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Not at all. I think most Objectivist are very well meaning people. They are just misinformed and misguided. So your claim that we are just trying to demonize you does not hold true for me. I'm saying

Your response to Eiuol that there is no such thing as “earned” because you can't “earn a person if you kill them” is not an example of the use of logic, because the concept of “earn” has nothing to do

Liberal contradicts this bizarre claim below: "Cooperative sharing of resources is only the sharing of extra resources among a group by a member who does not require those resources to maintain an av

If this is what you mean, then talk of lions and cavemen is useless. You should be able to, without mentioning others species or time periods, provide logical argument for why it is in our best interests to 'cooperatively share'. Anecdote and history is fine for making your arguments more effective, but are not arguments themselves. So far, you've provided nothing more than "we once picked apples off trees for free" and "lions are awesome". This can hardly be considered argument, as you are dropping all context to relate different time periods and different species.

So, in all of this, you have only really said one thing: "Our self interests and survival are best ensured through cooperative sharing of resources." And you have provided no argument to support that claim.

I'm surprised you've been taken so seriously here, and by some members who I have much respect for.

I provide countless examples and facts through this thread. It is up to you if you want to ignore them.

Scenario 1:

Fact: All living beings need resources to survive

A is a living being and needs resource X to survive but has been unsuccessful in acquiring X itself

B has acquired the resource X and refuses to divide X equally

Result: A kills B and obtains resource X

Scenario 2:

Fact: All living beings need resources to survive

A is a living being and needs resource X to survive but has been unsuccessful in acquiring X itself

B has acquired the resource X and shares X with A

Result: Both A and B survive

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So, in all of this, you have only really said one thing: "Our self interests and survival are best ensured through cooperative sharing of resources." And you have provided no argument to support that claim.

Somebody had to cut through all that verbiage to find its point.

Well done, Alexandros - it's a tough gig, but someone had to do it.

One thing more, liberal, the 'dignity' you speak of (as in "roof over their own heads") is core to Objectivism's view of Man's nature.

But, Oists know the real value of pride and dignity is a self-made one - not one given by any arbitrary authority, re-distributed from others.

Capitalism is an extension of this morality.

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It seems to me it would be in an employees' self interest and expected of them to be able to fully support themselves, without assistance, after 8 hours of work a day 5 days a week. With these kind of "exchanges" we are better off in the wild.

Imagine if you hunted 8 hours a day 5 days a week in the wild. Do you think you'd be able to support your own existence? The Native Americans worked far less hours than the typical American and they at least had the dignity of their work fully supporting their existence even if at a lower level technology.

You have an entirely inaccurate view of what life looked like before modern technology and production techniques. What were the Native Americans' infant mortality rates? Life expectancies? Population growth rates? Don't forget that their populations were ravaged by diseases which nowadays pose no threat whatsoever to the modern American.

Can you support your rosy and idyllic view of pre-modern life with any actual facts? It seems to me that people who make these claims about being "better off in the wild" don't truly understand what "the wild" means to a human being with no access to technology. We're not talking about a camping trip with your gas stove and sleeping bag; hunting with steel traps, rifles, and compound bows.

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You have an entirely inaccurate view of what life looked like before modern technology and production techniques. What were the Native Americans' infant mortality rates? Life expectancies? Population growth rates? Don't forget that their populations were ravaged by diseases which nowadays pose no threat whatsoever to the modern American.

Can you support your rosy and idyllic view of pre-modern life with any actual facts? It seems to me that people who make these claims about being "better off in the wild" don't truly understand what "the wild" means to a human being with no access to technology. We're not talking about a camping trip with your gas stove and sleeping bag; hunting with steel traps, rifles, and compound bows.

Doesn't matter. You're talking about conditions and time spans. That is irrelevant to my point. I'm talking the measure of independence from others acquired from time + effort.

OMG you people don't get it.

Edited by liberal
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Doesn't matter. You're talking about conditions and time spans. That is irrelevant to my point. I'm talking the measure of independence from others acquired from time + effort.

OMG you people don't get it.

Then why don't you explain. Start with how increased independence from others is compatible with increased cooperation with others, considering that you seem to think we should have more of both.

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What do you mean, "Well done"? He's done nothing.

Oh, yes . He distilled everything you've been saying into one line.

Now, are you ignoring the rest of my post above, or would you like to debate the essential difference between our views of Man's nature?

Is dignity to be given to one at the cost of another?

Or is dignity the hard-won result of an individual's freedom of choice and productivity?

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In the context of humans, you should recognize that in scenario 1 A is acting completely immorally and that B has the right to stop A by any means up to and including killing him (I'm assuming we're talking a state-of-nature type thing here with no civil society). Scenario 2 is a false alternative. You're basically saying that it's acceptable for A to run a sort of protection racket to get access to B's resources. Then again I suppose you do believe that's all right because you want government to do this on behalf of people with less, under threat of force. What about Scenario 3: A has been unsuccessful in acquiring X, and B has X. A gives B something of value (could be anything) in exchange for some of his X. Both parties are now better off than they were before.

But I guess that's unacceptable, because that would be free trade.

I provide countless examples and facts through this thread. It is up to you if you want to ignore them.

Scenario 1:

Fact: All living beings need resources to survive

A is a living being and needs resource X to survive but has been unsuccessful in acquiring X itself

B has acquired the resource X and refuses to divide X equally

Result: A kills B and obtains resource X

Scenario 2:

Fact: All living beings need resources to survive

A is a living being and needs resource X to survive but has been unsuccessful in acquiring X itself

B has acquired the resource X and shares X with A

Result: Both A and B survive

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Then why don't you explain. Start with how increased independence from others is compatible with increased cooperation with others, considering that you seem to think we should have more of both.

Okay to answer. Now I'm going to try to explain an interesting point about cooperative sharing and competition. Cooperative sharing is not a form of dependence on others. Competition is the actual form of dependence. This is easily observable in the example of two members of different species competing over the entirety of a kill that one has made. Because the two animals cannot negotiate an equal division of the resources, the loss of the resource by the one is felt as a "dependence" by the other.

Cooperative sharing is compatible with independence because no one is actually being depended on in cooperative sharing. Cooperative sharing of resources is only the sharing of extra resources among a group by a member who does not require those resources to maintain an average degree of comfort. So, as long as the procurer of a resource keeps enough to sustain their average degree of comfort, no loss or dependence is felt. The dependence is on the Earth.

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In the context of humans, you should recognize that in scenario 1 A is acting completely immorally and that B has the right to stop A by any means up to and including killing him (I'm assuming we're talking a state-of-nature type thing here with no civil society). Scenario 2 is a false alternative. You're basically saying that it's acceptable for A to run a sort of protection racket to get access to B's resources. Then again I suppose you do believe that's all right because you want government to do this on behalf of people with less, under threat of force. What about Scenario 3: A has been unsuccessful in acquiring X, and B has X. A gives B something of value (could be anything) in exchange for some of his X. Both parties are now better off than they were before.

But I guess that's unacceptable, because that would be free trade.

You'll be surprised here because I regard scenario 3 as perfectly acceptable but equally acceptable with the socialist scenario. As I said previously, I regard both capitalism and socialism (scenario 2) as important to our survival as a species. Both are imperfect but I believe they should exist side by side and be employed as solutions when and where the other fails such as in the case A having nothing of value to other B. Anything to avoid scenario 1. So yes, capitalism has survival benefits.

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Oh, yes . He distilled everything you've been saying into one line.

Now, are you ignoring the rest of my post above, or would you like to debate the essential difference between our views of Man's nature?

Is dignity to be given to one at the cost of another?

Or is dignity the hard-won result of an individual's freedom of choice and productivity?

What is the cost to the other if they are sharing extra resources they don't require for their average level of comfort?

How is dignity self made when all our resources come from the Earth and other living things?

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Mod Note:

Liberal,

I have suggested that you read the forum rules and guidelines in a PM I sent you. Since you have responded several more times here and not to my PM, I'm going to point that out again here. If you want to participate on this site, you need to follow the rules.

Thanks.

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Okay, tough guy. What is the "earned" and "unearned"?

