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Why should we value principles like

ClassicRobert
Posts: 2,487
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10/22/2013 9:36:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
freedom and liberty absolutely if the results are terrible?

Let's throw out a hypothetical. Let's say that we decriminalize all drugs (because people have should have the freedom to do with their own bodies what they want, right?) and things spiral out of control. One year later, 20% of the country is addicted to crack, heroin, or meth. This leads to much higher crime rates and everything. But people can do with their own bodies what they want, right? They have the right. Never mind the terrible effect it has on everybody.

How about another hypothetical? We abolish government entirely. Government is an aggressive body, so it is immoral and should not exist, right? Anyway, this leads to anarchy as popular perception portrays it, with molotov cocktails, lootings, and everything. But government was immoral, so it shouldn't exist right?

Basically, what I'm saying is that the consequences determine the value of a principle; freedom is only good so long as the benefits outweigh the costs. Aggression is only bad so long as the costs outweigh the benefits. I could go on.
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ClassicRobert
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10/22/2013 9:39:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Take away the consequences of a principle in action and you are left with something neutral.
Debate me: Economic decision theory should be adjusted to include higher-order preferences for non-normative purposes http://www.debate.org...

Do you really believe that? Or not? If you believe it, you should man up and defend it in a debate. -RoyLatham

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Logic_on_rails
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10/23/2013 5:03:08 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Of course we only value principles insofar as they are useful. Freedom, liberty and such aren't rights to grant if murder is on the cards. There's obviously points where we must consider collective and individual utility. How much do we limit the individual to improve the collective? And the reverse? Classic questions. We could all lecture for awhile...

But, principles do have their place. Behavioural science has shown how moral reminders (effectively moral principles) severely drop instances of cheating for instance. Our principles, when duly considered in the totality of circumstances, are useful bastions to hold onto when decadence and meaningless sets in.

Or, if you like boring, gross oversimplifications:

An end is desirable ceteris paribus. However, the achievement of an end is nearly never achieved ceteris paribus as the means themselves are another end! To think of a single end is to limit your thought process. That is the problem many people who 'value' principles have.
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Illegalcombatant
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10/23/2013 7:10:17 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/22/2013 9:59:17 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
So why should we be consequentialists, again?

*Kicks pop in the balls.......

That's why.
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themohawkninja
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10/23/2013 9:00:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Holy assumptions Batman!
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ClassicRobert
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10/23/2013 10:18:39 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/22/2013 9:59:17 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
So why should we be consequentialists, again?

Because when you ignore the real world consequences of the application of a principle, then you are left with nothing to justify your principle. You are left with circular logic like "Liberty is good because it's good" or "Aggression is bad because it's bad."
Debate me: Economic decision theory should be adjusted to include higher-order preferences for non-normative purposes http://www.debate.org...

Do you really believe that? Or not? If you believe it, you should man up and defend it in a debate. -RoyLatham

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Cowboy0108
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10/23/2013 10:47:37 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Freedom and liberty being valued absolutely is not possible. Someone has to determine when the right of freedom of one person gets in the way of another person's liberty or freedom. In other words, in absolute freedom, you have the freedom to kill people, however, they have the liberty to live. Thus, your freedom gets in the way of theirs. You cannot say that giving the murderers limitless rights will be "absolute freedom" because you take away the freedom of the non-murderers. You also can not ensure the freedom of the non-murderers without taking away that of the murderers. Thus, abosulte freedom is not possible.
TheAntidoter
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10/23/2013 11:01:05 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/22/2013 9:59:17 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
So why should we be consequentialists, again?

I'm not either.
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popculturepooka
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10/23/2013 12:02:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/23/2013 10:18:39 AM, ClassicRobert wrote:
At 10/22/2013 9:59:17 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
So why should we be consequentialists, again?

Because when you ignore the real world consequences of the application of a principle, then you are left with nothing to justify your principle. You are left with circular logic like "Liberty is good because it's good" or "Aggression is bad because it's bad."

So essentially you're saying we should be consequentialists by asserting the truth of consequentialism when that's the very issue in question...you've heard of deontology, virtue theory, and the like, right?
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dylancatlow
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10/23/2013 2:52:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Because liberty is not a gift to be lent; it is a right to be upheld. The value of freedom does not rest in its ability to bridge the gap between collectivism's goals and its incapacity to achieve them, nor any other such end. Just as man is an end in himself, so liberty - a recognition of this fact - is an end in itself as well.
YYW
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10/23/2013 9:49:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/22/2013 9:36:52 PM, ClassicRobert wrote:
freedom and liberty absolutely if the results are terrible?

