A Moral Argument for Minarchy

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GE Morton
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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by GE Morton » April 9th, 2018, 1:58 am

Greta wrote:
April 9th, 2018, 12:07 am
I note that you ignore the statistic regarding the increased proportion of welfare spending.
All increases in welfare spending --- and it has indeed been increasing for decades --- is the doing of politicians. It increases because every new free lunch they can deliver translates into more votes at the next election. I have no idea why you would suppose that increased welfare spending refutes or undercuts my argument. It is government that is doing that spending.
Unlike you, who is just guessing and plucking out convenient figures I actually know through experience because for years I produced data and statistics that was used for several restructures in the public sector and reported on the changes.
Greta, recounting personal anecdotes does not refute the facts I gave you. To do that you need to produce some contrary, more authoritative figures or studies. You have a penchant for responding to arguments with casual dismissals, anecdotes, irrelevant tangents, and ad hominems. Please try to address the actual arguments presented, as stated, on their own terms. I.e., try doing some actual philosophy.
Your employment statistics are disingenuous.
Really? Do you have some more trustworthy data, or are you just expressing a "gut feeling"?
As for not believing that corporations are taking on governance roles and lack coercive capacities, I will leave you at this point because you are operating in some rarefied theoretical realm that does not take reality into account, so there's not much to say but let you weave your theoretical web undisturbed.
There you go again. I asked a specific question: Which corporations exert force against moral agents, and how do they do it? And of course, you don't answer; you respond with more ad hominems.

*Sigh*

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Greta
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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by Greta » April 9th, 2018, 2:37 am

Carry on with your rhetoric, GE. It's most spirited, even if it ignores the elephants in the room.

When people's jobs are replaced by machines and you blame government for increasing welfare budgets, there's no reasoning possible, hence our ad hominem tit-for-tat. Don't pretend that you didn't start the ad hominems, by the way, with your provocative "Er, no" retorts, followed by patronising blithe dismissals of reasonable objections.

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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by Fooloso4 » April 9th, 2018, 10:31 am

GE Morgan:
So you are claiming that the "we" refers only to those doing political philosophy?
I thought you might (deliberately?) misunderstand what I said. Argument for argument’s sake is a tiresome and pointless game. 'We' refers to anyone who addresses the question, simply because those who do not answer have not said how they think we ought to live.
I did not say, or imply, that "political philosophy is private morality."
You have misunderstood this as well. You accused me of mistakenly claiming that political philosophy is private morality, that is, conflating political philosophy and private morality.
I see nothing there about how anyone wishes to live.
Because it says nothing about how anyone wishes to live. That is your misconstrual of the question of how we ought to live, which Aristotle addresses by looking at what we all, however misguided, seek, that is, what is good. Even when we desire something we know is bad for us we desire it because it is in some way good, pleasurable, for example.
Do you have some alternative interpretation of "free society" --- one that is consistent with the historical understanding of that term?
A society in which everyone is free to live as he pleases provided they do not infringe on the right of others to do the same is a society that may become enslaved rather than free. What pleases the majority of people, what they want and desire, what they think of as good and bad, right and wrong is what they have been given or led to believe by what Plato called "opinion makers". One of the biggest threats to the United States today is “free enterprise”. It is not government overreach but the insidious presence of corporate power in every aspect of our lives that is the real threat. A few large corporations that entice us, feed us propaganda, and know our every move, thought, and desire. The information they get from us is used to provide the information they give to us. More and more media outlets are being grabbed up by a few wealthy and powerful corporations that lead their followers to believe that they alone are purveyors of truth and that the “liberal media” cannot be trusted because it has an agenda, thus hiding the truth by accusing the other side of what they themselves are doing. Yes, they should be free to tell their side of the story, the problem is that their side of the story may be the only side that people will get to hear. Everyone knows that Fox, which no longer claims to be fair and balanced, has a strong “conservative” bias (although the old standard bearers of American conservatism have distanced themselves), but what they don’t know is that their local news, regardless of the station may be an outlet of Sinclair Broadcasting which requires its affiliates to broadcast what Sinclair tells them to whether they agree with what is said or not.
Er, how does "society" impose those constraints, other than via government?
Er, by what is determined to be socially acceptable or not, by inclusion or ostracism, by praise or derision. It is not government that led people to believe that slavery is wrong or gay marriage is acceptable.
The question in question was, you might recall, "What are the obligations of its members to each other?" Nothing in your comments there relates to that question or my response.
Er, you said:
That is a good question, but it belongs to ethics generally, not to political philosophy.
What Aristotle says about the relationship between ethics and politics speaks directly to that.
I'm not sure to which question you're referring. The statement of mine to which you are apparently responding did not contain a question. It was an answer to a question you asked.
I asked if it is your answer (maximizing welfare) to the question (Is freedom the ultimate goal of or a condition for the best society?) that determines the role of government or if it is the role of government that determines that freedom is a means to maximizing welfare. In other words, the question of freedom and the goal of maximizing welfare are prior to and determine the role of government. And so, the fundamental question of political philosophy is not the question of the role of government but rather questions regarding such things as freedom and welfare. Our answers to these questions determine what it is we see as the role of government. Philosophy requires knowing how to put the questions deep enough.

