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rights revisited

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Burning ghost
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Re: rights revisited

Post by Burning ghost » September 5th, 2018, 11:16 am

Steve -

I think you can see the kind of self-righteous nonsense spouted above referring to me “evolving” into a more moral person. It’s a quite disgusting thing to say, but we’re all capable of lashing out when we’ve nothing of substance to add and feel threatened - to quote “the fear is palpable” is something I may say in response if I didn’t like the course an opponent is taking. It’s always easier to attack the person than it is the argument.

I’ve not changed my mind. To recognise that intellect can compliment morality doesn’t make the sense of morality “correct”. That is why I chose my words carefully and if you look at what you quoted they are not contradictory. Intelligence can catalyse bad and good ideas, yet each of our views on what constitutes “good” and “bad” vary to some degree and most certainly under different contexts.

The “perfect” person would possess both a high intellectual and moral capacity. I would deem a higher moral capacity of greater importance even though a lack of intellect my unmeangingfully cause harm. From what we understand about intelligence a certain emotional capacity is a constituent part of “intelligence” yet we’re not quite sure how so, and whether of not this capacity is about openness of something else. Without emotion there is no reason - I believe Damasio has shown a strong argument in this respect.

Making the right decision for the wrong reasons matters. A fool can be correct for the wrong reasoning and they are more likely to be. There is a difference between a “correct” answer and a morally “right” answer. The former is always “correct” whereas the later is up for some debate. Given that we’re quite awful creatures when it comes to the application of logic (especially in abstraction) I would still hold to reason being an important factor in someone’s ability to make the “right” moral decisions - this is more apparent when it comes to social problems as understanding how data can be miscontrued is important. If you don’t understand the picture before you properly you cannot make an informed choice. On a person to person basis I would say this doesn’t factor so much as when it comes to day-to-day application of logical problems we’re much more attuned to arriving at the “right” conclusion.

To be clear “moral aptitude” and “moral choices” are not synonymous and I never meant them to be viewed as synonymous terms. So I stick wholeheartedly by both of these statements:
Burning Ghost wrote:
He is saying, or so it appears, that greater intelligence gives people a better ability to sort through data therefore make more informed moral choices - no brainer!

Burning Ghost wrote:
I do not really think, or rather like to believe, that cognitive capacity factors into moral aptitude...
That I am more willing to believe the nicer option is irrelevant and I emphasised this clearly enough. I have arguments both for and against of my own making complimented over time by others. Overall I’m siding with “moral capacity” being as good as separate from “intellectual capacity” - althoug better to term that “intelligence” rather than intellectual capacity to avoid conflation (so feel free to substitute in my lack of consistancy in this post and read “intelligence” like in the original quotes.

Anyway, thanks for pointing this out. If you were confused by this it is likely someone else got hold of the wrong end of the stick too. If it not a good explanation then you can ask a little more if you like (better in PM - don’t want to get into a pointless back and forth.)

While I am here I noticed a slip in my bit about the “most admirable”: it should’ve read something like “the most admirable is the talentless individual who presses on regardless, knowingly and willingly, toward a seemingly unobtainable goal” (eg. not some delusional tone deaf idiot who thinks they can sing, but someone who knows their voice is poor yet pushes forward with their dream regardless often outstripping the lazy genius.)
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Re: rights revisited

Post by Hereandnow » September 5th, 2018, 11:21 am

Dashchund:
The point I would like to make here is that an egalitarian moral theorist ( like yourself) who asserts the fundamental moral equality of all human persons cannot deny that in various ways some people do intentionally act in such a manner as to as to be more deserving, more creditable than others. For example, if we agree that all individuals have, say, Lockean rights, then individuals can forfeit their rights through bad conduct. In short, it seems very clear to me that some human lives AS THEY ARE ACTUALLY (INTENTIONALLY) LIVED are more worthy than others.


Your response to this would be, I expect, that the fact individuals vary in their earned worth is perfectly compatible with asserting that they all still possess (regardless) an equal , unearned (innate) worth in virtue of their status as human PERSONS.
First, let me say that I write too much. YOU write 5 page papers. I can't go into all of this; I'll get nappy.

At any rate, "more deserving" is question begging, as is "creditable". If you refer to their actions, then the matter can rest. It goes to so called "agent /action morality". Actions produce, are a benefit, or can be. I am saying that agents are morally equal, yes; but their actions, not at all. Forfeiting rights due to bad actions is a pragmatic necessity, only. A legal system could not survive, I think, if there were no consequences to behaving badly. The desert lies, however, exclusively in this. Beyond this is metaphysics, plain and simple.
My reply to this would be that all human beings are, as I have already pointed out in my last post, different in every conceivable respect that one could ever possibly imagine; namely that each individual is unique and no two are ever equal,( in any way), in the Aristotelian sense of being the "Same". Just as human beings differ in terms of , say: their genetic make-up (their DNA); their ethnicity; their level of intelligence; their physiology; their personality traits; the social, political, cultural and family backgrounds into which they were "thrown" at birth and so on, they will also differ by degree in terms of the measure of inherent, unearned worth, or, if you like, the fundamental ( i.e. "default"/ "unearned") amount of intrinsic dignity they possess at any given time purely by virtue of the fact they are homo sapiens.
A very confusing thing to say. What is the difference between"inherent, unearned worth" and DNA ad the rest? You draw a distinction and I don't see it as these are all unearned. Being homo sapien has nothing to do with this, or, if it does, it would be about all of the above you mention and the anthropological term adds nothing.
Anyway, "different in every conceivable way" and the rest is already clear.
In short, It seems to me that when we refer to the proposed notion of an innate unearned worth (or "dignity") that all human being possesses, what we are actually talking about is a collection of morally-relevant psychological features, or, if you like, the set of all the particular human psychological capacities and abilities that actually play a crucial role in determining a individual's raw, unearned moral personality. I listed what I felt were very likely to be some examples these implicit, unearned "worth-determining" psychological capacities/abilities in my last post, namely:
Yes, your list of unearned advantages is fine. And noting, as has been the case throughout this discussion, that unearned disadvantages is absent. When one starts, I would suggest, thinking of these, the unearned being thrown into wretchedness, one begins to think with compassion. Did, I have asked more than once, the poor afflicted with poverty at birth, earn this?? What are these unearned DISadvantages about? How do justify allowing these, as they present themselves in clear social and economic disfunction, to be the exclusive master of our moral assessments?
The next point I would like to make is that mainstream Western neuropsychologists would all concur that each and every one of the different psychological capacities and abilities ( whatever they happen to be) that play a crucial role in constituting the total basic measure of inherent unearned moral worth/( "dignity") any individual human being is said to possess at any given time in his/her life, will have corresponding neurobiological substrates in the brain; that is, they will each be mediated through a particular neuroanatomical region of the living human brain. To give an example, the psychological feature known as short-term Working Memory would no doubt make a crucial contribution to whatever an individual human being's total measure of innate, unearned (moral) worth/ ("dignity") happened to be at any particular time in their lives, and short-term Working Memory is known to be anatomically localised in a region of the human brain known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC).
But why bother about this at all? It is not the argument, it is just a fattening of the already overstated point. It is crystal clear already what you mean by unearned advantage. Get on with it.
As you have mentioned John Rawls ( the prominent, 20th- century moral philosopher), let me use an example of a basic (moral) "worth-determining" psychological feature he identifies in his influential thesis "A Theory of Justice" to continue.


