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Thread: Libertarianism/Anarchism - Page 17







Post#401 at 06-06-2009 02:15 PM by Brian Rush [at California joined Jul 2001 #posts 12,392]
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Quote Originally Posted by Matt1989 View Post
FWIW, libertarianism makes use of a different definition of coercion by bringing it in line with the NAP.
Care to expound on that definition of coercion? I'm afraid it isn't self-evident.

BTW, my problem with the NAP is the idea of including property as part of person. The division of property and assigning of it according to socially-determined rules to various owners, as it exists at any point in time, cannot be taken as a baseline. We must recognize that this action may be unfair, and that rectifying that unfairness is not wrong, whether it involves aggression or not.
"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?"

My blog: https://brianrushwriter.wordpress.com/

The Order Master (volume one of Refuge), a science fantasy. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GZZWEAS
Smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/382903







Post#402 at 06-06-2009 02:29 PM by Mikebert [at Kalamazoo MI joined Jul 2001 #posts 4,502]
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Quote Originally Posted by The Rani View Post
There's a very subtle interactional difference between boys/moms and boys/dads. More like respect for a role model than obedience to authority, along with a more effective way of relating to and communicating with each other.
Well of course there is. You implied differential outcomes. Of course there is the role model itself. Boys need adult male role models. Everybody knows that. But you were implying more, that boys need something more than just the role model (which can come from any adult male who takes an interest in the boy). Something that can only be supplied by a father and which affects outcomes.







Post#403 at 06-06-2009 02:33 PM by Virgil K. Saari [at '49er, north of the Mesabi Mountains joined Jun 2001 #posts 7,835]
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Question An off topic inquiry

When did crepundial cleansing become Standard Practice by Guardians of the very Ignorant?

As a Crown of Creation ludent; my GI parents (and those of my playmates) allowed our (meager perhaps by today's standards) allowed our possessions of leisure to be about for weeks and even months on end.

My farm set, my castles, my tinker-toyed constructions and the pieces not yet employed, my brother's Mechano (sp?) sat undisturbed by Good Orders until the space they occupied was needed for another purpose (a holiday, a 4-H Club meeting, a family gathering). They might be out for the entire fall until the Xmas tree was to be installed and the crepundial coffers were replenished.

I have noticed that my Millennial guests are often ordered to "put their toys away" for the hour of nourishment at table or for a night's rest of some few hours or even for a nap's time by their Guardians. If I have given them my aged toys to play with, I try to make plain that my toys are quite comfortable in disarray and need not be put in penitent order.

Did Silent, Boomer, Xer children have to endure this Order of Entertainments? Or is Class based? Progressive? Do advise.







Post#404 at 06-06-2009 03:37 PM by Brian Rush [at California joined Jul 2001 #posts 12,392]
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Quote Originally Posted by The Rani View Post
I think some people are confusing coercion with other forms of manipulation.
Far as I can see there are only three: coercion, bribery, or persuasion. Use of punishment, reward, or rhetoric, respectively.
"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?"

My blog: https://brianrushwriter.wordpress.com/

The Order Master (volume one of Refuge), a science fantasy. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GZZWEAS
Smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/382903







Post#405 at 06-06-2009 03:56 PM by Rose1992 [at Syracuse joined Sep 2008 #posts 1,833]
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Quote Originally Posted by Virgil K. Saari View Post
Did Silent, Boomer, Xer children have to endure this Order of Entertainments? Or is Class based? Progressive? Do advise.
But one can argue that, if you don't put away your toys, they can become quite a bitch if you step on them, especially legos.

I too inherited some of my Mom's toys, such as her "ranch set," which had fences, cows, cowboys, robbers, and farm tools. Most of the fences were broken.







Post#406 at 06-06-2009 04:18 PM by K-I-A 67 [at joined Jan 2005 #posts 3,010]
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Quote Originally Posted by Arkham '80 View Post
Only if you accept reflexive obedience as the definition of good judgment. I do not. The kid has to come to understand why he should pick up after himself, not simply that he must, else the whole episode is just an arbitrary exercise in adult tyranny, so far as he knows.
Well, I'd define good judgement as having a sense of what's good and a knowlege of what is benefitial to you and others. I agree, you won't find good judgement available in a can or a store. I also agree, the vast majority of people aren't born with it either. As a general rule, I don't expect reflexive obedience. I always expect some sort of resistance. I view resistance as something that's natural and good. I view reflexive obedience as something un-natural or regimented and not-so-good.







Post#407 at 06-06-2009 04:36 PM by Matt1989 [at joined Sep 2005 #posts 3,018]
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Quote Originally Posted by Brian Rush View Post
Care to expound on that definition of coercion? I'm afraid it isn't self-evident.
When libertarians say that they oppose coercion, they are usually referring to the all-encompassing powers of the state. Acts of 'justice' with defensive purposes in mind, such as isolating a serial killer, isn't considered characteristic of a coercive authority per se.

BTW, my problem with the NAP is the idea of including property as part of person. The division of property and assigning of it according to socially-determined rules to various owners, as it exists at any point in time, cannot be taken as a baseline. We must recognize that this action may be unfair, and that rectifying that unfairness is not wrong, whether it involves aggression or not.
I'm a little confused here. Libertarians who accept the NAP (usually) believe that property is a natural right, or a legitimately enforceable moral obligation. The specifics may not be able to be worked out a priori, but the baseline is not dependent on social convention. So a crime against someone's property is a crime against the owner of that property.







Post#408 at 06-06-2009 05:17 PM by Brian Rush [at California joined Jul 2001 #posts 12,392]
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Quote Originally Posted by Matt1989 View Post
When libertarians say that they oppose coercion, they are usually referring to the all-encompassing powers of the state. Acts of 'justice' with defensive purposes in mind, such as isolating a serial killer, isn't considered characteristic of a coercive authority per se.
This doesn't answer my question. Maybe because you're starting with the premise that "coercion is bad"? And so a morally neutral definition like "behavior shaping using the threat of punishment" becomes unacceptable?

Isn't the forcing of a slave to work for his owner just about the archetype of coercion? How is that done? Through threat of punishment, right? The slave has not lost his will; he can refuse. If he does, though, he may be tortured, killed, or sold to a worse owner.

Isolating a serial killer isn't necessarily coercion per se (although coercion is used to keep him isolated). Keeping him away from other people is simply protecting those other people. But most criminal justice involves inflicting punishment on those found guilty, to deter others from committing crimes. The state is shaping behavior through threat of punishment.

Way I see it, coercion can be good or bad, depending on the circumstances. It's a necessary part of the social order (of course, I say that as a non-anarchist), but it can certainly be abused.

I'm a little confused here. Libertarians who accept the NAP (usually) believe that property is a natural right, or a legitimately enforceable moral obligation.
"Natural right" is an oxymoron. A right is a convention of human society: a freedom which we judge to be justified. Rights are something that we collectively create in an act of common will. They do not pre-exist that act of will.

On the other hand it's arguable that property is a legitimately enforceable moral obligation, but nonetheless property requires coercion/threat of force in order to even exist. Set aside for the moment the question of whether it's legitimate or justified, and just consider the mechanics.

I'd like to introduce a word: "stuff." Stuff is anything that can be used. It may be food, tools, toys, water, air, etc. If someone can use it, it's stuff.

Is stuff property? Not automatically. For stuff to be property, it has to be recognized as belonging to someone. What does that mean? It means that one person (or family or organization or whatever) has exclusive right to use that stuff. Punishments are threatened against anyone who uses someone else's property without that person's permission. The punishments may be threatened by the owner himself, by a group to which he belongs, or by the government, but someone has to make those threats or it isn't his property.

Again, I'm not saying one way or the other whether this is morally right or justified. All I'm saying is that that is the mechanics of property existing: it's a threat of punishment for unauthorized use of stuff. And the point is this: whether you consider that threat of punishment justified or not, it is most definitely initiation of force. It is aggression. And it preexists any theft or other violation of property rights, because those property rights do not even exist without a threat of force being asserted first.

The specifics may not be able to be worked out a priori, but the baseline is not dependent on social convention.
I disagree. Social convention is what defines property rights, just as it defines all other rights.

So a crime against someone's property is a crime against the owner of that property.
That is true -- after the property ownership has been defined/established, but not before. Nobody owns property, and therefore "a crime against someone's property" is impossible to commit, until that initial act of force by which property is defined.
"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?"

My blog: https://brianrushwriter.wordpress.com/

The Order Master (volume one of Refuge), a science fantasy. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GZZWEAS
Smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/382903







Post#409 at 06-06-2009 05:51 PM by K-I-A 67 [at joined Jan 2005 #posts 3,010]
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Quote Originally Posted by Mikebert View Post
Well of course there is. You implied differential outcomes. Of course there is the role model itself. Boys need adult male role models. Everybody knows that. But you were implying more, that boys need something more than just the role model (which can come from any adult male who takes an interest in the boy). Something that can only be supplied by a father and which affects outcomes.
Dude, there is no man who would be able to completely duplicate my fathers love or completely take his place.
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Post#410 at 06-06-2009 07:06 PM by Matt1989 [at joined Sep 2005 #posts 3,018]
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What is Property?

Quote Originally Posted by Brian Rush View Post
This doesn't answer my question. Maybe because you're starting with the premise that "coercion is bad"? And so a morally neutral definition like "behavior shaping using the threat of punishment" becomes unacceptable?
Something like that. Kind of like murder is a killing that is bad.

"Natural right" is an oxymoron. A right is a convention of human society: a freedom which we judge to be justified. Rights are something that we collectively create in an act of common will. They do not pre-exist that act of will.
Disagree strongly. Does some natural justice not exist independently of what we may think about it? (I'm hesitant to jump into this further without understanding your actual position.)

All I'm saying is that that is the mechanics of property existing: it's a threat of punishment for unauthorized use of stuff. And the point is this: whether you consider that threat of punishment justified or not, it is most definitely initiation of force. It is aggression. And it preexists any theft or other violation of property rights, because those property rights do not even exist without a threat of force being asserted first.
This argument is only valid if you deny the natural right of property. Because if natural rights theorists are correct about property, those rights do exist independently of conventional enforcement. The question as to whether property law (or conventional property rights), idealized, constitutes an initiation of force -- well, I think the answer is no. Natural rights libertarians don't consider the threat of force designed to punish convicted murderers to be aggression, because it's a proportional (or less) response to a violation of someone's rights. Why should property be any different?
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Post#411 at 06-06-2009 08:39 PM by Brian Rush [at California joined Jul 2001 #posts 12,392]
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Quote Originally Posted by Matt1989 View Post
Disagree strongly. Does some natural justice not exist independently of what we may think about it?
I don't think so. I think that we, as social animals, establish ideas of right and justice ourselves. And you're right, this is the heart of our disagreement.

In fact, I've seen no conceptions of natural rights that made logical sense except those with a theological base. And as I don't believe in God, in the ordinary conceptions (and my own conception of the divine is not a lawgiver), I don't accept any theological base for rights. It's logically sound, but based on an untrue axiom.

If rights are not given by God, then they are decided upon by people.
"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?"

My blog: https://brianrushwriter.wordpress.com/

The Order Master (volume one of Refuge), a science fantasy. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GZZWEAS
Smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/382903







Post#412 at 06-06-2009 11:17 PM by Mikebert [at Kalamazoo MI joined Jul 2001 #posts 4,502]
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Quote Originally Posted by K-I-A 67 View Post
Dude, there is no man who would be able to completely duplicate my fathers love or completely take his place.
Of course not. But if you never knew your father, then there would be nothing to duplicate. Even if other men were present in your life, would the lack of a father mean you grow up to be an irresponsible adult?







Post#413 at 06-06-2009 11:53 PM by Mikebert [at Kalamazoo MI joined Jul 2001 #posts 4,502]
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Quote Originally Posted by The Rani View Post
What I didn't imply was obedience to authority or success in college.

And I did also use the term "father-figure."
Here is what you wrote:

Yah, I've seen that most clearly with boys/teenage males raised without the presence of a father (or father-figure) in their lives. There's something they provide that moms (or mother-figures) simply can't. Single moms do much better with girls.
You did include father figure, my bad.

I think what you are saying is women cannot offer something boys need that they must get from a man and so they do "do much better" with their girls than their boys.

Is this what you meant?

Also rather than say what you did not imply by "do much better", why not just say what you meant to imply.







Post#414 at 06-07-2009 12:09 AM by Arkham '80 [at joined Oct 2003 #posts 1,402]
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Quote Originally Posted by Brian Rush View Post
No, it's the standard definition: behavior shaping via threat of punishment. The same way people are coerced (if unwilling) into paying taxes; the same way a slave was coerced into working.
Mr. Arkham never threatened Jimmy with any negative consequence. If Jimmy learned his lesson, then he would recognize the implicit danger of a similar outcome in future, but then he would also recognize the implicit danger of burning himself again if he had just stuck his hand into a fire.

Strictly speaking, very rarely is anyone actually "forced" to do anything, in the sense of being deprived of will. If you tell a kid, "go to your room," he refuses to go, and you actually physically pick him up, toss him on his bed, and shut and lock the door, that would qualify, I suppose. But that's not what we really mean by coercion. We mean that someone has been made to so something he doesn't want to do by threat of punishment.
Again, there was no threat.

LOL yeah, that's what Arkham told Jimmy, but the fact is that Jimmy losing track of his toys was intended on Arkham's part -- he deliberately put them where Jimmy couldn't find them -- and so it was not a "natural outcome" of Jimmy's failure to pick up after himself. The natural outcome, absent Arkham's interference, would have been that the toys would have been right where Jimmy left them and he could have found them just fine.
I could just as easily have had the dog snatch up the toys in Jimmy's absence and squirrel them away somewhere. (In which case, nobody would know where'd they gone, and Jimmy would truly be screwed.) Or if Jimmy had left his toys in the yard, they could have been taken by a neighbor child. Or any number of other scenarios in which Jimmy's toys go missing because he failed to pick them up and put them in a place where he knew to find them again. Mr. Arkham's inclusion here is as a catalyst, and as a buffer. If anything, he mitigates the consequence for Jimmy, enabling him to learn a lesson without being truly harmed by it.

True, but that only describes the nature of the punishment inflicted, and notes that it was not certain other forms of punishment. It was still a punishment (as you said yourself). And behavior shaping through threat of punishment is coercion.
Once more, there was no threat. There was a cause and an effect. Mr. Arkham never once threatened Jimmy with any negative consequence for his decision.

You left out a step: Arkham putting the toys away where Jimmy couldn't find them. That was the punishment. #2 would be withholding a reward -- but it was a "reward" only in the sense of being an early end to the punishment.
There was no force or fraud, nor was there a threat of force. Mr. Arkham was crafty, but he did not induce Jimmy to do anything against his will. You may argue that any negative consequence that modifies behavior constitutes coercion, but that is such a loose definition of coercion as to be pratically worthless.

Also, I should note that libertarians may respond to coercion with force of their own, and thus technically coerce an aggressor into desisting, so we do not reject coercion outright. We simply endeavor to refrain from initiating it.

I disagree. I hasten to add that I don't consider them wrong. That's quite a clever and elegant way to shape a sloppy kid's behavior, and much better than more common ways (probably more effective, too). But it's still coercion. Perhaps where we disagree is that I don't consider coercion automatically wrong, as you do, and so I don't have a problem with recognizing that I sometimes used to use it with my kids.
I think we also disagree on the fundamental definition of coercion. Yours strikes me as much too expansive. Referencing Merriam-Webster, I find the following definitions for "coerce": 1) to restrain or dominate by force; 2) to compel to an act or choice; 3) to achieve by force or threat. Of these, #2 is the most general, in that it omits any explicit reference to force, substituting compulsion instead. In my scenario, however, Jimmy is not compelled to do anything. Mr. Arkham picks up the toys for him when he refuses to do so himself.

For that matter, I sometimes do it with the employees under my management. I had to tell someone recently that she would be terminated if she didn't follow proper procedures when quoting short-term liability insurance, because she had misquoted some things and potentially gotten the firm in lots of trouble. That was coercion: a threat of punishment intended to shape behavior. I see nothing wrong with it. Interestingly enough, if I'd just fired her. without giving her a chance to correct her mistakes, that would NOT have been coercion.
Termination of employment in this case would be a response to a demonstrable harm. As I noted above, libertarians can retaliate, we're just enjoined not to initiate. But you are describing an exchange between two adults, whereas the matter under question is how to instill responsibility in children without compelling them to be responsible. (I don't actually believe you can compel human beings to be responsible, since responsibility must come from within. Children can learn to ape any behavior, but unless they grasp the reasoning behind society's rules, they will never be more than conditioned automatons. Furthermore, children are keenly aware of inequities to which most adults deliberately blind themselves, so if certain rules are unreasonable, they will uncritically identify them as such.)

On the other hand, if you had told the woman she would be fired if she refused to fellate you in your office, that would be coercion.

LOL sorry, my bad.

The chores I was referring to were others besides picking up toys. Say, doing the dishes, or sweeping the floor, or bringing in wood for the fireplace.
No, I would not call rewarding the child's efforts coercive.
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Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes." -- Walt Whitman

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Post#415 at 06-07-2009 12:38 AM by Arkham '80 [at joined Oct 2003 #posts 1,402]
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Quote Originally Posted by Brian Rush View Post
Kids ARE incapable of moral reasoning until they reach a certain age and achieve certain accomplishments, viz: mastery of spoken language, development of empathy, expansion of consciousness beyond the self.
Young children's minds are far more capable than classic developmental psychology suggests.

It occurs near the end of the interview, so I'll repost it here for those who might decline to read the entire article, but this part in particular calls into question the assertion that very young children are incapable of moral reasoning:

Seed: What about less objective causal inferences, such as ones dealing with morality?

AG: One of my favorites of these experiments is one thatís been around for quite awhile but hasnít been fully appreciated. Two-and-a-half-year-olds [emphasis added] already recognize the difference between moral principles and conventional principles. You can ask them if it would be okay to hit someone at daycare if everyone said it would be okay, versus asking them whether it would be okay to not hang up your coat in the cubby if everyone said it would be okay. These children say itís never okay to hit someone, but whether or not you have to put your clothes in the cubby could change from daycare to daycare. They already seem to appreciate the difference between the kinds of morality that comes from empathy and the kind that comes from our conventional rules. From the time they are two, they recognize both are important but in different ways. Thatís pretty amazing.
You cannot step twice into the same river, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you. -- Heraclitus

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -- Jiddu Krishnamurti

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes." -- Walt Whitman

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Post#416 at 06-07-2009 12:41 AM by Arkham '80 [at joined Oct 2003 #posts 1,402]
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Quote Originally Posted by The Grey Badger View Post
But there were times it merely ended in the endless "Why?" cycle as well.
The little ones aren't being cheeky though. They really do want to know why.
You cannot step twice into the same river, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you. -- Heraclitus

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -- Jiddu Krishnamurti

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes." -- Walt Whitman

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Post#417 at 06-07-2009 12:55 AM by Arkham '80 [at joined Oct 2003 #posts 1,402]
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Quote Originally Posted by Brian Rush View Post
A perfect example of the latter is the military. While the duty to question orders in the military isn't totally set aside (i.e. there is such a thing as an "unlawful order"), it is greatly curtailed compared to almost any civilian society, because of the danger of disobedience in a combat situation.
Even this is conditional. Fourth-generation military forces actually suffer from rigid leadership, since command nodes are points of weakness in the network topology that can be exploited to disruptive effect. The resilience of a fourth-generation military is in its lack of a clear command hierarchy.
You cannot step twice into the same river, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you. -- Heraclitus

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -- Jiddu Krishnamurti

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes." -- Walt Whitman

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Post#418 at 06-07-2009 12:59 AM by Arkham '80 [at joined Oct 2003 #posts 1,402]
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Quote Originally Posted by Brian Rush View Post
Care to expound on that definition of coercion? I'm afraid it isn't self-evident.

BTW, my problem with the NAP is the idea of including property as part of person. The division of property and assigning of it according to socially-determined rules to various owners, as it exists at any point in time, cannot be taken as a baseline. We must recognize that this action may be unfair, and that rectifying that unfairness is not wrong, whether it involves aggression or not.
As a mutualist, I agree with you on this point, actually.
You cannot step twice into the same river, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you. -- Heraclitus

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -- Jiddu Krishnamurti

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes." -- Walt Whitman

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Post#419 at 06-07-2009 01:01 AM by Arkham '80 [at joined Oct 2003 #posts 1,402]
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Quote Originally Posted by K-I-A 67 View Post
Well, I'd define good judgement as having a sense of what's good and a knowlege of what is benefitial to you and others. I agree, you won't find good judgement available in a can or a store. I also agree, the vast majority of people aren't born with it either. As a general rule, I don't expect reflexive obedience. I always expect some sort of resistance. I view resistance as something that's natural and good. I view reflexive obedience as something un-natural or regimented and not-so-good.
Cool. Just so we're clear.
You cannot step twice into the same river, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you. -- Heraclitus