GE Morton
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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by GE Morton » April 9th, 2018, 10:37 am

Greta wrote:
April 9th, 2018, 2:37 am

When people's jobs are replaced by machines and you blame government for increasing welfare budgets, there's no reasoning possible . . .
Of course I blame government for increasing welfare budgets. They are, after all, government programs enacted by politicians, funded with government appropriations, and run by government bureaucrats.

I suppose you are assuming that government has some intrinsic, inescapable duty to support persons who have lost their jobs. Which, of course, it does not. That is one of those spurious government functions mentioned in the essay. If you lose your job it is up to you to find other honest means of supporting yourself --- to find other work, which may require you to develop new skills. Your fellow citizens have no duties to relieve your plight at the point of a government gun. Your life is your responsibility, not theirs.

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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by Gertie » April 9th, 2018, 11:10 am

GE

Your argument takes a particular view of what government is and what it's for, and attempts to imbue your particular view with moral authority.

It's basically an attempt to justify extreme political Libertarianism.

But my view of the role of government is that it has emerged as a way for larger societies to practically function. And politics is about the different ways that can happen. In democracies we get to choose.

You claim that as voters the correct moral choice is to prioritise individual freedom above nearly all other concerns (you select some exceptions), thereby minimising government. But you make no moral argument to back this up. No justification for individual freedom (within your selected limits) to be the supreme moral good, over and above other contenders, such as overall societal well-being. Which might lead a society to vote for a health service, police force and fire service funded through shared taxation. Or an education service which will benefit the whole society, and so on.

And within a few generations it seems likely under your proposed system of minarchy that the powerful will incrementally prosper at the expense of the less powerful, as they use their incrementally accrued wealth and power to do so. And we will once again come to a point where the inequalities will lead to a breakdown (peaceful or violent) of the system.

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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by GE Morton » April 9th, 2018, 2:44 pm

