Evan Sayet on non-discrimination

The Libertarian linked to this video of Evan Sayet delivering a speech titled How Modern Liberals "Think".

I took an hour off to watch the whole performance. I find it sad. On the one hand, Sayet is correct that the "democrats" espouse a number of dysfunctional ideas that are fanciful and lead to failure. And it is a very good observation that, deeply, this seems to be a consequence of the desire not to discriminate.

However, it is sad that this is coming from a person who is harboring a number of dysfunctional ideas himself.

If I understood correctly, the speaker is against abortion. But abortion is functional; aiming to prevent abortion is dysfunctional and goes against reality. Not all kids are good, desired and necessary.

If I understood correctly, the speaker is defending Israel. Israel is dysfunctional. If you want to have a functional state, you don't build it in the middle of a hive of primitives who have been preventing Israel to live in peace since when it was established. If the founders of Israel wanted to have their desert democracy, they might as well have founded it in Australia and their country would now be celebrating 60 years of peace.

If I understand correctly, he is defending the war in Iraq as a way to enlighten Muslims. Now that would be all nice and well, if the war in Iraq actually had the effect of enlightening Muslims. It won't be possible to tell for certain until after several decades, but from today's vantage point, prospects are dim. Sayet also shows no understanding for the idea that it matters what reasons a politician uses to justify his starting a war. This war wasn't justified by its actual reasons; instead, it was sold to the public with lies. That is not irrelevant.

And finally, to claim that there is not enough evidence for global warming is like claiming that there isn't enough evidence for holocaust.

This is why this guy is making conservatism a bad favor. On the one hand, his argument is good - about democratism and the failure of non-discrimination. But on the other hand, this argument is coming from a person who himself believes in pretty stupid things.

Sad.

Comments

Evan Sayet said…
First, there is just no comparison between people who think the terrorists are the good guys and those of us who recognize that abortion is a scourge on society.

The notion that not every child is "wanted" is wrong on three counts. First, who says in life you always get what you want? That's a Liberal idea and if it means killing a baby to keep the fun going that's okay with the Democrat.

Second, all it takes is a couple of months of morning sickness and not going out partying and you can put the child up for adoption. Every child IS wanted as couples are desperate for babies to adopt.

Third, the society that the leftists have created has created not only more grisly killings of soon-to-be-born babies and MORE unwanted births. Obviously if the goal were really fewer unwanted children the Dems wouldn't push the policies they do.

Finally, if you want to know my position on abortion "rights" you can find a piece in the archives of my blog (sayetright.blogspot.com) where I say that I am reluctantly pro-choice, very much pro-life, and recognize the Democrats to be not "pro-choice" but rather pro-abortion (that would sure explain the increase in both abortions AND unwanted children.)
denis bider said…
Evan: compliments, you run a nicely designed blog. It's the first time I looked at, so I haven't yet read significant content.

I have also argued in favor of keeping a child rather than making an abortion in the past. In particular, I also used the adoption argument you mention.

The problem is, this is an easy argument for a man to make, who doesn't have to undergo the physical transformation of pregnancy. While for some women pregnancy may be physiologically straightforward, this is not generally the case. There are women for whom there are serious side. For most, there is the aesthetically less pleasing body. For some, it is their teeth falling out. For some, a pregnancy can be life threatening. There must be access to abortion so that women in these groups can preserve their health and save their lives.

I believe that women should be able to put their health before the child's life because I don't believe that giving birth and contributing to national fertility should be a woman's duty. Philosophically, I think that a woman has the right to do what she wants with her body and that until the baby is able to survive outside of the mother, the baby is essentially a parasite. I think that if you disagree, then your beliefs on this topic are more collectivist than libertarian. If you put the individual first, then the woman's sovereignity over her own body is a natural consequence. In this view, until the baby is born, it is a parasite. And since we don't live in a collectivist society, everyone else does not get to force the woman into giving birth if she doesn't want to.