In "A Theory of Justice",Rawls argues that there are two core psychological features constitutive of a human being's "moral personality" ( I take Rawl's term "moral personality" to refer to the moral dimension/component of a individual human being's overall psychological make-up), these are: (A) a capacity for a conception of the good and (B) the capacity for "a sense of justice".


Let's just consider (B), the capacity for a sense of justice. Rawl's defines this capacity as having two components: (1) the ability to conceptualise candidates for what one takes to be the basic norms of fairness, to deliberate about them and then to successfully select the best norms; (2) the capacity for creating and maintaining a steady disposition to conform one's conduct to what one takes to be the best basic norms of fairness. Let's take a closer look now at capacity (1)..
I told explicitly you I didn't agree with Rawl's, and not to argue about this. But you do this anyway. It is a politician's tactic. I occurs to me that you THINK like a politician.
Look, the reason I don't defend Rawls is because I don't ground the principle of equal rights in society on self interest. For me, the sense of justice, and the capacity creating and maintaining a steady disposition have nothing to do with the basis of the Original Rights I brought up. Rawls provides the simple model of an original situation that I think is right. Prior to, as I say, being thrown into this world ( I get it from Heidegger's geworfenheit, which is a striking and apt characterization of the ethical vacuum PRIOR to being born) there is nothing OF this world in the coming into it. If you are born, you are thrown from nowhere into your poverty, your down syndrome, your stubborness, our brilliance, your ability to multitask; are you getting this at all? It is not even an argument, it is a fact. I argue it because there is so much misconstrual and offense at the idea that a person does not deserve her circumstances inn the world. The best you could argue is that once a person is HERE, then behavior can be meansured accordingly, but then, the actual conditions made real by one's throwness have to be distinguished from the acts done in their influence, and this is impossible to even conceive.
To continue. From the moment a human being is born ("thrown") into the world, the prefrontal (PFC) cortex of their brain begins to (physically) grow and develop. In the average individual this process of development/growth continues until aboutthe age of around 25 years , which is typically when when the human PFC reaches full structural and functional maturity. AS to HOW the PFC develops over this period of time ( 25 years), this is determined by complex gene-environment interactions . For example, If one is born with "bad genes" ( e.g. Down's Syndrome or some other kind of Intellectual Deficiency disorder or say some form of neurodevelopmental disorder etc.) and predominantly subjected to negative ( i.e. toxic/traumatic/harmful) external environmental factors ( violent/abusive/ malnurturative parenting, poverty, poor education, social disadvantage, cultural deprivation, problems with substance abuse/addiction, and so on) the PFC may very well develop an abnormal, pathological manner, i.e; with substantial structural and functional deficits, deficiencies and impairments; these, in turn, will result in the afflicted individual having a relatively low capacity for Rawl's "sense of justice". Alternatively, if an individual's PFC develops in a robust, healthy manner in consequence of consistently positive/advantageous gene-environment interactions, then s/he will likely possess a well - developed "sense of justice". The essential point I wish to emphasise is that because each individual human being is "thrown" into the world with different DNA ( genetic material), and "thrown" in into different environmental circumstances, no two individuals will ever have - at any point in time - the SAME ( i.e. biologically/physiologically IDENTICAL brains); thus, no two human beings will ever -( at any point in time) - have the SAME ( biologically /physiologically IDENTICAL) PFC, and thus they will never at any point in time possess the SAME Rawlsian psychological capacity for "a sense of justice". This, in turn, means, by extension, that no two human individuals will, at any time, ever have the SAME basic "moral personality" ( i.e. the SAME measure of innate , unearned moral worth or "dignity). Hierarchy will always be the rule. In short, the measure of fundamental, inherent, unearned moral worth that is possessed will ALWAYS differ in degree from one individual human being to another along a natural (vertical) hierarchy that stretches from the most morally lacking and inferior human specimens at the base, upwards through the intermediate orders of innate moral worth/dignity to the most morally well-endowed, morally superior ( i.e. the most noble, virtuous, honourable, righteous human beings at the very top.
First, I would have to go back to read about what Rawls ways about the moral personality and so forth; but you have to take a more genuine look
at the original position. There is nothing of a moral sense involved. It is the principle of self interest that makes for his support of bringing assistance to the least advantaged by those lucky enough to be rewarded by the draw. Now, once here, having a moral sense is to be figured into the package of rewards, not part of the determination as to who gets what.

By my argument, there are pragmatic rights and these are not equal, nor should they be in the practical world. I said precisely this many times now. How is all this above, which you designate as the " measure of innate , unearned moral worth or "dignity" relevant. Unearned? It's like you're not reading at all.