Perhaps to value a principle could mean translating it into policy only to the extent that it does not become harmful to human welfare. Perhaps prudence, moderation and responsibility ought then be the means by which we give principles meaning in society and culture.

Let's throw out a hypothetical. Let's say that we decriminalize all drugs (because people have should have the freedom to do with their own bodies what they want, right?) and things spiral out of control. One year later, 20% of the country is addicted to crack, heroin, or meth. This leads to much higher crime rates and everything. But people can do with their own bodies what they want, right? They have the right. Never mind the terrible effect it has on everybody.

I think that one response would be something to the effect of: "Because humans have inherent dignity, and the consequent of that dignity is the right to self regulate, whatever people choose to do with themselves is their and only their right to decide unless their actions infringe on the rights of others." So, even if in allowing people to use drugs, people use drugs, it would be worse in principle to deny them the right than to allow individuals to harm themselves.

Another, perhaps more Malthusian response might ring to the tune of: "Let them smoke crack! How much better for the rest of us that they destroy themselves! Not only do they consume less resources, but no resources are wasted trying to preserve something not worth preserving to begin with!"

The dark side of libertarianism, then, is that there is and cannot be a meaningful social safety net.

How about another hypothetical? We abolish government entirely. Government is an aggressive body, so it is immoral and should not exist, right? Anyway, this leads to anarchy as popular perception portrays it, with molotov cocktails, lootings, and everything. But government was immoral, so it shouldn't exist right?

You really might enjoy the Republic. But the question of what value are ideals, rights and principles when their realization in policy is catastrophic is not a new one. It's the reason Liberals are Liberals and not Libertarians.

Basically, what I'm saying is that the consequences determine the value of a principle; freedom is only good so long as the benefits outweigh the costs. Aggression is only bad so long as the costs outweigh the benefits. I could go on.

Depends on how you look at it, Bobbert. What Libertarians often forget is that power is, perhaps above all else, productive.
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Citrakayah
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10/24/2013 12:36:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/22/2013 9:36:52 PM, ClassicRobert wrote:
freedom and liberty absolutely if the results are terrible?

Nope. Ah, the ethical simplicity of utilitarianism. Half of the great political questions can be answered by, "Why give a sh1t?"

Okay, it's more complicated than that, but still.

Let's throw out a hypothetical. Let's say that we decriminalize all drugs (because people have should have the freedom to do with their own bodies what they want, right?) and things spiral out of control. One year later, 20% of the country is addicted to crack, heroin, or meth. This leads to much higher crime rates and everything. But people can do with their own bodies what they want, right? They have the right. Never mind the terrible effect it has on everybody.

Well, why should we grant that such a right exists if implementing it leads to a hellscape? Surely it would be more reasonable to adopt a viewpoint of, "If this policy leads, in the long term, to an overall increase in overall welfare, that is good. If it does the opposite, it is bad. If it is neutral, it is something to do when we literally have nothing else to do and want to declare April 29 the Day of Purple." Or, at least, use it as a guiding rule.

How about another hypothetical? We abolish government entirely. Government is an aggressive body, so it is immoral and should not exist, right? Anyway, this leads to anarchy as popular perception portrays it, with molotov cocktails, lootings, and everything. But government was immoral, so it shouldn't exist right?

Mob violence is immoral as well. Indeed, mob violence is far more obviously immoral than government. If one must choose between mob violence and government, even if both are immoral, one would be better off to choose government. Well, depending on the government, at least.

Basically, what I'm saying is that the consequences determine the value of a principle; freedom is only good so long as the benefits outweigh the costs. Aggression is only bad so long as the costs outweigh the benefits. I could go on.

Agreed.

At 10/23/2013 12:02:53 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
So essentially you're saying we should be consequentialists by asserting the truth of consequentialism when that's the very issue in question...you've heard of deontology, virtue theory, and the like, right?

Could you present an argument for those that does not boil down to something like "aggression is bad because it is bad?" This is not a rhetorical or sarcastic question.

I'm well aware, of course, of justifications for virtue ethics and deontology... but none of them ever really seem to answer the question of why I should care. If everyone is, objectively, worse off because of a duty deontology says we have, why shouldn't I say, "Fvck that duty?"
Sidewalker
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10/24/2013 4:43:08 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/22/2013 9:39:04 PM, ClassicRobert wrote:
Take away the consequences of a principle in action and you are left with something neutral.

Doesn't consequentialism eliminate a "principle in action" anyway, if you can't judge your actions till after the fact, then on what basis do you determine the best action? It sounds like you are talking about actual consequentialism and "I'll just have to wait and see what happens" is hardly a principle for action at all.

It might be true that the path to hell is paved with good intentions, but nevertheless, a principle of action pretty much has to involve intent and some reasoned expectation of positive consequences.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater