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Should Governments Legislate Morality?

wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 9:36:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I've seen more and more the prominent viewpoint that anyone in government must conform to some moral prerogative, or to prioritize a "just" moral code. Probably the pinnacle of this kind of thought will point to the Constitution and cite how it essentially legislates morality, and is thoughtful and compelling.

The more I've thought about it, the more I've come to the conclusion that no matter how moral the codes may seem, they all stem from the realist's amoral base, and that the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation.

I'm willing to debate anyone on this...regardless, I'm interested in seeing a good discussion on the pro/con of this argument.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
ZakYoungTheLibertarian
Posts: 253
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2/23/2013 10:24:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Well strictly speaking we shouldn't have a government but more to the point any law is a legislating morality. Clearly a prohibition on murder is 'legislating morality', since the reason why we prohibit murder is because we consider this act to be immoral.

If the question is, should drug use, prostitutional, gambling, drinking etc. be legal the answer is yes. If there aint no victim there aint no crime. THe legal system should be based upon restitution for the victim.
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 10:27:08 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 10:24:34 AM, ZakYoungTheLibertarian wrote:
Well strictly speaking we shouldn't have a government but more to the point any law is a legislating morality. Clearly a prohibition on murder is 'legislating morality', since the reason why we prohibit murder is because we consider this act to be immoral.

If the question is, should drug use, prostitutional, gambling, drinking etc. be legal the answer is yes. If there aint no victim there aint no crime. THe legal system should be based upon restitution for the victim.

The question I'm asking is if this moral code takes precedence over everything else. I argue emphatically no, that the realist prerogative trumps the moral code, every time.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
DanT
Posts: 5,693
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2/23/2013 12:43:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 9:36:40 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
I've seen more and more the prominent viewpoint that anyone in government must conform to some moral prerogative, or to prioritize a "just" moral code.
Laws do not prevent people from doing things. If I really want to kill someone I will kill them, regardless of the law. If I want to drive without a seat-belt I will do so. If I want to drink and do drugs, I will.
Laws do not prevent the outlawed act from taking place, laws only create a situation where the government can correct certain behavior through fines or rehabilitation; in cases where the offender cannot be rehabilitated, exile or execution are a last resort.
Since the nature of laws, is to correct behavior, not prevent it, the regulation of morality is not the purpose of laws. Not all immoral acts can be corrected, and the exile or execution of the offender is disproportionate to the crime. The nature of government is to protect the life, liberty, and property of the community.
Probably the pinnacle of this kind of thought will point to the Constitution and cite how it essentially legislates morality, and is thoughtful and compelling.

The constitution does not legislate morality.
The more I've thought about it, the more I've come to the conclusion that no matter how moral the codes may seem, they all stem from the realist's amoral base, and that the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation.

I'm willing to debate anyone on this...regardless, I'm interested in seeing a good discussion on the pro/con of this argument.

I'll debate you as Con
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,285
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2/23/2013 1:10:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I would agree with DanT that the purpose of law is not to legislate morality; he makes essentially the same argument that I planned to, while at the same time agreeing with the OP that realpolitik must trump every other consideration. If one's utopian government quickly degenerates to some brutal system or fractures and is invaded by some foreign power then there wasn't much of a point to forming in the first place, was there?
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 1:16:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I don't see any disagreement. Legislating morality has nothing to do with preventative measures. With choice comes consequence. By giving people a moral choice to make, they choose their consequences. The consequences of disobeying the law are backed by the coercive powers of the state.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,285
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2/23/2013 1:43:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 1:16:27 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
I don't see any disagreement. Legislating morality has nothing to do with preventative measures. With choice comes consequence. By giving people a moral choice to make, they choose their consequences. The consequences of disobeying the law are backed by the coercive powers of the state.

I'll elaborate on my position a bit.