Finally, I believe that abortion is good for the community. When I said that not every child is wanted, desired, and necessary, I did not mean just to the child's parents; I meant also to the community. There are people out there with genetic material such that, generally speaking, you don't want them to reproduce. If you deny this, then you yourself are falling into the non-discrimination trap - specifically, and like you accuse 'Liberals' of doing, you are refusing to use your reason to pursue a line of thought that might end up with you discriminating against some children and in favor of others. I.e., if you believe that all fetuses are created equal and have an intrinsic right to live, then you are engaging in irrational non-discrimination - which, as you said, leads to failure.

I, on the other hand, believe that not all fetuses are created equal, and that mothers who wish to kill their fetuses should have the right to kill them. Otherwise, there is an increased chance that irresponsible parents will have irresponsible children, a disproportionate number of which will grow to become criminals.

I believe that, as long as the human race keeps killing animals by the million for their meat, leather and fur, there's absolutely no problem at all if we also kill unwanted human fetuses. When eventually the human race becomes completely vegetarian, then I would think it's time to contemplate solutions to let each and every unborn fetus live. But until then, as long as we employ cruelty as the simple and most effective measure when doing other things, I think the much lesser and much more occasional employment of cruelty to prevent unwanted reproduction is the least of issues to be arguing about.

And I think this stance is sensible and consistent.
Kevin said…
Denis,

Libertarians hold to the NAP and in the case of pregnancy, the question is, who is responsible? Human life does not just spontaneously happen with no cause. Sex is required. And in choosing to have sex, a man and woman are accepting the possibility and responsibility of creating a human life dependent upon the mother.

Therefore, the woman herself is responsible for creating her "parasite" and abortion is the initiation of aggression against her child.

However, this still doesn't address the fundamental question of when a human life deserves NAP protections. And unfortunately, that is not really a question that science can answer.

But the comparable harm done by inconveniencing a mother for several months (due to her own knowing prior choices) vs. killing a child, should lead us to err on the side of protecting the child.

So, where do you draw the line of NAP protections for a child? Should parents be permitted to kill their children after birth? If not, how far before birth?
denis bider said…
Hello Kevin,

this blog post and my thoughts in it are 8 years old at this point. I've aged since then, had a child, and changed my metaphysical beliefs. My views have evolved not so much against what I wrote above, but to a position subtly different in nuance.

The way I would respond to this today is that the question of whether abortion is okay or not depends entirely on your metaphysics.

For example, a common Christian belief is that a soul is created on conception, and will go to hell or stop existing if it dies before it is baptized. People who believe this therefore consider it supremely important that the fetus is born, so that it has a chance of being baptized. Then it can die immediately after, as far as these people are concerned, because its salvation is assured.

Another person whose opinions are informed by New Age spiritual sources might reasonably believe that a soul is eternal; that we reincarnate; that the union of body and soul may happen any time from conception to birth; that a soul engaging with a fetus is informed of the likelihood of abortion or miscarriage, and that this will simply cause it to incarnate in another body. In this mindset, abortion may be an inconvenience to the soul, but it's a justified one if the alternative is an even greater inconvenience to the mother.

Still another person might believe in a universe made of matter from which consciousness arises accidentally. In this case, it seems to me that the most rational moral philosophy would be that of might and power. This is the same philosophy with which we justify our plunder of the world and its non-human inhabitants.

If you tell me your metaphysical beliefs, I can tell you what would seem to make the most sense, given those beliefs.

The abortion debate is a proxy war between metaphysical frameworks where each side is aware that it doesn't actually have evidence for its beliefs, so each side attempts to avoid making its assumptions explicit. But the only way we can resolve the argument is if we talk about those assumptions directly, and make them explicit.

Ultimately, whatever decision is enshrined in law, that decision represents our current best guess as to which metaphysical assumptions are valid - even if we go to great lengths to avoid making this explicit.
Kevin said…
Yeah, sorry for resurrecting such an old post. :-) It was kind of you to reply. And congratulations on becoming a father!

