2 of 2
2
Individualism, Collectivism, and Sam Harris
Posted: 24 August 2010 12:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  12
Joined  2010-08-19

POLITICS:
This topic seems a little too all over the place for much ground to be had, so I’ll just quickly touch on an issue or two, and try to reply to relevant posts that follow

What moral values can be found in having the government allocate money and rights to the citiens?

Rand’s essay “The Virtue of Selfishness”

A society that is Just is surely a society built on fairness. Most of that which controls our success within a society has little to do with intrinsic autonomous action and much more to do with environmental, genetic, and social circumstance. A quick survey of many Harvard classrooms will show you something as simple as being a first-born son greatly increases your chance of being successful. I’m going to wrap up this comment without going into a very detailed argument, but please take a look at justice theories from philosophers like John Rawls. I was for some time very interested and supportive of Ayn Rand - however, the more I tried defending her the more flaws I found detrimental to her ideas. Allocating money creates a fair environment, where people born in worse situations have the chance of living better lives. To be treated equal is not to be treated fair and most advantages/disadvantages, hardships/luxuries, are not our doing but inflicted upon us. A common defense - believe it or not - is that ‘the world isn’t fair, not everyone will be equal’. Such thinkers then do not wish for a Just society, but one that looks more like a lottery. Most are left with nothing, some win a small prize, and a select few are granted all the riches. I am undecided on my personal standing on political philosophy, but chose to give the current perspective based on my experience with the endless, overly confident, free-market economists.

I’m sure there are private schools with higher quality education than public schools, but would every child have the opportunity to attend secondary education in a 100% capitalist system?

Education, both private and public, is going to be unbalanced…

paying taxes is a form of slavery

It is an exchange: to benefit from living in our society there is a taxation you must pay. If this contract does not suit someone, they can leave the state.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 August 2010 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  20
Joined  2009-07-10
dyamihayes - 24 August 2010 04:12 PM

Most of that which controls our success within a society has little to do with intrinsic autonomous action and much more to do with environmental, genetic, and social circumstance.

It’s not “most” of our success. Everyone is solely the product of genetics and environment.

dyamihayes - 24 August 2010 04:12 PM

Allocating money creates a fair environment, where people born in worse situations have the chance of living better lives.

How is it fair to be forced to surrender a resource that you earned? Of course, it’s not. The truth is that whether socialism exists or not, a fair world simply cannot exist. Once you deny that reality, then any argument built on that denial of reality is based on an illusory premise.

People did not choose for nature to emerge less fortunate humans. Nature did that, yet socialists/semi-socialists want to force other people to take responsibility for what they didn’t even do.

dyamihayes - 24 August 2010 04:12 PM

It is an exchange: to benefit from living in our society there is a taxation you must pay. If this contract does not suit someone, they can leave the state.

Are you suggesting that taxation is a voluntary exchange?

 Signature 

Idea Essence

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 August 2010 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2075
Joined  2007-07-20

Any collection of people living in a constrained space, physical or even such a creation as the internet, must assess its members to support that space.  Taxes are a form of that assessment.  How much, on what basis, and how spent are different issues.  “Individualism,” as is “collectivism,” are terms labeling two extremes, neither of which can function without the other.

 Signature 

Truth, especially “moral truth,” is that elusive human creation whose exclusive apprehension is claimed by many, who then sanctimoniously condemn anyone else who does not agree with their particular apprehension, while denying that any question can be posed about their own apprehension.  I will try to avoid that tendency.  DEC

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 August 2010 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  12
Joined  2010-08-19

It’s not “most” of our success. Everyone is solely the product of genetics and environment.

I basically agree with you, however, I take a more moderate position in the absence of a strong argument against free-will - which tends to complicate things smileTo claim that we are purely products of such things is inessential for the argument, and leaves space for Red Herrings.

How is it fair to be forced to surrender a resource that you earned? Of course, it’s not….Once you deny that reality, then any argument built on that denial of reality is based on an illusory premise.

To be forced to surrender something that you earned would indeed be wrong. Where we differ is the way in which we understand the term earn. Try to imagine a blank slate for your self - you don’t know where, when, under what condition, you will be born. You could be raised in a large estate with great inheritance and a high IQ with opportunity at education; or you could be raised in a slum of a foster home, being taught to steel groceries for your guardians. What is it that the first child did to earn his wealth? Earn implies receiving benefit from your actions; to deserve wealth in exchange for your efforts. Such an idea in itself isn’t so set in stone when taking social conditions into consideration.