It's an idea from political philosophy. Where I draw the line is during the revolutions during the enlightenment. Before that, pretty much every government worth its salt legislated morality. They took a moral code, usually an at least partially religious one, codified it, and enforced it. The enlightenment brought with it the idea of social contract theory and individual rights, where the law of isn't crafted to enforce a moral code but to prevent the infringement on people's rights. While the results may overlap when it comes to things like murder and theft, the philosophy of law behind the decisions are radically different. In an old world principality, for example, murder may be illegal because it was against the ten commandments, because it was against a widely accepted moral ideology, and it was the government's job to force its citizens to live morally. In America, however, murder is not illegal because it violates the ten commandments or any other moral code. The purpose of the government isn't to force its people to follow any one moral system. It is to prevent the infringement of their rights by other men so that they may be free to chose which moral code to follow. While it is true that this prohibits some morally motivated actions, it does not lay down any particular one which must be followed and thus I say that it is not legislating morality in order to distinguish it from earlier government which clearly forced the same code upon everyone.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
sadolite
Posts: 8,838
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2/23/2013 1:48:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Should Governments Legislate Morality? Uh, what do you mean "should"? That's all they try to do through regulation. Govt is a never ending onslaught of it. Weather or not they should is irrelevant. That question is 200 years late and 16 trillion dollars short.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 2:00:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 1:43:59 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 2/23/2013 1:16:27 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
I don't see any disagreement. Legislating morality has nothing to do with preventative measures. With choice comes consequence. By giving people a moral choice to make, they choose their consequences. The consequences of disobeying the law are backed by the coercive powers of the state.

I'll elaborate on my position a bit.

It's an idea from political philosophy. Where I draw the line is during the revolutions during the enlightenment. Before that, pretty much every government worth its salt legislated morality. They took a moral code, usually an at least partially religious one, codified it, and enforced it. The enlightenment brought with it the idea of social contract theory and individual rights, where the law of isn't crafted to enforce a moral code but to prevent the infringement on people's rights. While the results may overlap when it comes to things like murder and theft, the philosophy of law behind the decisions are radically different. In an old world principality, for example, murder may be illegal because it was against the ten commandments, because it was against a widely accepted moral ideology, and it was the government's job to force its citizens to live morally. In America, however, murder is not illegal because it violates the ten commandments or any other moral code. The purpose of the government isn't to force its people to follow any one moral system. It is to prevent the infringement of their rights by other men so that they may be free to chose which moral code to follow. While it is true that this prohibits some morally motivated actions, it does not lay down any particular one which must be followed and thus I say that it is not legislating morality in order to distinguish it from earlier government which clearly forced the same code upon everyone.

To me, the prevention of infringing on people's rights is another form of morality, one that does not necessarily have its foundations in any moral code expounded by religion.

On the underlined, I disagree. Protecting property rights involves a moral judgment, for example. It may not be a religious form of morality, but it is a form of morality nonetheless.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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2/23/2013 2:01:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 1:48:55 PM, sadolite wrote:
Should Governments Legislate Morality? Uh, what do you mean "should"? That's all they try to do through regulation. Govt is a never ending onslaught of it. Weather or not they should is irrelevant. That question is 200 years late and 16 trillion dollars short.

I fully agree with this statement. My name is wrichcirw, and I support this message. :D
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 2:02:03 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
BTW, I've challenged DanT:

The US Constitution Legislates Morality

http://debate.org...
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 2:18:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I also have debates open with the following resolution:

The Founding Fathers Were Realists.

Just look up my profile and PM me or leave a comment in the debate if you're interested.

Cheers.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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2/23/2013 2:32:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 9:36:40 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
I've seen more and more the prominent viewpoint that anyone in government must conform to some moral prerogative, or to prioritize a "just" moral code. Probably the pinnacle of this kind of thought will point to the Constitution and cite how it essentially legislates morality, and is thoughtful and compelling.

The more I've thought about it, the more I've come to the conclusion that no matter how moral the codes may seem, they all stem from the realist's amoral base, and that the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation.

I'm willing to debate anyone on this...regardless, I'm interested in seeing a good discussion on the pro/con of this argument.

Realpolitik is international relations, but you need to consider the entire domestic side. One can believe in realpolitik on the international arena: I probably do, but realpolitik really isn't a claim about the nature of morality itself.

The way I see it even laws as simple as prohibitions against murder and robbery are attempts to legislate morality. The question is just how far in we go. Rights entail (moral) duties.
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 2:35:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 2:32:41 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/23/2013 9:36:40 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
I've seen more and more the prominent viewpoint that anyone in government must conform to some moral prerogative, or to prioritize a "just" moral code. Probably the pinnacle of this kind of thought will point to the Constitution and cite how it essentially legislates morality, and is thoughtful and compelling.

The more I've thought about it, the more I've come to the conclusion that no matter how moral the codes may seem, they all stem from the realist's amoral base, and that the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation.