I agree that attributing NAP protections often relates to unprovable metaphysical beliefs, but the principles of morality are better grounded than simply might and power (might does not make right) or the idea that death is less inconvenient than pregnancy. I don't know any Christians who would say it is moral for a baby to die immediately after baptism even with eternal salvation. Actually, I don't know anyone with any of the beliefs you gave as examples.

In any case, in lieu of agreement on when the NAP is applicable, political localization becomes an apt libertarian moral principle.
denis bider said…
Kevin: the principles of morality are better grounded than simply might and power (might does not make right)

Whether might makes right or not depends entirely on your metaphysical principles.

Is slavery okay? Well, that depends. Do people of certain colors have souls? Are they real humans, or are they more like proto-humans, closer to animal state? If they are more like animals, then maybe slavery of those people is okay? Maybe they're inferior, and we're better custodians of their future?

But suppose they have souls. Well, then, it still depends. Are you a Christian or a Buddhist? If you're Tibetan, then you might believe their current state - poverty, slavery, whatever the distasteful situation - must be a direct result of past karma, and you must not interfere in it being worked out. If they are good, perhaps they can be rich in their next life, like you are!

But suppose that no one has a soul. Well, then, what consequence is there in moral posturing? If might is not right, then what is right? Do we need consensus on what's right? Then one person's disagreement means nothing is moral. Or does a majority opinion suffice? Well then, that doesn't feel great if you're a minority, does it?

And if you're part of a majority opinion, but don't have might - how are you going to enforce it?

Kevin: I don't know any Christians who would say it is moral for a baby to die immediately after baptism even with eternal salvation. Actually, I don't know anyone with any of the beliefs you gave as examples.

I don't think you realize how presumptuous these statements are that you're making. You are assuming things about the internal workings of billions of people.

You underestimate how much other people aren't like you. They really aren't. Daring to say something like "Oh, I don't know anyone who believes X" means that you have spent your entire life not being very interested in other people. It means you're looking at the world through blinkers - which we all do, very much so - but you're not even aware of the bias this gives you.
denis bider said…
The "non-aggression principle" is a problematic illusion because life itself is aggression. The very act of breathing is aggression. You can literally not avoid being involved in billions of microscopic deaths, regardless of how peaceful your existence.

The mere drinking of a soda results in vast rearrangements of your gut flora, where you house kilograms of bacteria, hundreds of strains of DNA that isn't yours, organisms whose life or death depends on your whims, such as whether or not you fancy a Coke.

Pregnancy is a perfect example of how life and aggression are intertwined. Human life begins as a parasite, and if you talk to most any parent, it continues in that very way until the parasite moves out. :)

Aggression is inherent in our every action. Any choice is an aggression against the choice not taken. The surgical removal of a cancerous tumor is aggression against living tissue that even shares most of your DNA, and its only crime is that it doesn't want to play ball with the rest of your body.

It's stupid to try to be non-aggressive. Then you'll be like the Jains, who sweep the ground in front of them in order to avoid crushing bugs. They still kill millions as they eat, though, and would probably do something if they could to avoid that.

The objective is not to be non-aggressive. It is to try to be aggressive in wise, beneficial ways.
denis bider said…
Also, another thing I've found in the last 8 years is that libertarianism is utter bullshit. We don't live in a vacuum. We are all interconnected, we all share responsibility for our world. Libertarianism is doom, in the sense that it provides a perch from which to wash your hands and not feel responsible about others' futures.

It also fails to provide any coherent response to crucial questions of human reproduction. Suppose we live not so far in the future where aging is a solved problem, and the world consists of two groups of people.

Group #1 are rich people who for the most part do not reproduce, but instead choose to extend their own lives forever.