There is no such thing as the SAME in nature; nature is fundamentally and essentially hierarchical. (Aristotle recognised this in his idea of the Scala Naturae according to which all matter and life - all being - is structured in a strict, hierarchical manner along a single continuum. Aristotle was correct, and the hierarchical nature of being is expressed in the fact that each individual human being naturally differs by degree in the measure (amount) of inherent unearned (moral) worth they possess. This, however creates rather a big problem, to say the very least, for moral egalitarian theorists like our muddle-headed friend Mr HAN. To show you what I mean, I will again use Mr HAN "Ethical Hero" ( he will, BTW, deny this, but it's actually true :wink: :wink: ), the celebrated moral egalitarian theorist, John Rawls to illustrate.


( NB: Poor Mr HAN, his heart really is in the right place, you know! He's a kind of grown-up version of a fearless, teenage SJW who thinks that we can and must make the world a better, fairer, more just place, only for MR HAN it's not so much through insisting on everyone being PC that he believes we will achieve this goal, but rather by bt implementing political policies for redistributing society's resources. Mr HAN, in short, thinks that we must take away some of the surfeit of
desirable resources possessed by the undeserving wealthy "haves" of society in order to give them to unlucky "have nots" - i.e; those poor souls who were simply dealt a bad hand of cards by fate. Mr HAN is basically just like Robin Hood, or should I say, Karl Marx, in that he is convinced we are duty bound to even everything out fairly in society, and the only way we can be completely fair and just is by taking from the privileged (and undeserving) rich and giving to the needy, unfortunate poor, and doing this systematically until everyone ends up sharing precisely the same level of well-being. What Mr HAN keeps forgetting is that ( * Ahem !*) when this idea - which sounds very decent and noble and rational - was trialled for real in the 20th century, hundreds of millions of people ended up being murdered and tortured by their own governments, in Russia, China and Cambodia !)
all of this is superfluous, juvenial sh**. Learn to read.

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Re: rights revisited

Post by Burning ghost » September 5th, 2018, 11:30 am

Amended : referring to Zuckerberg as evolving into a “moral person” is a conceited statement. I don’t need to focus on his journey or the number of jobs he’s provided for people, his growth as a human being from a young and socially awkward person into someone admired for all the right reasons.
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Re: rights revisited

Post by Hereandnow » September 5th, 2018, 11:54 am

Conceited? How so? He made jobs. Accidentally, he did this; his principle purpose was to make money. You stay on the surface of things, and that is not where philosophy is. That great humanitarian Adolf Hitler created a lot of jobs. How is this, the making of jobs, in itself, a measurement of a person's moral standing?

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Re: rights revisited

Post by Fooloso4 » September 5th, 2018, 12:07 pm

MrE:
You would have to provide evidence that you already have these rights that you claim.
Do you need to provide evidence that you have a right to live? Is the only evidence that you have a right to life that the law protects you? What of those people who are not protected by law? Do they have no right to life?
Unjust laws do exist in the US as it does in almost all countries. No society will 100% agree on what is just.
The point is that the law cannot be the justification for rights since, as you say, unjust laws do exist.
In the US the people should be driving the laws, based on elected officials appointed by the people.
Does this mean that whatever the majority opinion is as to what the laws should be and who has rights should prevail? The idea of elected officials in the US was designed to prevent just such a thing. The founders were concerned with the tyranny of the masses, their fickleness, and how easy it is to persuade them. The constitution was not written by majority vote. The rule of law is meant to stand above majority opinion. It was hoped that those with the best judgment and discernment would rule. The current state of affairs does not give us much reason to join in their hope.
Natural rights have nothing to do with morals or ethics.
First, I should make it clear that when I discuss natural rights I am referring to the claims made the the philosophers of the natural rights tradition. This is not simply a matter of history or a museum exhibit. We are still within that tradition. Many of our ideas have been shaped by them. Whether or not I agree is another matter. I will discuss my views but first, if we are to disagree with something we must first understand what it is we are disagreeing with.

The one thing that all natural rights philosophers have in common is the centrality of reason. Some include talk of God, and although some may be earnest, others may be doing this for rhetorical reasons. I am using rhetorical in its original means - to persuade. Reason as they understood it was not man made.

Natural rights are rights that are in accord with the natural order, which is to say the order of reason, and thus can be determined by reason. Human rights are not given by the law of the land but recognized by the law of the land and are inviolable. Natural rights and legal rights are not the same. According to Cicero, “right reason” requires equality of justice. According to Locke, natural rights include life, liberty, and property. The US constitution lists life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The relationship between natural law and morals or ethics is more intractable because of the wide variety of theories, but the violation of a natural right is not morally or ethically neutral.

Briefly, my own views may not be too far from your own except there are problems with the claim that:
making of law purely subjective and a matter of individual opinion.
I reject the idea of an objective standard but do not think that subjectivity is a matter of individual opinion. Neither the law nor ethics can be based on individual opinion. This is why in another post I pointed to our social and cultural nature. Individual opinion is a condition for legal and ethical deliberation, but this condition is a starting point not the end of the matter. Legal and ethical determinations have consequences that extend far beyond individual opinion.

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Re: rights revisited

Post by Burning ghost » September 5th, 2018, 1:07 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
September 5th, 2018, 11:54 am
Conceited? How so? He made jobs. Accidentally, he did this; his principle purpose was to make money. You stay on the surface of things, and that is not where philosophy is. That great humanitarian Adolf Hitler created a lot of jobs. How is this, the making of jobs, in itself, a measurement of a person's moral standing?
I didn’t say anything about about Hitler. I didn’t say producing jobs for people was a measure of “moral standing” either. Do you imagine that to be a fair comparison with Zuckerberg. Does dropping the name of a despot really do anything here.