Gertie wrote:
April 9th, 2018, 11:10 am
GE

Your argument takes a particular view of what government is and what it's for, and attempts to imbue your particular view with moral authority.
Yes, it does. It argues that a State more extensive than the Minimal State violates the precept of equality of moral agency. Does the argument succeed? If not, in your view, which premises are false or what logical errors do you see?
But my view of the role of government is that it has emerged as a way for larger societies to practically function. And politics is about the different ways that can happen. In democracies we get to choose.
That view is clearly mistaken. Governments have "practically functioned" for centuries without exercising most of the powers exercised by contemporary Western governments. The US government "practically functioned" for a century and a half without exercising them, during which period the US became the wealthiest country in the world, and the first in history a majority of whose population were not poor. Modern governments have expanded their roles, not because they had to do so in order to practically function, but because politicians discovered they could win votes by promising various constituencies free lunches.
You claim that as voters the correct moral choice is to prioritise individual freedom above nearly all other concerns (you select some exceptions), thereby minimising government. But you make no moral argument to back this up.
Yesterday I posted a 4-page moral argument to back it up.
No justification for individual freedom (within your selected limits) to be the supreme moral good, over and above other contenders, such as overall societal well-being.
"Overall societal well-being" can mean nothing more than the well-being of all of its members. That can only occur if each of those members is free to advance his own well-being, however he defines it and by whatever means he chooses, as long as he violates no one else's rights. Otherwise you are advancing the well-being, not of all members of the society, but only that of some, at others' expense.

The choice is not one between freedom and "overall societal well-being." It is a choice between freedom for all or slavery for (at least) some.

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Greta
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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by Greta » April 9th, 2018, 6:10 pm

GE Morton wrote:
April 9th, 2018, 10:37 am
Greta wrote:
April 9th, 2018, 2:37 am

When people's jobs are replaced by machines and you blame government for increasing welfare budgets, there's no reasoning possible . . .
Of course I blame government for increasing welfare budgets. They are, after all, government programs enacted by politicians, funded with government appropriations, and run by government bureaucrats.

I suppose you are assuming that government has some intrinsic, inescapable duty to support persons who have lost their jobs. Which, of course, it does not. That is one of those spurious government functions mentioned in the essay. If you lose your job it is up to you to find other honest means of supporting yourself --- to find other work, which may require you to develop new skills. Your fellow citizens have no duties to relieve your plight at the point of a government gun. Your life is your responsibility, not theirs.
You argue against yourself, thinking not even one step ahead.

If there are many fewer jobs than there are people, the jobless must turn to crime to survive. Thus, any welfare cuts are more than offset by increases needed for repairing the damage of crime, court system, legal representation, police, police detection systems and the prison system. Thus you boost government and, I expect, would use those figures to justify further government cuts.

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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by GE Morton » April 9th, 2018, 9:22 pm

Greta wrote:
April 9th, 2018, 6:10 pm

If there are many fewer jobs than there are people, the jobless must turn to crime to survive.
No, they do not.

Your claim is false in two respects: First there are never "fewer jobs than people." As long as there are needs to met and desires to be fulfilled there are jobs to be had, and the supply of needs and desires is infinite. Acquire the skills and muster the initiative to fulfill one of them and you have a job.

A "job" is not something some corporation, some employer, provides you (much less owes to you). It is something you create and pursue.

Secondly, it is patently false that persons who lose a job "must turn to crime." People lose jobs every day, and very few of them turn to crime. If there are no jobs of the type they lost --- no demand for those particular products or skills in their market area --- they augment or refocus those skills, acquire new ones, or relocate to an area where their present skills are in demand. Perhaps they launch a business of their own. If you have two hands and a working brain you have all you need to create a job. Meeting your needs is your sole responsibility, just as it is with every other animal --- not your neighbors', not some employer's, not the government's.
Thus, any welfare cuts are more than offset by increases needed for repairing the damage of crime, court system, legal representation, police, police detection systems and the prison system. Thus you boost government and, I expect, would use those figures to justify further government cuts.
The present "criminal justice system" (it involves justice in name only) is indeed costly. It needs to be reconceived, with prisons transformed into work centers wherein inmates are compelled to work, to cover not only the costs of their arrest, prosecution, and confinement, but full restitution for the victims of their crimes.