Group #2 is poor, so they can't buy life extension, and according to NAP, can't force group #1 to share it with them, either. (Is that moral?) Group #2 therefore has a normal human lifespan, but reproduces freely: according NAP, group #1 cannot stop this. (Is that moral?) Group #2 therefore ends up creating vast numbers of children who were now born into poverty and make up most of the population of the world. (Is that moral?)

The only solutions to problems like that involve coercion.
Kevin said…
Denis: I don't think you realize how presumptuous these statements are that you're making. You are assuming things about the internal workings of billions of people.

You misunderstand me. I'm not assuming people's internal workings, I'm questioning whether you are accurately representing the prevalent metaphysical philosophies in your descriptions.

For example, contrary to your description, Christians are concerned for children both before and after baptism. It's not as though they would be okay with abortion if a priest baptized the fetus in the womb before killing it.

Likewise, Hindus and Buddhists say that their metaphysics entails that human life morally begins at conception and abortion negatively affects karma.

Of course, there are exceptions, and I am not claiming to know everyone, but it is misleading to give equal weight to exceptions as we do common principles.

In other words, you are focusing on the theoretical infinite diversity and arbitrariness of metaphysical opinion at the expense of the remarkable convergence in practice.

This convergence applies more broadly to morality as well. I basically define morality as what you'd choose to do if you knew the future with perfect clarity. This temporal dependence dovetails with free will and accounts for both its convergence and its uncertainty, subjective preference, the moral significance of hindsight, etc.

Unlike your approach of arbitrary diversity, this definition matches how people actually reason about morality and the role of metaphysical principles in supporting morality.
Kevin said…
Denis: The objective is not to be non-aggressive. It is to try to be aggressive in wise, beneficial ways.

But the NAP is a wise principle. It acknowledges that the extent of our wisdom is limited and it gives moral deference to localization and reciprocity. e.g. You are free from interference to the extent that your decisions do not affect me.

Your defining down the meaning of "aggression" doesn't help clarify matters, it just corrupts a useful term. Yes, we are all interconnected, but to different degrees and in different ways. It is specious to just normalize all those ways and degrees as if one interconnectedness is equivalent to every other one.

Factors such as a capacity for communication and cooperation come into play in determining "aggression" and morally distinguishing man from animal from plant from microbe.

Denis: Libertarianism is doom, in the sense that it provides a perch from which to wash your hands and not feel responsible about others' futures.

Not at all! Quite the opposite is true in practice. Libertarianism simply draws a bright line between what we should do and what we should force people to do. It places a greater moral responsibility on each one of us individually.

Indeed, the coercion of a "charitable" government tends to shrivel personal and voluntary social charity as people increasingly come to believe that charity is someone else's responsibility -- the nebulous collective and impersonal "us".

It is the Bystander Effect writ large. What's worse is that such collectivism allows people to clear their consciences regardless of the actual effects of government coercion, entitlements, and waste. Their conscience is appeased simply by their vote and paying their taxes.
Kevin said…
Denis: It also fails to provide any coherent response to crucial questions of human reproduction. Suppose we live not so far in the future where aging is a solved problem, and the world consists of two groups of people.

Your Elysium hypothetical is unrealistic given that every medical advancement in a free market has gradually spread to include more and more people, including the poor, not to mention that portion of the free market called "charity".

The answer to your moral questions is that the poor should be helped, but no one should be forced to help.

Notably, the system you describe could not be maintained without immoral coercion against both groups which you do not mention. e.g. The rich would have to be coercively prevented from helping the poor in order to achieve your hypothetical.

This is why I didn't like the movie Elysium.
denis bider said…
Kevin: Christians are concerned for children both before and after baptism.

They may think of themselves that way, but our thoughts and our actions are frequently unsynchronized; and we each tend to judge ourselves by our thoughts, only.