If you cannot see the conceit in your own words what am I to do other than let it wash over me and soldier on. If I really must then I would say it takes a certain degree of self-confidence to judge someone from a distance without even looking into their history or background. You did this twice with Gates and Zuckerberg and have just followed up with “you stay on the surface of things” which is quite something considering.

If you wish to discuss what philosophy is it could be interesting. In brief I’ll say I view it, as a whole, as being the means to put concepts to use and see how far they can be spread and used to further understanding of the world. A great deal of it is about how far words can be stretched to encompass human experience.

If you want more I am happy to play this out further (Take it or leave it):

No, I don’t consider making jobs for people to be a “measure of moral standing” although I don’t really understand the use of “moral standing” in this case. If I were to say good bananas are yellow would you seriously take that to mean that was the singular constituent factor that made a banana “good”. No, yet you same above and bury under some ridiculous Hitler signaling - it’s called Reducto ad Hitlerum.

I am not aware that Zuckerberg used a sweatshop to build his business or that he didn’t actually work very hard at doing something he was interested in simply for monetary gain - although I am not naive enough to think money didn’t factor into his drive for success. I could also say something about Ghandi opposing blacks in South Africa before his more humanitarian aims in India, but it doesn’t some like a reasonable measure of someone to judge them harshly soley on the basis of one small period of their lives - under the circumstances it appears that two socially awkward nerds managed not to side with any racist views and were not exactly, as in Gate’s case at least, out to live the high life. They were lucky enough to have a passion for something that society at large deemed valuable, reaped the rewards and then set about trying to put their unexpected position to use - granted not all do and some fall quite disgracefully.

As to the greater benefit of things like facebook and microsoft that is something that can be argued back and forth. Without doubt businesses fall prey to greed here and there. Profit without any concern for demand is going to fail. Profit without any moral concern will also suffer, more so today than before due to things like facebook and microsoft. Two much worse people could’ve cornered the market. Let’s be thankful these two managed to keep a reasonable degree of perspective. Don’t forget these people could easily disappear into the background. They don’t and maybe that will be Zuckerberg’s failing because he’s still young, but Gates has weather the storm well enough even though many tried to portray him as some evil force who’d cornered the software market all by his evil little self.

I do not, or at least try hard not to, judge someone’s “moral standing”. Some people I don’t give the time of day to, I make a righteous judgement. I do my best to go back to them again and again if something springs to mind that I feel could be of use. I may say things I don’t do, but I try to take note of what I say and act according to what I say - I fail enough in my own eyes but not enough to be overly concerned.
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Re: rights revisited

Post by Burning ghost » September 5th, 2018, 1:13 pm

Fool -

I’ll take this one:
Do you need to provide evidence that you have a right to live?
No one has a “right” to live. Rights are dished out by ethics based upon the co-mingling of subjective moral views. The laws are then set out, refined and constantly in a state of some flux, yet cohesive enough to create certain “rights”. The right to live is on the same plane as the right to be human - it is an empty sentiment, a bad use of language and causes many to demand things like “respect” regardless of their actions of predisposition toward other individuals.

So no, no “evidence” need be provided that I am a living being. My “right” to live doesn’t even come into play, it is a nonsensical facade of a position to express this “right to live.”
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Re: rights revisited

Post by Hereandnow » September 5th, 2018, 1:42 pm

BG:
I didn’t say anything about about Hitler. I didn’t say producing jobs for people was a measure of “moral standing” either. Do you imagine that to be a fair comparison with Zuckerberg. Does dropping the name of a despot really do anything here.
I just took your reference to job making as an implicit reference to how wonderful he is. It is not a comparison at all. It is just an illustration that shows creating jobs is not a measure of a person's moral worth. In my thinking, the only way to measure the worth of a person is by sacrifice. So when Bill Gates (just an example) leans toward an investment looking for a possible advantage and accidentally and incidentally (to his intent) makes a thousand jobs, it is no reflection of his moral character. Just luck .I admire sacrifice, not consequences; and when the consequeces go well for all, I like this,too. But has no moral bearing regarding the the individual.
If you cannot see the conceit in your own words what am I to do other than let it wash over me and soldier on. If I really must then I would say it takes a certain degree of self-confidence to judge someone from a distance without even looking into their history or background. You did this twice with Gates and Zuckerberg and have just followed up with “you stay on the surface of things” which is quite something considering.
See my thoughts above. I don't need a biography.
If you wish to discuss what philosophy is it could be interesting. In brief I’ll say I view it, as a whole, as being the means to put concepts to use and see how far they can be spread and used to further understanding of the world. A great deal of it is about how far words can be stretched to encompass human experience.
My comment about the surface of things was not meant to be confrontational, but perhaps it was. Sorry for that. I only wanted to say that it is in the everyday conversation that we yield to casual talk about all a person has done and how much she may have grown, and what a fine moral thing to do, and so on. I present here ideas at the level of basic assumptions. Everyone know what it means for someone to deserve something, right? I don't think so, and it is a question almost never taken up outside philosophy classes. Who else would ask, do we really know what a right is, its essence? No one talks like this because there are assumptions in place behind assertions like, I was born here, so I have a right to this and that. I say such a thing is simply a pragmatic right, one conceived out of a need to make things work. and nothing more.
I am not aware that Zuckerberg used a sweatshop to build his business or that he didn’t actually work very hard at doing something he was interested in simply for monetary gain - although I am not naive enough to think money didn’t factor into his drive for success. I could also say something about Ghandi opposing blacks in South Africa before his more humanitarian aims in India, but it doesn’t some like a reasonable measure of someone to judge them harshly soley on the basis of one small period of their lives - under the circumstances it appears that two socially awkward nerds managed not to side with any racist views and were not exactly, as in Gate’s case at least, out to live the high life. They were lucky enough to have a passion for something that society at large deemed valuable, reaped the rewards and then set about trying to put their unexpected position to use - granted not all do and some fall quite disgracefully.
I really don't come down that hard on Zuckerberg. It is the body of moral thinking that dominates in our time that bring about the moral disregard that makes amassing obscene amounts of personal wealth possible that is my main target of criticism, and the way such a thing is defended as if it were a "natural right" to be able to do so. I simply point out that argument that wants to show it is alright, it is part of a genuine right, to take all that the system will allow completely fails when an analysis is brought to bear upon it.
As to the greater benefit of things like facebook and microsoft that is something that can be argued back and forth. Without doubt businesses fall prey to greed here and there. Profit without any concern for demand is going to fail. Profit without any moral concern will also suffer, more so today than before due to things like facebook and microsoft. Two much worse people could’ve cornered the market. Let’s be thankful these two managed to keep a reasonable degree of perspective. Don’t forget these people could easily disappear into the background. They don’t and maybe that will be Zuckerberg’s failing because he’s still young, but Gates has weather the storm well enough even though many tried to portray him as some evil force who’d cornered the software market all by his evil little self.
Yes, you'are right about that. But from what i have heard over the years, the vast majority of big business people are conservatives, and they ground this solely on their ability to make more money. I see the way they vote, and I don't need their biographies to make a judgment.

