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Author Topic: Inalienable Rights  (Read 8985 times)
Nameless
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« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2013, 08:22:40 PM »

Sorry again for the length! I'm just very interested in this topic, so I get carried away.

The pillar of my ethics is the NAP. I oppose the State for a variety of reasons. 1. I don't think that murdering people is a moral act (people disagree obviously)… 3. Power corrupts so no one should have it legitimately.

It seems strange for you to criticize the state on grounds of the moral matters of the NAP/murder if you do not think there is an objective component to morality, because someone else could argue that the morality of the state/statists is simply different from yours. If so, you have to answer what makes your morality superior, and why others should abandon theirs and follow yours. Then we are back into the realm of natural rights philosophies, for if one moral philosophy can be superior to another (and why?), the superior philosophy should rationally be followed, and the inferior abandoned. If one moral philosophy cannot be superior to another, then claiming everyone should arbitrarily drop his or her philosophy in favor of yours is like saying "strawberries are superior to grapes because I say so, so we should get rid of strawberries". Words like “corrupt” and “legitimacy” (when referring to power) are loaded with moral connotations, making them subject to the same issue.

2. I'm not a fan of inefficiency, and I'm not a fan of being told what to do.

Government inefficiency is a valid concern, and of course I agree. And I don't think any of us here like being told what to do by some arbitrary authority  Wink

So then do we observe Amazonian tribes (some of which have had close to 0 contact with modern man, and I'm sure that there are tribes in existence that we don't know about). Or do we observe Western culture?

You observe all cultures. Restricting it to just Amazons or just Westerns would be a bad sampling of humanity, don’t you think? This is what allows us to see the basics of human response in a variety of environments – in essence, seeing a variety of human cultures is what will allow us to better understand and question what it is to be human. All data is equally valuable in this situation, just like lab data. Multiple, competing moral systems must exist, and we must be able to observe them and question them all in order to make more accurate analyses.

What exactly do base this assertion on? If you don't have property theft isn't a thing.

You are correct; when I added theft to that list, it was so I could be clear that theft is included in groups where private property claims are made. In a hunter-gatherer society without property, theft would be meaningless. In such societies, the reason property doesn’t exist (which is actually a bit iffy – most still have concepts of personal possessions, they just don’t have a robust system of private property) is because, being nomadic, private property is more trouble than it's worth.

Violence is inefficient but some people think that killing others is a moral act. I mean there are philosophies dedicated to subjugating people and whilst I find these philosophies abhorrent and hideous these philosophies currently dominate the globe.

I said it before. If every student gives a different answer on a test, it DOES NOT MEAN there is no answer to the question. It just means some of those people didn’t study hard enough. If people in a society still don’t see that violence (or states, or central planning, or legislation against victimless “crimes,” or any other bad idea) is costly and inefficient, just like the children in the example, they are just not studying well enough.

How can it be claimed that the NAP is the best moral code when clearly adherents to the NAP are few and far between... I'm not saying it isn't the best merely that the claim that it is, is unsubstantiated.

It's ironic because this is such a staple argument used against anarchy ("If anarchy is the best system, then why aren't more people anarchists?") You’ve admitted in a past post that you don’t believe popular support for an idea validates or invalidates it, so why are you switching that now? The rarity of the NAP simply means people can be dumb, nothing more, nothing less. The claim that the NAP is unsubstantiated ignores where the NAP came from, and the centuries worth of work by those who have tried to show logically why it works – these people aren’t just saying it willy-nilly because they feel like it. The trouble is that by the time philosophy into the nature of morality and rights took off, the state already existed and was hard at work warping ideas.

Besides, every time I ask a state-supporter if they agree with the NAP they say yes – they just don’t understand that they are violating it by supporting the state. Much of this isn’t a matter of disagreement, but of cognitive disconnect based on fear and indoctrination (for instance, the classic “I get that taxation could be immoral, but who would build the roads/make the laws/provide substandard one-size-fits-all public education?). In fact, most people refer to the state/taxation as a “necessary evil,” meaning that they understand the immorality behind the institution – they just have trouble imagining how anything else could actually work, which is why we need to do a better job talking to people with these sorts of concerns.

What does "best" mean? It seems like that depends on your goals. We probably have similar goals, but that hardly applies to the rest of humanity.

By best I just meant the system that will create the greatest prosperity for the individuals involved. Human beings are ultimately selfish creatures. Everyone’s goal is self-betterment in its various forms. While individual goals will vary (person A may be more interested in emotional well-being than monetary) the NAP is the most logical means of arriving at them, for it creates a path in which you don’t have to deal with the inefficiencies and negative, costly results of extended violence to obtain all of your desires. Of course this all would require a much longer discussion in its own right.

