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Universally Preferrable Behavior and Socialism/Goverment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/6/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 369 times Debate No: 105611
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I've recently listened to the entirety of the audiobook "Universally Preferable Behavior" and find it fairly all encompassing. It covers four topics: Murder, Assault, Rape, Theft and how they are immoral because they require the use of force to violate personal property rights.
For these reasons, Socialism and gov't in general is by its very nature immoral.


Let me begin by acknowledging my opponent"s appreciation of moral behavior. I am not a socialist, preferring libertarian answers to collectivist. One aspect of universally acceptable behavior is that it provides a secular basis rather than relying on eternal consequences and a divine mandate. So if our actions and consequences are limited to this short life it is in our mutual interest to value the pragmatic more than dogmatic.

The four universally acceptable behaviors (UABs) could just as easily have been two; don"t assault people or take their things. That they include two additional forms of assault is worth examining. Therein is the clue of the necessity for government and the allowance that it may be conceived and administered morally, furthermore, the absence of a moral government allows for immoral actions to occur and creates the need for an authoritarian and immoral government to come into existence.

Imagine a village of people in the distant past, they have gathered outside their huts after eating the last meal of the day. Suppose one of them, Bob the mighty, returns late after a bad hunting trip, his dinner is cold so he starts slapping his wife and throws her out their hut. Everyone watching tsks tsks tsks at such an immoral display. Then Bob the mighty walks over to Helga and Hank"s hut, Hanks stands to greet Bob only to receive a hard kick in the crotch. Bob the mighty grabs Helga by the hair and forces her to microwave some mammoth liver she was saving as leftovers. The village elders call everyone out of their huts to witness the abhorrent behavior. Then Bob the mighty assaults another person, some child, the villagers gasp and share knowing glances, Bob"s behavior is mighty unacceptable. Bob then proceeds to assault two elderly members, four women, the blind guy, an infant, and then kicks somebody"s dog. At last Bob gets tired and goes to sleep. The villagers are relieved, for the first time in a week, Bob"s behaviors haven"t resulted in any murders. They are happy that only one person in their village engages in immoral behavior, if Bob would only get eaten by a saber-tooth-tiger they would live in a perfect community.

Most people would find the villagers" inaction immoral. The moral right of life forms to self-defense is indisputable. Social animals evolved a proxy self-defense in order to protect the young. This becomes generalized in humans with the expectation to PROTECT The WEAK. The UABs that delineate prohibitive behaviors are based on the existence of affirmative expectations. I already illustrated Protect the Weak, additional expectations include Respect Other"s Safety, Choices and Property. The inalienable rights thing. Through various mechanisms individuals are also affirmatively expected to Conform, Cooperate, and Compromise.

The dogmatic idea that the group using force to protect individuals from an aggressor is immoral is fine for pacifist cults or those hoping to reincarnate a little more enlightened. For those focused what we should do in this life to improve our children"s lives, morality requires action.

Does this extend to taking property, isn"t it theft if somebody forfeits their things without consent? Not necessarily. Let"s go back to the village where Bob the mighty lives. Hank and Helga had the foresight to build a structure for their goats, this was critical because after one particularly harsh winter storm all the animals without shelter on the island froze and dropped dead. On the morning of the Spring equinox Hank and Helga made an announcement, they would continue selling goat milk and cheese at the same price to those who worshipped the South Wind. Those who worshipped the West Wind would have to pay double, and those that worshipped water wouldn"t be allowed to buy it at any price. Although the villagers were able to build some fishing boats, catch a few woolly prairie dogs and eat some fresh fruits, there simply wasn"t enough food to prevent a famine from starting. Once people got hungry the village elders noted an increase in burglary"s which often lead to confrontations and assaults.

One elder suggested that all the goats and goat farm get confiscated and the village would collectively own and operate the farm for the benefit of all. This was nixed because enough of the elders recognized that villagers didn"t know how to run a farm, make cheese or deal with the smell of the goats. Likewise a proposal to confiscate and slaughter all the goats was refuted because the village would be without milk and cheese very soon. The best suggestion ended up being that the village would loan money to Bob the mighty to buy a few goats from Hank and Helga at a fair. Goat products could be sold at any price so long as there was competition and the price was the same for everyone.
There was a secret group of Fire worshipers who didn"t want to send money to the government because they didn"t consume goats in any form. The elders put the plan to the village and said it would be binding because everybody would benefit from the village not descending into civil war.

Governments can do things wrong, and they often do, even the moral ones. The ability to tax and use force can be legitimately used without qualifying as theft or violence. When the government unselfishly acts to promote or defend the affirmative expectations upon which society is founded it is an institution of morality. To be sure, a government can be moral in some actions and immoral in others, because it has so much power people need to monitor their government and speak out or act when warranted. This is how society ensures UPBs, not in seeking some dogmatic purity.
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Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by LoganHartmann 2 years ago
So where you stand is calling government immoral?
Posted by TheMarketLibertarian 2 years ago
"Universally Preferable Behavioir" as in Stefan Molyneux?
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