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Re: rights revisited

Post by Dachshund » September 5th, 2018, 1:44 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
September 5th, 2018, 9:15 am


My enmity towards conservatives is not because of their vision of a perfect society, it's because they would realize this vision at the expense of the least advantaged. When a conservative votes, she knows that this will encourage the removal of government agencies and policies that give the poor food stamps, medicaid, health care, housing assistance, and so on now, in the present. They know the power of federal government to make public schooling better in impoverished areas will be undercut. And on and on. This is what they advertise freely. It is an attempt, in cash value terms, to make that family who cannot pay the utility bill or put food on the table and cannot send their kids to safe educational environments far worse off.
It is easy to argue that it would be cheaper to run a country with lower taxes. Doing the right thing and helping those who are in need is always with a cost. That is what it means to be a decent person, a decent country: doing the right thing and paying for it. This is not an issue in the sidelines, like prayer on schools or gerrymander in voting districts (not so much a sideline of late, though). This is a foundational feature: divesting the poor of any deliverance from their hardship.

That is why I say they salivate at the mere mentioning. Listen, if you are in the US, to their speeches on the hill. They care nothing for the suffering of others, only the "whole of society". They're fiscal fascists, targeting the poor as deserving to be poor because they make their own poverty. THIS is exactly how they reason. No question. It is why they are the party of greed and ignorance, the former because of lower taxes for the rich, the latter because it takes ignorance be poor, be a victim of a tax system that creates massive divisions in the distribution of wealth, and vote for "the whole of society."

I don't have time to go into all of the nasty things I have to say about conservative thinking.
HAN,

The father of modern conservatism is still regarded today as being the 18th century politician/philosopher/orator Edmund Burke.I must inform you, first and foremost that the fundamental principles of Burkean conservatism are entirely antithetical to the doctrine of neo-liberalism that was embraced by Conservative political leaders like Ronald Reagan ( in the USA) and Margaret Thatcher (in the UK) in the early 80s. And, it is crystal clear your beef, HAN, is with neo-liberalism. (And) if you think neo-liberal is a toxic political creed; if you are convinced that it is a callous, brutal and immoral political doctrine that has, over the past 40 years, visited untold suffering and misery on untold millions of human beings around the globe, then can I tell you my dear fellow that I AGREE WITH YOU 100%. The point I would like to make is that the modern-day dominance of neo-liberal ideology in the West would have absolutely horrified and appalled the Honourable Edmund Burke, the original founder of true political Conservatism in the modern era, and it essential for you not to identify the former with the later!

Indeed, we have actually reached a point today where everything that bone fide traditional Burkean social Conservatives value is actually threatened less by Corbynista neo-Marxism than it is by rampant neo-liberalism. As a traditional Burkean Conservative I am mortified by the social and environmental damage neo-liberalism has done over the past 40-50 years, and it angers me when people conflate it with genuine, traditional social Conservatism. So here, briefly, for your information, is the story of how my kind of Conservatism got so intimately tangled up with neo-liberalism in the first place.

It all began in the 1980's when two Conservative leaders: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, fell head over heels in love with the ideology of neo-liberalism. So what is neo-liberalism, you ask ? Back in the 1980's it was basically shorthand for a world-view that looked to the freeing up of enterprise and the rolling back of the State to make people prosperous through the letting the laissez-faire loose to do its own thing and "rock and roll" unimpeded. Traditional Conservatives could go along with that after all the enlargement of the role of the State had been a consequence of both social democratic soft totalitarianism in the West and also of post-war Marxist hard totalitarianism in Eastern Europe.

To continue.Liberation from these two dreadful straitjackets was a universal aspiration, so it was only natural for Conservatism to find economic neo-liberalism a congenial doctrine and embrace it as a means of wealth creation. The fact that this alliance was first implemented, with spectacular success in Chile, under Augusto Pinochet testified to the initial compatibility of neo-liberalism with traditional Conservative objectives. Equally when, in that late 1980s the Berlin wall came tumbling down ,and rust-bucket Marxism was consigned to the dustbin of history , the love affair between Conservatism and neo-liberalism got the "green light" in a big way, and it was all systems go in thew West for implementing neo-liberal policies of market fundamentalism and economic rationalism (e.g. of the Reaganomics kind ,and, of the Thatcherite, neo-liberal kind, which advocated "supply side" economic theory, (that is, the fundamental conviction that the government should only intervene to create a free market by implementing policies that: lower taxes; privatise State industries and impose strict clampdowns on trade unionism, etc.

The in-built incompatibility, however, resided in the fact that neo-liberalism spilled over from the economic arena into the political, social and cultural zones. At the same time, so far from SHRINKING, the State expanded its role into more and more areas of life. Yes, it privatised utilities, but it quickly compensated for this by expanding into every other sphere of its citizen's existence. Where was the gain in privatising railways, electricity and water, when children have been nationalised, subjected to State-sponsored sexualization and brainwashing, with their parents side-lined?

Western governments embarked on neo-Marxist projects of social engineering, political correctness and the abolition of free speech. They coercively reconfigured their countries' demography by imposing mass immigration, against the known wishes of the majority of the population. They even presumed to redefine marriage !

Neo-liberalism comfortably accommodated itself to this encroachment of tyranny, encouraging mass immigration as a source of cheap labour to enhance profits. But it was not a joined-up response. No thought was given to the strain on hospitals, schools, housing, or to the fact that immigrants, seen as a solution to the problem of an aging population, themselves grow old and consume welfare resources. The quarterly bottom line was the limited horizon of neo-liberal free-marketeers.

Above all, neo-liberals have shown no cultural priorities. national identity and the broader culture of Christian Europe were to be discarded.True community identity replaced by a rootless individualism, whose only enduring relationship is with technology. The family is despised, fiscally oppressed and treated with contempt. True traditional Conservatism can no longer cohabit with this nihilist, deracinated force that is already inflicting more damage on Western civilization than communism ever achieved.

Neo-liberalism is not even true to its own market fundamentalist tenets. It has long departed from the principles of Hayek, with his respect for tradition, and degenerated into crony capitalism and complicity with the intruder State. The immediate battle ground is the immigration crisis swamping - And YES(!), that is the word, the only one that adequately describes the character of the threat - to the United States, to Britain and to Europe !

I could go on and on, but I will resist the temptation and conclude here by simply saying this... Sometimes economic growth must take second place to social, cultural and religious priorities. And this is the case RIGHT NOW. What has Conservatism actually conserved in recent decades ? The answer is NOTHING- nothing good. If it is to improve on that abysmal record, it must break with multinational, multicultural, blindly utilitarian/materialist neo-liberalism and return - as Burke would assuredly exhort it - to the defense of the fundamental tenets of true traditional social Conservatism that he himself so admirably championed. And what precisely are these tenets, you might ask ? Well, outlining them would require me to a submit separate post, though I am more than happy to do so if you are interested in learning what they are.

In conclusion, HAN, neo-liberalism is NOT to be equated with what I call genuine (traditional, social) Conservatism. (And) If you despise neo-liberalism then guess what ? So do I, my friend; and this, at least, - I am glad to say -, is something it seems we can agree on !



Kindest Regards

Dachshund

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Re: rights revisited

Post by Fooloso4 » September 5th, 2018, 3:16 pm

Steve3007:
It depends on what is meant by "given". It could mean "given by God" which is equivalent to "given by Nature" which really means inherent. I think you probably mean "given by humans", whether by the edicts of rulers or by collective agreements or something in between. In both cases (inherent and given), we can ask the question "why?" or "what justifies it?" because in both cases it is humans that assert the rights. In the same way that if somebody claims that morals come from God or Nature, it is still a human making that assertion.
Yes, I am making a distinction between what is given by humans, which is the case with legal rights, and natural rights which are inherent and not conferred or given but acknowledged or recognized.

The question of justification is problematic. What would stand as justification of the claim that human beings have the right to live? If I say that you should not cook the baby in the oven and serve her for dinner, does this require justification? If so, what would justify it? The standards by which something is justified ordinarily do not stand in need of justification. There is, however, in my opinion, no absolute, eternal, objective standards. Justification is always human justification. From time to time a standard is questioned and rejected based on other standards.
So one question, of many, that we could ask might be: "Why would some humans assert that rights are inherent?". As I understand some of the currents of thought from the 17th Century Enlightenment onward, one of the answers to that question is linked to advances in science by Newton and others, which led some people to try to apply ideas which worked for Newtonian physics to ideas of ethics.
This is an interesting question. One I started to address but decided not to go off on a tangent when you said:
A person who doesn't understand that would appear not to understand the difference between a prescriptive legislative law and a descriptive law of physics. The UNUDHR is not Newton's laws of motion.
Hobbes talked about a “science of politics”. If politics could be put on the same footing as science then much of the conflict of politics could be avoided. ‘Science’ as he used the term was not simply an empirical science. In this view rational argument is central to scientific endeavor. But Hobbes science included observations of motion. Locke too looked to science, force and bodies in motion, as the basis of politics and human understanding as well.

What should not be overlooked is just how revolutionary modern scientific philosophy was. Its break with Aristotle is often discussed, and has recently been re-evaluated to emphasize a continuity, but more important it effectively undermines and sets political and religious authority on a new footing. Scholars are not in agreement on this, with some citing passages from the texts of Hobbes and Locke that seem to support conclusions to the contrary, but I agree with those who begin with the necessary of understanding how a philosopher is to be read. In other words, Hobbes and Locke should be read in light of their teachings on rhetoric.
A piece of legislation that outlaws murder (for example) is not stating that it is physically impossible to murder someone. It is setting out the obligation of society, via such things as the judiciary and the police, to attempt to prevent murder.
I agree, but it might be asked what justifies society’s obligations? Certainly, a society need not adhere to or can restrict this obligation. So, either a) we appeal to some form of cultural relativism and conclude that such obligations are grounded in the society and if the society recognizes no obligation, there is no obligation, or b) we look to determine standards that are not simply conventional. ‘b’ is also a form of relativism since I have rejected absolute standards, but it is not cultural relativism as it is understood as separate but equal standards or standards that should not be judged by foreign standards.
No, I don't think the language of rights does get at what is most basic. If by "gets at what is most basic" we mean "represents an underlying truth about human nature" then what is most basic is human psychology, based on our evolved nature.
What I was trying to get at is that rights talk reaches an impasse and falters with competing rights. We are more than bearers of rights. I am not sure about “human psychology” since it has different senses. Etymologically it means the study of the psyche, but I do not think that this is what contemporary psychology is about.
With every right comes the obligation to attempt to uphold that right. The fact that there are some people who don't appreciate that fact doesn't mean that no rights should be declared.
I am not sure whether you are saying that if there are rights then it is a fact that there must be obligations to uphold them or that it is a fact that there are rights and so we have an obligation to uphold them. In addition, it is not clear, if you are saying that it is a fact that there are rights, whether this is a contingent fact - it just so happens to be the case that there are rights.

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Re: rights revisited

Post by Hereandnow » September 5th, 2018, 3:33 pm

My Dear Dachshund,

I read it. You have to tell me how any of this has any bearing om the argument before us. To me, you're saying this: "I have no argument whatsoever to respond the this, but here, see how much I can write."
I mean, are you kidding?

All the Best,
Someone who really wonders if you know how to focus at all

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Re: rights revisited

Post by Hereandnow » September 5th, 2018, 3:56 pm

It strikes me I was a little unkind. After all, you did say you agreed with me (the argument is transparently clear). But then, how do you reconcile this with your support for Trump and a belief that unequal gifts translates into unequal rights? It can only be that you deny the original condition as I present it, as relevant, leaving only what is "given" to be the standard for assessing rights; and thus, altogether disregarding desert and the rights it engenders at the basic level. Is this what you are doing? Are you saying. by agreeing, that there really horrid conditions in the way advantages are meted out, but you will vote or support policies that exacerbate these nevertheless?
You opened a door here, but I can't see where it leads.
Try and be clear, and don't flood your post with a history of anything: this kind of thing has no more relevance than the number of holes it takes to fill Albert Hall. I think you must see this. It looks like you're protesting too much through evasion.

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Re: rights revisited

Post by Fooloso4 » September 5th, 2018, 4:13 pm

Dachshund:
The father of modern conservatism is still regarded today as being the 18th century politician/philosopher/orator Edmund Burke.I must inform you, first and foremost that the fundamental principles of Burkean conservatism are entirely antithetical to the doctrine of neo-liberalism that was embraced by Conservative political leaders like Ronald Reagan ( in the USA) and Margaret Thatcher (in the UK) in the early 80s.
But just a few months ago you said with the same certainty of your correctness:

That is, is there some fundamental set of basic common principles that effectively grounds the thinking of: Edmund Burke, William Pitt the Younger , Benjamin Disraeli, Otto von Bismark, Winston Churchill, John Major, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Theresa May, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, etc. (Human Rights - A Challenge to the Forum: April 18th)

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Re: rights revisited

Post by Dachshund » September 7th, 2018, 4:30 am

Hereandnow wrote:
September 5th, 2018, 3:56 pm
It strikes me I was a little unkind. After all, you did say you agreed with me (the argument is transparently clear). But then, how do you reconcile this with your support for Trump and a belief that unequal gifts translates into unequal rights? It can only be that you deny the original condition as I present it, as relevant, leaving only what is "given" to be the standard for assessing rights; and thus, altogether disregarding desert and the rights it engenders at the basic level. Is this what you are doing? Are you saying. by agreeing, that there really horrid conditions in the way advantages are meted out, but you will vote or support policies that exacerbate these nevertheless?
You opened a door here, but I can't see where it leads.
Try and be clear, and don't flood your post with a history of anything: this kind of thing has no more relevance than the number of holes it takes to fill Albert Hall. I think you must see this. It looks like you're protesting too much through evasion.
HAN,

It is very easy to pigeon-hole Trump, to reduce him to a crude stereotype - a two-dimensional cartoon caricature like Wall Street's "Gordon Geko" or the Simpson's "Mr Burns" i.e.... "Trump the greedy, obscenely wealthy, New York venture capitalist" ; "Trump: the vulgar materialist; the soulless philistine; the arrogant narcissist; the nasty, mean-spirited reactionary; the school- yard bully" and so on. I mean yes, its true, he is certainly no angel:- boisterous, boastful, obnoxious, rude, conceited, Trump is, in many ways, the archtypal "Ugly American". But I think one of the big mistakes that Trump's critics make is to automatically presume that because he is an offensive, rough-edged "Ugly American" Donald Trump is therefore necessarily a wicked ( i.e. morally bad) man.

I do not think Trump is a bad man. In fact, I think he is a remarkably virtuous human being, because he insists on speaking what he believes to be the Truth, and for a man in his position - the leader of the free world - that demands extraordinary personal integrity and great moral courage. Whenever I listen to Trump I am confident that what I hear coming out of his mouth is what he sincerely and honestly thinks; I think to myself: "This guy "rings true", he is a "straight-shooter"; I may not like of what he has to say about "X" or "Y" , but I always respect him for being upfront and forthright - for having the guts to stand up and "call 'em as he sees 'em" - on the big issues that really matter. By doing this he demonstrates, IMO, a very genuine respect for the American people, and I would far rather have a plain-spoken, brutally honest man like Trump in the White House than an eloquent, though inherently suspect "Creeping Jesus" like Barak Obama.

Here is what Trump said 21 years ago during an interview with a print journalist who was working for NY's popular "Village Voice" newspaper...

"... people have always asked me if I'll ever be involved in politics. It seems every so often there's some unfounded rumor that I'm considering seeking office - sometimes even the Presidency ! The problem is, I think I'm too honest, and perhaps too controversial, to be a politician. I always say it like it is, and I not sure a politician can do that... honesty causes controversy (so) I probably would not be a very good politician".

I think Trump understands a great Truth about the meaning of life, and I have thought that ever since I read the following remarks in his book "Surviving at the Top" (1990)...

"I have a reputation for being tough and I like to think its justified. Toughness, as I see it is a quality made up of equal parts of (moral) strength, intelligence and self-respect....The opposite of toughness - weakness - makes me mad and sometimes turns my stomach. I'm not referring here to the kind of weakness that comes from being poor, sick or disadvantaged ( nb: HAN). I talking about those people who CAN take a strong stand, but [/b]just don't... Toughness is pride, drive, commitment, and the courage to follow through on things you believe in, even when they are under attack. It's solving problems instead of letting them fester. It's being who you really are even when society wants you to be something else. Toughness is walking away from the things you want, because for one reason or another acquiring them doesn't make sense...Toughness means playing by the rules, but also putting those rules to work for you...It is looking at an adversary across the desk and saying, simply, No."