People did not choose for nature to emerge less fortunate humans. Nature did that, yet socialists/semi-socialists want to force other people to take responsibility for what they didn’t even do.

Should people be able to suffer for things they didn’t do? Should people be able to benefit for things they didn’t do? The world isn’t fair - call it survival of the fittest, natural selection, or what have you. A component of something like Justice or Ethics is to set in place a system to protect our fellow suffering creatures - human or not. It seems you are saying that the world isn’t fair. Does it not make sense then, that the natural condition of the world, that is, the imbalance of power, suffering, and happiness, should HAVE to be altered to make the world just? The way things are by nature are not fair, therefore, they must be changed in order to be fair.

If you accept this idea then you will see the contradiction within your reasoning. One one hand an unfair world is right and just; there is nothing wrong with the injustice done by natural selection. On the other hand an unfair world is wrong and unjust; there is everything wrong with undoing a previous, acceptable, unfairness. I hope I’m not being vague or unclear, and even if you can’t accept all I’m saying you can sympathize with some smile

Are you suggesting that taxation is a voluntary exchange?

I don’t think that was a very appropriate comment… I made it hastily, with thoughts of Social Contract Theory ... Something I’m not nearly educated enough to use in argument, or even properly reference I’m sure. Thoughts left in your head seem to make sense sometimes until put on paper lol..

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 August 2010 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  20
Joined  2009-07-10
dyamihayes - 25 August 2010 02:24 PM

You could be raised in a large estate with great inheritance and a high IQ with opportunity at education; or you could be raised in a slum of a foster home, being taught to steel groceries for your guardians. What is it that the first child did to earn his wealth?

There are actually 2 separate topics lumped together here:

Topic 1: giving a gift to a recipient who did not perform actions to yield the gift (real estate and great inheritance you mentioned)

Topic 2: how much a person born with advantages earned resources he or she receives (high IQ you mentioned)


Suppose we explore the 1st topic and consider that the recipient of a gift didn’t earn their gift and therefore doesn’t deserve it. (After all, by definition, it wouldn’t be a gift if the recipient did all the work for it.) I might concede there are situations where it could cause unfairness and humans (not nature) are to blame for the unfairness. The problem arises if you take that a step further and say that the unfairness caused by gifts is justification to use force against gift givers to prevent unfairness. Why? Because your only hope at being logically consistent with that particular justification is to ban all gifts. I’m assuming we both wouldn’t want to live in a world where gifts are banned.

Suppose we explore the 2nd topic. I’ll use one of your IQ example. Person A has a high IQ and bigger paycheck because of it. Person B has a low IQ and a smaller paycheck because of it. Person A never punched Person B in the head to damage their brain and lower their IQ. Person A never pushed a button to lower Person B’s IQ. Person A never wronged Person B or did anything to cause Person B’s IQ to be lower. A 3rd party, Person C, has no moral justification to take the products of Person A’s intelligence/time/labor and start handing it to Person B. That is harming Person A’s happiness for an injustice they’re not even a culprit of.

I have no doubt that you could list me thousands of examples of injustices nature emerges. I concede that they exist. My last paragraph deals with the morality of responding to them and I’d be interested in seeing you address the logic (illogic?). Thanks.

[ Edited: 28 August 2010 11:27 AM by meditation]
 Signature 

Idea Essence

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 August 2010 11:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  20
Joined  2009-07-10
dyamihayes - 25 August 2010 02:24 PM

You could be raised in a large estate with great inheritance and a high IQ with opportunity at education; or you could be raised in a slum of a foster home, being taught to steel groceries for your guardians. What is it that the first child did to earn his wealth?

There are actually 2 separate topics lumped together here:

Topic 1: giving a gift to a recipient who did not perform actions to yield the gift (real estate and great inheritance you mentioned)

Topic 2: how much a person born with advantages earned resources he or she receives (high IQ you mentioned)


Suppose we explore the 1st topic and consider that the recipient of a gift didn’t earn their gift and therefore doesn’t deserve it. (After all, by definition, it wouldn’t be a gift if the recipient did all the work for it.) I might concede there are situations where it could cause unfairness and humans (not nature) are to blame for the unfairness. The problem arises if you take that a step further and say that the unfairness caused by gifts is justification to use force against gift givers to prevent unfairness. Why? Because your only hope at being logically consistent with that particular justification is to ban all gifts. I’m assuming we both wouldn’t want to live in a world where gifts are banned.

Suppose we explore the 2nd topic. I’ll use one of your examples, IQ. Person A has a high IQ and bigger paycheck because of it. Person B has a low IQ and a smaller paycheck because of it. Person A never punched Person B in the head to damage their brain and lower their IQ. Person A never pushed a button to lower Person B’s IQ. Person A never wronged Person B or did anything to cause Person B’s IQ to be lower. A 3rd party, Person C, has no moral justification to take the products of Person A’s intelligence/time/labor and start handing it to Person B. That is harming Person A’s happiness for an injustice Person A is not even the culprit of.

I have no doubt that you could list me thousands of examples of injustices that nature emerges. I concede that they exist. My last paragraph deals with the morality of responding to them and I’d be interested in seeing you address the logic (illogic?). Thanks.

 Signature 

Idea Essence

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 August 2010 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2075
Joined  2007-07-20

Person C might be justified in reallocating some of person A’s wealth to person B if in fact the welfare of person B was critical to the welfare of all three.

 Signature 

Truth, especially “moral truth,” is that elusive human creation whose exclusive apprehension is claimed by many, who then sanctimoniously condemn anyone else who does not agree with their particular apprehension, while denying that any question can be posed about their own apprehension.  I will try to avoid that tendency.  DEC

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 August 2010 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  12
Joined  2010-08-19

Suppose we explore the 1st topic and consider that the recipient of a gift didn’t earn their gift and therefore don’t deserve it….

I don’t think we need talk about earning a gift. Some gifts are genetic, some are environmental, some are social, and so on. What one deserves isn’t necessarily the same as what one earns.  For instance, a child deserves to be fed, while surely their was little work done to earn such care. Gifts can surely be deserved and not earned.

I might concede there are situations where it could cause unfairness and humans (not nature) are to blame for the unfairness. The problem is [to say] that the unfairness caused by gifts is justification to use force against gift givers… [because] your only hope at being logically consistent with that particular justification is to ban all gifts.

It looks like your conclusion that one must ban ALL gifts because some are wrong is unwarranted. A more consistent conclusion would be to ban all gifts that are wrong. For I am not claiming that all gifts are unfair, or immoral, but that some gifts can be unfair, or immoral.

An idea put forward by Rawls was to allow those people who are successful to benefit from their luck/hardwork/blah blah so long as the benefit works to the advantage of the less ‘lucky’, say those in poverty. Taxation can fit this sort of system, provided the money is reallocated appropriately. Here, we are getting into too much economics though, so I’ll just stop my thought with little grace..

A 3rd party, Person C, has no moral justification to take the products of Person A’s intelligence/time/labor and start handing it to Person B. That is harming Person A

I feel like this argument is similar to what we were talking about earlier…

Does it not make sense then, that the natural condition of the world, that is, the imbalance of power, suffering, and happiness, should HAVE to be altered to make the world just? The way things are by nature are not fair, therefore, they must be changed in order to be fair.

I’m not sure my last comment was fully addressed, and I’m pressed on time right now, so I can talk more about this issue if needed.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 August 2010 04:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  20
Joined  2009-07-10

To avoid running over the same ground, I’ll try to get to the heart of a specific part of that post.

dyamihayes - 28 August 2010 04:44 PM

I don’t think we need talk about earning a gift. Some gifts are genetic, some are environmental, some are social, and so on.

It would be an equivocation fallacy to slide back and forth between 2 separate definitions of “gift” (or any word) and treat them as if they mean the same thing. A “gift” (talent/advantage) that someone is born with (genetic) fits under an entirely different definition from a thing that a human passes on to another human.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gift

http://www.merriam-webster.com/netdict/gift

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/view/entry/m_en_us1250817?rskey=35FNaN

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/search/british/?q=gift&x=0&y=0


Do you accept the above dictionary definitions as evidence that a gift attributed to genetics is not the same type of gift as a human intentionally giving a thing to another human for free?

EDIT:  (APPENDED CONTENT BELOW)

dyamihayes - 28 August 2010 04:44 PM

Does it not make sense then, that the natural condition of the world, that is, the imbalance of power, suffering, and happiness, should HAVE to be altered to make the world just? The way things are by nature are not fair, therefore, they must be changed in order to be fair.

I’m not sure my last comment was fully addressed, and I’m pressed on time right now, so I can talk more about this issue if needed.

Your question presupposes that humans can socially engineer the world to solve injustice and suffering. I have addressed this egalitarianistic utopia by arguing it’s unrealistic to achieve. I’m arguing that the actions a socialist/partial-social suggest to solve nature’s emergence of inequality are unfair and immoral actions in and of themselves.

[ Edited: 28 August 2010 05:18 PM by meditation]
 Signature 

Idea Essence

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 2
2
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed