Total Posts:123|Showing Posts:1-30|Last Page
Jump to topic:

Libertarians aren't selfish.

sdavio
Posts: 1,800
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/14/2013 7:49:10 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I understand the call, by certain people, for people to help each other; for altruism, etc.. and see why people see Ayn Rand's philosophy as evil. The world can seem pretty cold and harsh at times; and if everyone just went fully in that direction, the it might become pretty unbearable.

However, it's also insulting to equate 'helping people' with taxation and to equate libertarian / AnCap viewpoints with not wanting to help others.. If you're helping someone because you're forced to, you're not really a altruistic, right? So there's where that quote comes in, about a young conservative being heartless and an old liberal being brainless.. I do understand the sentiment of progressivism.. to promote nobody helping each other would be a scary version of society.. it's a world I wouldn't want to live in. But to legislate one person's cash into another's hands is not a solution to the problem.

Modern liberals / progressives make their objection to libertarianism out to be that libertarians have a 'Me me me!' philosophy; but really the difference is simple: progressives believe in force and violence just as much as many conservatives do.. where a libertarian believes in letting people do what they like, as long as they're not violent.

What is the difference? We can posit that the same problems might arise: If companies can grow too big in the current system, and take advantage of government bailouts / subsidies etc to do so; what's to stop those same companies from growing too large in a capitalist system? Well, nothing, other than government help.. but this is where a libertarian's thinking is so different from most people's thinking about politics: which is what makes it so difficult for others to understand. A libertarian sees the government as a company like all the other ones.. one that has grown WAY bigger than they should have. And therefore, we shouldn't just accept this corporation as our lord and master; simply because it's grown too big to imagine any other company taking it's place, but rather we should cut that company down to the acceptable level, and then try to make sure no other company grows to such an unmanageable size again.

So really, altruism is not incompatible with libertarianism. If someone is truly altruistic, you don't need to force them to be so. The true difference between libertarians and pro-government is the level of violence they accept.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
slo1
Posts: 4,361
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/14/2013 9:20:00 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/14/2013 7:49:10 AM, sdavio wrote:
I understand the call, by certain people, for people to help each other; for altruism, etc.. and see why people see Ayn Rand's philosophy as evil. The world can seem pretty cold and harsh at times; and if everyone just went fully in that direction, the it might become pretty unbearable.

However, it's also insulting to equate 'helping people' with taxation and to equate libertarian / AnCap viewpoints with not wanting to help others.. If you're helping someone because you're forced to, you're not really a altruistic, right? So there's where that quote comes in, about a young conservative being heartless and an old liberal being brainless.. I do understand the sentiment of progressivism.. to promote nobody helping each other would be a scary version of society.. it's a world I wouldn't want to live in. But to legislate one person's cash into another's hands is not a solution to the problem.

Modern liberals / progressives make their objection to libertarianism out to be that libertarians have a 'Me me me!' philosophy; but really the difference is simple: progressives believe in force and violence just as much as many conservatives do.. where a libertarian believes in letting people do what they like, as long as they're not violent.

What is the difference? We can posit that the same problems might arise: If companies can grow too big in the current system, and take advantage of government bailouts / subsidies etc to do so; what's to stop those same companies from growing too large in a capitalist system? Well, nothing, other than government help.. but this is where a libertarian's thinking is so different from most people's thinking about politics: which is what makes it so difficult for others to understand. A libertarian sees the government as a company like all the other ones.. one that has grown WAY bigger than they should have. And therefore, we shouldn't just accept this corporation as our lord and master; simply because it's grown too big to imagine any other company taking it's place, but rather we should cut that company down to the acceptable level, and then try to make sure no other company grows to such an unmanageable size again.

So really, altruism is not incompatible with libertarianism. If someone is truly altruistic, you don't need to force them to be so. The true difference between libertarians and pro-government is the level of violence they accept.

You speak in absolutes, which tends to muddle the discussion. The simple fact of the matter is that you and most libertarians do believe in legislating one persons cash into another person's hands.
- Public schooling for K-12th grade.
- Providing public representation to all of those accused of crimes.
- Maintaining a prison system for those convicted.

Those are just three of many examples of functions that most libertarians are fine to have their taxes funnel to.

The fundamental problem with libertarianism, is that they are unable to articulate why other programs are not suitable to be funded by society. Technically under the libertarian umbrella K-12th grade should not be a government function as the private market should be able to distribute and execute education far better than the government can, right?

However, we all know that the effective distribution of any service, including education, is only as good as the local market conditions and since there is such disparity in the markets across america there would be huge disparity and inconsistencies in the level of education. You take a market like Dallas, which barely graduates 50% of kids with laws requiring schooling until 16, make it fully a private market and there would be tens of thousands of children who would not receive any type of education.

You can call that a "cold and harsh" reality or just the nature of things, but it is not the nature of things. Trying to argue that suffering is a by product of prosperity is just not a rational argument that makes sense to people. Bring the next zombie apocalypse and make food scares and the argument may make sense, but there is no way to argue it in times of prosperity.

You then fall into the trap that socialist programs are what destroys prosperity. If that is the case how is it that the last 150 of mandatory education has not killed this nation?

Would requiring people to maintain health care coverage so they do not become a burden to society also destroy us? Probably not. Wasteful spending in all areas of government on programs that are failures? That is what will bring us down. Things like the Iraqi occupation, the joint figher plane that still does not work, hokkie bs programs that are supposed to improve education, but don't... etc.

We do need to take ideas from libertarian ideology, however, it needs to be uniquely qualified. Blanket statements that the state doing anything is bad for society just does not pass the intelligence test of Americans.

The individuals who wrote the constitution were able to figure out how to write in a checks and balance system to protect the system from getting controlled by any one ideology or branch of the government, yet leave it open ended enough to allow for the change of the function of government.

We however are unable to individually scrutinize and plan country wide initiative to measure its value to society as a whole, so we know whether it does more damage than good. As a result we all talk idology.

Believe it or not, there is a way that government can benefit society. In fact it would be practically impossible to argue that an absence of federal government in the US would have resulted in more prosperity than we have obtained.
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/14/2013 10:47:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/14/2013 7:49:10 AM, sdavio wrote:
I understand the call, by certain people, for people to help each other; for altruism, etc.. and see why people see Ayn Rand's philosophy as evil. The world can seem pretty cold and harsh at times; and if everyone just went fully in that direction, the it might become pretty unbearable.

However, it's also insulting to equate 'helping people' with taxation and to equate libertarian / AnCap viewpoints with not wanting to help others.. If you're helping someone because you're forced to, you're not really a altruistic, right? So there's where that quote comes in, about a young conservative being heartless and an old liberal being brainless.. I do understand the sentiment of progressivism.. to promote nobody helping each other would be a scary version of society.. it's a world I wouldn't want to live in. But to legislate one person's cash into another's hands is not a solution to the problem.

Modern liberals / progressives make their objection to libertarianism out to be that libertarians have a 'Me me me!' philosophy; but really the difference is simple: progressives believe in force and violence just as much as many conservatives do.. where a libertarian believes in letting people do what they like, as long as they're not violent.

What is the difference? We can posit that the same problems might arise: If companies can grow too big in the current system, and take advantage of government bailouts / subsidies etc to do so; what's to stop those same companies from growing too large in a capitalist system? Well, nothing, other than government help.. but this is where a libertarian's thinking is so different from most people's thinking about politics: which is what makes it so difficult for others to understand. A libertarian sees the government as a company like all the other ones.. one that has grown WAY bigger than they should have. And therefore, we shouldn't just accept this corporation as our lord and master; simply because it's grown too big to imagine any other company taking it's place, but rather we should cut that company down to the acceptable level, and then try to make sure no other company grows to such an unmanageable size again.

So really, altruism is not incompatible with libertarianism. If someone is truly altruistic, you don't need to force them to be so. The true difference between libertarians and pro-government is the level of violence they accept.

My first response to this comment :

1) I'm not intimately familiar with Rand's philosophy, but I do believe she advocates for "enlightened self interest", and that she recognizes that at times, what is considered a public good may indeed result in a greater private benefit.

2) You do not seem to account for the free rider problem in your analysis. (http://en.wikipedia.org...) What if a certain problem required a certain, quantifiable solution? What if the "altruism" (which I simply do not believe is a valid concept, I believe rather in enlightened self interest) of which you speak was simply not enough in quantity to be effectual? What if there were plenty of people on the sidelines who recognized this problem, but, per the basic quandary of the free rider problem, wanted to see if someone else would step up first to deal with it?

IMHO this is why policies like taxes and even conscription exist. We may all be patriotic for example and may all be willing to die for our country, but all else being the same, if we didn't have to die, would we want to? Of course not...so if someone else steps up and takes the bullet, we are indeed the better for it, no matter our patriotism and intentions. Conscription seeks to solve this free rider problem by simply making military service in such dire situations obligatory. It is nowhere near perfect, but it is the best solution in a situation where inaction would cause calamity for everyone.
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
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/14/2013 10:56:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/14/2013 7:49:10 AM, sdavio wrote:

What is the difference? We can posit that the same problems might arise: If companies can grow too big in the current system, and take advantage of government bailouts / subsidies etc to do so; what's to stop those same companies from growing too large in a capitalist system? Well, nothing, other than government help.. but this is where a libertarian's thinking is so different from most people's thinking about politics: which is what makes it so difficult for others to understand. A libertarian sees the government as a company like all the other ones.. one that has grown WAY bigger than they should have. And therefore, we shouldn't just accept this corporation as our lord and master; simply because it's grown too big to imagine any other company taking it's place, but rather we should cut that company down to the acceptable level, and then try to make sure no other company grows to such an unmanageable size again.

Second response:

The government is NOT a "company like all the other ones". Generally speaking, the argument goes that people interact in the business world in order to achieve win/win, but government business is not ordinary business...you are dealing with lose/lose in nearly every government interaction - think of comparing an iPhone purchase to a murder trial. Is this because of some inherent nature of government, or rather the inherent nature of the problems with with the government finds itself dealing?

Unlike other corporations, government deals with mitigating the effects of lose/lose, which leads to people like yourself railing against the government, when in reality they are simply railing against the problem of evil and (intentionally or not) erroneously assigning blame to the government.
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?
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/14/2013 1:36:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Firstly, no matter the motives, a starving family still dies unnecessarily if we don't give them aid. If it could be done entirely by charity, all liberals would support it. However, the question is this: is it better a family should die, than to have some of your wealth (a minority at that) redistributed?

Of course, a lot of the time it isn't this example. It's along the line of either efficiency reasons (it is more efficient to use "100 to get someone working for "500/week a week early, than it is to not give them any money and make them start a week later), or for equity reasons more basic (distributing wealth downwards in society can create that security one needs for others to actually enjoy life, and do meaningful self-development, which includes personal skills as well as making that individual happier and productive).

That said, no liberal supports the idea that the government ought to do all the work to help the individual develop, and I cannot imagine one saying that the government is to make the individual morally progress. Government is the mechanism for which a person ought to be able to go to, ask for aid fulfilling a goal, and (assuming the goal worthwhile), get it. This includes in my mind things like education, healthcare, job security and protection from basic problems (the 5 giants, for example, or more pragmatically, things like upholding the rule of law). This does not mean necessarily nationalisation, but it does means they are provided for.

As much as you want to stop viewing the government as your "lord and master", or a better word, parent, the parent does not stop acting because the child is having a strop. Or, more precisely, the parent does not paralyse itself because it cannot provide for everything the child wants, with no help from the child. The government is an organisation we have a stake in, and is essential to protecting our liberty, our property, and our security.

The libertarian complaint is essentially a misjudgement of how large that budget is. I say this cautiously, of course, because some do not misjudge it. But I am thinking of comments that revolve around how we can provide and protect by charitable giving. Keep the following in mind that, though:

Dr. Leslie Lenkowsky of Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy, data on decades of American philanthropy squarely contradicts Paul's opinion. "All things being equal, Americans today give more than twice as much of our GDP to charity than they did in 1930," he told The Huffington Post. "And Mr. Paul's notion that private donors could ever wholly replace government social welfare programs? Well, it's a fantasy."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

In short, the government acts as a protector which we have a stake in, and can shape for our own benefit as a population. The fact that you do not see it as doing so, for it has grown to too large a size, requires you to put forth a prudent case for specific areas to shrink and bring under control to allow the maximisation of a virtue you find important. Shrinking the state to allow private individuals to take up the mantle would be a great idea, but we need reassurance that private individuals will do so. In all practical cases, the private help has never arrived.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/14/2013 1:49:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/14/2013 7:49:10 AM, sdavio wrote:
However, it's also insulting to equate 'helping people' with taxation and to equate libertarian / AnCap viewpoints with not wanting to help others.. If you're helping someone because you're forced to, you're not really a altruistic, right?

Redistributive economic models are not solely - or even primarily - about promoting altruism. They are about mitigating the harm of greed, addressing existing inequalities in power relations and minimising exploitation based on those structures. If you want to be altruistic, you can do that on top. No-one is stopping you.

But to legislate one person's cash into another's hands is not a solution to the problem.

That is so grossly over-simplistic as to be worthless rhetoric. If I run into your party and grab the cake before everyone else gets a chance to have a slice, it is not my cake that is being given to them; I had other people's share of cake and it is being returned to them.

Modern liberals / progressives make their objection to libertarianism out to be that libertarians have a 'Me me me!' philosophy; but really the difference is simple: progressives believe in force and violence just as much as many conservatives do.. where a libertarian believes in letting people do what they like, as long as they're not violent.

Libertarians are petulant children who want to be able to do whatever they want and answer to no-one. They might find ways of rationalising this to themselves - as I did when I was an anarcho-capitalist (a very outspoken one) in my early 20s - but that doesn't change the reality of it. I like aspects of libertarian meritocratic thought, but beyond that it's really very flaky and usually defended using arguments that I can only really describe as deranged.

Well, nothing, other than government help.. but this is where a libertarian's thinking is so different from most people's thinking about politics: which is what makes it so difficult for others to understand.

They are often noted for their modesty, too. Also, if you think this is something that isn't widely understood and still not agreed with then you're doing a major disservice to the intelligence of others.

A libertarian sees the government as a company like all the other ones.. one that has grown WAY bigger than they should have. And therefore, we shouldn't just accept this corporation as our lord and master; simply because it's grown too big to imagine any other company taking it's place, but rather we should cut that company down to the acceptable level, and then try to make sure no other company grows to such an unmanageable size again.

All of which is unsupported sophistry that relies on the arbitrary - and always personally convenient, I note - line that libertarians draw through the whole picture. Can government get too big? Sure. But it can also be too small. Suggesting that libertarianism has had a special insight that no-one else has realised is just moronic; if anything, it hasn't thought through its own implications properly.

So really, altruism is not incompatible with libertarianism. If someone is truly altruistic, you don't need to force them to be so. The true difference between libertarians and pro-government is the level of violence they accept.

No-one has ever said they are fundamentally incompatible. Rarely seen together? Perhaps. But not incompatible. As to the last sentence; pfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft. The only difference between libertarians and pro-government types is that libertarians think that the ideal government would be just them. And usually loads of guns.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,253
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/14/2013 6:31:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
So really, altruism is not incompatible with libertarianism. If someone is truly altruistic, you don't need to force them to be so. The true difference between libertarians and pro-government is the level of violence they accept.

Altruistic actions aren't necessarily incompatible with libertarianism, but I think the *morality * of altruism certainly is. If the standard of value that a society accepts makes no distinction between what is good for oneself and good for others, policies will emerge that reflect this code and individualism will give way to collectivism. Altruism and capitalism can coexist only if altruism is predicated on the morality of personal choice, and not altruism as such.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,253
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/14/2013 8:46:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/14/2013 1:36:27 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
However, the question is this: is it better a family should die, than to have some of your wealth (a minority at that) redistributed?

Better for whom?
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 2:44:02 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/14/2013 6:31:42 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Altruistic actions aren't necessarily incompatible with libertarianism, but I think the *morality * of altruism certainly is. If the standard of value that a society accepts makes no distinction between what is good for oneself and good for others, policies will emerge that reflect this code and individualism will give way to collectivism. Altruism and capitalism can coexist only if altruism is predicated on the morality of personal choice, and not altruism as such.

1) Altruism requires personal choice, so yes 'altruism as such'.
2) You are assuming collectivism to be a priori undesirable.
3) You are assuming that libertarianism necessarily equates to capitalism.
4) You are a priori assuming that capitalism is a good thing.
5) You are ignoring the mountains of evidence that shows how horribly badly exploited systems of individualistic promotion very quickly become.
6) You need to look at every single instances of 'morally good behaviour' throughout history and realise that one of the themes that runs through them all is that of caring for others. Do the same for atrociously immoral acts and see the theme of acting with disregard for the wellbeing of others in order to further personally-invested ends.
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 2:48:09 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/14/2013 8:46:05 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Better for whom?

Well I've got more than just a single braincell, so I'm going to guess he means "overall", "on balance", "not looked at from a purely personal perspective" or "if you aren't trying to dodge a question that is easily understood by anyone".
sdavio
Posts: 1,800
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 3:52:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/14/2013 9:20:00 AM, slo1 wrote:
You speak in absolutes, which tends to muddle the discussion. The simple fact of the matter is that you and most libertarians do believe in legislating one persons cash into another person's hands.
- Public schooling for K-12th grade.
- Providing public representation to all of those accused of crimes.
- Maintaining a prison system for those convicted.

Those are just three of many examples of functions that most libertarians are fine to have their taxes funnel to.

I advocate AnCap, which I believe most would class as some sort of subset or logical extension of libertarianism (and which certainly would argue against at least the first two points,) and the sole distinction of libertarian thought usually being rejection of government, taxation, and breaking the NAP where other ideologies would allow for or advocate those things. I'm sure if you ask what the 'most libertarian' solution to those problems is, most people would answer, to privatize them.

The fundamental problem with libertarianism, is that they are unable to articulate why other programs are not suitable to be funded by society.

Isn't that precisely what a libertarian spends all their time, in political discussions, doing?

Technically under the libertarian umbrella K-12th grade should not be a government function as the private market should be able to distribute and execute education far better than the government can, right?

Yeah. I don't think it can get much worse, and more adversarial to actually encouraging interest in learning, than the current public system, at least in my experience. It is absolutely imperative that schools are compelled to compete to be the best in educating and inspiring children, rather than taking money from a collective trough, and interacting with / inspiring children becoming what seems to be an irritating afterthought. I'd also say that the best way to stop someone from being enthusiastic about something is to make them feel like they're being forced to do so.. which is exactly how public schools make children feel.

However, we all know that the effective distribution of any service, including education, is only as good as the local market conditions and since there is such disparity in the markets across america there would be huge disparity and inconsistencies in the level of education. You take a market like Dallas, which barely graduates 50% of kids with laws requiring schooling until 16, make it fully a private market and there would be tens of thousands of children who would not receive any type of education.

It reminds me of the point libertarians often make: Would you rather improve overall wealth, but while also increasing the distance between the rich and poor, or just deprecate the entire economy?

Let's take apple computers, for example, when they were inventing the iPhone - and let's imagine the world only consists of apple computers and myself. Here we have a massive inequality: apple computers have all the skills, resources, etc. required to invent the iPhone, while I only have the basic middle class income. So why not redistribute half of apple's resources to me.. being that without doing so, I'm unlikely to invent any kind of phone at all! Well, because Apple needs every one of those resources, to make the iPhone as good as possible, and as cheap as possible for people like me to purchase. If we redistribute some of those resources to people like me, even if I do invent a phone, we just end up with two really bad phones, lol.

So I really think the worst thing you can do, to improve the intelligence of young people in poor areas, is to throw 'free' money (along with the inevitable controls and restrictions on methods of education which come along with them) at schools there, completely ruining possibilities of competition and alternate thinking about ways of educating. You're ignoring the possibility of home schooling, etc, as an alternative to public schooling, which options I think would be much more useful to making children open minded and enthusiastic about learning.

And this violence, which I often bring up when talking about this stuff, isn't as much just some abstract 'ideology' as you may think... it's actually quite palpable. I mean, at any moment, when a student is at a public school, they are aware that they pretty much have a gun to their head to be there; which is not only immoral, but it's precisely what stops them from going 'above and beyond' in their studies. People only try their hardest at something when it was their choice to do it.

You then fall into the trap that socialist programs are what destroys prosperity. If that is the case how is it that the last 150 of mandatory education has not killed this nation?

If you're talking about USA, well I understand it's not doing too well.. perhaps literacy and intelligence have been improved though, with the advent of the extremely anarchic information system of the internet becoming widespread..

We do need to take ideas from libertarian ideology, however, it needs to be uniquely qualified. Blanket statements that the state doing anything is bad for society just does not pass the intelligence test of Americans.

Perhaps it would if they didn't go to public schools :) lol.

The individuals who wrote the constitution were able to figure out how to write in a checks and balance system to protect the system from getting controlled by any one ideology or branch of the government, yet leave it open ended enough to allow for the change of the function of government.

But obviously the checks and balances weren't strict enough (even despite being pretty radically libertarian, by most people's standards,) because that grew into the largest government the world has ever seen.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
sdavio
Posts: 1,800
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 4:21:51 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/14/2013 10:47:06 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
My first response to this comment :

1) I'm not intimately familiar with Rand's philosophy, but I do believe she advocates for "enlightened self interest", and that she recognizes that at times, what is considered a public good may indeed result in a greater private benefit.

Yeah; I regret focusing so much on altruism, since I do agree with rational self interest, and that altruism is for the most part immoral. My intention was to highlight what is by far the most common insult directed toward libertarians: That they have no compassion, are overly selfish, etc. and show that helping others (as a personal moral issue) really has nothing to do with being forced to help others, therefore the distinction libertarians make being more related to force than compassion..

2) You do not seem to account for the free rider problem in your analysis. (http://en.wikipedia.org...) What if a certain problem required a certain, quantifiable solution? What if the "altruism" (which I simply do not believe is a valid concept, I believe rather in enlightened self interest) of which you speak was simply not enough in quantity to be effectual? What if there were plenty of people on the sidelines who recognized this problem, but, per the basic quandary of the free rider problem, wanted to see if someone else would step up first to deal with it?

Then we have a basic, unavoidable amount of 'evil' (or whatever you'd like to call it) present in humanity, which cannot be avoided by adding force to the picture; simply because the use and direction of that force is determined by popular vote, which is subject to that same level of 'evil' which caused us to resort to using force in the first place.

IMHO this is why policies like taxes and even conscription exist. We may all be patriotic for example and may all be willing to die for our country, but all else being the same, if we didn't have to die, would we want to? Of course not...so if someone else steps up and takes the bullet, we are indeed the better for it, no matter our patriotism and intentions. Conscription seeks to solve this free rider problem by simply making military service in such dire situations obligatory. It is nowhere near perfect, but it is the best solution in a situation where inaction would cause calamity for everyone.

