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What if Socialism is the only way for any humans to survive--would Socialism then be ethical?

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The Laws of Biology
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Some Socialists assert that some form of Socialism is necessary since high-tech humans living within a Capitalist system can't help but degrade or alter the earth's biosphere to the point where it will no longer be able to support human life. This is the message implicit in Adam McKay's movie "Don't Look Up" on Netflix. 

Now, if you don't mind, could we set aside, for this discussion, the issue as to whether or not that is a correct prediction about the end result of Capitalism.

Instead, let us, for a minute, assume it is an accurate prediction. 

So, if Capitalism leads to human extinction, and if Socialism leads to human survival (even if Socialism also has many undesirable aspects, as known from honest histories of Communist Russia and Communist Cuba), wouldn't logic and basic axioms (e.g., human survival is preferable to human extinction) lead us to the conclusion that Socialism is ethical and Capitalism is not ethical?

"Live Free or Die" is a motto many Americans appreciate. But is that an ethical and valid way to look at anthropogenic climate change, i.e., to say, "I don't believe there's any danger from anthropogenic climate change, but even if there is, it is better for humankind to go extinct than to live under Socialism." 

Edited by The Laws of Biology
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12 hours ago, The Laws of Biology said:

So, if Capitalism leads to human extinction, and if Socialism leads to human survival (even if Socialism also has many undesirable aspects, as known from honest histories of Communist Russia and Communist Cuba), wouldn't logic and basic axioms (e.g., human survival is preferable to human extinction) lead us to the conclusion that Socialism is ethical and Capitalism is not ethical?

Depends if your logic is grounded in reality (or connected to reality).

If drinking a gallon of arsenic increases your life span to two hundred years, then that would lead us to the conclusion that drinking a gallon of arsenic is ethical. Furthermore your "basic axioms" don't seem to be that self evident.

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"Give me liberty, or give me death!" is a quotation attributed to Patrick Henry, an American Revolutionary. 

"Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one," is a quote from Benjamiin Franklin, another American Revolutionary.

"Live Free or Die" (official motto of the U.S. state of New Hampshire) seems to go hand-in-hand with those two other quotes. 

The philosophical issue of ethics involved with all three of these quotes that I see and that interests me is this:

Whether or when it is really justifiable to risk one's life in order to maintain a certain quantum, level, quality, or system of freedom/liberty. 

Those 3 quotes above were all originally related to the armed warfare of the American colonists against soldiers loyal to the British King and parliament, in order to eliminate certain policies and actions of British rule in the North American colonies at that time. 

Some of the American colonists who waged war against the British soldiers ended up dead as a result of that warfare. Once dead, their level of freedom/liberty was reduced to zero. 

Suppose that, in our time, an American says:

"I don't see anthropogenic climate change as being a problem. But if failure to act now on anthropogenic climate change, as most climate scientists say is necessary to avoid global catastrophe, happens to lead to mass death of human beings, including even mine own death, doing nothing is still the right decision--if the only way avoid such a catastrophe and such mass death is to allow Socialist-minded political leaders to put terrible restrictions on the liberty of Capitalists. My philosophy is 'Live Free or Die'. So, I believe in taking our chances on the issue of anthropogenic climate change. If anthropogenic climate change turns out to be no big deal, then I'll live free. If it turns out to be a catastrophe, then I'll be dead and so be it."

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19 hours ago, The Laws of Biology said:

if the only way avoid such a catastrophe and such mass death is to allow Socialist-minded political leaders to put terrible restrictions on the liberty of Capitalists.

This is beyond a big "IF", it is false.  It begs the question of what to do, of what is right, by baldly "hypothesizing" that there is only one inexorable possibility.

Evidence, Science, Persuasion, Life, Value, Love

Theses are all part of existing as a free-minded individual human beings and if each one sees action is required in view of all i.e. some behavior is right, then each will act accordingly. 

 

Statism is never the "only" way to anything, except perhaps widespread suffering, evil, and death.

 

"Live free or die" does not mean "become an alcoholic and have sex with prostitutes until you die from liver failure or a venereal disease".  "Life free" does not mean attempt to "live free from consequences", it means do not accept slavery, BOW to no one, respect every individual's sovereignty.

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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4 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

This is beyond a big "IF", it is false. 

During World War II, the U.S. Gov't did put terrible restrictions on the liberty of Capitalists, and these were widely accepted, since the violent aggression of the German and Japanese gov't's were viewed as existential threats to the USA.

Logically speaking, therefore, it seems that a similar scenario is possible/feasible regarding anthropogenic climate change, given the predictions being made by a majority of climate scientists.

I don't see any logical basis for ruling out the possibility of the necessity and ethical legitimacy of terrible restrictions on the liberty of Capitalists whenever a time arrives in which every rational person recognizes an existential threat to national existence or human existence. 

I do know that some people who indulge in mysticism are of the opinion that there can never be an existential threat to American national existence or to human existence. They assume that Americans or humans are just too special, exceptional, or divine to go extinct, or that their powerful, supernatural deity will surely prevent such extinction. 

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1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

During World War II, the U.S. Gov't did put terrible restrictions on the liberty of Capitalists, and these were widely accepted

This does not make it right.

During World War II, the U.S. Gov't did put terrible restrictions on the liberty of people of Japanese origin or ancestry.  Are you going to defend that too?

 

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I've heard some historians say that, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, some Capitalists accepted or even endorsed FDR's New Deal restrictions on the liberty of Capitalists, not because they viewed FDR's New Deal policies as beneficial or ethical, but due to a political calculation that, without FDR's New Deal legislature, too many American workers would turn to the Communist Party and its promises and supposed solutions.

In the 1930s, the Communist Party USA was an existential threat to Capitalism in the USA, due to the example of successful domination of the Communist Party in Russia and its satellite republics, and due to strong Communist Party activism insurgencies in other places, such as Spain.

Is it not the case that special ethic principles are applicable in cases of existential threats

"The Constitution is not a suicide pact" is a phrase in American political and legal discourse.

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32 minutes ago, The Laws of Biology said:

"Better dead than Red" was a slogan that came into use in some anti-Communist circles in the 1950s.

"Better Red than dead" was an alternative slogan that some people used in the 1950s, according to Wikipedia,

One problem with both slogans is that they treat being dead and being Red as the only alternatives.  It was obvious even then that they were not.

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4 minutes ago, The Laws of Biology said:

I've heard some historians say that, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, some Capitalists accepted or even endorsed FDR's New Deal restrictions on the liberty of Capitalists, not because they viewed FDR's New Deal policies as beneficial or ethical, but due to a political calculation that, without FDR's New Deal legislature, too many American workers would turn to the Communist Party and its promises and supposed solutions.

In the 1930s, the Communist Party USA was an existential threat to Capitalism in the USA, due to the example of successful domination of the Communist Party in Russia and its satellite republics, and due to strong Communist Party activism insurgencies in other places, such as Spain.

Is it not the case that special ethic principles are applicable in cases of existential threats

"The Constitution is not a suicide pact" is a phrase in American political and legal discourse.

The New Deal was not the best way to fight Communism.  It was not best morally and it was not best economically.

   

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4 minutes ago, Doug Morris said:

This does not make it right.

During World War II, the U.S. Gov't did put terrible restrictions on the liberty of people of Japanese origin or ancestry.  Are you going to defend that too?

If I were to be convinced, by facts and logical arguments, that the terrible restrictions put by the U.S. Gov't on the liberty of Capitalists during WW2 were necessary to prevent the extinction of the operation of the U.S. Constitution, then I would defend and support those restrictions.

If I were to be convinced, by facts and logical arguments, that the terrible restrictions put by the U.S. Gov't on the liberty of Japanese-Americans during WW2 were necessary to prevent the extinction of the operation of the U.S. Constitution, then I would defend and support those restrictions.

When the internment of Japanese-Americans was ordered by the U.S. gov't, I believe the main concern was that without such interment, spies and saboteurs from Imperial Japan would be able to come to the U.S. via submarines and freely operate on US soil. I believe this was a rational concern. This is not racism, but national defense. Some Americans at the time surely did have racial animus against Japanese-Americans, but I see that as a separate and lamentable matter. 

Though it was hard to imagine now, after Imperial Japan destroyed the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor and successfully conquered the U.S. territory of the Philippines (defeating the U.S. Army there led by General McArthur), there was real concern that the U.S. might lose the war to the combined Axis Forces of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

In ordinary times, race-based laws are unethical.

But I believe there is widespread acknowledgement that, when facing an existential threat, special ethical principles come into play. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized this with the phrase, "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."

In the case of the internment of the Japanese-Americans, I believe the rationale was based on rational national defense issues, not racism. By contrast, the concentration camps operated by Nazi Germany were motivated by vile, indefensible racism. 

It was appropriate to compensate the interned Japanese-Americans after the war, as the federal gov't did, for the hardships they suffered. 

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1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

During World War II, the U.S. Gov't did put terrible restrictions on the liberty of Capitalists, and these were widely accepted, since the violent aggression of the German and Japanese gov't's were viewed as existential threats to the USA.

Logically speaking, therefore, it seems that a similar scenario is possible/feasible regarding anthropogenic climate change, given the predictions being made by a majority of climate scientists.

I don't see any logical basis for ruling out the possibility of the necessity and ethical legitimacy of terrible restrictions on the liberty of Capitalists whenever a time arrives in which every rational person recognizes an existential threat to national existence or human existence. 

I do know that some people who indulge in mysticism are of the opinion that there can never be an existential threat to American national existence or to human existence. They assume that Americans or humans are just too special, exceptional, or divine to go extinct, or that their powerful, supernatural deity will surely prevent such extinction. 

No one is saying existential threats are impossible.  What is refuted is your bald assertion there is ONLY one possible way to overcome it.

 

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3 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

No one is saying existential threats are impossible.  What is refuted is your bald assertion there is ONLY one possible way to overcome it.

I was not intending to assert that, with regard to any existential threat, there would always be only one possible way to overcome it.

I was only imagining that in the case of some particular existential threat, it is conceivable that the only way to overcome it might be something as awful as Socialism, at least for some period of time (thinking of the awfulness of chemotherapy as a metaphorical example). Thus, the slogan promoted by Bertrand Russell in the 1950s, "Better Red than dead." 

I think it is readily observable that there are some outspoken political activists who readily say that they would rather be dead than live under Socialism. Thus, the saying from the 1950s, "Better dead than Red." "Live free or die" and "Give me liberty or give me death" are sometimes used to express the same idea. 

To me, these slogans are worthy of philosophical scrutiny. I agree with those who assert that special ethical principles come into play when facing existential threats. Thus, the U.S. Supreme Court's principle that "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."

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I am not an expert on Aristotelian philosophy.

Yet, I will dare to guess that Aristotle did not and could not conceive of human extinction, any more than he could conceive of the extinction or death of God (what Aristotle called the "prime mover"). 

I think Aristotle thought of the universe with the earth at its center, and with the Prime Mover (God) as its ultimate cause of all things, and he thought of the universe as eternal and in a basically steady state.

Aristotle knew from historical writings that city-states could rise and fall and go out of existence. But I think Aristotle could not imagine that the earth or the sun or human beings or the Prime Mover (God) would or could ever go out of existence. 

Therefore, I make the conjecture that philosophical systems that are based on Aristotelian philosophy may possibly lack an ethical system that is designed to deal with existential threats to human existence. 

This is just the conjecture and intellectual exploration of an amateur philosopher, remember, and not anything like a declaration of fact or truth. 

 

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17 hours ago, The Laws of Biology said:

it is conceivable that the only way to overcome it might be something as awful as Socialism

As you claim... and yes, this I believe is an error. 

 

Explain conceptually why it is conceivable?  What criteria do you have for "overcome it" and "only way"?

If the world had a problem, how many inventive minds, far greater in creativity and ingenuity than the average person, could be brought to bear on it?  How many people like Nikola Tesla, Einstein, Edison, the Wright brothers?  Even if only 1 percent of the population were such creative geniuses, there would be over a million of them.

And you have the confidence to say you can conceive of problems for which the only way to overcome it is socialism?  You think the kinds of people who rise to power in socialist systems have the creativity and benevolence of mind so many of these inventive geniuses had?  You think a socialist society is the kind to raise people to be more like people who discovered new medicines or more like goosestepping weasels and sheeple? You think a society is best able to meet a challenge when headed by a Stalin or a Reagan?

And you, could you advise all the greats of the past of your doubt there is any solution to flying, artificial light, or an electric motor?  What other problems would you erroneously deem unsolvable?  How many countless situations would the likes of you or some thoughtless leader impose the "only" solution you or they can conceive of?  

 

I hope to God that if and when an actual threat rears its head, a flourishing, free, and capitalist society is there with individuals ready to meet it with free and willing minds of great creativity, genius ,and objective virtue, rather than the dull-witted, fear ridden ,"obedient" souls, produced by some spirit crushing Socialist society... 

I for one fully unshakably believe the highest probability of success against any threat is with the former rather than the latter.

 

You had a question.  THAT, is my answer.

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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3 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Even if only 1 percent of the population were such creative geniuses, there would be over a million of them.

1% of a population approaching 8 billion is 80 million. (7.9 billion as of 2021, up 200 million from the start of the most recent "existential threat", per the "cry me a river crowd" in 2019 when the population was estimated at only 7.7 billion.)

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