Christians may believe themselves to be concerned with everyone's well-being, yet their actions, as a political block, appear to be the opposite. They appear to be mainly concerned that their hatred and disapproval of specific choices and lifestyles is enshrined in law and foisted upon everyone. They actively impede efforts to provide social services to those who aren't well off, presuming such people to be unworthy. Their main concern is to "save people from themselves", rather than to actually help anyone, in any meaningful manner. For just the latest example of this mindset, check out this religiously-driven effort to remove children from an apparently quite happy poly family.

Kevin: you are focusing on the theoretical infinite diversity and arbitrariness of metaphysical opinion at the expense of the remarkable convergence in practice.

Our discussion is about the morality of abortion, not about the behavior of masses. In a discussion of morality, the frequencies of various positions do not matter. Participants in this conversation are individuals - you, me, and anyone else who might one day be reading. The metaphysical points of view that matter to us, when discussing the morality of abortion, are simply all those we can conceive of. We should arrive at our convictions independently of other people, so the number of other people who believe a certain (unprovable) thing should be irrelevant.

You continue to assert that you speak for huge swaths of people. Just now, you wrote "Hindus and Buddhists believe ..." This is another far-reaching statement for which you have no backing beyond, at best, anecdotal experience.

The Dalai Lama has been quoted as saying "I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance." But this is just the Dalai Lama. It's one person. He doesn't speak for all Buddhists. The Pope also doesn't speak for all Catholics.

Kevin: I basically define morality as what you'd choose to do if you knew the future with perfect clarity.

Yikes. I must honestly say that's one of the most unexpected definitions I've heard of. You must have either phrased this poorly, or it is indeed poorly conceived.

How many people, if they knew the future with perfect clarity, would take every opportunity possible to harm another person in a situation where they know they can get away with harming them?

How many people, if they knew the future with perfect clarity, would immediately proceed to win the biggest possible lottery, and proceed to live their lives at everyone else's expense?

How many people, if they knew the future with perfect clarity, would act in such a way as to ensure that they, and their friends and family, reap all possible benefits; that their enemies suffer; and that the rest of the world carries the cost?

Your definition seems like it would work only in a world where everyone is fully selfless and altruistic; but there's hardly any such person in the world.

Kevin: Your Elysium hypothetical is unrealistic

Worthless dodging. Your views do not cope with a particular test, so you dismiss the test as never occurring in practice.

It is occurring right now. The world population is 7 billion, and ticking.
denis bider said…
Kevin: It is the Bystander Effect writ large.

The Bystander Effect is exactly why we need to solve problems structurally, rather than relying on individual charity. Individuals will only ever be voluntarily charitable enough to have the impression that they did something. A vast majority will not be dedicated sufficiently to do enough.

Kevin: Libertarianism simply draws a bright line between what we should do and what we should force people to do.

Libertarianism draws a pretend-line, ignoring that its very assumptions are rooted in violence.

If you're against coercion, then you should not protest when a hungry person takes your sandwich when you aren't looking. It takes coercion to prevent that from happening, as well as a system of property rights. This system of property rights is not self-evident and natural. The natural system is that if someone wants your sandwich, they take it. The system of property rights is an artificial construction, and must be upheld with force.

We use this construction because it has been beneficial for the most part, and appropriate during this time of our development. However, some aspects of it are not so good. It disproportionately favors the lucky and the smart, at the expense of increasingly large swaths of people whom it pushes into increasingly untenable economic situations.
denis bider said…
To have an idea where the "Non-Aggression Principle", as interpreted by Libertarianism, is taking the world, take a look at this recent Economist article:

The weaker sex
Blue-collar men in rich countries are in trouble. They must learn to adapt

Notice the silly subtitle. The blue-collar men must "learn to adapt", when their very problem is that they do not know how to. :)

These are the first people being left behind by our technological society. It begins with men, because men are outliers both in a positive direction from the mean (more men than women are above average in ability), and in a negative direction (more men than women are below average in ability).