I'm willing to debate anyone on this...regardless, I'm interested in seeing a good discussion on the pro/con of this argument.

Realpolitik is international relations, but you need to consider the entire domestic side. One can believe in realpolitik on the international arena: I probably do, but realpolitik really isn't a claim about the nature of morality itself.

The way I see it even laws as simple as prohibitions against murder and robbery are attempts to legislate morality. The question is just how far in we go. Rights entail (moral) duties.

I agree with your perspective on morality.

However, regardless of your comments and perspective, my statement stands - the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 2:36:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 2:32:41 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/23/2013 9:36:40 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
I've seen more and more the prominent viewpoint that anyone in government must conform to some moral prerogative, or to prioritize a "just" moral code. Probably the pinnacle of this kind of thought will point to the Constitution and cite how it essentially legislates morality, and is thoughtful and compelling.

The more I've thought about it, the more I've come to the conclusion that no matter how moral the codes may seem, they all stem from the realist's amoral base, and that the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation.

I'm willing to debate anyone on this...regardless, I'm interested in seeing a good discussion on the pro/con of this argument.

Realpolitik is international relations, but you need to consider the entire domestic side. One can believe in realpolitik on the international arena: I probably do, but realpolitik really isn't a claim about the nature of morality itself.

The way I see it even laws as simple as prohibitions against murder and robbery are attempts to legislate morality. The question is just how far in we go. Rights entail (moral) duties.

I would say it is. It's a statement that morality is irrelevant.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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2/23/2013 2:37:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 2:36:27 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 2/23/2013 2:32:41 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/23/2013 9:36:40 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
I've seen more and more the prominent viewpoint that anyone in government must conform to some moral prerogative, or to prioritize a "just" moral code. Probably the pinnacle of this kind of thought will point to the Constitution and cite how it essentially legislates morality, and is thoughtful and compelling.

The more I've thought about it, the more I've come to the conclusion that no matter how moral the codes may seem, they all stem from the realist's amoral base, and that the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation.

I'm willing to debate anyone on this...regardless, I'm interested in seeing a good discussion on the pro/con of this argument.

Realpolitik is international relations, but you need to consider the entire domestic side. One can believe in realpolitik on the international arena: I probably do, but realpolitik really isn't a claim about the nature of morality itself.

The way I see it even laws as simple as prohibitions against murder and robbery are attempts to legislate morality. The question is just how far in we go. Rights entail (moral) duties.

I would say it is. It's a statement that morality is irrelevant (at least when faced with a state of anarchy)

Added underlined
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
OMGJustinBieber
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2/23/2013 2:46:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I would say it is. It's a statement that morality is irrelevant.

We might be talking about 2 diffrent interptations. Lets take a quote from Stanford encyclopedia:

"Not all realists, however, deny the presence of ethics in international relations. The distinction should be drawn between classical realism"represented by such twentieth-century theorists as Reinhold Niebuhr and Hans Morgenthau"and radical or extreme realism. While classical realism emphasizes the concept of national interest, it is not the Machiavellian doctrine "that anything is justified by reason of state" (Bull 1995, 189). Nor does it involve the glorification of war or conflict. The classical realists do not reject the possibility of moral judgment in international politics. Rather, they are critical of moralism"abstract moral discourse that does not take into account political realities. They assign supreme value to successful political action based on prudence: the ability to judge the rightness of a given action from among possible alternatives on the basis of its likely political consequences."

I personally find the first position much more attractive.

However, regardless of your comments and perspective, my statement stands - the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation.

Well let me try to appeal even to this framework. The US military has a strong Judeo-Christian element, and it seems that if you want encourage the military or foster a society that's conducive to military activity and recruitment you should be playing up to these values. There's a big difference between dealing among one's fellow citizens and meetings between heads of state.
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 2:55:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 2:46:59 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I would say it is. It's a statement that morality is irrelevant.

We might be talking about 2 diffrent interptations. Lets take a quote from Stanford encyclopedia:

"Not all realists, however, deny the presence of ethics in international relations. The distinction should be drawn between classical realism"represented by such twentieth-century theorists as Reinhold Niebuhr and Hans Morgenthau"and radical or extreme realism. While classical realism emphasizes the concept of national interest, it is not the Machiavellian doctrine "that anything is justified by reason of state" (Bull 1995, 189). Nor does it involve the glorification of war or conflict. The classical realists do not reject the possibility of moral judgment in international politics. Rather, they are critical of moralism"abstract moral discourse that does not take into account political realities. They assign supreme value to successful political action based on prudence: the ability to judge the rightness of a given action from among possible alternatives on the basis of its likely political consequences."

I personally find the first position much more attractive.

---

I do too, but I don't see the conflict here. I don't see how defining a morality based on the political realities is not what ANY realist would do. The point is, you don't define the political realities based on your sense of morality. That is what an idealist would do.

---

However, regardless of your comments and perspective, my statement stands - the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation.

Well let me try to appeal even to this framework. The US military has a strong Judeo-Christian element, and it seems that if you want encourage the military or foster a society that's conducive to military activity and recruitment you should be playing up to these values. There's a big difference between dealing among one's fellow citizens and meetings between heads of state.

By including the military in the discussion, you already concede that "the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation."
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 2:57:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 2:55:02 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 2/23/2013 2:46:59 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I would say it is. It's a statement that morality is irrelevant.

We might be talking about 2 diffrent interptations. Lets take a quote from Stanford encyclopedia:

"Not all realists, however, deny the presence of ethics in international relations. The distinction should be drawn between classical realism"represented by such twentieth-century theorists as Reinhold Niebuhr and Hans Morgenthau"and radical or extreme realism. While classical realism emphasizes the concept of national interest, it is not the Machiavellian doctrine "that anything is justified by reason of state" (Bull 1995, 189). Nor does it involve the glorification of war or conflict. The classical realists do not reject the possibility of moral judgment in international politics. Rather, they are critical of moralism"abstract moral discourse that does not take into account political realities. They assign supreme value to successful political action based on prudence: the ability to judge the rightness of a given action from among possible alternatives on the basis of its likely political consequences."

I personally find the first position much more attractive.

---

I do too, but I don't see the conflict here. I don't see how defining a morality based on the political realities is not what ANY realist would do. The point is, you don't define the political realities based on your sense of morality. That is what an idealist would do.

---



However, regardless of your comments and perspective, my statement stands - the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation.

Well let me try to appeal even to this framework. The US military has a strong Judeo-Christian element, and it seems that if you want encourage the military or foster a society that's conducive to military activity and recruitment you should be playing up to these values. There's a big difference between dealing among one's fellow citizens and meetings between heads of state.

By including the military in the discussion, you already concede that "the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation."

Let me clarify this last part - you are advocating that the state should attempt to conform the citizenry's sense of morality to that of the military. My goodness, even I wouldn't go that far, lol....
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
darkkermit
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2/23/2013 3:00:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
If there isn't a thresehold on what's consider immoral/moral, then legislation on morality becomes difficult to enforce.
Open borders debate:
http://www.debate.org...
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 3:02:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Mearsheimer gives a case where realpolitik trumped America's sense of morality:

Now, to unpack this a bit more. There are some cases where the dictates of realpolitik and the dictates of the idealism that is so attractive to most Americans line up perfectly. For example, in the fight against Nazi Germany and the fight against the Soviet Union, the logic of Realism pointed in the exactly the same direction as the logic of idealism, so it was not difficult for American elites to justify the war against both Nazi Germany and against the Soviet Union, in terms of idealist rhetoric. It was completely consistent with what we were doing. The tricky cases are when the United States has to form an alliance with a repressive regime, or go to war against a state that it thinks is quite progressive. Then Realist logic points in one direction and idealist logic points in another direction. In those cases, what the United States does is it brings out the spin doctors, and they tell a story to the American people that makes it look like what the United States is doing is completely consistent with its ideals.

A perfect case in point of this is how we dealt with the Soviet Union in the late 1930s. In the late 1930s, Stalin was viewed as a murderous thug, and the Soviet Union was widely considered to be a totalitarian state. But in December of 1941, when we went to war against Nazi Germany, we ended up as a close ally of the Soviet Union. So what we did was bring the spin doctors out, and Joseph Stalin became Uncle Joe, and the Soviet Union was described as an emerging democracy, and we made all the necessary rhetorical changes to make it look like we were aligning ourselves with a burgeoning democracy, because Americans would find it very difficult to tolerate a situation where we, in effect, jumped into bed with a totalitarian state that was run by a murderous leader like Joe Stalin. So we cleaned him up.

http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu...
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
OMGJustinBieber
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2/23/2013 3:03:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 2:55:02 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 2/23/2013 2:46:59 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I would say it is. It's a statement that morality is irrelevant.