I think in these few passages - in this little handful of words - we find, condensed and crystallised, one of the most profound and truthful understandings of what it means for a human being to act in a manner which is morally good/right, that has ever been uttered.

What do you think, HAN ?

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Re: rights revisited

Post by Steve3007 » September 7th, 2018, 5:59 am

Fooloso4 wrote:Yes, I am making a distinction between what is given by humans, which is the case with legal rights, and natural rights which are inherent and not conferred or given but acknowledged or recognized.
Yes, understood. Although, as I said, I think that, in actual fact, natural rights are also given by humans - by the act of humans claiming that they're given by Nature. In the same sense, morals that some humans claim to be given by God are actually given by humans saying that they're given by God. Clearly God's alleged word is always brought to us by humans. Same with the word of Nature.

Maybe one reason why some people think that they're passive observers of rights existing in Nature (as opposed to active creators of those rights) is to do with this whole 17th Century Enlightenment science thing. The notion that science is an act of passively and objectively observing something that exists "out there" in a deterministic, observer-independent reality. Very Newtonian. It seems to me that the perils of trying to over-extend metaphorical connections between different disciplines (e.g. physics and ethics) also applies to more recent developments in the philosophy of science, such as concepts like Relativity and "Observer-created reality".
The question of justification is problematic. What would stand as justification of the claim that human beings have the right to live? If I say that you should not cook the baby in the oven and serve her for dinner, does this require justification? If so, what would justify it? The standards by which something is justified ordinarily do not stand in need of justification. There is, however, in my opinion, no absolute, eternal, objective standards. Justification is always human justification. From time to time a standard is questioned and rejected based on other standards.
I agree that justification is always human justification, and there have been various proposed reasons for it, like the greatest good to the greatest number, enlightened self-interest, a categorical imperative, laws of Nature, the wisdom of a deity, the divine right of kings, etc.
Hobbes talked about a “science of politics”. If politics could be put on the same footing as science then much of the conflict of politics could be avoided. ‘Science’ as he used the term was not simply an empirical science. In this view rational argument is central to scientific endeavor. But Hobbes science included observations of motion. Locke too looked to science, force and bodies in motion, as the basis of politics and human understanding as well.
OK, that's interesting. I don't have in-depth knowledge of Hobbes. But I think it was this general notion of putting politics on the same footing as (classical "Newtonian") science that I was talking about before.
What should not be overlooked is just how revolutionary modern scientific philosophy was. Its break with Aristotle is often discussed, and has recently been re-evaluated to emphasise a continuity, but more important it effectively undermines and sets political and religious authority on a new footing. Scholars are not in agreement on this, with some citing passages from the texts of Hobbes and Locke that seem to support conclusions to the contrary, but I agree with those who begin with the necessary of understanding how a philosopher is to be read. In other words, Hobbes and Locke should be read in light of their teachings on rhetoric.
I've read that some scholars dispute the traditional view that Locke's emphasis on the right to life, liberty and property is the basis for the US Constitution. What do you think?
I agree, but it might be asked what justifies society’s obligations? Certainly, a society need not adhere to or can restrict this obligation. So, either a) we appeal to some form of cultural relativism and conclude that such obligations are grounded in the society and if the society recognises no obligation, there is no obligation, or b) we look to determine standards that are not simply conventional. ‘b’ is also a form of relativism since I have rejected absolute standards, but it is not cultural relativism as it is understood as separate but equal standards or standards that should not be judged by foreign standards
As I understand it, one of the objections to moral and cultural relativism is that it supposedly reduces people's ability to claim that their view is the right one. I don't see how it makes any difference at all to the ability to do that. If a person proclaims "I am objectively right!" or "Nature shows me to be right!" or "God shows me to be right!" it's still, at the end of the day, a person asserting something. As a general rule, in my view, a person who feels they have to constantly assert their own truthfulness and honesty is less trustworthy than a person who just demonstrates those virtues by example. (Mentioning no names!)
What I was trying to get at is that rights talk reaches an impasse and falters with competing rights. We are more than bearers of rights. I am not sure about “human psychology” since it has different senses. Etymologically it means the study of the psyche, but I do not think that this is what contemporary psychology is about.
When I mentioned psychology I was really just making the perhaps slightly tautological point that if we wanted to know the underlying reasons why people take various views about ethics and rights we'd have to know how their brains work.

Yes, when proposed rights are in directly conflict with each other they have to be examined to see why they have been proposed.
I am not sure whether you are saying that if there are rights then it is a fact that there must be obligations to uphold them or that it is a fact that there are rights and so we have an obligation to uphold them. In addition, it is not clear, if you are saying that it is a fact that there are rights, whether this is a contingent fact - it just so happens to be the case that there are rights.
I was just saying that all rights, in order to mean anything, have to be at least theoretically enforceable. If I and others are deemed to have the right to life, that automatically implies that others and/or I have the obligation to try to prevent murder, by various means. Paying taxes to fund the police and judiciary, and so forth.

---

On a different note, on the subject of self-contradictions that you (Fooloso4) mentioned in your recent post, I guess I'll highlight this one again:

Murder = the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being (person) by another.

1
...it is not at all clear where one might non-arbitrarily place this threshold such that all human beings above it are persons ( rights bearers) and all human beings below are non-persons ?!
2
My view is that the abortion ( medical/chemical destruction) of a live fertilised ovum in a woman's womb at any time after moment after conception should be banned because it effectively represents the cold-blooded, premeditated murder of a defenseless and utterly vulnerable (potential) human being.
Regardless of who said the two things posted above, there appears to be a contradiction between them. Quote number 1 is, in my view, absolutely right to point out that it is not clear how one might non-arbitrarily place the threshold between the sets "human" and "not-human". It is a point I've made myself several times before. Quote number 2 directly contradicts this by saying that the right to protection by law from killing should be assigned equally (by classing each equally as murder) to newly fertilised embryos, adult human beings and everything in between.

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