This trend has only just started. It is beginning to affect the, well; all the below average men. What do you think is going to happen next? Do you think these men are going to adapt? ;)

Unless we help them - yes, the elusive we - they only have two types of future ahead of them. Prison and poverty.

Do you think this trend is going to stop? Who do you think is going to be next?

This trend is going to continue, and is going to affect people who are increasingly more average.

You seem to be a smart person. You might be one of the last people to be economically discarded. We can only hope that enough of you change your minds, before it is too late.
Kevin said…
There are many cases of Christian Nannyism, but custody battles tend to be poor examples of that. They are inherently invasive due to divorce, the absence of private contract, and, of course, children.

Denis: In a discussion of morality, the frequencies of various positions do not matter.

By itself, the number of people with a moral conviction does not determine right or wrong, but convergence suggests that the nature of morality is not arbitrary or nihilistic.

Denis: You continue to assert that you speak for huge swaths of people.

I'm asserting that terms like "Christian" and "Hindu" have an actual meaning including typified moral beliefs which are not invalidated just because some Christians or Hindus believe differently or because people act hypocritically.

My point was simply that you misrepresented Christianity by suggesting that moral concern ceases after baptism.

Denis: How many people, if they knew the future with perfect clarity, would take every opportunity possible to harm another person in a situation where they know they can get away with harming them?

Very few. For every decision, there are trade-offs. There is no inherent benefit to harming other people. In fact harming others tends to reduce the future benefit that they can provide to you. This truth does not depend upon selfless altruism, rather it dovetails with a long view of selfishness.

Also bear in mind that this is a hypothetical universal construct to prospectively account for hindsight. It's not a unique super-power that only you would have.

My larger point is that the convergence of subjective preferences for outcomes indicates an objective morality.
Kevin said…
Denis: It is occurring right now. The world population is 7 billion, and ticking.

Overpopulation is a perennial myth because it cannot account for future advances, nor voluntary changes in fertility or other choices based upon actual rather than theoretical constraints.

Denis: A vast majority will not be dedicated sufficiently to do enough.

What is "enough"? You are basically arguing that people must be forced to accomplish their goals when in fact the use of such force through central planning typically impedes rendering aid and problem solving.

Government dependence tends to exacerbate the Bystander Effect, not solve it.

Denis: Libertarianism draws a pretend-line, ignoring that its very assumptions are rooted in violence.

Violence is "physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging, or abusing". Property rights permit only the moral use force for preserving, not violating. This is an important moral distinction.

Denis: The natural system is that if someone wants your sandwich, they take it.

What is natural about that? Is it also natural for me to stop them?

You can define property rights and morality in general to be "artificial" but then every human choice must be "artificial", thereby making that a meaningless moral distinction.

Bear in mind that morality pertains to what should be done, not what is done or what can be done.

Denis: It disproportionately favors the lucky and the smart, at the expense of increasingly large swaths of people whom it pushes into increasingly untenable economic situations.

No, not at their expense. The free market is not a zero sum game. Both sides benefit from free exchange.

Denis: Unless we help them - yes, the elusive we - they only have two types of future ahead of them. Prison and poverty.

I'm not opposed to helping people. What does this have to do with the NAP or libertarianism?

The article itself points to oppressive laws and regulations, including the education system which is entirely the result of government control.
denis bider said…
Kevin: custody battles tend to be poor examples of that. They are inherently invasive due to divorce

I don't think you paid attention to what that is. This seems to be the sort of misunderstanding that one would get from glancing at it for 5 seconds and not reading it.

Kevin: By itself, the number of people with a moral conviction does not determine right or wrong, but convergence suggests that the nature of morality is not arbitrary or nihilistic.

What? In that case, the converge of investment in any particular economic bubble indicates that the asset in the bubble is reasonably priced.

The apparent convergence is an illusion, it's driven by people being social creatures. People subscribe to clubs because they're afraid of being left out, not because they've pondered the morals.

Kevin: I'm asserting that terms like "Christian" and "Hindu" have an actual meaning including typified moral beliefs which are not invalidated just because some Christians or Hindus believe differently or because people act hypocritically.

I'm asserting that for most every person (e.g. Christian), you can find an adherent of another religion (e.g. Hindu) with whom this person has more in common; in terms of their spiritual practice, tolerance, and beliefs; than there is similarity between an average pair of random people whose religious faction is nominally "the same".

Kevin: My point was simply that you misrepresented Christianity by suggesting that moral concern ceases after baptism.

Of course I did, I was ridiculing it! Yet, there is truth in ridicule.

denis: How many people, if they knew the future with perfect clarity, would take every opportunity possible to harm another person in a situation where they know they can get away with harming them?

Kevin: Very few.

You are so myopic, I have no terms for it. 50% of people will do this!

Kevin: There is no inherent benefit to harming other people.

I'm seriously going "what the fuck" here. Man, you lack so much exposure to people. Go play a social online game, any game, for six months, and then come back and tell me you still believe this bullshit.

Man, you live in a cocoon! You have insulated yourself from humanity! You are living behind a rock! You have no clue of the variety that exists out there! You have divorced yourself from seeing what people are about!

Literally half the people on Earth get a jolt of pleasure from harming another person if they can do it without fear of repercussion. Literally half. That's what the online gaming world is all about!

Kevin: It's not a unique super-power that only you would have.

Even if two people both share perfect knowing of the future, that still does not lead to what you would consider a moral outcome. One of them can have a substantial advantage over the other. Having perfect knowledge, they both know about this. The one having the advantage leverages it to the maximum extent. The one without the advantage resigns himself, knowing he is beat.

That's not a moral outcome. That's an outcome that can just as well lead to a relationship of slavery. With perfect knowledge, slavery can be voluntary when you know that you are beat.

Kevin: My larger point is that the convergence of subjective preferences for outcomes indicates an objective morality.

What convergence are you talking about? The only one I see is that most people want to feel good, and few people want to suffer.

If you mean some convergence more meaningful than this, I'm afraid you might be talking about a delusion of human similarity that is mainly a projection of your mind; a generalization based on an echo chamber of people around you, who you think are representative of the world, but just happen to think alike.
denis bider said…
Kevin: Overpopulation is a perennial myth

Well, now you're just the kind of person who's going to make us wait until we're literally all drowning in each other's faeces before you admit capitulation of your DEFECTIVE PHILOSOPHICAL IDEAL.

I cannot yell this at you loudly enough. You are literally wanting to let the Earth collapse just so that you can stay in denial about the merits (and demerits) of your "Non-Agression Principle".

Overpopulation is no myth. Is climate change a myth? Are widespread extinctions a myth? Would these be happening if we didn't already have a problem?

Bangladesh is already flooded, and you don't think that's an issue? It'll only be an issue when the trouble comes to your doorstep?

Kevin: the use of such force through central planning typically impedes rendering aid and problem solving.

Social democracies in Europe work just fine! In the US, the Republican party is trying to sell the idea that "government doesn't work", which they prove by making sure of it when they get elected. It's driven by fundamental dishonesty. Government services can and do work just fine. US Postal Service works just fine, NASA works just fine, your international bombing capabilities work just fine, because your politicians care about the military. Lots of government services work just fine - just not the ones you're actively undermining.

In cases when government doesn't work, the answer is to fix what doesn't work. The answer is not in these escapist ideas about magically solving problems by dismantling our ability to tackle them, in the first place!

Kevin: Government dependence tends to exacerbate the Bystander Effect, not solve it.

You have two political parties whose very disagreement is that one would like to fix things systematically; and the other would like to, well, not fix things, but just let individuals do whatever. You're linking to a book that has a stark advertisement for Republicanism in its very title, and you not only believe this shit, but you think it will convince me as evidence?