We might be talking about 2 diffrent interptations. Lets take a quote from Stanford encyclopedia:

"Not all realists, however, deny the presence of ethics in international relations. The distinction should be drawn between classical realism"represented by such twentieth-century theorists as Reinhold Niebuhr and Hans Morgenthau"and radical or extreme realism. While classical realism emphasizes the concept of national interest, it is not the Machiavellian doctrine "that anything is justified by reason of state" (Bull 1995, 189). Nor does it involve the glorification of war or conflict. The classical realists do not reject the possibility of moral judgment in international politics. Rather, they are critical of moralism"abstract moral discourse that does not take into account political realities. They assign supreme value to successful political action based on prudence: the ability to judge the rightness of a given action from among possible alternatives on the basis of its likely political consequences."

I personally find the first position much more attractive.

---

I do too, but I don't see the conflict here. I don't see how defining a morality based on the political realities is not what ANY realist would do. The point is, you don't define the political realities based on your sense of morality. That is what an idealist would do.

Yes, and there are moral systems that DO take facts (political realities) into account in coming to the most moral decision. I really want to take attention away from the international relations philosophy here because the question as to whether government should legislate morality seems a domestic issue. Many of these domestic issues simply aren't particularly relevant to realpolitik so we can use a different value system - one not concerned with balance of power.
---



However, regardless of your comments and perspective, my statement stands - the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation.

Well let me try to appeal even to this framework. The US military has a strong Judeo-Christian element, and it seems that if you want encourage the military or foster a society that's conducive to military activity and recruitment you should be playing up to these values. There's a big difference between dealing among one's fellow citizens and meetings between heads of state.

By including the military in the discussion, you already concede that "the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation."

No, I can adopt different frameworks and operate under those. An atheist can still make good biblical arguments just based on the nature of the text even if he doesn't believe if he wants to make a point.
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 3:12:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Another case of realpolitik trumping morality comes straight out of the constitution:

Article 1 Section 9 outlines Habeas Corpus:

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

However, 9/11 can be seen as a "case of Rebellion", as some of the people who planned 9/11 were indeed US citizens in rebellion against the state. Therefore, Habeas Corpus is at times denied to some of our citizenry. Congress passed laws to this effect, i.e. the PATRIOT Act and etc., per its powers as defined in Article 1 of the Constitution.

These domestic atrocities offend my personal sense of morality, but I have to concede that this suspension of the Constitution is actually perfectly constitutional.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 3:15:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 3:03:21 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 2/23/2013 2:55:02 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 2/23/2013 2:46:59 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I would say it is. It's a statement that morality is irrelevant.

We might be talking about 2 diffrent interptations. Lets take a quote from Stanford encyclopedia:

"Not all realists, however, deny the presence of ethics in international relations. The distinction should be drawn between classical realism"represented by such twentieth-century theorists as Reinhold Niebuhr and Hans Morgenthau"and radical or extreme realism. While classical realism emphasizes the concept of national interest, it is not the Machiavellian doctrine "that anything is justified by reason of state" (Bull 1995, 189). Nor does it involve the glorification of war or conflict. The classical realists do not reject the possibility of moral judgment in international politics. Rather, they are critical of moralism"abstract moral discourse that does not take into account political realities. They assign supreme value to successful political action based on prudence: the ability to judge the rightness of a given action from among possible alternatives on the basis of its likely political consequences."

I personally find the first position much more attractive.

---

I do too, but I don't see the conflict here. I don't see how defining a morality based on the political realities is not what ANY realist would do. The point is, you don't define the political realities based on your sense of morality. That is what an idealist would do.

Yes, and there are moral systems that DO take facts (political realities) into account in coming to the most moral decision. I really want to take attention away from the international relations philosophy here because the question as to whether government should legislate morality seems a domestic issue. Many of these domestic issues simply aren't particularly relevant to realpolitik so we can use a different value system - one not concerned with balance of power.

Regarding the bolded, my point is that there's no need to do so. What one has to keep in mind, however, that international issues, to the extent that a state of anarchy may actually descend upon our constituency, trumps any and all other domestic concerns, to include legislating morality.

---



However, regardless of your comments and perspective, my statement stands - the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation.

