically powerful) having an opportunity to demonstrate their largesse, and perpetuates the system of inequality.

...

It also requests gratitude from the recipient (in general; this is the 'feel-good' pay off for the giver), and is what was traditionally considered the difference between the 'deserving' - those who were adequately grateful and showed humility - and the undeserving, who did not humble themselves by bending to the social mores and continued to make noise about social injustice. That kind of social humility is another way of maintaining the social inequities - keeps the power with the powerful.


Of course, there are many who argue the exact same thing in regards to gov't welfare, except with the extra insidious aspect that politicians can use the promise of welfare to literally buy votes.

Túrin Turambar wrote:
I also happen to be a big supporter of charity and volunteering, in a large part because they are often a more efficient way of helping people than government programs. Someone who starts a soup kitchen can feed far more homeless people for the same money than a government agency, where the funds need to be centrally-directed and managed by paid staff. Likewise my volunteering at the Mental Health Legal Centre for two hours a fortnight does far more good than taking two hours' worth of my salary in tax and giving it to an agency doing the same function.


This is an extremely interesting point.

Nin wrote:
So, in my opinion, the most basic maxim of a society is not "Everybody has the right to be left alone". But "we need each other."


As hal points out, these two are not contrary to each other.

halplm wrote:
I have a feeling you would enjoy the class I'm involved with, but wouldn't have much to say other than "yeah, duh."


I would love to participate in that kind of thing. As I basically said in my recent "libertarian" thread, I agree with the philosophy behind libertarianism but have not yet seen any proposals that sound remotely practicable. Because of that, in the real world, I tend to support the pragmatic solutions of our gov't until some genius convinces me there is a way to run a society that is both practical and ethical.

_________________
I wanna love somebody but I don't know how
I wanna throw my body in the river and drown
-The Decemberists


Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:38 pm 
Offline
Ni Dieu, ni maître
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 6:19 pm
Posts: 1824
Location: Home
halplm wrote:
The difference between that situation and the current accepted government structure... is that currently people are forced to be part of that group, rather than joining voluntarily (and there is little to no accountability for total failure). There are a large number of people who would rather choose to live alone than be part of that group. While I agree with you that we are social creatures... we do not all flourish in purely social structures.


I don't think that it is so easy: many people like the idea that they are forced to live in the social structures in which they are living and cannot change them. This gives them huge opportunities of complaining and no obligation to work on change towards a type of society which they would have joined freely. It is so much easier to complain rather than to work on change.

Quote:
I'm not saying the filling of the potholes is not a valuable job. It's highly valuable, and in its own way can save lives as well! However, for every one person that can be a brain surgeon there are a thousand people that can fill potholes (completely made up statistic).


But: there are also thousands of people who will use the road (and benefit from the filled pothole) every day - and only very few (I do think less than 1% of those who would use the road, but it depends of course of frequency of frequentation and the place where the road is) would ever need a brain surgeon in their entire life. How many of them would break a leg or a car (or their head) if the pothole was not repaired? How do you judge the value of work? Then also, can you honestly think of a brain surgeon who, by his skills, got so rich that he could - let's say by chance: finance a skyscraper in his name, pay a presidential campaign, vaccinate entire countries or pay a house built for 25 million $ 79 million only two years later? (I think you see where the three first examples come from, the second is an example from my immediate neighborhood, where the daughter of the president of Kazakhstan bought a house).

So, not only do I think that probably far more people could become brain surgeons if they had the chance to learn the skills necessary for it, but that the payment of a brain surgeon is not the problem. Is I have stated before the problem for is e.g. the salary of a fashion designer or a top-model ind comparison to the salary of the women in third world countries who sew the garments designed by the first ones, presented by the second ones. What are the skills that justify differences in scales of million folds? How do you justify inheritance of wealth? Just luck?


Quote:
Impy/Nin: The concept of social injustice is a real problem. I'm not sure what this is, or how it can be contemplated to be solved. "Inequality" is also very vague in its definition. In the "right to be left alone" society, everyone is entirely equal in any possible legal way. However, this does not mean everyone has the same level of wealth. Opportunity is highly dependent on random events, and cannot be regulated in any way.


Legal equality without a minimum of social equality is not a lot more than an illusion. You can see that if you see the difference in sentences for the same crime if it is a rich person who commits it or a poor one - depending on the legal defense they can get. Thus, I think, that to achieve really that everyone is equal in every legal way - there has to be social equality too. And if you decide that opportunity is just too random to be regulated - you just send away the problem. Opportunity can be regulated. Or, let's say, the access to opportunity can be regulated. If you live as a woman in Afghanistan, you could potentially be the next Einstein or Bill Gates- you'd not have the opportunity to realize your potential. Discarding the mere possibility of any kind of regulation is imho a form of avoiding to think about it and denying responsibility.


Quote:
At a fundamental level, I believe in freedom. I think this is the only "right" that is necessarily fought for. Obviously, I wish everyone agreed with me on everything, but I would by far wish everyone had the freedom to disagree with me rather than forcing anyone to agree with me. The thought of forcing people to agree is repulsive to me...


But: what is freedom? And how do you achieve it? Freedom can be freedom from fear, and in order for people to feel (and to be) safe you can easily justify a police state. Freedom can mean freedom from need and back we are to social programs. Freedom is too vague, I think. You need something more concrete than that. Smaller goals.

Concerning the first post, there is one thing which I would see highly differently:
Quote:
if we treated learning like we did athletics… we’d all be a lot more interested in it.

The problem is that athletics are not a necessary skill. If everybody would stop doing it, well, some entertainment would be lost, but all in all, the world could go on like before. If you decide not to do any athletics (like me), you don't loose anything fundamental. But: at least some basic skills in education are necessary. Like reading, writing and basic arithmetics to function in a 20th century world and to make it function. Thus, I do think, you cannot put them on the same level. And if you wait until persons have the mental age to know what it implies to learn or not those skills and to decide conciously to do so, you loose precious years of great learning abilities. What also about parents who do hinder their children from learning (or from training, if you keep the analogy of athletics), even if they have great talent, just because they don't care or bequest hey rather prefer the immediate benefit of a child working for a salary right now? (Because if education was not mandatory, what would protect from child labour?)

Finally I just voted against a proposal which would have diminished my own taxes (and I have done so regularly over the years, as have done many other persons in Switzerland....). This one was because married people in Switzerland easily pay more taxes than unmarried couples. I refused it because that same law also wanted to fix that marriage is a union between a man and a woman - and while I would like to see the fiscal injustice repaired, not to the price of denying the possibility of gay marriage, which I would like to see become reality one day. It's a choice of conviction over interest. Also, I live in a full functioning society with roads that are repaired after every avalanche, great schools, a working public system etc etc. and I am aware that this costs money and I am absolutely ready to pay taxes! They are not theft.

_________________
"nolite te bastardes carborundorum".


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:50 pm 
Offline
Pleasantly Twisted
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:35 pm
Posts: 8999
Location: Black Creek Bottoms
I want a world with no jerks. There are two ways to do it. The first is to kill everyone. The second is to fix the broken parts of the human brain that turn us into jerks.

I vote for the second.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:03 pm 
Offline
I miss Prim ...
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:13 pm
Posts: 14201
Location: Florida
Quote:
Freedom is too vague, I think.


That's what I've been thinking with your idea of "a right to dignity". I know very precisely what hal means by freedom - generally, it means freedom from the use of force/coercion by other humans and it is based on the philosophical idea that since we are all equal, no one has moral authority to control another person's life. But I genuinely don't know what you mean by "dignity" (or "right", as I've said) and I could take that to mean a thousand things. Many would even argue that there is no dignity in a life where you can be controlled by your gov't, or where you must be dependent on your gov't for your own well-being.

_________________
I wanna love somebody but I don't know how
I wanna throw my body in the river and drown
-The Decemberists


Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:21 pm 
Offline
Ni Dieu, ni maître
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 6:19 pm
Posts: 1824
Location: Home
Yov, I defined it in my first post in this thread:
Quote:
Now, we can dispute what is dignity, but with my Western European protestant background, dignity means to dispose of your life and future as you want it, in short to be the master of your fate.


How can be that if you are not safe from misery? How can you be free, even in your own definition, if you work for someone who thus has control and authority over your life, as he can take your work away from you? Doesn't hat mean that, while property exists, real freedom is impossible?

And you say government as if it was an external part, but in a democracy, you are part of the government. (Now, of course, living in Switzerland where I vote about 10 times every year and on every major change, I feel this very keenly. Government is mainly administration of what the people have voted.)

_________________
"nolite te bastardes carborundorum".


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:42 pm 
Offline
I miss Prim ...
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:13 pm
Posts: 14201
Location: Florida
Nin wrote:
How can you be free, even in your own definition, if you work for someone who thus has control and authority over your life, as he can take your work away from you?


An employer does not have "control and authority over your life", only over their own property (aka. cash) and who they give it to. A very different thing.
(At least under our current traditional views of "property" and "ownership". I do question the legitimacy of those views though, particularly regarding inheritance......)

_________________
I wanna love somebody but I don't know how
I wanna throw my body in the river and drown
-The Decemberists


Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:11 pm 
Offline
Hobbit
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:45 pm
Posts: 5686
Location: Missouri
axordil wrote:
I want a world with no jerks. There are two ways to do it. The first is to kill everyone. The second is to fix the broken parts of the human brain that turn us into jerks.

I vote for the second.


Would we still be human with that kind of tinkering? The ability to be jerks is basically an exercise in free will. Free will is pretty important.....

*************************************
On the other hand, I'd trade all the gadgets in the Star Trek universe for the gene repair ability and uterine replicators in the Vorkosigan Saga books. Inherited defects are giving my older daughter a lot of problems these days. :( The ability to fix that before conception would be really, really nice. They do have gene editing on this planet, now. We are almost there!!! http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/health ... 22850.html

Sudden thought: Do you think governments could mandate preconception genetic therapy for all and in the process eliminate aggressive tendencies in everybody? What kind of culture would that result in? :scratch: The results of the use of "Pax" in the film "Serenity" comes to mind. They all kind of laid down and died. Hmmmm.... I think a certain amount of aggression is critical to survival.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:25 pm 
Offline
I miss Prim ...
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:13 pm
Posts: 14201
Location: Florida
It would genuinely not surprise me if in the distant future, when genetic technology gets advanced enough, some people would start arguing that children have the "right" to be born healthy, and support gov't mandates to require people to get genetic therapy.

_________________
I wanna love somebody but I don't know how
I wanna throw my body in the river and drown
-The Decemberists


Image


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 127 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group