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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by GE Morton » April 10th, 2018, 1:43 am

Fooloso4 wrote:
April 9th, 2018, 10:31 am
'We' refers to anyone who addresses the question, simply because those who do not answer have not said how they think we ought to live.
The point remains: I doubt many philosophers would nominate "How ought we to live?" as the fundamental question of political philosophy. Some of them might offer that as the fundamental question for ethics (which would not be a very good answer).
You have misunderstood this as well. You accused me of mistakenly claiming that political philosophy is private morality, that is, conflating political philosophy and private morality.
Yes, I did. Though apparently I misread your previous comment on that issue, which I read to mean you were accusing me of that. But my accusation stands: "How ought we to live?" is a question (though not a very good question) for ethicists, not for political philosophers. It is not a very good question because it is a general question which does not have (as you admitted) a general answer. There is no particular way in which "we" ought to live.
Because it says nothing about how anyone wishes to live. That is your misconstrual of the question of how we ought to live . . .
Sorry for the misconstrual. But I don't think it matters much for the issue at hand.
. . . which Aristotle addresses by looking at what we all, however misguided, seek, that is, what is good. Even when we desire something we know is bad for us we desire it because it is in some way good, pleasurable, for example.
Aristotle, at that point, is speaking of what we all do, not what we ought to do. And "the good" is "that at which all things aim." I.e., whatever end is sought in an action is a "good."

But let's get back to the question at hand: you earlier wrote,

"In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.) describes the happy life intended for man by nature as one lived in accordance with virtue, and, in his Politics, he describes the role that politics and the political community must play in bringing about the virtuous life in the citizenry. (http://www.iep.utm.edu/aris-pol/) . . ."

How would "politics and the political community" play this role, other than through government? Politics is the process of formulating public policy. A public policy is one implemented by law, i.e., by government.

"Politics:

"a : the art or science of government
"b : the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy
"c : the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government"

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/politics
A society in which everyone is free to live as he pleases provided they do not infringe on the right of others to do the same is a society that may become enslaved rather than free. What pleases the majority of people, what they want and desire, what they think of as good and bad, right and wrong is what they have been given or led to believe by what Plato called "opinion makers".
That hoary "brainwashing" argument is specious and tiresome. It has two inescapable consequences I doubt you're willing to accept: First, it sets up an elitism, creating an oligarchy of the lucky few who are immune to the brainwashing and thereby entitled and even duty-bound to rule over the duped masses. Secondly it undercuts democracy, since surely the hordes of brainwashed zombies cannot be allowed to vote. I.e., it is a rationale for Fascism and Stalinism.

There are no "opinion makers." There are only people with opinions. Whether one person's opinion will be embraced by another will depend upon the latter's own opinions, tastes, interests, and beliefs, which vary widely from individual to individual. No amount of advertising will persuade a teetoaler to buy Jack Daniels; no amount of speechifying or campaign financing will persuade Chris Matthews to endorse Trump.
One of the biggest threats to the United States today is “free enterprise”. It is not government overreach but the insidious presence of corporate power in every aspect of our lives that is the real threat. A few large corporations that entice us, feed us propaganda, and know our every move, thought, and desire. The information they get from us is used to provide the information they give to us.
Sorry, but I'm not seeing a threat in any of that. Just what is the nature of this threat? What harm is being threatened, and who is doing the threatening?

Er, by what is determined to be socially acceptable or not, by inclusion or ostracism, by praise or derision. It is not government that led people to believe that slavery is wrong or gay marriage is acceptable.
Changing someone's belief is not a constraint in the relevant sense of the term. Neither are inclusion or ostracism, praise or derision. A constraint in the relevant sense of the term is a restraint or a punishment, threatened or imposed by force. No other form of constraint has any moral significance, because they involve no violations of rights. Ostracize to your heart's content; you'll get no objection from me. :-)
I asked if it is your answer (maximizing welfare) to the question (Is freedom the ultimate goal of or a condition for the best society?) that determines the role of government or if it is the role of government that determines that freedom is a means to maximizing welfare. In other words, the question of freedom and the goal of maximizing welfare are prior to and determine the role of government. And so, the fundamental question of political philosophy is not the question of the role of government but rather questions regarding such things as freedom and welfare. Our answers to these questions determine what it is we see as the role of government.
I agree that those questions are prior to questions about the role of government. But they belong to ethics; political philosophy assumes they have been answered, and focuses on the role of government.