And then the same problem remains: if people are too scared, weak, or moral to want to go to war to 'defend' their country, forcing them to do so isn't going to fix any problem, and it's exactly the way of thinking terrorists would use to justify their own actions. As, I think Beverlee said, you don't put out fire with more fire, you put it out with water. That being: you don't solve the problem of others who'd like to sacrifice others to their own conception of morality through violence, by sacrificing more people to your idea of morality with violence.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
sdavio
Posts: 1,800
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 4:39:41 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/14/2013 10:56:52 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 10/14/2013 7:49:10 AM, sdavio wrote:

What is the difference? We can posit that the same problems might arise: If companies can grow too big in the current system, and take advantage of government bailouts / subsidies etc to do so; what's to stop those same companies from growing too large in a capitalist system? Well, nothing, other than government help.. but this is where a libertarian's thinking is so different from most people's thinking about politics: which is what makes it so difficult for others to understand. A libertarian sees the government as a company like all the other ones.. one that has grown WAY bigger than they should have. And therefore, we shouldn't just accept this corporation as our lord and master; simply because it's grown too big to imagine any other company taking it's place, but rather we should cut that company down to the acceptable level, and then try to make sure no other company grows to such an unmanageable size again.

Second response:

The government is NOT a "company like all the other ones". Generally speaking, the argument goes that people interact in the business world in order to achieve win/win, but government business is not ordinary business...you are dealing with lose/lose in nearly every government interaction - think of comparing an iPhone purchase to a murder trial. Is this because of some inherent nature of government, or rather the inherent nature of the problems with with the government finds itself dealing?

Unlike other corporations, government deals with mitigating the effects of lose/lose, which leads to people like yourself railing against the government, when in reality they are simply railing against the problem of evil and (intentionally or not) erroneously assigning blame to the government.

But that isn't the important point about government, in regard to AnCap or libertarians, because I believe such a trial could function in a comparable way, even in an AnCap, and certainly in a minarchist society. So the important point of comparison is: that government takes money from 'customers,' and in return supplies a 'service.' The important point of contrast is then the way they take in that money, and if there could possibly be a more effective and moral way of handling that aspect, because that's the biggest difference between an AnCap's proposed society and a statist one.

The other important point is that, any company which works this way will inevitably, eventually, become focused entirely on taking in more money.. so the NAP comes in as the rule that, if enforced as closely as possible, maintains so that the only method any company would have of getting that money is to satisfy the needs and wants of as many people as possible, as effectively as possible. If force becomes available, then the alternate method of simply taking that money by force becomes an option, and will eventually be utilized by that company to the greatest extent it can get away with..
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 6:26:19 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/15/2013 2:48:09 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 10/14/2013 8:46:05 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Better for whom?

Well I've got more than just a single braincell, so I'm going to guess he means "overall", "on balance", "not looked at from a purely personal perspective" or "if you aren't trying to dodge a question that is easily understood by anyone".

Basically the above. If the question was worded "What is your moral thesis to justify the better?" I'd have responded "Politically, we are best to work from the position of either a veil of ignorance similar to Rawls, or I personally lean more towards the position of an ideal observer or a Dworkinian Hercules.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
sdavio
Posts: 1,800
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 7:11:04 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/14/2013 1:36:27 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Firstly, no matter the motives, a starving family still dies unnecessarily if we don't give them aid. If it could be done entirely by charity, all liberals would support it. However, the question is this: is it better a family should die, than to have some of your wealth (a minority at that) redistributed?

If I thought it were better for my wealth to be 'redistributed,' it wouldn't need to be redistributed, because I'd just give it to the family. The word 'redistributed' necessarily implies force (and consequently my answer,) therefore the above is question begging.

Of course, a lot of the time it isn't this example. It's along the line of either efficiency reasons (it is more efficient to use "100 to get someone working for "500/week a week early, than it is to not give them any money and make them start a week later), or for equity reasons more basic (distributing wealth downwards in society can create that security one needs for others to actually enjoy life, and do meaningful self-development, which includes personal skills as well as making that individual happier and productive).

That said, no liberal supports the idea that the government ought to do all the work to help the individual develop, and I cannot imagine one saying that the government is to make the individual morally progress. Government is the mechanism for which a person ought to be able to go to, ask for aid fulfilling a goal, and (assuming the goal worthwhile), get it.

If the goal were worthwhile, the free market would supply them with the aid, because of the benefit others expect to get as a result. So the only instance where this would apply would be extreme poverty, health circumstances etc, which leaves a quite reasonable gap for charity to fill, in my opinion.

This includes in my mind things like education, healthcare, job security and protection from basic problems (the 5 giants, for example, or more pragmatically, things like upholding the rule of law). This does not mean necessarily nationalisation, but it does means they are provided for.

This isn't really an argument, but rather bare assertions of your opinion. I do not think those things should be 'provided for,' which is a nicer sounding way of saying paid for through theft/force, as opposed to voluntary cooperation.

As much as you want to stop viewing the government as your "lord and master", or a better word, parent, the parent does not stop acting because the child is having a strop. Or, more precisely, the parent does not paralyse itself because it cannot provide for everything the child wants, with no help from the child. The government is an organisation we have a stake in, and is essential to protecting our liberty, our property, and our security.

Where in this case the 'child' is society, then yes it would cease to act if the 'child' has a 'strop', AKA a boycott of the government. A democratic government is not some separate entity, but a reflection (or intention to be one) of whatever the majority opinion of the public (and any deviation from that could reasonably be called corruption,) and therefore cannot be seen as having some superior intellect, as an adult would have compared to a child.

The libertarian complaint is essentially a misjudgement of how large that budget is. I say this cautiously, of course, because some do not misjudge it. But I am thinking of comments that revolve around how we can provide and protect by charitable giving. Keep the following in mind that, though:

Dr. Leslie Lenkowsky of Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy, data on decades of American philanthropy squarely contradicts Paul's opinion. "All things being equal, Americans today give more than twice as much of our GDP to charity than they did in 1930," he told The Huffington Post. "And Mr. Paul's notion that private donors could ever wholly replace government social welfare programs? Well, it's a fantasy."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

In short, the government acts as a protector which we have a stake in, and can shape for our own benefit as a population. The fact that you do not see it as doing so, for it has grown to too large a size, requires you to put forth a prudent case for specific areas to shrink and bring under control to allow the maximisation of a virtue you find important. Shrinking the state to allow private individuals to take up the mantle would be a great idea, but we need reassurance that private individuals will do so. In all practical cases, the private help has never arrived.

The majority of government functions would be replaced by private companies engaging in win/win negotiations, and charity would assume a very small role comparatively. As I've said elsewhere, if you think society is just too 'evil' to provide these things, attempting to solve that with force is not addressing the real issue.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 7:16:31 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/15/2013 4:21:51 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/14/2013 10:47:06 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
My first response to this comment :

1) I'm not intimately familiar with Rand's philosophy, but I do believe she advocates for "enlightened self interest", and that she recognizes that at times, what is considered a public good may indeed result in a greater private benefit.

Yeah; I regret focusing so much on altruism, since I do agree with rational self interest, and that altruism is for the most part immoral. My intention was to highlight what is by far the most common insult directed toward libertarians: That they have no compassion, are overly selfish, etc. and show that helping others (as a personal moral issue) really has nothing to do with being forced to help others, therefore the distinction libertarians make being more related to force than compassion..

I hope you are able to understand how most people will indeed conclude that libertarians "have no compassion" if libertarians think that "altruism is for the most part immoral." Most people do not make altruism out to be a problem.

2) You do not seem to account for the free rider problem in your analysis. (http://en.wikipedia.org...) What if a certain problem required a certain, quantifiable solution? What if the "altruism" (which I simply do not believe is a valid concept, I believe rather in enlightened self interest) of which you speak was simply not enough in quantity to be effectual? What if there were plenty of people on the sidelines who recognized this problem, but, per the basic quandary of the free rider problem, wanted to see if someone else would step up first to deal with it?