Your response to Eiuol that there is no such thing as “earned” because you can't “earn a person if you kill them” is not an example of the use of logic, because the concept of “earn” has nothing to do with the standard of “that which one kills” but “that which one acquires through one's own merit.” You simply dropped the context, ignored his response, and smuggled your own false definition in, then pronounced it disproved without any logical tie between anything.

Now to show how your theory of “there is no such thing as the earned” is impossible, self-contradictory, and divorced from a rational morality. Then I will add a word about the trader principle.

The concept(s) “earned” (and “unearned”) have to be understood as concepts derived from morality. Only in the context of morality do these terms have any meaning, specifically, they are corollaries of the concept of “justice.” Locke explained justice as a system of consequences which naturally derive from actions and choices in accordance with the law of identity. Rand understood justice in terms of evaluation in regards to volitional matters. Justice re: volitional matters specifically pertains to relations and interactions between choosing and acting men. In isolated self-sufficiency, man encounters justice in as far as he encounters identity and causality. If he doesn't work, he goes hungry. If he increases his production sufficiently above his consumption, he has savings. If he is irrational, he suffers. If he is rational, he achieves. Crusoe on his island does not ask “Who decides who earns what, and how much, and by what standard?” any more than he asks “Who decides how reality is reality?” For Crusoe on his island, the exercise of justice is a practical necessity for survival, and even more so for him interacting with other humans.

So critical to understanding justice is to understand that because of identity and causality, certain actions have consequences, and that one deserves the consequences one has chosen (because reality exist independently of consciousness.) To “deserve” a condition of affairs is an effect one achieves by enacting its cause. This is where the concept “to earn” comes in, because it denotes what consequences one has to acquire through merit, i.e. deservedly. To “earn” names a process of enacting a cause. There is no intrinsic “earn” out there in the earth or in animals, plants, or in anything else. “Earn” pertains specifically to human beings in choosing rightly or wrongly, to go in harmony with reality, or to wage war against reality and the consequences of engaging in certain behavior.

The idea that there is nothing deserved or earned is the idea that there is no justice. The idea that there is no justice is the idea that there is no morality, since justice is central to evaluating the relation of some person's character to myself. The idea that there is no morality is the idea that there is no causality and identity, since morality arises from the fact man exists in a reality in which he needs a code of values and principles of action in which to enable his survival and well-being. The idea that there is no causality and no identity is the idea that there is no reality, since existence is identity, and identity forms the basis causality. Thus the idea that nothing is ever earned or deserved is impossible, that is a full-on rejection of justice, morality, and the nature of man and reality itself.

Now as I have how why the theory is impossible, we proceed to why it is self-contradictory. First, you claim that one earns nothing (referring to material goods here I presume), which as we can see, would mean that one deserves nothing. Yet, your theorizing simultaneously holds that everyone deserves everything. This is clearly a self-contradiction. If I utilize my reason to work a field, harvest wheat, bake a loaf of bread, and put it in my stomach, why is it that I don't deserve this, but at the same time, a parasitical bum does deserve it? (A wheat farmer in Nebraska doesn't own his farm and his wheat, which he created through his mind and productive effort, but some crippled Pakistani child who doesn't even know he exists does.) If you are saying he ought to have it, then you are making a normative claim, a claim that he deserves it, a claim about justice, i.e. a moral assertion. You can hardly say “no one earns anything” or “there is no such thing as the earned and the unearned” and then turn around and smuggle it into your own egalitarian nightmare world without self-contradiction. We can even see this if we analyze the terms themselves: there can be no such thing as an “unearned desert.” You are simply doing what egalitarians do: attempt to annihilate and blank out justice by means of a stolen concept fallacy.

Now to show why this is not defensible in any rational morality. Your moral theory can't be moral or just by any rational standard, because since the concept life is the root of morality, then holding anything other than man's life qua man as the standard of value is a logical contradiction. No theory of justice that holds “he who doesn't deserve it ought to get it exactly because he doesn't deserve it” can be even called justice, but simply an exercise in logical absurdity.