Have you heard of the Vikings? Their culture was based around pillaging people. Your claim here is incorrect.

You really aren’t understanding this. My claim is that the Vikings would be among the many people around the world who were logically incorrect (or irrational) in their moral conclusions. The fact that other cultures and individuals have followed different, and sometimes abhorrent, moral codes is a result of human fallibility, likely as a result of not seriously questioning the philosophy behind morality. One more time: like a student who gave an incorrect answer on a test, this does not mean the test doesn’t have a correct answer. The student (in this case the Vikings, or any other morally abhorrent culture or practice) just gave an irrational answer.
 
If people don't agree on property they're going to disagree about what qualifies as aggression. In fact the primary divide between capitalist and socialist anarchists is property. Of course this disagreement can be traced back to the negative vs positive rights debate.

Absolutely. Of course there will be disagreements about what constitutes aggression, just as there are disagreements about what constitutes moral behavior. One more time (hopefully the last time I have to say this): people come to incorrect conclusions all the time about all sort of things. Philosophical examination of concerns such as property/morality allows us to put moral/property claims to the test and determine which are rational and which are not, and which are beneficial and which are not. This is the task of the natural rights theorist. People who support the NAP do so under the claim that it is a rational moral system. Seeing as many people are ill-versed in philosophy and have variable intelligence, disagreements will arise not because there isn’t a superior definition of how one ought to behave and how one ought to treat property claims, but because people are fallible.

Your repeated suggestion seems to be that because people have historically practiced various moral systems, that must mean there is no superior moral system could possibly exist. But why should this be so? As far as I’m concerned, the reason why people have practiced various moralities  is the same reason why historically, people thought ridiculous things about philosophy and science - it takes time for us to gain and understand knowledge, and access to knowledge across cultural boundaries has historically been more limited than it is now. In short, you can’t expect everyone to get it right, and doing so is where we are disconnecting.

Chimps and Bonobos are within a couple percent of humanity genetically. There is debate about whether or not they should belong to our genus i.e. Homo or if we should belong to theirs i.e Pan or if it should stay the same. The point is that they are close to our genetic makeup so it's possible that by observing them we can acquire clues to our past.

The way other species behave, while scientifically valuable (and I recognize the value; I am a biology student/researcher) should not be used to advise human behavior. We are distinctly different in our reasoning abilities than chimpanzees/bonobos (when chimps figure out how to split an atom or discuss philosophy, I’ll consider taking their advice). While studying them is valuable for numerous reasons, it only informs so much, and there comes a point when you have to deal with humans as what they are: human, and not chimps. If there weren't differences between us we would be the same thing. We aren't, meaning there are differences, and those differences are extremely important.
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Nameless
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« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2013, 08:41:22 PM »

I'm a bit concerned that this conversation isn't progressing... In each of your responses, you've presented variants of the same rebuttal - "but X disagrees with that morality/property claim" - but don't seem to see why I find this irrelevant. I am notoriously bad at making and articulating my point, so I'm sure the fault here is mine.

Regardless, we have a fundamental divide on what morality is and where it comes from, and I am fairly certain neither of us will change our minds because of one random forum conversation. At the end of the day, we both have a common enemy and seem to operate under the same moral code (even if we don't agree on why we hold that code), so this may be a situation in which "agree to disagree" is the best option.  Smiley
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MAM
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« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2013, 09:27:10 PM »

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It seems strange for you to criticize the state on grounds of the moral matters of the NAP/murder if you do not think there is an objective component to morality, because someone else could argue that the morality of the state/statists is simply different from yours

Just because there isn't an objective morality doesn't mean I lack moral character. Other people argue all the time for Statist bullshit. I call statism evil and by my definitions it is. That doesn't make my definitions objectively correct.

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Government inefficiency is a valid concern
All bureaucracies are inefficient firms included.

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You observe all cultures. Restricting it to just Amazons or just Westerns would be a bad sampling of humanity, don’t you think?
I concur, the reason I keep brining it up is that it seems like you've narrowed what you're willing to consider to the industrialized West.


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Multiple, competing moral systems must exist, and we must be able to observe them and question them all in order to make more accurate analyses.
I believe that there will be multiple moral systems practiced in a stateless society. Of course that's speculation. But it makes sense that the religious assholes would live in communities full of other religious assholes and that these assholes might make homosexuality illegal and they may even punish it with death. I wouldn't live in such a community but that doesn't mean that it wouldn't exist. I seriously doubt anarchy will be an all or nothing event for the globe.




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If every student gives a different answer on a test, it DOES NOT MEAN there is no answer to the question.
People are wrong all the time, just because there's a question doesn't mean it has one answer.

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You’ve admitted in a past post that you don’t believe popular support for an idea validates or invalidates it, so why are you switching that now?
To point out that there is alot of dissent over this kind of thing.


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Besides, every time I ask a state-supporter if they agree with the NAP they say yes – they just don’t understand that they are violating it by supporting the state.
Have you heard people advocating glassing the middle east? I have, anyone who thinks that's consistent with the NAP is too stupid to be worth talking to. So there seem to be two options here, either these people don't agree with the NAP or they're stupid beyond hope. I suspect that reality holds a little of column A and a little of column B.


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In fact, most people refer to the state/taxation as a “necessary evil,” meaning that they understand the immorality behind the institution – they just have trouble imagining how anything else could actually work, which is why we need to do a better job talking to people with these sorts of concerns.
They also like to refer to their favourite candidate as "the lesser of two evils" and then extrapolate that this makes them somehow not evil. People are stupid and you can't convince them of anything. I'm still removing the shackles put on my mind by religion and the State and I'm still finding assumptions that I hold to be true to be unfounded and these assumptions that I'm shaking have been pointed out to me by people before. People have to want to change, and I don't think many do.

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By best I just meant the system that will create the greatest prosperity for the individuals involved
That is my criterion for "best" as well. I agree that given this goal the NAP is the way to go to achieve. But not everyone holds this criterion with any regard. There are those that want to be the boss of others and to them the NAP is not central to their ethics. Some people are just evil, and evil people rarely consider themselves such.

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My claim is that the Vikings would be among the many people around the world who were logically incorrect
This supposes that the Vikings had the same goals as you and I. I don't think they did. They're religion dictated that they had to die in battle to go to the gods.

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the NAP is the most logical means of arriving at them, for it creates a path in which you don’t have to deal with the inefficiencies and negative, costly results of extended violence to obtain all of your desires. Of course this all would require a much longer discussion in its own right.
I agree that the NAP provides an egalitarian playing field by which we can all strive to improve ourselves. But I don't think everyone wants to improve themselves and some people just want to be parasites.

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but because people are fallible.
They are, and I have my reasons for believing what I do. The NAP is the best option for me, my goals, and how I want to live my life. But I just don't care about what other people do, I used to but I was angry all the time... I gave up trying to save them from themselves. I too think the NAP is the best option, that doesn't mean it is. I'm just as fallible as the next asshole.

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We are distinctly different in our reasoning abilities than chimpanzees/bonobos (when chimps figure out how to split an atom or discuss philosophy, I’ll consider taking their advice).
That's what people keep saying but seeing how homo sapien sapien continues to display large amounts of ineptitude I'm questioning whether or not this is true.


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While studying them is valuable for numerous reasons, it only informs so much, and there comes a point when you have to deal with humans as what they are: human, and not chimps.
I don't think the distinction is as large as people think. We claim to be intelligent because we've developed extraordinary efficient ways to kill each other. I don't think that's smart I think that's broken. There's been alot of good too, but a good deed doesn't wash out a bad one nor a bad a good.

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I'm a bit concerned that this conversation isn't progressing... In each of your responses, you've presented variants of the same rebuttal - "but X disagrees with that morality/property claim" - but don't seem to see why I find this irrelevant.
I think I'm gaining a better understanding of where you come from. It reminds me of Ayn Rand which is where I got my start. I don't think one forum conversation is going to change my mind either, I once thought morality an objective thing I didn't change over night.

I find your claim that the variance is irrelevant, irrelevant do to the fact that goals vary from person to person, and ethics can only be rooted in a goal. When goals vary ethics vary. Given our goals the logical ethics system is one based upon the NAP. But even that isn't a thing that's universal. There are those who arrived at market anarchism, voluntarism, anarcho capitalism (whatever you want to call it) with out thinking of the ethics of it. They're utilitarians. 


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MAM
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« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2013, 09:37:39 PM »

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You observe all cultures. Restricting it to just Amazons or just Westerns would be a bad sampling of humanity, don’t you think?
I concur, the reason I keep brining it up is that it seems like you've narrowed what you're willing to consider to the industrialized West.