Then we have a basic, unavoidable amount of 'evil' (or whatever you'd like to call it) present in humanity, which cannot be avoided by adding force to the picture; simply because the use and direction of that force is determined by popular vote, which is subject to that same level of 'evil' which caused us to resort to using force in the first place.

You are still not accounting for the free rider problem.

Do you know what a "public good" is? Where a person may think that a certain thing or action may be good, but the benefits of such actions would not belong only to the person? For example, if a pack of wolves was threatening a village, obviously any one person would feel threatened, and if any one person took care of those wolves, that one person would benefit...but so would everyone else. This is a public good.

As you can see, if this one person feels so inclined to take care of this, he doesn't necessarily have the "right" to demand some sort of remuneration from others who also happened to benefit from his actions. These other people are essentially freeloading off of him, hence the free-rider problem.

Sometimes, one person is not able to take care of this, it may take more than one person, or the efforts of the entire village. This is why we pay taxes and have a military. Security is a public good. Taxes and conscription provide security and ameliorate the free-rider problem.

IMHO this is why policies like taxes and even conscription exist. We may all be patriotic for example and may all be willing to die for our country, but all else being the same, if we didn't have to die, would we want to? Of course not...so if someone else steps up and takes the bullet, we are indeed the better for it, no matter our patriotism and intentions. Conscription seeks to solve this free rider problem by simply making military service in such dire situations obligatory. It is nowhere near perfect, but it is the best solution in a situation where inaction would cause calamity for everyone.

And then the same problem remains: if people are too scared, weak, or moral to want to go to war to 'defend' their country, forcing them to do so isn't going to fix any problem, and it's exactly the way of thinking terrorists would use to justify their own actions.

Again, you're ignoring the quantifiable element of the problem, and the inherent nature of the free rider problem. Perhaps one person cannot build a levee to stop a flood, but maybe 1,000 people can do this. Who is going to organize these 1,000 people? Who is going to pay for their efforts? Enter government.

As, I think Beverlee said, you don't put out fire with more fire, you put it out with water. That being: you don't solve the problem of others who'd like to sacrifice others to their own conception of morality through violence, by sacrificing more people to your idea of morality with violence.

1) You do put out fire with fire. It's one of the most effective ways of dealing with a forest fire...controlled burns.

2) How do you deal with a river current if you need to swim against it? You put in more effort. Force upon force. It's this simple.
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
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 7:22:04 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/15/2013 4:39:41 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/14/2013 10:56:52 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 10/14/2013 7:49:10 AM, sdavio wrote:

What is the difference? We can posit that the same problems might arise: If companies can grow too big in the current system, and take advantage of government bailouts / subsidies etc to do so; what's to stop those same companies from growing too large in a capitalist system? Well, nothing, other than government help.. but this is where a libertarian's thinking is so different from most people's thinking about politics: which is what makes it so difficult for others to understand. A libertarian sees the government as a company like all the other ones.. one that has grown WAY bigger than they should have. And therefore, we shouldn't just accept this corporation as our lord and master; simply because it's grown too big to imagine any other company taking it's place, but rather we should cut that company down to the acceptable level, and then try to make sure no other company grows to such an unmanageable size again.

Second response:

The government is NOT a "company like all the other ones". Generally speaking, the argument goes that people interact in the business world in order to achieve win/win, but government business is not ordinary business...you are dealing with lose/lose in nearly every government interaction - think of comparing an iPhone purchase to a murder trial. Is this because of some inherent nature of government, or rather the inherent nature of the problems with with the government finds itself dealing?

Unlike other corporations, government deals with mitigating the effects of lose/lose, which leads to people like yourself railing against the government, when in reality they are simply railing against the problem of evil and (intentionally or not) erroneously assigning blame to the government.

But that isn't the important point about government, in regard to AnCap or libertarians, because I believe such a trial could function in a comparable way, even in an AnCap, and certainly in a minarchist society. So the important point of comparison is: that government takes money from 'customers,' and in return supplies a 'service.' The important point of contrast is then the way they take in that money, and if there could possibly be a more effective and moral way of handling that aspect, because that's the biggest difference between an AnCap's proposed society and a statist one.

I've been pretty clear in past discussions with you that I consider ancap to be a form of statism. All ancap is is breaking the monopoly of violence that government holds, and creating a "perfectly competitive" environment of violence. These ancap corporations would still charge a fee for security, and if that fee isn't met, then those that don't pay will either be killed or kicked out of the corporation. The concept is the same as taxes.

The other important point is that, any company which works this way will inevitably, eventually, become focused entirely on taking in more money.. so the NAP comes in as the rule that, if enforced as closely as possible, maintains so that the only method any company would have of getting that money is to satisfy the needs and wants of as many people as possible, as effectively as possible. If force becomes available, then the alternate method of simply taking that money by force becomes an option, and will eventually be utilized by that company to the greatest extent it can get away with..

When I read this, I do not see any difference between your rendition of NAP and the status quo, which is another point I have made repeatedly over multiple threads.
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?
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 7:45:57 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Probably the greatest irony of the whole Randian 'philosophy' is that the people who follow it seem to be completely incapable of recognising their own subjectivity. The fact that Dylan tried to dodge the question by highlighting the subjectivity of such an evaluation is a perfect example of how flawed the philosophy is.

Anyway, our experience of the world is not only subjective, but also internally unreliable. Not only do our senses provide us with different data from one another. Not only do we interpret that data differently from one another. Beyond that, our senses are unreliable when judged against their own past performance - even if we treated a single individual as some sort of arbiter of objective reality, that person would disagree with themselves and prove their perceptive processes to be inherently unreliable.

It also fails to comprehend that compassion for others is the single theme that runs through every instance, description and understanding of moral behaviour in human history. Rand/AnCap/extreme Libertarianism replaces this with a narcissistic superhero fantasy, where uncompromising individualism replaces morality completely. Now, if you want to argue that these people are unreasonably described as selfish, you are going to have to deal with a fairly major objection; the definition of 'selfish' and it being one of uncompromising individualism, contrasted against acting out of the interests of others. Or being unselfish.

To make matters even worse, the opposite of this is also true; all the major themes of immorality, the entire understanding of it as an area of discourse and the semantic structure of our language regarding moral behaviour, are predicated on behaviours that are intrinsically selfish. Rand says, broadly speaking, that in being selfish we are actually being selfless, because we are furthering the interests of the species. That's great, but morality isn't concerned with the interests of the species so that is as facile a point as can be raised in response. Morality is, again broadly speaking, questions of how we deal with conflicts of interests between individuals within a society. This is not the same thing as furthering the interests of the society as a whole and, I suspect, a sign that Rand was not only over-reacting to the Soviet system she fled and despised, but also far more heavily conditioned by it than she was capable of recognising. This is why we end up with such a mishmash of nonsense that requires a profound failure to grasp the whole sense and purpose of moral discourse as an activity in itself, what informs it and the kind of problems it comes up against.

I think the most coherent claim that the extreme lib/Rand/AnCap crowd can make is that they disregard morality as a valid area of human behaviour or discourse. That is a more complex - and potentially interesting - question, but not one I have ever heard advanced by anyone who actually follows those ideologies. It also doesn't escape the fact that everyone else in the world considers this to be incredibly stupid, immoral and selfish by definition.

Finally, the claim that the government is 'just another company' is plainly false; do we have private interests monitoring and regulating private interests for unethical practices, corruption, monopolistic activities and so on? No. Why not? Because they are part of the set that such an entity is required to monitor and regulate in the first place. What was it that was said about not fighting fire with fire?

It was in gaining a better understanding of morality and the semantic underpinnings of it that caused me to (quite suddenly and with a degree of horror and shame) cease being an anarcho-capitalist. I had always been indignant that other people were too stupid to understand my arguments and only got over this when I realised that it was actually me who had been failing to understand things. Because - guess what! - my perception of reality is not a matter objective fact in which everyone else shares, it is not infallible and it is therefore not grounds for demanding to be above the law. So I lost the anarcho-capitalism (I'd always found Rand to be a particularly odious intellectual fraud, even back then, so there was nothing to lose on that font), gained a greater degree of understanding regarding ethics and seem to be stuck with the narcissism whatever I do.

So yeah, you guys are selfish. It is a whole set of ideologies that was heavily influenced by and tailored towards narcissists who have no understanding of ethics from pretty much the ground up. You can either examine that or continue to spout pseudo-intellectual waffle that isn't taken seriously by anyone who isn't a frothing lunatic. Most people seem to grow out of it by their mid-20s anyway, but there's no harm in hastening that process in order to make the world a measurably better place.
sdavio
Posts: 1,800
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 7:48:02 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/15/2013 7:16:31 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 10/15/2013 4:21:51 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/14/2013 10:47:06 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
My first response to this comment :

1) I'm not intimately familiar with Rand's philosophy, but I do believe she advocates for "enlightened self interest", and that she recognizes that at times, what is considered a public good may indeed result in a greater private benefit.

Yeah; I regret focusing so much on altruism, since I do agree with rational self interest, and that altruism is for the most part immoral. My intention was to highlight what is by far the most common insult directed toward libertarians: That they have no compassion, are overly selfish, etc. and show that helping others (as a personal moral issue) really has nothing to do with being forced to help others, therefore the distinction libertarians make being more related to force than compassion..

I hope you are able to understand how most people will indeed conclude that libertarians "have no compassion" if libertarians think that "altruism is for the most part immoral." Most people do not make altruism out to be a problem.

That bit was not about all libertarians, just my personal opinion. My point in the OP was that libertarianism itself is not incompatible with altruism, being that forced 'altruism' really has nothing to do with real altruism.

2) You do not seem to account for the free rider problem in your analysis. (http://en.wikipedia.org...) What if a certain problem required a certain, quantifiable solution? What if the "altruism" (which I simply do not believe is a valid concept, I believe rather in enlightened self interest) of which you speak was simply not enough in quantity to be effectual? What if there were plenty of people on the sidelines who recognized this problem, but, per the basic quandary of the free rider problem, wanted to see if someone else would step up first to deal with it?

Then we have a basic, unavoidable amount of 'evil' (or whatever you'd like to call it) present in humanity, which cannot be avoided by adding force to the picture; simply because the use and direction of that force is determined by popular vote, which is subject to that same level of 'evil' which caused us to resort to using force in the first place.

You are still not accounting for the free rider problem.

Do you know what a "public good" is? Where a person may think that a certain thing or action may be good, but the benefits of such actions would not belong only to the person? For example, if a pack of wolves was threatening a village, obviously any one person would feel threatened, and if any one person took care of those wolves, that one person would benefit...but so would everyone else. This is a public good.

As you can see, if this one person feels so inclined to take care of this, he doesn't necessarily have the "right" to demand some sort of remuneration from others who also happened to benefit from his actions. These other people are essentially freeloading off of him, hence the free-rider problem.

I don't yet see any 'problem,' but simply unintended positive consequences to a voluntary action.

Sometimes, one person is not able to take care of this, it may take more than one person, or the efforts of the entire village. This is why we pay taxes and have a military. Security is a public good. Taxes and conscription provide security and ameliorate the free-rider problem.

If something is really in the public's interest, then the public would voluntarily solve that problem. I still do not understand how force is a necessary solution, which is the reason for my initial response - the free rider problem does not seem to necessitate force as a solution, and using such a solution encounters the issue with the problem of evil as I described above. Could you explain how a public good requires force as a solution, and how you're getting around the fact that if people are too 'evil' to want to address it, humanity is 'doomed' to that degree anyway?

IMHO this is why policies like taxes and even conscription exist. We may all be patriotic for example and may all be willing to die for our country, but all else being the same, if we didn't have to die, would we want to? Of course not...so if someone else steps up and takes the bullet, we are indeed the better for it, no matter our patriotism and intentions. Conscription seeks to solve this free rider problem by simply making military service in such dire situations obligatory. It is nowhere near perfect, but it is the best solution in a situation where inaction would cause calamity for everyone.

And then the same problem remains: if people are too scared, weak, or moral to want to go to war to 'defend' their country, forcing them to do so isn't going to fix any problem, and it's exactly the way of thinking terrorists would use to justify their own actions.

Again, you're ignoring the quantifiable element of the problem, and the inherent nature of the free rider problem. Perhaps one person cannot build a levee to stop a flood, but maybe 1,000 people can do this. Who is going to organize these 1,000 people? Who is going to pay for their efforts? Enter government.

Anyone who wants to organize it. You're slipping force in without an explanation at to why it would be necessary; and without addressing my initial criticism of such a solution. They would not need to be 'paid' for their efforts, the payment would be not dying in a flood.

As, I think Beverlee said, you don't put out fire with more fire, you put it out with water. That being: you don't solve the problem of others who'd like to sacrifice others to their own conception of morality through violence, by sacrificing more people to your idea of morality with violence.

1) You do put out fire with fire. It's one of the most effective ways of dealing with a forest fire...controlled burns.

Touche, lol.

2) How do you deal with a river current if you need to swim against it? You put in more effort. Force upon force. It's this simple.

Although at this point I think the comparisons have gone beyond the point of being relevant in any way I can conceptualize.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 7:51:19 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Sorry, just to clarify - every instance of morality that isn't just 'magic man in the sky feels like forbidding this for no reason'. Every instance of rational morality that goes through any sort of justificatory process beyond "because I said so".
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 8:13:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/15/2013 7:11:04 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/14/2013 1:36:27 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Firstly, no matter the motives, a starving family still dies unnecessarily if we don't give them aid. If it could be done entirely by charity, all liberals would support it. However, the question is this: is it better a family should die, than to have some of your wealth (a minority at that) redistributed?

If I thought it were better for my wealth to be 'redistributed,' it wouldn't need to be redistributed, because I'd just give it to the family.

Awesome. Except this is empirically false. There are still millions of families abroad who need your wealth more than you do, yet you're not giving it away. Furthermore, for thousands of years we haven't had a welfare system with more suffering going on than we did today. To assume that if we didn't have a welfare system, we'd all become moral saints, is just naive.
Of course, a lot of the time it isn't this example. It's along the line of either efficiency reasons (it is more efficient to use "100 to get someone working for "500/week a week early, than it is to not give them any money and make them start a week later), or for equity reasons more basic (distributing wealth downwards in society can create that security one needs for others to actually enjoy life, and do meaningful self-development, which includes personal skills as well as making that individual happier and productive).

That said, no liberal supports the idea that the government ought to do all the work to help the individual develop, and I cannot imagine one saying that the government is to make the individual morally progress. Government is the mechanism for which a person ought to be able to go to, ask for aid fulfilling a goal, and (assuming the goal worthwhile), get it.

If the goal were worthwhile, the free market would supply them with the aid, because of the benefit others expect to get as a result. So the only instance where this would apply would be extreme poverty, health circumstances etc, which leaves a quite reasonable gap for charity to fill, in my opinion.

People aren't perfectly rational. The market is incredibly slow when it comes to things like this, and isn't some magical person which can solve all problems everywhere for all time. Otherwise, again, it would have already have done so. The free market only supplies with aid that which people supply, and people in general do not wish to supply the fulfilment of others' goals, even if it benefits oneself in the long run, because people are irrational.

This includes in my mind things like education, healthcare, job security and protection from basic problems (the 5 giants, for example, or more pragmatically, things like upholding the rule of law). This does not mean necessarily nationalisation, but it does means they are provided for.

This isn't really an argument, but rather bare assertions of your opinion. I do not think those things should be 'provided for,' which is a nicer sounding way of saying paid for through theft/force, as opposed to voluntary cooperation.

It's an explanation of what I meant, not an argument, no. Moreover, you frankly do think these things ought to be provided for, as you've made clear. You just don't want it to be done by force. And as I've said, repeatedly in my first piece, the option of charity if it'd work is one that all would buy in to. I'm just not that utopian.

As much as you want to stop viewing the government as your "lord and master", or a better word, parent, the parent does not stop acting because the child is having a strop. Or, more precisely, the parent does not paralyse itself because it cannot provide for everything the child wants, with no help from the child. The government is an organisation we have a stake in, and is essential to protecting our liberty, our property, and our security.

Where in this case the 'child' is society, then yes it would cease to act if the 'child' has a 'strop', AKA a boycott of the government. A democratic government is not some separate entity, but a reflection (or intention to be one) of whatever the majority opinion of the public (and any deviation from that could reasonably be called corruption,) and therefore cannot be seen as having some superior intellect, as an adult would have compared to a child.

A democracy works that we elect those who know more than us, to fulfil our wishes in the most efficient way possible. Would you rather choose a doctor or a thousand untrained people to fix your broken leg? Not only would you or I choose the doctor, but so would the vast majority of people. Thus, when democracy works we elect the smartest among us who we believe will most efficiently enact our will. If we learn them to be incapable or immoral, we change them.

The libertarian complaint is essentially a misjudgement of how large that budget is. I say this cautiously, of course, because some do not misjudge it. But I am thinking of comments that revolve around how we can provide and protect by charitable giving. Keep the following in mind that, though:

Dr. Leslie Lenkowsky of Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy, data on decades of American philanthropy squarely contradicts Paul's opinion. "All things being equal, Americans today give more than twice as much of our GDP to charity than they did in 1930," he told The Huffington Post. "And Mr. Paul's notion that private donors could ever wholly replace government social welfare programs? Well, it's a fantasy."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

In short, the government acts as a protector which we have a stake in, and can shape for our own benefit as a population. The fact that you do not see it as doing so, for it has grown to too large a size, requires you to put forth a prudent case for specific areas to shrink and bring under control to allow the maximisation of a virtue you find important. Shrinking the state to allow private individuals to take up the mantle would be a great idea, but we need reassurance that private individuals will do so. In all practical cases, the private help has never arrived.

The majority of government functions would be replaced by private companies engaging in win/win negotiations, and charity would assume a very small role comparatively. As I've said elsewhere, if you think society is just too 'evil' to provide these things, attempting to solve that with force is not addressing the real issue.

Most of society is too self-centred and irrational to provide the solution. When someone is in a job however they usually do better, especially when they realise that their role is to help and provide for the rest. Just as a parent may originally be irrational, the second they know they are to care for their child, they learn more and more, attempt to become wiser and wiser, and care as good as they can for those they are looking after. Your use of "private companies" though suffers the exact same criticism as I've already pointed out: some people won't be able to afford private companies. The entire basis of supply and demand, in fact, is that some suppliers won't be able to sell, and some consumers won't be able to buy. Indeed, for it to be many small companies in competition the lack of the ability to take advantage of economies of scale for an industry with huge fixed costs (i.e. government) will lead to no-one being able to afford protection except the richest of us all, and the philanthropists who will be minute by comparison.

Neither charities nor "private industry" will fulfil the roles of government, and what's more we see no moral reason that they would be any better at it.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,253
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 8:15:43 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/15/2013 2:44:02 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 10/14/2013 6:31:42 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Altruistic actions aren't necessarily incompatible with libertarianism, but I think the *morality * of altruism certainly is. If the standard of value that a society accepts makes no distinction between what is good for oneself and good for others, policies will emerge that reflect this code and individualism will give way to collectivism. Altruism and capitalism can coexist only if altruism is predicated on the morality of personal choice, and not altruism as such.

1) Altruism requires personal choice, so yes 'altruism as such'.

No, I meant if people hold altruism as a moral virtue, this will translate itself into policies which 'take over' when people decide to be "bad".

2) You are assuming collectivism to be a priori undesirable.

I am.

3) You are assuming that libertarianism necessarily equates to capitalism.

What else?

4) You are a priori assuming that capitalism is a good thing.

To make my point, yes.

5) You are ignoring the mountains of evidence that shows how horribly badly exploited systems of individualistic promotion very quickly become.

I'd love to see these mountains of yours :)

6) You need to look at every single instances of 'morally good behaviour' throughout history and realise that one of the themes that runs through them all is that of caring for others. Do the same for atrociously immoral acts and see the theme of acting with disregard for the wellbeing of others in order to further personally-invested ends.

That's because the prevailing morality equates "morally good behavior" with altruism. And if "atrociously immoral acts" and "disregard for others" entail violation of individual rights, then they wouldn't be permitted under libertarianism.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 8:16:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Someone explain to me (and the entirety of economics) how externalities and merit goods are calculated by private industries when they don't value them>
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,253
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 8:23:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/15/2013 7:45:57 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
The fact that Dylan tried to dodge the question by highlighting the subjectivity of such an evaluation is a perfect example of how flawed the philosophy is.


You can't take about value without talking about value to whom. What is a value for me and a value for you are different, not because of subjectivity, but because, objectively speaking, value is contingent upon two distinct valuers.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,253
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 8:26:39 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/15/2013 8:23:34 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 10/15/2013 7:45:57 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
The fact that Dylan tried to dodge the question by highlighting the subjectivity of such an evaluation is a perfect example of how flawed the philosophy is.


You can't talk about value without talking about value to whom. What is a value for me and a value for you are different, not because of subjectivity, but because, objectively speaking, value is contingent upon two distinct valuers.

Fixed
sdavio
Posts: 1,800
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 8:28:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/15/2013 7:45:57 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
It also fails to comprehend that compassion for others is the single theme that runs through every instance, description and understanding of moral behaviour in human history. Rand/AnCap/extreme Libertarianism replaces this with a narcissistic superhero fantasy, where uncompromising individualism replaces morality completely. Now, if you want to argue that these people are unreasonably described as selfish, you are going to have to deal with a fairly major objection; the definition of 'selfish' and it being one of uncompromising individualism, contrasted against acting out of the interests of others. Or being unselfish.

If someone puts a gun up to my head, and tells me to give money to someone else or they'll kill me, and then I do so.. is that a compassionate act, or a selfish one? I am positing that it's a selfish one, because I'm simply acting in my own interest in order to stay alive. Therefore taxation and statism have nothing to do with compassion, and everything to do with violence, since compassion by it's nature requires choice; that it is voluntarily compassionate.

To make matters even worse, the opposite of this is also true; all the major themes of immorality, the entire understanding of it as an area of discourse and the semantic structure of our language regarding moral behaviour, are predicated on behaviours that are intrinsically selfish. Rand says, broadly speaking, that in being selfish we are actually being selfless, because we are furthering the interests of the species. That's great, but morality isn't concerned with the interests of the species so that is as facile a point as can be raised in response. Morality is, again broadly speaking, questions of how we deal with conflicts of interests between individuals within a society. This is not the same thing as furthering the interests of the society as a whole and, I suspect, a sign that Rand was not only over-reacting to the Soviet system she fled and despised, but also far more heavily conditioned by it than she was capable of recognising. This is why we end up with such a mishmash of nonsense that requires a profound failure to grasp the whole sense and purpose of moral discourse as an activity in itself, what informs it and the kind of problems it comes up against.

I'm not really understanding what your standard of morality is. An objectivist would say that it is life itself; that how moral something is equates to how it would improve or negate life.

And really there are many actions which are immoral and selfless: suicide bombing, self harm, etc. And the ones like robbing a bank etc, while selfish, are not in line with rational self interest, which is what Rand advocates.

I think the most coherent claim that the extreme lib/Rand/AnCap crowd can make is that they disregard morality as a valid area of human behaviour or discourse. That is a more complex - and potentially interesting - question, but not one I have ever heard advanced by anyone who actually follows those ideologies. It also doesn't escape the fact that everyone else in the world considers this to be incredibly stupid, immoral and selfish by definition.

Finally, the claim that the government is 'just another company' is plainly false; do we have private interests monitoring and regulating private interests for unethical practices, corruption, monopolistic activities and so on? No. Why not? Because they are part of the set that such an entity is required to monitor and regulate in the first place. What was it that was said about not fighting fire with fire?

So you're saying that to avoid monopolistic corporations coming into being, we need to institute one giant monopolistic corporation, and then accusing me of fighting fire with fire? Indeed privately is the only effective way to achieve such checks, and government is not a solution but an example of the problem.

Who do you suppose will check the government to make sure they are not corrupt, etc? Private interests, obviously. Your implication that private interests cannot provide such checks immediately disqualifies the government as even possibly not becoming all the things you worry about private interests becoming.

It was in gaining a better understanding of morality and the semantic underpinnings of it that caused me to (quite suddenly and with a degree of horror and shame) cease being an anarcho-capitalist. I had always been indignant that other people were too stupid to understand my arguments and only got over this when I realised that it was actually me who had been failing to understand things. Because - guess what! - my perception of reality is not a matter objective fact in which everyone else shares, it is not infallible and it is therefore not grounds for demanding to be above the law. So I lost the anarcho-capitalism (I'd always found Rand to be a particularly odious intellectual fraud, even back then, so there was nothing to lose on that font), gained a greater degree of understanding regarding ethics and seem to be stuck with the narcissism whatever I do.

How is 'morality is subjective' relevant at all? Surely the goal should be to get the closest possible to an objective morality, or else simply surrender into nihilism? Otherwise, all of your opinions are totally 'subjective,' and we should just ignore them, right? Surely the implication when discussing politics is the assumption that some aspects of reality and human nature are common to more than one person, and therefore principles can be developed according to those perceived commonalities?

So yeah, you guys are selfish. It is a whole set of ideologies that was heavily influenced by and tailored towards narcissists who have no understanding of ethics from pretty much the ground up. You can either examine that or continue to spout pseudo-intellectual waffle that isn't taken seriously by anyone who isn't a frothing lunatic. Most people seem to grow out of it by their mid-20s anyway, but there's no harm in hastening that process in order to make the world a measurably better place.

Can you posit a better standard of ethics?
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,253
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 8:32:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/15/2013 2:48:09 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 10/14/2013 8:46:05 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Better for whom?

Well I've got more than just a single braincell, so I'm going to guess he means "overall", "on balance", "not looked at from a purely personal perspective" or "if you aren't trying to dodge a question that is easily understood by anyone".

I know he was referring to the collective...that wasn't the point. My point was that he failed to define a perspective on which value could apply, because the collectivist perspective doesn't exist.
sdavio
Posts: 1,800
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 8:46:10 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/15/2013 7:22:04 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
I've been pretty clear in past discussions with you that I consider ancap to be a form of statism. All ancap is is breaking the monopoly of violence that government holds, and creating a "perfectly competitive" environment of violence. These ancap corporations would still charge a fee for security, and if that fee isn't met, then those that don't pay will either be killed or kicked out of the corporation. The concept is the same as taxes.

For one thing, since it wouldn't be one company providing every service, it'd be much easier to cut a company down to size, or boycott it, if it showed signs of becoming corrupt.

The other important point is that, any company which works this way will inevitably, eventually, become focused entirely on taking in more money.. so the NAP comes in as the rule that, if enforced as closely as possible, maintains so that the only method any company would have of getting that money is to satisfy the needs and wants of as many people as possible, as effectively as possible. If force becomes available, then the alternate method of simply taking that money by force becomes an option, and will eventually be utilized by that company to the greatest extent it can get away with..

When I read this, I do not see any difference between your rendition of NAP and the status quo, which is another point I have made repeatedly over multiple threads.

I have explained my reasoning for why NAP is not status quo many times as well, to which you have conceded that it is not status quo, and then said that it is in fact a fairy tale. Unless you're saying that status quo is a fairy tale? You have criticized me on following arguments, but it doesn't seem very 'Aristotelian' to have two different contentions ('NAP is status quo' and 'NAP is a fairy tale',) and then switch between the two whenever I corner you on either point.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 8:49:29 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/15/2013 8:15:43 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
No, I meant if people hold altruism as a moral virtue, this will translate itself into policies which 'take over' when people decide to be "bad".

No, it won't. That is, assuming I've understood what you're trying to say here which, thanks to a complete lack of continuity in the terminology you use between the two posts, I can't be certain of being.

I am.

So you admit that your argument relies on people already agreeing with one of its conclusions?

What else?

Uh... seriously?

To make my point, yes.

So you again admit that you are using one of your conclusions as a premise to argue for itself? Since, after all, you seem to think that libertarianism would necessarily be capitalist.

I'd love to see these mountains of yours :)

Then I suggest you check out this thing called 'science'. Particularly quantum mechanics, optics, the various fields of cognitive science, biology... oh and epistemology, linguistics and several similarly fields of philosophy. Because if you honestly don't know about these mountains, you quite clearly haven't. You can be as passive aggressive as you like about it, but that's what you're up against.

Just to be clear; are you claiming that human perception is infallible and that we all share a single world that we experience objectively?

That's because the prevailing morality equates "morally good behavior" with altruism. And if "atrociously immoral acts" and "disregard for others" entail violation of individual rights, then they wouldn't be permitted under libertarianism.

So your objection to the fact that throughout human history 'morality' has been defined and understood in a particular way is that throughout human history 'morality' has been defined and understood in a particular way? Thanks Plato!

Nah, you're right; Objectivists don't just spout 'x is x' as if they've made a profound observation rather than parroted a mindless tautology.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,253
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/15/2013 9:07:04 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/15/2013 8:49:29 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 10/15/2013 8:15:43 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
No, I meant if people hold altruism as a moral virtue, this will translate itself into policies which 'take over' when people decide to be "bad".

No, it won't. That is, assuming I've understood what you're trying to say here which, thanks to a complete lack of continuity in the terminology you use between the two posts, I can't be certain of being.


I don't know what you're talking about.

I am.

So you admit that your argument relies on people already agreeing with one of its conclusions?

No, my argument doesn't rely on the assumption capitalism is good. I just insinuate it.


What else?

Uh... seriously?

To make my point, yes.

So you again admit that you are using one of your conclusions as a premise to argue for itself? Since, after all, you seem to think that libertarianism would necessarily be capitalist.

Yeah, I take it back. That premise isn't part of the argument.

I'd love to see these mountains of yours :)

Then I suggest you check out this thing called 'science'. Particularly quantum mechanics, optics, the various fields of cognitive science, biology... oh and epistemology, linguistics and several similarly fields of philosophy. Because if you honestly don't know about these mountains, you quite clearly haven't. You can be as passive aggressive as you like about it, but that's what you're up against.

Just to be clear; are you claiming that human perception is infallible and that we all share a single world that we experience objectively?

No, just that it is an axiom. And I think we share a single world that we experience subjectively (our experience necessarily depends on the faculty by which we experience), but we should derive understanding from that experience objectively.


That's because the prevailing morality equates "morally good behavior" with altruism. And if "atrociously immoral acts" and "disregard for others" entail violation of individual rights, then they wouldn't be permitted under libertarianism.

So your objection to the fact that throughout human history 'morality' has been defined and understood in a particular way is that throughout human history 'morality' has been defined and understood in a particular way? Thanks Plato!

I'm just pointing out your tautology. Why would my objections be predicated on it?

Nah, you're right; Objectivists don't just spout 'x is x' as if they've made a profound observation rather than parroted a mindless tautology.