Now, regarding the trader principle. You asked your question in reference to the trader principle, because that's what “there is no conflict of interests unless one party seeks the unearned at the expense of another party” refers to. The trader principle is implied in the concept of justice. Since reason is mankind's survival instrument, and life is his standard of morality, this logically implies that no one has a right to demand a value from a creator of values unless he has earned it by offering the appropriate payment. Therefore this in turn implies that no egoist ethics (i.e. no rational morality) can justify violating the survival instrument of an innocent and seizing his values by force. The trader principle forms the very basis of all just human interaction because it is the only form of interpersonal relations that does not require the sacrifice of one man to another, and therefore is the only form of interpersonal relations congruent with the moral standard of man's survival and well-being.

The trader principle and justice, therefore imply the principle of individual rights as the only morally proper (i.e. consistent with man's life as an end in itself) answer to the question of what am I here and now justified in doing, given that the world is not transformed into the Garden of Eden, and that I cannot not act so long as I am alive, and must use scarce means to do so. Your theroy is egalitarianism, which implies total collective ownership of everything, including one's own physical body. Yet if all goods were the collective property of everyone, then no one, at any time and in any place, could ever do anything with anything unless he had every other co-owner's prior permission to do what he wanted to do. And how can one give such a permission if one is not even the sole owner of one's very own body (and vocal chords)? If one were to follow the rule of total collective ownership, mankind would die out instantly. Whatever this is, it is not a human ethic. Maybe an "ethic" for ants, bees, etc. (if they could have ethics), but not for rational beings with volitional consciousness (which is the only type of thing to have need of morality.)

Next shall we discuss your concept stealing with regards to social cooperation and competition?

Edited by 2046
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Mod Note:

Liberal,

I have suggested that you read the forum rules and guidelines in a PM I sent you. Since you have responded several more times here and not to my PM, I'm going to point that out again here. If you want to participate on this site, you need to follow the rules.

Thanks.

I'm sorry, I didn't see your PM. Just read it now and responded. I admit I did not read the forum rules but must I convert to Objectivism in order to continue this fascinating discussion? Is the debate section only for Objectivist students?

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Okay to answer. Now I'm going to try to explain an interesting point about cooperative sharing and competition. Cooperative sharing is not a form of dependence on others.

Liberal contradicts this bizarre claim below: "Cooperative sharing of resources is only the sharing of extra resources among a group by a member who does not require those resources to maintain an average degree of comfort." So in fact cooperative sharing requires that someone else have what is shared.

Competition is the actual form of dependence. This is easily observable in the example of two members of different species competing over the entirety of a kill that one has made. Because the two animals cannot negotiate an equal division of the resources, the loss of the resource by the one is felt as a "dependence" by the other.

Note the sleight of hand in this phrase: "felt as a 'dependence'". There's no effort on liberal's part to explain why this is actually dependence, or even to define "dependence" at all; instead, liberal assumes somehow that there is no need even to justify his claim that the animal feels a certain way, never mind equating this feeling with reality.

Cooperative sharing is compatible with independence because no one is actually being depended on in cooperative sharing. Cooperative sharing of resources is only the sharing of extra resources among a group by a member who does not require those resources to maintain an average degree of comfort. So, as long as the procurer of a resource keeps enough to sustain their average degree of comfort, no loss or dependence is felt. The dependence is on the Earth.

Again liberal gleefully ignores productive activity and the use of the human mind and labor, which are precisely what underlie the distinction between the earned and the unearned. Even gathering resources available and ready for use in nature requires the labor of gathering it, and most resources only become ready for use after human processing--labor, time, and the use of the human mind to discover how to do so in the first place. So contrary to liberal's last sentence, the dependency in cooperative sharing is precisely dependence on the labor and minds of those others who gathered or processed the things of nature in the first place, not on the Earth. It's a revealing argument though--by ruling labor and mind out of consideration from the get-go, this allows him to pretend that the cooperative group is itself a part of nature on the same level as the Earth, which liberal seems to consider a desirable state of affairs. Ayn Rand pointed out that leftists seek freedom on the intellectual level, conservatives on the material level, since both sides want to control the realm it considers metaphysically important. Our poster liberal exemplifies this perfectly.

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What is the cost to the other if they are sharing extra resources they don't require for their average level of comfort?

The cost of the time, labor, and thought put into acquiring aand processing the things found in nature to where they are usable by others.

How is dignity self made when all our resources come from the Earth and other living things?

Again the equation of things as found in nature and those same things rendered usable by human time, labor, and thought, both indifferently described as "resources" to be divided among the group with no regard for the ones who made them usable: In short, again the attempt to obliterate the human mind as our distinctive means of survival.

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Anything to avoid scenario 1.

No, NOT anything to avoid scenario 1. You are making a mistake here. Where is your concept of justice? Why should anyone produce anything at all if it is subject to seizure by another with (supposedly) greater need who has done nothing? What do you think will happen to production over time? You equating scenario 2 and 3 is like saying it is equally good to hack off your leg or take antivenom if you have been bitten by a snake on your foot. Both solve the problem, so they are interchangeable, right?

I'll use another animal example, since you seem to like them and since I think it is elegant. Certain macaques, such as Japanese macaques, can dig up certain foods such as tubers from the ground. However, this is a lot of work. If you do it, you better be able to keep the tuber. The problem is, when subordinate individuals (macaques live in a despotic society) dig up tubers, dominant individuals just come by and steal them. This happens when any subordinate individual obtains any kind of food cache. So, how often do you think macaques go to the work of digging up food? Just about never, because the subordinate individuals can't hang onto it and the dominant individuals always eat first and take what they want anyhow, thus being the last to lack for anything. So do you think a lot of food gets produced? No, only just enough for macaques to consume as fast as they can, lest someone else make off with it. Under a system like this, there will never be a surplus of any kind. Is that what you want? Everyone just having barely enough all the time? It sounds like you find that preferable to a situation where everyone does better but some people do way better, which is unconscionable to me. So much for being a humanitarian.

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I'm sorry, I didn't see your PM. Just read it now and responded. I admit I did not read the forum rules but must I convert to Objectivism in order to continue this fascinating discussion? Is the debate section only for Objectivist students?

"Participants agree not use the website to spread ideas contrary to Objectivism. Examples include religion, communism, "moral tolerationism," and libertarianism. Honest questions about such subjects are permitted."

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?app=forums&module=extras&section=boardrules

Notice how we have many many threads in this forum started by those who are not Objectivists. You say you have read the rules, you should probably read them again just so you don't miss any more important parts. :thumbsup:

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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CapitalistSwine, and most importantly, the moderator have called attention to the forum rules and as such I am not allowed to respond to the responses to my arguments. Further debate appears to have been disallowed because I have apparently not displayed the required deference to Objectivism by having "honest questions about Objectivism". Whatever that means. Apparently, I am not challenging Objectivism according to the moderator but merely spreading propaganda. Therefore, this concludes my participation in further discussion in this debate and my participation in this website.

I concede nothing.

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CapitalistSwine, and most importantly, the moderator have called attention to the forum rules and as such I am not allowed to respond to the responses to my arguments. Further debate appears to have been disallowed because I have apparently not displayed the required deference to Objectivism by having "honest questions about Objectivism". Whatever that means. Apparently, I am not challenging Objectivism according to the moderator but merely spreading propaganda. Therefore, this concludes my participation in further discussion in this debate and my participation in this website.

I concede nothing.

Thank you for voluntarily respecting the property rights of the owner of this board and the rules set forth on its use.

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CapitalistSwine, and most importantly, the moderator have called attention to the forum rules and as such I am not allowed to respond to the responses to my arguments. Further debate appears to have been disallowed because I have apparently not displayed the required deference to Objectivism by having "honest questions about Objectivism". Whatever that means. Apparently, I am not challenging Objectivism according to the moderator but merely spreading propaganda. Therefore, this concludes my participation in further discussion in this debate and my participation in this website.

I concede nothing.

You merely displayed an extreme lack of understanding on Objectivism and why Capitalism is the only moral economic system in the world.

I am surprised people wasted their time debating with someone who used so many baseless assumptions. Those arguments never end with any productive discussions nor with any side conceding.

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