Well let me try to appeal even to this framework. The US military has a strong Judeo-Christian element, and it seems that if you want encourage the military or foster a society that's conducive to military activity and recruitment you should be playing up to these values. There's a big difference between dealing among one's fellow citizens and meetings between heads of state.

By including the military in the discussion, you already concede that "the considerations of realpolitik trump any other concerns no matter the situation."

No, I can adopt different frameworks and operate under those. An atheist can still make good biblical arguments just based on the nature of the text even if he doesn't believe if he wants to make a point.

I don't understand your point here.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 3:47:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
BTW Bieber,

I think we're in full agreement here. I would also like to move on beyond realpolitik when discussing domestic issues, but there are several idealists I've come across here that seem to think that idealism trumps realpolitik. This thread is to discuss whether or not this is, or should be, the case.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Cody_Franklin
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2/23/2013 4:21:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I feel like Foucault's point about not trying to reduce everything to an isolated formula is instructive here. He takes up the point in the context of the reduction of state activity by statophobes to Fascism, or the explanation of particular behaviors or administrative mechanisms by reference to something more insidious (what Foucault terms "disqualification by the worst"), e.g., referring the state's control over welfare to the absolute biopolitical domination of Nazi death camps. Foucault argues that the main issue is the loss of specificity of analysis, as in the case of mistakenly terming something "fascist" or "totalitarian" merely on account of its being oppressive or creepy.

Similarly, I think there's something worrisome about trying to refer all state activity back to raison d'Etat, or, if you want, "realpolitik". It is difficult to see because the thesis relies on either ignoring behaviors or explanations which don't fit the theory or stretching the theory to fit, as astronomers used to do to explain observed planetary motion. If you start out looking for a realist explanation, in other words, you'll probably find it, even if you have to synthesize it yourself. You seem to ignore, for example, the content of Bieber's discussion of the military to draw attention to the fact as such that the military was invoked (hence "conceding" the point about realpolitik).

Is it the case that there are elements of realpolitik in several areas of policy? Yes. Is it also the case that there are elements of other techniques and motives of government? Certainly. The French physiocrats are different from the Nordic welfare states are different from the Nazis are different from the Stalinist state and its satellites are different from the German neoliberals are different from the mercantilist states. The health of the population, the degree of economic freedom (internally and externally), average income--this is not about the strength or the well-being of the state qua the state. As an object of governance, there is something quite distinct about the quality of the subject or of civil society vis-a-vis the material influence of the governing institution (considering the archetype, for instance, of the opulent, powerful empire whose citizens nevertheless find themselves in crushing poverty), and it would be nothing short of careless to try to identify the one with the other as "the national interest". I'm sure you could find a way, but it's the hallmark of unfalsifiable theories that they can be sufficiently deformed (in the topological sense) to fit data.

Fundamentally, I think you and I are in separate agreement that realpolitik can/should be moved beyond, but I take issue with the dialectical reasoning that one has to "trump" the other, as if we're dealing with an economy of power where different brands of governance just jockey for position, constantly replacing each other. But states are sophisticated--they have welfare programs, biopolitical prerogatives (e.g., immigration, drugs, public health), foreign policies, an educational agenda, several different levels of administration, each with their responsibilities, each individual having particular practices... I think it's a gross oversimplification to say "idealism vs. realism, which is the trump?" given the simultaneous operation of all of these instruments, techniques, practices, and motives of power. That you think there is "no need" to turn our attention away from international relations (if only to turn it additionally toward other forms and manifestations of power) contrasts with your claimed willingness to "move beyond realpolitik when discussing domestic issues."
Logic_on_rails
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2/23/2013 4:21:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'd probably have a much better answer after I've finished Philosophy of Law A Very Short Introduction by Raymond Wacks... I've already read Introduction to Law though by Raymond Wacks (same series), so I'll try to answer the question with that + my own thoughts in mind; mostly my own thoughts rather.

Firstly, I agree with OMG that the legislation of morality is first and foremost a domestic matter. While matters like drone strikes and cyber security fall under international law and are more prone to realist consideration, the vast bulk of law revolves around domestic matters, which tend to have a minimal impact on international relations. Obviously, they do have an impact as a whole over many years for patently clear reasons, but addressing law through the lens of realism isn't smart. A moral lens will give far greater insight (and greater realpolitik return) than a realist one can and will result in better ends (not to subscribe to utilitarianism necessarily, but as an example) . In this case, our ends are furthered by giving more consideration to moral matters.

Another example - as you are fond of saying Wrichcirw, international relations works best under minimal competition for hegemonic reasons, yet corporations tend to work better under competition. Now, realpolitik has no consideration in company law, realpolitik really doesn't have a beneficial outcome or interest in this area, by it's focus on politics. That immediately makes other concerns more important.

The 3rd point is the bigger picture - governments are made to legislate morality, among other matters. A working legal system has significant benefits, and I'm not bothered to discuss how it wouldn't work under anarchy. Government is the hand that can make people improve their morality with long term benefits; better morals tend to have economic and social benefits over the long term. Deterrence is the aim of many legal systems, and governments generally can create more deterrence than other agents can. Government, by their threat to use force, can encourage more righteous behaviour. I'll ignore how they can induce better behaviour by incentives, but that's also a factor.

Put simply, realpolitik doesn't even have a consideration in many areas of law. Secondly, prioritising other forms of considerations gives rise to superior ends. Governments absolutely should legislate morality, although the extent to which this should occur is highly controversial. I think you're drawing a false dichotomy as well. Look at your third post in this thread - you ask if the moral code takes precedence over everything else. Obviously not is my answer, although in some circumstances it does. Your answer is that realist concerns outweigh morality all the time... I think your arguments have become divorced from the initial thread question.

Governments should legislate morality, and the consideration of morality leads to superior ends than otherwise.
"Tis not in mortals to command success
But we"ll do more, Sempronius, we"ll deserve it
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 4:41:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 4:21:04 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I feel like Foucault's point about not trying to reduce everything to an isolated formula is instructive here. He takes up the point in the context of the reduction of state activity by statophobes to Fascism, or the explanation of particular behaviors or administrative mechanisms by reference to something more insidious (what Foucault terms "disqualification by the worst"), e.g., referring the state's control over welfare to the absolute biopolitical domination of Nazi death camps. Foucault argues that the main issue is the loss of specificity of analysis, as in the case of mistakenly terming something "fascist" or "totalitarian" merely on account of its being oppressive or creepy.

Similarly, I think there's something worrisome about trying to refer all state activity back to raison d'Etat, or, if you want, "realpolitik". It is difficult to see because the thesis relies on either ignoring behaviors or explanations which don't fit the theory or stretching the theory to fit, as astronomers used to do to explain observed planetary motion. If you start out looking for a realist explanation, in other words, you'll probably find it, even if you have to synthesize it yourself. You seem to ignore, for example, the content of Bieber's discussion of the military to draw attention to the fact as such that the military was invoked (hence "conceding" the point about realpolitik).

No, my point was spot on. Bieber advocated conforming society's moral preferences to that of the military. Bieber was advocating a far more aggressive realpolitik position than I was advocating.

Is it the case that there are elements of realpolitik in several areas of policy? Yes. Is it also the case that there are elements of other techniques and motives of government? Certainly. The French physiocrats are different from the Nordic welfare states are different from the Nazis are different from the Stalinist state and its satellites are different from the German neoliberals are different from the mercantilist states. The health of the population, the degree of economic freedom (internally and externally), average income--this is not about the strength or the well-being of the state qua the state. As an object of governance, there is something quite distinct about the quality of the subject or of civil society vis-a-vis the material influence of the governing institution (considering the archetype, for instance, of the opulent, powerful empire whose citizens nevertheless find themselves in crushing poverty), and it would be nothing short of careless to try to identify the one with the other as "the national interest". I'm sure you could find a way, but it's the hallmark of unfalsifiable theories that they can be sufficiently deformed (in the topological sense) to fit data.

I don't make any such claims. I make one central claim - that where there is a conflict between realpolitik and any other activity conducted by the state, realpolitik will trump that other activity. I don't make any claims that realpolitik is the primary consideration for other activities, only that other activities are only possible with a foundation based on realpolitik. Others would make the claim that other activities are only possible based on the Constitution, or some other assertion. I claim these are wholly false - the Constitution itself is only possible based on the realities afforded from realpolitik.

Fundamentally, I think you and I are in separate agreement that realpolitik can/should be moved beyond, but I take issue with the dialectical reasoning that one has to "trump" the other, as if we're dealing with an economy of power where different brands of governance just jockey for position, constantly replacing each other. But states are sophisticated--they have welfare programs, biopolitical prerogatives (e.g., immigration, drugs, public health), foreign policies, an educational agenda, several different levels of administration, each with their responsibilities, each individual having particular practices... I think it's a gross oversimplification to say "idealism vs. realism, which is the trump?" given the simultaneous operation of all of these instruments, techniques, practices, and motives of power. That you think there is "no need" to turn our attention away from international relations (if only to turn it additionally toward other forms and manifestations of power) contrasts with your claimed willingness to "move beyond realpolitik when discussing domestic issues."

I don't think we disagree. However, I am attempting to clarify one point - that at times, domestic issues will come at odds with realpolitik. When they do, realpolitik takes precedence, every time. When they don't, the destruction of the state is inevitable.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 4:50:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 4:21:21 PM, Logic_on_rails wrote:
I'd probably have a much better answer after I've finished Philosophy of Law A Very Short Introduction by Raymond Wacks... I've already read Introduction to Law though by Raymond Wacks (same series), so I'll try to answer the question with that + my own thoughts in mind; mostly my own thoughts rather.

Firstly, I agree with OMG that the legislation of morality is first and foremost a domestic matter. While matters like drone strikes and cyber security fall under international law and are more prone to realist consideration, the vast bulk of law revolves around domestic matters, which tend to have a minimal impact on international relations. Obviously, they do have an impact as a whole over many years for patently clear reasons, but addressing law through the lens of realism isn't smart. A moral lens will give far greater insight (and greater realpolitik return) than a realist one can and will result in better ends (not to subscribe to utilitarianism necessarily, but as an example) . In this case, our ends are furthered by giving more consideration to moral matters.

I agree with this as well. I think people are confusing my point. I am not saying that realpolitik must leak into every aspect of our lives. What I am saying is that at times, other aspects of our lives will be at odds with realpolitik. When this is the case, realpolitik will trump any other consideration.

I also agree that "addressing law through the lens of realism isn't smart." What I am saying is that at some point, there may be a conflict with law and realpolitik. When that conflict occurs, realpolitik will trump the domestic legal system. This is simply called martial law.

Another example - as you are fond of saying Wrichcirw, international relations works best under minimal competition for hegemonic reasons, yet corporations tend to work better under competition. Now, realpolitik has no consideration in company law, realpolitik really doesn't have a beneficial outcome or interest in this area, by it's focus on politics. That immediately makes other concerns more important.

What I am saying is that if the conditions are dire enough, the military through the US government will take over corporations. It will take over the means of production and use them towards military purposes. This was evident during WWII. Again, realpolitik trumps any other consideration.

The 3rd point is the bigger picture - governments are made to legislate morality, among other matters. A working legal system has significant benefits, and I'm not bothered to discuss how it wouldn't work under anarchy. Government is the hand that can make people improve their morality with long term benefits; better morals tend to have economic and social benefits over the long term. Deterrence is the aim of many legal systems, and governments generally can create more deterrence than other agents can. Government, by their threat to use force, can encourage more righteous behaviour. I'll ignore how they can induce better behaviour by incentives, but that's also a factor.

Put simply, realpolitik doesn't even have a consideration in many areas of law. Secondly, prioritising other forms of considerations gives rise to superior ends. Governments absolutely should legislate morality, although the extent to which this should occur is highly controversial. I think you're drawing a false dichotomy as well. Look at your third post in this thread - you ask if the moral code takes precedence over everything else. Obviously not is my answer, although in some circumstances it does. Your answer is that realist concerns outweigh morality all the time... I think your arguments have become divorced from the initial thread question.

Again, I fully agree. However, there is an escape clause tailor-fit for a potential realpolitik scenario, where many, if not all, aspects of law are suspended in order to deal with realpolitik/international matters (i.e., invasion/rebellion). This is martial law.

Governments should legislate morality, and the consideration of morality leads to superior ends than otherwise.

I fully agree with this statement as well, GIVEN that one concedes that such considerations of morality are only possible given a foundation afforded by realpolitik, not the other way around.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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2/23/2013 4:55:34 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Basically, I think I am in full agreement with most of you that realpolitik considerations are almost wholly absent in most domestic affairs.

What I am pointing out is in the very few cases where there is not only direct relevance but an actual conflict of interest, realpolitik will trump any other consideration.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?