moralist got a reaction from EC in Pessimism about the Future
The answer becomes obvious when considering the devolution of the United States into just another dime a dozen cradle to grave big government benefits dispensing European welfare state.
The moochers and looters are understandably ecstatic... while the producers are naturally less than thrilled.
moralist reacted to Richard_Halley in Global Warming
Firstly, you did not address my point, which was: you think scientists are easily fooled, but you think they ought to decide what our laws should be.
More importantly, as pointed out in the post by Marc K. quoting RadCap, it dosen't matter... either way, men should be free to produce.
moralist reacted to dream_weaver in Jesus Tax
"God doesn't need anyone's belief."
Went looking for Who mourns for Adonais, in "which the Enterprise picks up signals of an unknown life form near the planet Pollux IV of Beta Geminorum system. This turns out to be the God Apollo - a man-shaped entity with an extra organ in his chest, through which he could channel extraordinary energies. After retiring here from Earth, Apollo missed the adoration he had from the Greeks. He tries to force the Enterprise crew to worship him as a God. When they refuse, he dissolves himself into the wind." when this quote was stumbled upon. "They were Gods once, but their worshipers either died out or were converted to the worship of other Gods. They wail and flutter around the edges of reality without substance or even thought. All they have is need. ... We go out of fashion, Sparhawk—like last year's gowns or old shoes and hats. The Powerless Ones are discarded Gods who shrink and shrink as the years go by until they're finally nothing at all but a kind of anguished wailing."
— The Goddess Aphrael, The Hidden City, David Eddings
In terms of the power of a god determined the by quantity of its worshipers, Allah of Islam is a success story in this time. To see what it brings about by behaviorist rather than a doctrinaire, one only need look to the middle east to observe what abiding by Allah's "good", because it is "good" for them to do, and what "rewards" are heaped upon them for loving what is "right" enough to do.
Yes, moral law is exactly the same for everyone. And just like the law of gravity, it can be discovered and validated by objective observation. In this way, Rand is akin to Newton in identifying what the roots of morality rely upon, firmly entrenching them in the soil of existence as it pertains to the maintenance and flourishing of consciousness.
moralist reacted to secondhander in Defining Individual Rights
That's not quite correct. A priori and a posteriori are two types of knowledge; they are both based in reality. It is true that a priori knowledge is held intuitively, without the need for empirical investigation in a strict sense, but it is no less involved in the real world. A priori has nothing to do with knowledge held "before" or "after" a sense experience in a temporal sense. A priori is deductive logic; a posteriori is inductive logic. But both use evidence found in reality. (A priori will use deductive, rational logic alone; a posteriori will use empirical data combined with inductive and deductive logic.)
A priori knowledge also tends to be tautological. For example, here's an a priori statement: All bachelors are unmarried. You know this to be true without having to do an empirical investigation, and the reason why is because the concept of "unmarried" is inherent in the meaning of bachelorhood. So you hold this knowledge a priori. You could also make a deductive argument along the same lines:
P1: All bachelors are unmarried.
P2. Tom is a bachelor.
Therefore: Tom is unmarried.
You can know that Tom is unmarried by pure deduction (provided the premises are true) without going out and experiencing the world; you arrive at that knowledge by pure deductive reason. And still, deductive reasoning is grounded in reality, namely the reality of the laws of logic.
Here's another a priori knowledge: 2 is greater than 1. Again, this is known intuitively without the need for induction or experience of the world, per se. It is also tautological, as most all (if not all) a priori knowledge is, for the definition of "2" is two 1's.
Also, the laws of logic are a priori knowledge.
The law of identity, that A = A, is known a priori. Same with the law of non-contradiction, that A cannot equal not-A at the same time and in the same sense.
These laws of logic correspond to reality because they are based on the fact that reality exists.
So, a priori knowledge is very much valid in objectivist philosophy. In fact, this is why I said that the objectivist axiom, existence exists, and the objectivist value, life is better than non-life, are known to be true a priori.
You quoted me as writing:
I wasn't clear with my language. The point I was trying to make was that while rights are expressed only in a relationship to social contexts, they don't get their ontological grounding from social contexts.
In other words, if you are the sole human on the planet, there is no need for "rights," because rights tell you how to relate to other rational beings. You don't have to worry about a right to your own life, because no other being will try to take it from you. Now as soon as one other person exists with you, your right to your own life can be expressed. But the right to own your own life has as its ontological grounding the objective value that "existence is better than non-existence," and that as a necessary condition for you to continue to exist you must be able to own your own life, without losing your life or your ability to control your life to other people.
A person doesn't need to express that right until he is in a social context, but the grounding for that right was always there -- grounded in the objectivist value of "life is better than non-life."
It sounded to me as though you were arguing that rights exist because they are pragmatic for getting along with other people. I see now that perhaps I was misreading you, and that we are closer to each other than first appeared. But maybe not. Feel free to clarify and correct me.
Rand's argument was: "A 'right' is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context."
Note the "in" a social context (rather than, "because" of a social context).
I do believe that lying is a rights violation.
I have a right not to be defrauded. Lying is knowingly giving false information to someone about the world. It is knowingly tricking a person into misunderstanding the real world and certain facts pertaining to situations that affect him. Lies can kill, because they distort reality, and we need proper knowledge of reality for survival. It is no different than fraud. If someone calls up a elderly woman and says that her grandson is in trouble and in jail, and he needs $5,000 dollars to post bail immediately, and the woman sends the money, only later to find out that she was talking to a con-artist and that her grandson is fine, then she has had her rights violated; not only because she has had her property stolen from her, but also because in order for the theft to occur she was fed false information about the world.
Or to use an extreme example, suppose you are in a dungeon with only two doors, and one door leads to the exit, and another door triggers an explosion in the room that will kill you. There was a person who went before you, and he chose the right door and survived, and his voice comes over a speaker in the room. You ask him which door is the safe door, and he lies to you and tells you to open the deadly door.
Lies kill. And though this example is of course extreme and is an "emergency situation" kind of story, even real-life lies kill you, though to a lesser degree and not as definitively, because they feed you a distorted picture of the world, which hampers your ability to survive and achieve your value.
So again, your right to be harmed (in this case by being given false information about reality) is expressed in a social context. If you were the only person on the planet, you would have no use for a concept of a "right" not to be lied to, or a "right" not to be harmed, because there would be no one there to harm you or lie to you. When there is someone there to harm you or lie to you, then you can express you rights, but the rights get their foundation from the ever-present, immutable, objective ethic that the loss of life is evil.
moralist reacted to Devil's Advocate in Anarchy and Objectivism
I disagree with the Objectivist position that a right to life is a moral principle delimited to a social context. Hermits have no less need to act morally for want of society. The validation of a moral principle depends on how one behaves when no one else is watching them, and the example of living alone on a desert island is abused if one presumes the freedom to act without regard to life as a property one retains even in seclusion.
It appears to me that Objectivists, not unlike anarchists, rely too heavily on the notion of a freedom from coercion to define their right to life.
moralist reacted to ruveyn1 in You Don’t Believe in God – Disprove Him!
Just a small point. In existence argument, he who asserts the existence of X, has the burden to produce evidence for X.
He who disbelieves the existence of X or is not convinced of the existence of X is in the clear. No one is required to believe anything if there is no evidence to support the "anything" in question. Skepticism of the mild, careful variety is always permitted, until evidence indicates otherwise.
moralist reacted to mdegges in Selfishness and making others pay
There's a good book that relates to this question: Comrade John, by Samuel Merwin. (The story starts off a bit odd, but gets pretty good. I forget who, but someone on here recommended it.) The antagonist is a man who starts a religious group to gain money and power.. the protagonist (John) is an architect who builds the community in which the converts are supposed to live and work. He didn't care why he was building or who he was building for, he just wanted to build. Long story short, John learns the hard way that this viewpoint was wrong, and almost loses the woman he loved to the power-hungry preacher. And the preacher- if memory serves me right- he gets what he deserves.
I think the important point here is that work serves a purpose.. but you have to choose what purpose your work should serve. John was wrong by building for the power-hungry preacher because he chose to do work that served an evil purpose- knowingly decieving and stealing from weak people.
@bert: No- that makes them human. The important thing is what you do once you find out you've made a mistake. Do you admit the error and find a way to correct it? Forget about your new knowledge? Lie to yourself and act as if you're right?
moralist reacted to mdegges in Christianity and Objectivism. Are these compatible in America?
def Christianity: "The religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices."
def Christian: "A person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings."
Ok, great.. but what does that really mean? For me it's hard to put into words or generalize because the same passages and stories mean different things to different people. Anyone who's read the bible will know that there's many many contradictions and inconsistencies (ie: Ham saw Noah naked and drunk, but Noah cursed Canaan, Ham's son, for this indiscretion. Does that make any literal sense? Not at all.) But people still find a way to pull meaning out of these passages that, in a purely literal sense, seem absolutely valueless.
That's why there's Christian denominations (ex: Presbyterian, Catholic, etc), or subgroups of Christianity, that unite under more specific beliefs.. but those beliefs are not very specific, either.
def Presbyterian: "Of, relating to, or denoting a Christian Church or denomination governed by elders according to Presbyterianism."
Again- super vague.
Just look at all the charts on wiki's Christianity page. There's tons of denominations, branches of those denominations, etc.. but who knows exactly what each of those groups believe? Do the members even know?
My point is that there are different versions of Christianity. People find non-literal meaning from the weirdest places (like the curse of canaan story), reject what they think is wrong, and accept what they think is right. (This isn't at all unique to Christianity, but it highlights the point- google 'religious objectivists' as another example. Objectivists say that any form of religion completely contradicts Ayn Rand's teachings.. but 'religious objectivists' reject this notion and have found a way to reconcile their religious beliefs with Objectivism.) So what exactly do you have to believe or do to be a Christian? Do you have to literally give away all your posessions? Do you have to literally believe in heaven and hell and judgement day?
...Depending on the Christian you ask (even Christians among the same denominations), you'll get different answers.
moralist reacted to ruveyn1 in Christianity and Objectivism. Are these compatible in America?
Jews were doing these things (during the Babylonian diaspora) 500 years before there were any Christians. Perhaps that is why Jews are better "Christians" than are the Christians Christian. It is amazing how one becomes moderated and enlightened by having the living shit kicked out of one. Pain is a great teacher. Christianity became sane after the Enlightenment. Well almost sane.
moralist reacted to whYNOT in Christianity and Objectivism. Are these compatible in America?
Much in this. A significant aspect of reason vis-a-vis religions is that "man cannot live by faith alone", so the longevity
of religion has been dependent upon a large dose of rationality mixed in. It almost seems that the larger the mystical
elements, the harder one has to work at maintaining them with reason.
OK nothing new - the contradiction is all theirs'. However in the interim, believers in the ancient religions individually
gain something important in my eyes: they find character.
I see or seek character before I know a person's explicit convictions.
Let's not forget that Objectivst virtues are not monopolized by O'ism. Character is a direct result of the basic virtues,
prized explicitly and consciously by Obectivists - but gained implicitly by experience and thought by anyone else as well.
Honesty and integrity are the key indicators to me of virtue, followed by productiveness. All exist in spades within the religious.
If rationality is - lets say - 'limited', by the person's over-arching faith, it is still very apparent.
I'm repeating earlier sentiments when I say that in the main, I have often found common ground with those religionists
(not too often extremists) in our reciprocal respect for the truth - which I rarely find with secular 'progressives'.
Where we diverge radically in belief, has somehow not been important.
But, as we know, "nobody's watching" in the end. The contradiction is theirs', but for partly the wrong reason, religionists
gain admirable qualities I can't dismiss.
Perhaps I'm going by my own experience, and others have their own contrasting one.
moralist reacted to Hairnet in Reconciling Public Choice Theory and the need for a State
This kind of analysis really shows what is wrong with our system. Republics have always been plagued with businessmen and politicians using force to gain more money. Ancient republics were often ran by crime families that controlled everything. Our founding fathers understood the potential for chaos and tyranny in this because of what history had taught them and their experience with the constitutional monarchy of england, which a lot like a republic.
America has a very sturdy system however. We have numerous devices to keep the govenrment safe from tyranny and corruption. I think that the main problem today is that people WANT business and politics to mix, and honestly every time we have had tyranny in this country it was because the people asked for it.
moralist got a reaction from whYNOT in On Akstons reason to strike
I believe that it was because he understood that "neutrals" are totally worthless.
If a person happens to be swayed by the strongest external force of the moment, they can also be swayed the other way when in the presence of another external force. You never want to put yourself in the position of entrusting your life to any person who lacks inner conviction, because you cannot ever count on their loyalty.
moralist reacted to Devil's Advocate in Christianity and Objectivism. Are these compatible in America?
There's a lot there to respond to in terms of resolving (if possible) which version of revealed Christian testimony might support the death penalty in terms of smiting ones enemy. The Bible certainly provides examples of sanctioned blood shed.
For that matter, the initiation of force is explicitly addressed by Ayn Rand when she states, "Whatever may be open to disagreement, there is one act of evil that may not, the act that no man may commit against others and no man may sanction or forgive. So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate—do you hear me? no man may start—the use of physical force against others." Such a clear expression against the initiation of force apparently doesn't present mental acrobatics for some Objectivists to rationally argue for preemptive force and torture.
In terms of responding to real questions on ideology, I believe compitability is more clearly defined by ones actions rather than by interpreting the supposed tenets of anothers group association. Ayn Rand reached out and found things in common, i.e. compatible, with those of faith on political issues in order to advance capitalism, rather than to dismiss them because of their faith in God.
moralist reacted to ruveyn1 in Christianity and Objectivism. Are these compatible in America?
The American Jesus wants you to be rich, but first you have to buy the guy's book on how to be rich without even raising a sweat.
moralist reacted to Devil's Advocate in Christianity and Objectivism. Are these compatible in America?
They can and do, and will likely continue so long as a credible separation of church and state is maintained. Having been raised Christian and discovered Objectivism, I remain more impressed by the philosophic similarities than differences, and somewhat comforted by the arguments on ideology that arise within each camp independently of one another. As softwareNerd suggested earlier, I suspect people tend to adopt and reject aspects of both ideologies based on the trueness of their own individual experience. I believe in Nature's God, but I don't rely on faith to balance my checkbook.
moralist reacted to Dante in Christianity and Objectivism. Are these compatible in America?
Relevant quote from Ayn Rand on how the two interact politically in America, from her Q&A:
moralist reacted to Jam Man in Was the strike, a purge?
At risk of assuming the nature of a broken record, I'll restate:
"You seem to imply that if they were not his "kind" (you keep forgetting a space between those two words), then Galt would hunt them down and continue the purge; or, if he stumbled across of a band of altruists in the wilderness, he'd exterminate them on the spot.
You curse Galt for wanting to live, and damn him for not caring enough to stop living his life long enough to show you how to live yours. It's his life! That's kind of the theme of the novel, that Atlas has a right to his own life, no matter what the demands of the entire globe might be. Galt doesn't want to plie-drive the globe, Ragnar doesn't want to teach them a lesson they'll never forget, they just wanna be fuckin' free, man, and the easiest way to do it AIN'T going door to door with pamphlets extolling the virtues of freedom. They saw that the world was going to shit, and they withdrew to a safe location... one where whatever the rest of assholes on the planet did to themselves didn't affect them, one where they could be free.
What could Galt have said to Cuffy Meigs that would have made a man like that want to give it all up?"
And what about the babies... all the babies, so innocent, so unentangled with the affairs of the world.... Indeed, unentangled and and innocent they may be, but John Galt's responsibility they are not. Should he remain a slave, because society has rigged it so that if he frees himself, innocents suffer?
Why wage war or commit violence against a society that is already committing suicide? Why do you equate the recognition of the fact that a society is comitting suicide, with the murder of that society by the one who recognizes that fact and steps out of its influence?
You even admit that it's moral to let a society act how it wants, rather than wage war against it, which is just what Galt did. What exactly is your beef?
moralist got a reaction from Sean O'Connor in From "In Condemnation of Apathy"
Exactly. Empty symbolism devoid of meaning.
People who violate moral law under the colors of religion don't invalidate it, they only prove that no one is exempt from its causality. In fact, one of the ten commandments refers to just that... "don't take the name of the Lord in vain". This has nothing to do with spoken profanity. literally translated it is "don't carry the banner of the Lord falsely" or don't do evil in the name of the Lord. It is akin to a bad cop committing crimes in uniform, under the color of his authority. This is especially evil because it causes people to condemn religion as a whole, instead of condemning the person who does evil in its name. Ayn Rand also condemned this hypocracy in the way she portrayed those who held governmental authority in Atlas Shrugged as deceitfully claiming to act "for the good of the people".
My favorite response to criticisms of religious hypocrisy:
"Don't blame Jesus for Christians."
moralist got a reaction from dream_weaver in The illusion of volition(AKA free will)
The effects of moral law are most definitely physical as well as mental and emotional. I regard moral law as operating in exactly the same way as the law of gravity. Both are absolutely objective, and neither is the least bit affected by our emotions, thoughts, beliefs, or theories about them. Both are utterly impersonal... and no one is exempt.