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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by Greta » April 10th, 2018, 2:18 am

GE Morton wrote:
April 9th, 2018, 9:22 pm
Greta wrote:
April 9th, 2018, 6:10 pm

If there are many fewer jobs than there are people, the jobless must turn to crime to survive.
No, they do not.

Your claim is false in two respects: First there are never "fewer jobs than people." As long as there are needs to met and desires to be fulfilled there are jobs to be had, and the supply of needs and desires is infinite. Acquire the skills and muster the initiative to fulfill one of them and you have a job.

A "job" is not something some corporation, some employer, provides you (much less owes to you). It is something you create and pursue.

Secondly, it is patently false that persons who lose a job "must turn to crime." People lose jobs every day, and very few of them turn to crime. If there are no jobs of the type they lost --- no demand for those particular products or skills in their market area --- they augment or refocus those skills, acquire new ones, or relocate to an area where their present skills are in demand. Perhaps they launch a business of their own. If you have two hands and a working brain you have all you need to create a job. Meeting your needs is your sole responsibility, just as it is with every other animal --- not your neighbors', not some employer's, not the government's.
You discounted human nature again. Like economists, you seem to assume that people will always be rational agents. It makes things easier but it's not the reality. Also, given that most small businesses fail due to lack of business acumen and expertise, so most of those starting out alone will be back to the unemployment line, and in debt from the failed enterprise.

Your denial of the replacement of jobs by automation is hard to understand, especially when bolstered by unemployment rates without considering underemployment and the increasing phenomenon of working poor, not to mention increased casualisation of the workforce with concomitant reduced superannuation to support people in later life. It's such an obvious hole I'm not sure why you bothered. Many experts see societies being forced to introduce universal basic income in the future as ever more jobs are replaced by faster, tireless and much less expensive machines.

You know this is happening. Corporations everywhere are investing many billions on automation to remain competitive. Businesses that automate less than competitors will tend to be left behind.
GE Morton wrote:
Thus, any welfare cuts are more than offset by increases needed for repairing the damage of crime, court system, legal representation, police, police detection systems and the prison system. Thus you boost government and, I expect, would use those figures to justify further government cuts.
The present "criminal justice system" (it involves justice in name only) is indeed costly. It needs to be reconceived, with prisons transformed into work centers wherein inmates are compelled to work, to cover not only the costs of their arrest, prosecution, and confinement, but full restitution for the victims of their crimes.
Now consider the cost of the supervision of the psychopathic and otherwise disturbed to ensure they aren't adding any dangerous sabotage or smuggling pockets to products.

Better to stop people being damaged than to reconfigure systems once the damage is done. A huge part of that involves reducing poverty traps.

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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by Fooloso4 » April 10th, 2018, 11:28 am

GE Morton:

I doubt many philosophers would nominate "How ought we to live?" as the fundamental question of political philosophy.
Then you are not as well read in political philosophy as you might like to think. Leo Strauss (What is Political Philosophy, Liberalism Ancient and Modern, Natural Right and History,The Political Philosophy of Hobbes: Its Basis and Its Genesis, Hobbes's Critique of Religion and Related Writings, Locke’s Doctrine of Natural Law, and many many more ) is an important figure in the revival of ancient political thought. Alasdair MacIntyre (After Virtue) is another.
It is not a very good question because it is a general question which does not have (as you admitted) a general answer.
That is why it is a very good question. It is the questions that drive philosophy, not some particular answer however general. Answers are always evaluated in light of questions. Or that at least is the basis of zetetic or Socratic skepticism (not to be confused with modern or other forms of skepticism), there are, of course, other approaches to philosophy.
There is no particular way in which "we" ought to live.
But you have offered one - in a free society in which everyone can do whatever they want provided they do not interfere with the right of others to do the same.
Because it says nothing about how anyone wishes to live. That is your misconstrual of the question of how we ought to live . . .
Sorry for the misconstrual. But I don't think it matters much for the issue at hand.
It does not matter only if one thinks that what we ought to do is whatever we wish to do. I don't agree.
Aristotle, at that point, is speaking of what we all do, not what we ought to do.
That is correct. He proceeds to the question of what we ought to do based on this basic human motivation. What we ought to do is what is most conducive to getting what we seek, that is, what is good.
And "the good" is "that at which all things aim." I.e., whatever end is sought in an action is a "good."
Er, no. Something is not good simply because it is sought. We ought to seek the things that are good, which means we need to consider the question, what is good, and from this the question of the good life. It is not that what we ought to do is imposed on us but rather it is what we ought to do in order to get what we seek, that is, what is good.
How would "politics and the political community" play this role, other than through government? Politics is the process of formulating public policy. A public policy is one implemented by law, i.e., by government.
Political life, life in the polis, is our public life, our shared life. It includes such things as civic mindedness and public virtue, consideration of not only what is to my advantage but what promotes the welfare of others and the polis itself. The marketplace is part of public or political life, that is, life in the polis. Privately funded civic organizations, charities, and events play a role.
Politics is the process of formulating public policy. A public policy is one implemented by law, i.e., by government.
That is true but that is not the whole of political life, that is, not the whole of politics, according to Aristotle.
It has two inescapable consequences I doubt you're willing to accept: First, it sets up an elitism, creating an oligarchy of the lucky few who are immune to the brainwashing and thereby entitled and even duty-bound to rule over the duped masses.
Er, no. You’ve got it backwards. What I described is an encroaching oligarchy. Immunity to “brainwashing” is conferred by education, by teaching people to search out the facts and think clearly and critically, and by a free press rather than one owned by and solely in the hands of plutocrats.
Secondly it undercuts democracy, since surely the hordes of brainwashed zombies cannot be allowed to vote. I.e., it is a rationale for Fascism and Stalinism.
Er, no. This is not an “inescapable consequence” of what I have said. As you know, the United States is not a simple democracy, but rather a representative democracy or democratic republic. We vote for our representatives, who were originally conceived of as a natural aristocracy, intended as a buffer against the tyranny of the masses. The problem is that government has become business by other means, with many of our representatives bought and paid for. Since Citizens United money talks, but hides itself in dark places from public view. The answer is an informed electorate. But Trump and his plutocratic cronies have stifled making public research findings at the EPA and are doing all they can to replace a free press with a propaganda machine.
There are no "opinion makers."
Of course there are. Opinion follows it own fashion trends. Religion is classic enduring fashion. Immigration is the newest trend. Television, movies, advertising and music still help shape opinion trends, but social media has become an increasingly important influence, which has not escaped the notice of those who are intent on influencing it in ways that single voices cannot.
… no amount of speechifying or campaign financing will persuade Chris Matthews to endorse Trump.


This shows a basic misunderstanding of what is at issue. Your first mistake was to introduce the idea of “brainwashing”. The next step is to assume that if brainwashing is real then someone like Chris Matthews can be brainwashed to endorse Trump. But since he cannot there is no brainwashing and therefore no opinion makers. Opinion makers are not brainwashers, they influence opinion in various ways - fear, emotions, patriotism, moral outrage, and misinformation.
Sorry, but I'm not seeing a threat in any of that. Just what is the nature of this threat? What harm is being threatened, and who is doing the threatening?
The more that information comes under the control of a few - what is kept from us, what is fed to us that is not true, and what is gathered from us, the greater the risk. If you cannot see that there is nothing I can say to give sight to the blind.
A constraint in the relevant sense of the term …
Since when do you get to constrain the relevant meaning of terms?
… is a restraint or a punishment, threatened or imposed by force.
Those are means of constraint. To constrain is to limit or hold or prevent.
No other form of constraint has any moral significance, because they involve no violations of rights.
Er, you jumped from my initial question regarding the constraints on members of a society, which I posed in reference to the larger question of how we ought to live, over your question of how does "society" impose those constraints, other than via government, and in response to my explaining how society does this, you claim that no other form of constraint other than restraint or a punishment, threatened or imposed by force has any moral significance, because they involve no violations of rights. Perhaps you have too many conversations going on but there is a disconnect here.
I agree that those questions are prior to questions about the role of government. But they belong to ethics; political philosophy assumes they have been answered, and focuses on the role of government.
Well, you are making progress.

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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by GE Morton » April 10th, 2018, 2:39 pm

Greta wrote:
April 10th, 2018, 2:18 am

You discounted human nature again. Like economists, you seem to assume that people will always be rational agents. It makes things easier but it's not the reality.
No, I do not. I do assume that most people will behave rationally, at least insofar as acting in their own best interests (if you disagree you'll need to begin re-thinking the wisdom of democracy). Some will not, of course. They will suffer the consequences, including confinement to a workhouse if their "solution" involves preying on other people.
Your denial of the replacement of jobs by automation is hard to understand, especially when bolstered by unemployment rates without considering underemployment and the increasing phenomenon of working poor, not to mention increased casualisation of the workforce with concomitant reduced superannuation to support people in later life.
I have not denied replacement of jobs by automation. Why do you persist in putting your words into my nouth? I not only agree that many jobs have been automated and that many more will be in the future, I welcome it, because automating that production makes those products cheaper, and because it frees up the workforce for more creative tasks. Machines have been replacing human workers for nearly two centuries. In 1800 about 90% of the US workforce were engaged in agricultural labor; today about 2% are. Steam power and the internal combustion engine triggered that transformation. In 1950 about 32% of the US workforce were engaged in manufacturing; today about 9% are. Electricity was the primary driver of that transformation. The "digital revolution" is reducing that percentage further, and will continue to do so. Many low-skill service jobs will be eliminated by that technology also. Good!

http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2010/04/les ... -from.html

What can displaced workers do? What they have been doing for the last 2 centuries --- adapt. They didn't need government handouts in 1800 when the cotton gin replaced thousands of workers who previously ginned cotton by hand, and they don't need them now. The Luddites protested the introduction of weaving machines and threshing machines in 1815; neo-Luddites protest robotics now.
Better to stop people being damaged than to reconfigure systems once the damage is done. A huge part of that involves reducing poverty traps.
Criminals do not act as they do because they have been "damaged," and there is no such thing as a "poverty trap." Those are sophistic inventions of "progressive" ideologues.

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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by Gertie » April 10th, 2018, 5:15 pm

GE
You claim that as voters the correct moral choice is to prioritise individual freedom above nearly all other concerns (you select some exceptions), thereby minimising government. But you make no moral argument to back this up.
Yesterday I posted a 4-page moral argument to back it up.
If you mean your opening post, you take as axiomatic that the greatest moral good is individual freedom, that's the problem I'm pointing to. Everything else is built upon that grounding. Including your ideas about how government should (morally) work. But I could take as axiomatic that the greatest moral good is something else, anything. And build an internally coherent case based on my chosen grounding. Monarchy, Marxism, Philosopher Kings, Religious Authority, whatever. That's not the tricky part.

In order not to simply build arguments ultimately resting on what our personal preferences are, we need to justify our moral axioms.

And if we're serious about questioning our own biases, and understanding even where the idea of morality comes from and if it is indeed justifiable itself, we need to understand our own evolved pre-dispositions and how they have been shaped by history and experience. If after that you can come up with a justified axiomatic grounding for Moral Duties, then I think you're onto something. And something which shouldn't be rejected out of hand as an obvious justification for one's own biases.

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Greta
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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by Greta » April 10th, 2018, 5:47 pm

GE Morton wrote:
April 10th, 2018, 2:39 pm
Greta wrote:
April 10th, 2018, 2:18 am

You discounted human nature again. Like economists, you seem to assume that people will always be rational agents. It makes things easier but it's not the reality.
No, I do not. I do assume that most people will behave rationally, at least insofar as acting in their own best interests (if you disagree you'll need to begin re-thinking the wisdom of democracy). Some will not, of course. They will suffer the consequences, including confinement to a workhouse if their "solution" involves preying on other people.
You are still lost in the theoretical. Take away welfare and the impoverished have nothing to lose by breaking the law - the worst that can happen is they will be given a roof over their heads and three meals a day.

Most people, even the most upright, will commit crimes rather than let their families starve. Never mind the "min-", a growing army of unemployed people without welfare is a recipe for anarchy and a guarantee of reduced international competitiveness.
GE Morton wrote:
Your denial of the replacement of jobs by automation is hard to understand, especially when bolstered by unemployment rates without considering underemployment and the increasing phenomenon of working poor, not to mention increased casualisation of the workforce with concomitant reduced superannuation to support people in later life.
I have not denied replacement of jobs by automation. Why do you persist in putting your words into my nouth? I not only agree that many jobs have been automated and that many more will be in the future, I welcome it, because automating that production makes those products cheaper, and because it frees up the workforce for more creative tasks. Machines have been replacing human workers for nearly two centuries. In 1800 about 90% of the US workforce were engaged in agricultural labor; today about 2% are. Steam power and the internal combustion engine triggered that transformation. In 1950 about 32% of the US workforce were engaged in manufacturing; today about 9% are. Electricity was the primary driver of that transformation. The "digital revolution" is reducing that percentage further, and will continue to do so. Many low-skill service jobs will be eliminated by that technology also. Good!
I am not putting words in your mouth, rather pointing out the words that you seemingly cannot say.

All of the above is very obvious - my old college material of the 90s - but you continue to completely ignore the trends towards ever greater levels of underemployment. You also ignore the rate of change and how this current wave of mechanisation with AI is completely different to those which came before. Do you think we are still dealing with replacement of repetitive blue collar work? We are talking about automation that can replace perhaps 90% of the workforce - including lawyers, accountants and managers.

I like this too - could it be that a robot-run utopia, allowing people endless leisure time, as promised in the 70s to assuage fears about job losses to automation, will finally come? No. It won't happen without a universal, basic income. Who would pay this in a minarchy? The private sector? Hardly.

No, yours is is just one more ill-conceived, quasi-libertarian piece of unworkable idealism.

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Re: A Moral Argument for Minarchy

Post by GE Morton » April 10th, 2018, 6:47 pm

Gertie wrote:
April 10th, 2018, 5:15 pm

If you mean your opening post, you take as axiomatic that the greatest moral good is individual freedom, that's the problem I'm pointing to.
That is not correct. First, I'm not sure what the term "moral good" means. Goods are neither moral nor immoral. A good is simply an end of action, the objective for which the action is taken. Those actions may be moral or immoral, but the ends sought are not; they are morally neutral (there is an exception to this: ends which can only be gained by immoral actions can be said to be immoral in themselves).

Moral theories and rules do have an aim, a purpose, however: to maximize welfare for all persons living in a social setting. Freedom is not an end in itself; it is a necessary condition for reaching that goal. To the extent a person is not free, means and opportunities for improving his welfare otherwise readily available to him are per force denied to him.

Many theoretical or conceivable means and opportunities for improving welfare, of one sort or another, are unavailable to most of us, for one reason or another, at one time or another. We may be ignorant of them, or lack the knowledge or skills to exploit them, or we may just not be in the right place at the right time. But if restrictions on our freedom to exploit them are imposed by other moral agents, then a moral issue arises. ("Moral" and "immoral" apply only to the actions of moral agents, not to the workings of Nature or the "fickle finger of fate").
In order not to simply build arguments ultimately resting on what our personal preferences are, we need to justify our moral axioms.


I fully agree. I posted the Axiom and postulates for a Theory of Public Morality here several months ago. I can post it again if you wish.

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