In addition to this, you in general keep linking me crap that's widely known, of which you think I'm somehow ignorant. WTF is wrong with you?

Do you think I'm not familiar with the exceedingly basic nature of your arguments?

Of course I am familiar. I was exactly where you are, 10 years ago!

I'm kind of tired yelling at you, so I will retire. I appreciate the correspondence so far, but I frankly think you are naive and inexperienced. I can see that you mean well, and you genuinely think your beliefs are helpful and noble. I find this both silly and tragic. I know I will not persuade you, no matter how much I yell, so let's just leave this be for a few decades.
Kevin said…
Denis: I don't think you paid attention to what that is. This seems to be the sort of misunderstanding that one would get from glancing at it for 5 seconds and not reading it.

Please explain then. I did read the Indiegogo page. Are you suggesting that it is not one side of a custody battle arising out of conflicting rights due to divorce?

Denis: What? In that case, the converge of investment in any particular economic bubble indicates that the asset in the bubble is reasonably priced.

We may think so at the time, but you are ignoring the role of hindsight in morality which was the whole point of my hypothetical construct.

Denis: The apparent convergence is an illusion, it's driven by people being social creatures. People subscribe to clubs because they're afraid of being left out, not because they've pondered the morals.

But "people being social creatures" is reality, not an illusion. Morality (what we should and should not do) includes our needs and desires, such as an aversion to being alone. What do you think morality is?

Denis: I'm asserting that for most every person (e.g. Christian), you can find an adherent of another religion (e.g. Hindu) with whom this person has more in common; in terms of their spiritual practice, tolerance, and beliefs; than there is similarity between an average pair of random people whose religious faction is nominally "the same".

There probably is such a limit, namely that as a religious category is defined more and more broadly, its nominal members do have less and less actual religion in common (e.g. spiritual practice, tolerance, beliefs).

This is a reason to use more meaningful definitions, rather than to equivocate words to the point of meaninglessness.

Denis: Of course I did, I was ridiculing it! Yet, there is truth in ridicule.

Yes, but less so than in directly stating the truth. Criticism that ridicules tends to hide subtle flaws in its humor that compromises its validity.
Kevin said…
Denis: You are so myopic, I have no terms for it. 50% of people will do this!

40% of people in a specific, limited game with different rules and consequences from reality did that. It is the specific rules and consequences of our reality that leads to our morality and its objectiveness. Invent a different reality and that will entail a different morality.

Repercussions exist in reality. My hypothetical does not eliminate repercussions, it just reveals them.

Denis: With perfect knowledge, slavery can be voluntary when you know that you are beat.

It is theoretically possible that remaining a slave may be someone's best option, but you are inventing that scenario rather than deriving it from reality. e.g. slavery is typically less productive than a free market in the long term.

Denis: What convergence are you talking about? The only one I see is that most people want to feel good, and few people want to suffer.

Yes, that is one incipient and broad characterization of why morality converges.

Denis: Bangladesh is already flooded, and you don't think that's an issue? It'll only be an issue when the trouble comes to your doorstep?

Flooding is not a new issue and even if global warming didn't contribute to it, people would want to solve it. The question is, how should it be solved and who gets to decide?

Denis: Social democracies in Europe work just fine!

Sure, for some definition of "just fine", but they are also much smaller and homogeneous than the US. Should Europe solve all their problems through the EU? Do you think that will result in better outcomes? No, the localization of power is almost always superior.

Denis: In cases when government doesn't work, the answer is to fix what doesn't work. The answer is not in these escapist ideas about magically solving problems by dismantling our ability to tackle them, in the first place!

Government force is not our sole or best means of tackling problems. Silly suggestions like that are what what leads me to provide you with obvious links, perhaps starting with de Tocqueville, Chapter V: Of The Use Which The Americans Make Of Public Associations In Civil Life.

I had hoped you would address the actual argument and content of my links, not simply condemn them for their political affiliations or, ironically, their obviousness.

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