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Peter Morris

I'm accused of absolutism and victim blaming. I have no response.

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My friend who studies philosophy at university claims firstly that I'm victim blaming when I say they are not entitled to any rich people's money because poor people and the needy are not at fault for being in that situation. Rich and well off people by and large were born into good families or with better brains, etc. I have absolutely not retort though. I have no idea what premises lead to the following: if you don't tax the rich to give to the poor you are blaming the victims!

 

What is that? Can anyone elucidate where that even comes from? It has me flummoxed.

 

Secondly, I'm being accused of being an absolutist. I just accepted it. I don't know if that's a bad thing or not. I'm indifferent to that label. Maybe I am. Why would that be obviously a bad thing? He says I don't live in the real world with the grey nuances of the actual situation. I guess he's a pragmatist.

 

I vaguely remember Peikoff talking about pragmatism being essentially acting on percepts rather than concepts. Though I don't fully grasp the significance

 

If any one could help give me some ideas to understand what this means, I'd be very grateful. I have not spent much time at all talking to opponents because I generally find it completely revolting. I have almost no interest at all in polemics.

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My friend who studies philosophy at university claims firstly that I'm victim blaming when I say they are not entitled to any rich people's money because poor people and the needy are not at fault for being in that situation. Rich and well off people by and large were born into good families or with better brains, etc. I have absolutely not retort though. I have no idea what premises lead to the following: if you don't tax the rich to give to the poor you are blaming the victims!

 

What is that? Can anyone elucidate where that even comes from? It has me flummoxed.

 

My response would be to ask him to establish that they are victims. And if they are victims: victims of what and by whom?

 

The fact that someone was not born into "good families or with better brains" is not the fault of someone that was born into good families or with better brains.

 

It just is -- so how does he establish that these people have a right to their money?

 

Don't get me wrong -- there are victims. Poor people are victim to the minimum wage laws and the welfare programs, for example. But, I don't think that is what he is getting at. I think he is just talking about some people being born superior to others, and, therefore, it is the responsibility of the people with superior qualities or better situations to take care of them. 

 

His argument is essentially: You are born smart, I am born not as smart, therefore, I am entitled to your money to make right this injustice.

 

But justice doesn't apply to things that just are -- i.e. in nature -- it applies to actions.

Edited by thenelli01

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My friend who studies philosophy at university claims firstly that I'm victim blaming when I say they are not entitled to any rich people's money because poor people and the needy are not at fault for being in that situation. Rich and well off people by and large were born into good families or with better brains, etc. I have absolutely not retort though. I have no idea what premises lead to the following: if you don't tax the rich to give to the poor you are blaming the victims!

What is that? Can anyone elucidate where that even comes from? It has me flummoxed.

Secondly, I'm being accused of being an absolutist. I just accepted it. I don't know if that's a bad thing or not. I'm indifferent to that label. Maybe I am. Why would that be obviously a bad thing? He says I don't live in the real world with the grey nuances of the actual situation. I guess he's a pragmatist.

I vaguely remember Peikoff talking about pragmatism being essentially acting on percepts rather than concepts. Though I don't fully grasp the significance

If any one could help give me some ideas to understand what this means, I'd be very grateful. I have not spent much time at all talking to opponents because I generally find it completely revolting. I have almost no interest at all in polemics.

Original sin! You have the original sin of talent, money, or intelligence. They have the original virtue of being dumb and poor. Lousiness must, as a virtue, be rewarded with values taken from you. Your friend has an upside down value system. Virtue is vice and vice is virtue. Such a value system finds remedy only through force. Force replaces the virtue of productivity. Force is now virtuous in that it gives value to the virtueless. It absolves the stupid and lazy of the necessity of virtue. The morality of force deprives its beneficiaries of their virtues.

This is, of course, an attempt to violate the Law of Causality. Normally, values are attained by implementing the requisite virtue. Your friend's goal is to distribute values causelessly. The extent to which his argument is valid is the extent of Crony Capitalism in the government. Great wealth is gained through the inadequate cause of pull. This too is an attempt to violate the Law

of Causality. Its hidden costs are ignored.

Aren't you pragmatic? Don't you go with what works? Concepts are tested against reality. However, are you willing to try a little theft and see how it improves your life? Rob a bank ot two and see if you can live better? Stick a gun in someone's back and take their wallet?

I, for one, am unwilling to initiate force against anyone. Your friend is willing to use a bureaucrat as indirect initiator of force, ultimately leading to a police officer wearing a gun to your door if you do not comply with his will. That will, being directed by whim, will ultimately be directed to benefit those having the most pull. Your virtue cannot be so directed. When it comes to force, it is no vice to be absolute. You absolutely do not beat your wife. Go on, it might greatly improve her behavior. Don't be an absolutist! Try just a little brutality. Be good sometimes and cruel others.

When it comes to victim-blaming, no! You are just unwilling to deprive people of their virtues. You are not judging people.

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I have no idea what premises lead to the following: if you don't tax the rich to give to the poor you are blaming the victims!

Capitalism rests on the idea of personal responsibility.  If I earn a million dollars then I am morally entitled to spend it, because I was essentially the cause of it.  "Earning" is an extension of "responsibility" which is only causality, applied to human actions.

He believes that people get rich by virtue of their genes and their ancestral socioeconomic status.  This means that the rich could not have chosen to be poor, nor vice-versa, through any of their own actions.

 

This is a causal assertion, no different from saying that "ingested arsenic will cause death", except in referent.

Human beings are, in fact, capable of choice; you can see it for yourself as you choose to read this; and the specific mechanism which allows us to choose is the same which allows us to imagine possible choices: our minds.  At the root of it, he is saying that there is no such thing as consciousness. 

This explanation, on the other hand:

You have the original sin of talent, money, or intelligence. They have the original virtue of being dumb and poor.

Is also correct.  The assertion of Original Sin, however, is only the logical extension of the underlying denial of consciousness.

---

 

He says I don't live in the real world with the grey nuances of the actual situation. I guess he's a pragmatist.

"Pragmatic" the adjective is synonymous with:

 

  practical, matter-of-fact, sensible, down-to-earth, commonsensical, businesslike, having both/one's feet on the ground.

 

If you strive to apply logic to the matters of life on Earth and in reality, and make your decisions on the basis of their respective consequences, then you are pragmatic in the truest sense of the word.  But like "selfishness", "pragmatism" (which by all reason should refer to Objectivism) has been twisted into an anticoncept.  "Pragmatism" is now used as a sort of code word for people who concern themselves with reality- to the exclusion of their own minds. 

 

If you have no opinions of your own, no ideals, no aspirations and above all no self-respect; if you are a foreigner within your self then you would be called a "pragmatist" in the popular sense.  So, do you think it's bad to be an absolutist?

 

I vaguely remember Peikoff talking about pragmatism being essentially acting on percepts rather than concepts.

Not literally.  Anyone who did not act conceptually at all would not be able to speak, much less function in an industrial society.  But that is the goal of a "pragmatist"; he wants to act exclusively on percepts.  This also ties into the "original sin".  Specifically, his morality is anti-conscious (and the closer you can come to living your life on autopilot, the greater your virtue).

He would see nothing wrong with acquiring food through farming, foraging, theft or armed robbery.  But watch his reaction towards anyone who wants to be earn their food by building skyscrapers or space shuttles.

 

It isn't value as such; it's conceptual value.

 

I have not spent much time at all talking to opponents because I generally find it completely revolting. I have almost no interest at all in polemics.

Good.  It's not your responsibility to fix anyone else's stoopid.  :thumbsup:  But if you're curious about any particular point of the preceding, there's an entire thread about it here:

 

http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=27179&hl=

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What is that? Can anyone elucidate where that even comes from? It has me flummoxed.

My best guess is that it doesn't come from anywhere (at least not anywhere logical). It's just a confused reply meant mainly as an argument from intimidation. 

 

It's what people who've got nothing usually reach for.

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My best guess is that it doesn't come from anywhere (at least not anywhere logical). It's just a confused reply meant mainly as an argument from intimidation. 

 

It's what people who've got nothing usually reach for.

It kind of annoyed me. He kept saying it. 'You're just victim blaming.' It's a little infuriating because a) I'm not blaming anyone for anything, I'm just saying the are not entitled to other people's money, and b.) they are not 'victims' of anything, unless you consider being born to objective facts of nature being a victim. But in my view, you can't be a victim of nature, only of a person.

 

You are not entitled to take rich people's money therefore you are at blame for being a victim of your poor circumstances! - WHAT.

Edited by Peter Morris

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If anyone is to blame it is the parents of the people who had those kids. I don't understand what is so difficult about wearing a condom.

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Original sin! You have the original sin of talent, money, or intelligence. They have the original virtue of being dumb and poor. Lousiness must, as a virtue, be rewarded with values taken from you. Your friend has an upside down value system. Virtue is vice and vice is virtue. Such a value system finds remedy only through force. Force replaces the virtue of productivity. Force is now virtuous in that it gives value to the virtueless. It absolves the stupid and lazy of the necessity of virtue. The morality of force deprives its beneficiaries of their virtues.

 

Well said!  Of course, if being poor is virtuous, giving money to the poor would be sinful.

Edited by Dogstar

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It kind of annoyed me. He kept saying it. 'You're just victim blaming.' It's a little infuriating because a) I'm not blaming anyone for anything, I'm just saying the are not entitled to other people's money, and b.) they are not 'victims' of anything, unless you consider being born to objective facts of nature being a victim. But in my view, you can't be a victim of nature, only of a person.

 

You are not entitled to take rich people's money therefore you are at blame for being a victim of your poor circumstances! - WHAT.

Thieves are criminals.  The "rich" person who had his money stolen was the victim.

 

He's blaming the victim!

 

A person who takes someone else's property without his consent and without giving something of equal value in exchange is a parasite and a thief.  

Edited by Dogstar

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A person who takes someone else's property without his consent and without giving something of equal value in exchange is a parasite and a thief.

Why add the second part? Why say "and without giving something of equal value in exchange?" What is "equal value" anyways; who decides if a fork is equal to two dollars or one, and if they are given "equal value" it still ignores the fact that their property is taken without their consent.

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