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -- Jiddu Krishnamurti

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes." -- Walt Whitman

Arkham's Asylum







Post#420 at 06-07-2009 01:04 AM by Matt1989 [at joined Sep 2005 #posts 3,018]
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Quote Originally Posted by Brian Rush View Post
I don't think so. I think that we, as social animals, establish ideas of right and justice ourselves. And you're right, this is the heart of our disagreement.
I still don't know if you're arguing for relativism or nihilism.

In fact, I've seen no conceptions of natural rights that made logical sense except those with a theological base. And as I don't believe in God, in the ordinary conceptions (and my own conception of the divine is not a lawgiver), I don't accept any theological base for rights. It's logically sound, but based on an untrue axiom.
I don't think the ones from God are any different. God can only logically command an objective good, right? And non-materialist atheists who are natural-rights inclined should operate under the assumption that logic (or something to that effect) commands an objective good. From there, it's easy to presume that there is a natural law, and thus, we are endowed with natural rights.







Post#421 at 06-07-2009 01:26 AM by Odin [at Moorhead, MN, USA joined Sep 2006 #posts 14,442]
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Quote Originally Posted by Brian Rush View Post
I don't think so. I think that we, as social animals, establish ideas of right and justice ourselves. And you're right, this is the heart of our disagreement.

In fact, I've seen no conceptions of natural rights that made logical sense except those with a theological base. And as I don't believe in God, in the ordinary conceptions (and my own conception of the divine is not a lawgiver), I don't accept any theological base for rights. It's logically sound, but based on an untrue axiom.

If rights are not given by God, then they are decided upon by people.
I agree. IMO rights are created by society and have the role of structuring society so that people are in a position to find what Aristotle called Eudaimonia, a full and flourishing life, roughly similar to the modern concept of self-actualization.

A just society that is compatible with Eudaimonia includes both negative rights, a duty for society to protect people from immoral coercion, and positive rights, a duty for society to provide to people a minimum standard of living. The exact rights needed would differ depending on the practical considerations of the society at a certain place and a certain period of time.
To recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less.

-Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man under Socialism







Post#422 at 06-07-2009 01:33 AM by Brian Rush [at California joined Jul 2001 #posts 12,392]
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Quote Originally Posted by Arkham '80 View Post
Mr. Arkham never threatened Jimmy with any negative consequence.
Yes, he did, he just did it in a subtle fashion. Or, to be precise, he carried out a punishment, and explained why, and this implied a threat to do it again next time Jimmy made the same mistake.

If Jimmy learned his lesson, then he would recognize the implicit danger of a similar outcome in future, but then he would also recognize the implicit danger of burning himself again if he had just stuck his hand into a fire.
The difference is that in this case, Jimmy didn't burn himself, Mr. Arkham burned him. An equivalent of burning himself in a fire would be if Jimmy left his toys around and someone stole them (as was pointed out earlier by someone else).

I could just as easily have had the dog snatch up the toys in Jimmy's absence and squirrel them away somewhere.
You could have -- but that would have been a different hypothetical with different implications.

Mr. Arkham was crafty, but he did not induce Jimmy to do anything against his will.
Incorrect. Jimmy was unwilling to pick up his toys. Mr. Arkham induced him to do so (or so we may suppose -- the success or failure of the effort was not presented). (At any rate he tried to.)

You may argue that any negative consequence that modifies behavior constitutes coercion, but that is such a loose definition of coercion as to be pratically worthless.
No, I would say that the modifier has to be deliberate on the part of another. We don't speak of nature or accident "coercing" people, even if the same outcome obtains.

I think we also disagree on the fundamental definition of coercion. Yours strikes me as much too expansive. Referencing Merriam-Webster, I find the following definitions for "coerce": . . . 2) to compel to an act or choice; 3) to achieve by force or threat. Of these, #2 is the most general
Yes; actually it's more general, and more expansive, than the one I was using. Although I would also say that it is circular, since "coerce" and "compel" are synonymous. I prefer #3, which is very close to what I was saying.

Absent actual ability to physically compel, so that someone literally has no choice (not even to accept punishment, not even to die), there are three ways to influence other people's behavior: threaten punishment (coerce), offer a bribe (reward), or persuade.

Termination of employment in this case would be a response to a demonstrable harm.
True but not really relevant to the question; it only made my coercion of the employee justified, rather than if I had, say, threatened to fire her if she didn't have sex with me. Both threats are coercive, the one I actually made was (I feel) justified by the circumstances, and the other would have landed me in beaucoup hot water and rightly so. So there's an important difference between the two, but not concerning the question of coercion.

LOL I note that you brought up exactly that example. However, I disagree. Both of these, the real and the hypothetical, are coercion. One is justified, the other is not.

As I noted above, libertarians can retaliate, we're just enjoined not to initiate.
Ah, but I DID initiate force in this case. The employee was being careless and quoting policies improperly. She was not assaulting anyone. The first force was therefore mine!

No, I would not call rewarding the child's efforts coercive.
On first glance, it wouldn't seem to be, would it? But consider: the reason this reward is so effective is because I have denied the child any toys out the starting gate. The child gets no toys "for free," while most children do. The "reward" I am offering is at least a partial reversal of my own restriction of the child from owning any toys.

I studied experimental psychology in college -- running rats through mazes and stuff. BF Skinner's famous operant conditioning experiments demonstrated that better results are obtained by offering rewards for obedience than by threatening punishments for disobedience. BUT, in order to make the rewards (food pellets) effective reinforcers of behavior, we always starved the rats for a while so they were good and hungry before we tried to get them to learn the maze. To do this, we kept them in cages, and denied them any opportunity to hunt or forage for themselves, and of course we didn't feed them. Does that not paint a rather different picture of the whole thing?

Now, consider the resemblance of both the toys-as-reward and the food-pellets-as-reward scenarios, to the paycheck-as-reward that characterizes hired labor. The concentration of ownership of capital property means that most people don't have the opportunity any longer of being their own masters (as was true about the time of the Civil War -- the majority of men at that time were either small farmers or independent craftspersons). They are denied any ability to, as it were, hunt or forage for themselves, and must learn/run the mazes in order to get their food pellets.

Do you think that this system is coercive?
"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?"

My blog: https://brianrushwriter.wordpress.com/

The Order Master (volume one of Refuge), a science fantasy. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GZZWEAS
Smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/382903







Post#423 at 06-07-2009 01:53 AM by Brian Rush [at California joined Jul 2001 #posts 12,392]
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06-07-2009, 01:53 AM #423
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Quote Originally Posted by Matt1989 View Post
I still don't know if you're arguing for relativism or nihilism.
Relativism, but limited relativism. What people's rights are must be a genuine judgment from the heart, not a disingenuous argument from convenience. However, it does definitely change over time. Today, we have concepts of rights that would have seemed weird in the time of Caesar: rights of women to equality with men, of everyone not to be a slave. As our material circumstances have changed, our idea of rights has changed along with them. But there are still some constants throughout history.

I don't think the ones from God are any different. God can only logically command an objective good, right?
But the definition of an objective good in theology is that which conforms to God's will. So this is tautological. And in fact, this is the only sense in which the term "objective good" has any meaning.

If we leave God out of the picture, "good" becomes inherently subjective. It's a value judgment, not a statement of fact. "My daughter is female" and "my daughter is 24 years old" and "my daughter is a Millennial" and "my daughter's name is Nicole" are all statements of objective fact, but "my daughter is good" is a statement of how I feel about her. (Sometimes. )

There's a condition between objective and subjective for which there is no word. When we say "subjective" we usually mean something that is completely individual, like taste in movies. But when we make a moral statement, we don't normally just express our own preferences, but also what others should feel. In the end, as enacted by a society, values judgments (including rights) are collective: they are a consensus of individual values judgments arrived at through communication. So it's not "relativistic" in the sense of each person's morality being as good as anyone else's, but it's not "objective" in the sense of being out there in the real world, measurable, and approachable through scientific method, either. And at the same time, to a limited degree it is individually relativistic, because that's how progress in values occurs: individuals perceive that things have changed, and that values need to change with them, and act to persuade others to adopt new values. (Of course, this tends to happen most fiercely during Second Turnings.)

If rights really were "objective," then we would have to say either that our ancestors were wrong when they denied women the vote, or that we are wrong now because we don't. From our own biased perspective, naturally we prefer the first of those, but consider: values will change again in the next Awakening (and to a less extent between now and then). If our ancestors were wrong because they had values we now condemn, then are we not equally wrong because we have values my grandchildren will condemn? And will not they be wrong, because they will have values their grandchildren will condemn? And in short, are we not always wrong?

But we can get off this treadmill simply by abandoning the idea that rights are objective, and state instead that they are our efforts to judge what our behavior should be, based on the circumstances in which we find ourselves. We can be right for these times, while still being different from our ancestors and our descendants, who were right for their own times but wrong for ours.
"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?"

My blog: https://brianrushwriter.wordpress.com/

The Order Master (volume one of Refuge), a science fantasy. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GZZWEAS
Smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/382903







Post#424 at 06-07-2009 02:47 AM by Matt1989 [at joined Sep 2005 #posts 3,018]
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Quote Originally Posted by Odin View Post
I agree. IMO rights are created by society and have the role of structuring society so that people are in a position to find what Aristotle called Eudaimonia, a full and flourishing life, roughly similar to the modern concept of self-actualization.

A just society that is compatible with Eudaimonia includes both negative rights, a duty for society to protect people from immoral coercion, and positive rights, a duty for society to provide to people a minimum standard of living. The exact rights needed would differ depending on the practical considerations of the society at a certain place and a certain period of time.
Natural rights are merely facts about what people ought to do in their relations with others, and to the extent that these moral claims are legitimately enforceable. You just detailed a natural (universal) right, the right to pursue eudaimonia, which I guess could be called the right of liberty.







Post#425 at 06-07-2009 02:49 AM by Matt1989 [at joined Sep 2005 #posts 3,018]
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06-07-2009, 02:49 AM #425
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Brian, you're jumping all over the place, and I'm having trouble following. So correct me if I misrepresent you. Personally, I think this discussion is worth having, and I think it's relevant to generational theory.

Quote Originally Posted by Brian Rush View Post
Relativism, but limited relativism.
OK, I think I know what that means but:

If we leave God out of the picture, "good" becomes inherently subjective. It's a value judgment, not a statement of fact. "My daughter is female" and "my daughter is 24 years old" and "my daughter is a Millennial" and "my daughter's name is Nicole" are all statements of objective fact, but "my daughter is good" is a statement of how I feel about her. (Sometimes. )
This sounds like emotivism, which is a division of non-cognitivism, which is a division of nihilism. (I know some take offense to that other n-word, but I think this and similar views are ethical nihilism.) In short, I don't think emotivism adequately captures what we mean when we make moral judgments. But my arguments are pretty standard in this regard.

So it's not "relativistic" in the sense of each person's morality being as good as anyone else's, but it's not "objective" in the sense of being out there in the real world, measurable, and approachable through scientific method, either.
That's not relativism at all; that's simply a rejection of moral facts. But even if moral facts are different than empirical ones, is that reason to wholesale reject them? Is the default position skepticism? I don't think so -- our whole lives seem to be an argument against that. I actually think most moral claims are quite modest, whether they be making reference to natural ends, sorting experience between pleasure and pain, etc.

Why is decentralized socialism desirable again? You must obviously see value in it, but then appear to make the argument that there is no such thing as value independent of your particular desire.

But the definition of an objective good in theology is that which conforms to God's will. So this is tautological.
I think the proper outcome of wrestling with such questions is that what the theists call God and the atheists (sometimes) prefer to call logic ain't so different.

If our ancestors were wrong because they had values we now condemn, then are we not equally wrong because we have values my grandchildren will condemn? And will not they be wrong, because they will have values their grandchildren will condemn? And in short, are we not always wrong?
So what? Are we not imperfect beings? Slaveholders have committed worse crimes than you or I, but I don't think that commiting more severe crimes necessarily makes them worse people. Are we always wrong as you ask? No. History textbooks may make it seem so, but they don't penetrate the daily lives of people -- and I think you may find some of the consistency you're looking for in the less headline grabbing stories.

We can be right for these times, while still being different from our ancestors and our descendants, who were right for their own times but wrong for ours.
Now this sounds like relativism! Are you really going to argue, though, that something like slavery was ever justified?
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