Of course I could be projecting my flaws onto you...
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"A stone is heavy and the sand is weighty but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both"-Tuek

"Knowledge is power, and it's light weight. The more you know the less you need."-Cody Lundin

"Hey... it's a haiku

Democracy is
Two Zombies and a Sheriff
Deciding on Lunch."-Davi Barker
MAM
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« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2013, 10:30:13 PM »

Oh and I don't care about the length of your posts, you know what you want to say and it takes as long as it takes to say it. All a lengthy response indicates is that you care enough to put some thought into the subject.
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"A stone is heavy and the sand is weighty but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both"-Tuek

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victim77
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« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2013, 12:25:59 AM »

Have you heard of the Vikings? Their culture was based around pillaging people. Your claim here is incorrect.
I disagree, in the vikings' heads i'm sure they justified it in some way or another, probably by dehumanizing their pillagees. There doesn't seem to be an entire culture that believes in killing for the sake of killing. Only a select few do, and they in turn twist a justification to their madness to create popular support. Terrorism, racism, xenophobia, you name it.
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MAM
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« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2013, 01:08:38 AM »

Have you heard of the Vikings? Their culture was based around pillaging people. Your claim here is incorrect.
I disagree, in the vikings' heads i'm sure they justified it in some way or another, probably by dehumanizing their pillagees. There doesn't seem to be an entire culture that believes in killing for the sake of killing. Only a select few do, and they in turn twist a justification to their madness to create popular support. Terrorism, racism, xenophobia, you name it.

Their culture lives for war in the name of their religion. To go to Valhalla one had to die in battle. I don't think they're mutually exclusive things. In fact rationalization may be necessary to facilitate a war. That doesn't change what they were.
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"A stone is heavy and the sand is weighty but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both"-Tuek

"Knowledge is power, and it's light weight. The more you know the less you need."-Cody Lundin

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Democracy is
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KaFunf
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« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2013, 12:45:54 AM »

John Taylor was a Mormon elder back in early LDS history. His view of "Inalienable Rights" is a theistic one.
 
"they existed before any constitutions were framed or any laws made" I like that but were back to magic again.

Abrahamic religions are geocentric in that we are "made in the image of god" and everything revolves around that. Mr. Taylor draws his idea of Inalienable Right from his understanding of god.  But what if we took god out of the equation and replaced it with mans image and framed it within NAP. By secularizing it do we get rid of the magic? lol

"There are certain principles that are inherent in man, that belong to man, and that were enunciated in an early day, before the United States government was formed, and they are principles that rightfully belong to all men everywhere. They are described in the Declaration of Independence as inalienable rights, one of which is that men have a right to live; another is that they have a right to pursue happiness; and another is that they have a right to be free and no man has authority to deprive them of those God-given rights, and none but tyrants would do it. "These principles, I say, are inalienable in man; they belong to him; they existed before any constitutions were framed or any laws made. Men have in various ages striven to strip their fellow-men of these rights, and dispossess them of them. And hence the wars, the bloodshed and carnage that have spread over the earth. We, therefore, are not indebted to the United States for these rights; we were free as men born into the world, having the right to do as we please, to act as we please, as long as we do not transgress constitutional law nor violate the rights of others... "Another thing God expects us to do, and that is to maintain the principle of human rights... We owe it to all liberty-loving men, to stand up for human rights and to protect human freedom, and in the name of God we will do it, and let the congregation say Amen." - John Taylor, 1882, Journal of Discourses, Volume 23, p. 263

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PaulWakfer
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« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2013, 07:44:24 PM »

Personally I don't think rights are magic, they're useful concepts but they don't exist.
All useful concepts relate to things that exist. You are correct in stating that what is generally meant by "rights" (excluding contract rights) does not exist in reality. It is a pseudo-concept just like god or the tooth-fairy and is just as harmful to logical pro-human thought. For more detail including a replacement see Social Meta-Needs: A New Basis for Optimal Interaction Warning this treatise is not an easy read! If the solution to the self-ordering of a society of total liberty, maximum possible freedom (they are distinct) and therefore optimal lifetime happiness were that simple then it would have been discovered by others long ago.
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Victor
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« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2013, 12:13:41 PM »

This question is mainly for Nameless, but I'd be curious to hear anyone else's answer as well. How are you getting over the is-ought gap? You seem to be arguing from a Consequentialist viewpoint, saying that a principle is objectively superior morally if it will have "beneficial" results when followed. But as MAM pointed out, different people have different goals, and whether an action is beneficial to someone or not would seem to rely on what goals they have.
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