Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

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Marvin_Edwards
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Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 13th, 2020, 2:11 pm

Bill Glod has a video called “The Nature of Rights” on the libertarianism.org website. He explores two views of rights.

The “consequentialist” view determines rights according to their consequences. If the consequence of racial slavery is egregious harm to black men, women, and children, then there should be no right of one race to enslave another.

The “deontological” view, on the other hand, relies upon the shared norms of the culture. For example, if racial slavery is the norm, as it was in the old South, then the deontological view would conserve the current norm. Bill points out that shared norms are embedded in the culture and result in “moralized emotions”, like resentment. And southern whites at that time truly resented having to sit near black people. And they closed down their schools rather than allow black children to sit beside their children in school. This was the morality they felt in their gut (see Colbert).

So which view does Bill recommend? Oddly, Bill favors the deontological view.

To be fair, Bill chose examples that he thought would support his view. He did not try to apply them to slavery in the old South. But let’s take a look at Bill’s examples.

In Bill’s first scenario, Kenny is a healthy young man with a menial job in the hospital where he works. A doctor looks at Kenny and thinks of the five important patients whose lives he could save by harvesting Kenny’s organs. Bill suggests the consequentialists would favor this, because of all the good that those five important people could do. But Bill is only looking at the immediate consequences.

It is important to keep in mind that means become ends. If we decide to allow doctors to select unwilling organ donors, what are the real consequences? Any person, you or any member of your family, could be harvested on demand. And that would be an intolerable way to live. Because of those consequences, we allow no such right to doctors.

Bill stumbles onto the correct answer when he says the phrase “buy into the bad consequence that come from it” and then changes quickly, replacing “bad consequence” with “bad implications”. The correct analysis would impair his argument.

In Bill’s second scenario, Kenny is now a different guy who sticks a fork in your neck while you’re waiting for the bus. At this point, Bill asks you to examine your moralized emotions of blame and anger. This is where he goes into detail about the social norms you have internalized and that set the ethical standards that you use to judge Kenny’s behavior. “How dare you do this to me?!”, you think to yourself. And that is all fine and good.

But Bill overlooks the source of the cultural norms. He suggests something as automatic as natural selection. Cultures with the best rules survive and prosper more than those with inferior rules. In other words, the social norms arise as a consequence of their beneficial effects upon society.

Ultimately, it is about consequences. We left slavery behind, fighting against the cultural norm, because of the physical and psychological harm inflicted upon others among us. It is not enough to seek good only for ourselves.

All practical rights, and the rules that secure them, arise from agreement. Moral people, who seek the best possible good for everyone, seek the best rules to achieve that goal. Sharing the same goal, we eventually may resolve our differences. And, as our moral sense evolves, so do our rights and the rules that secure them. This is something to keep in mind as we face new issues like gay marriage and the 20 week abortion rule.

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by GregRogers » May 13th, 2020, 7:41 pm

Sooooo, you are suggesting that human rights are relative and contingent based on what I can convince someone to provide to me?

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 14th, 2020, 12:06 am

GregRogers wrote:
May 13th, 2020, 7:41 pm
Sooooo, you are suggesting that human rights are relative and contingent based on what I can convince someone to provide to me?
Nope. Human rights are what we agree to respect and protect for each other. That is where all practical rights come from, and what distinguishes a practical right from a merely rhetorical right.

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Terrapin Station » May 14th, 2020, 6:33 am

There are no real rights.

Moral rights are simply moral stances that one feels should be inviolable by any convention, including legal conventions.

Legal rights obtain via whoever has the power to codify them. In many systems, sure, that's going to obtain via agreement--whether a majority population agreement, or the agreement of representatives, or whatever the political system in place.

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Steve3007 » May 14th, 2020, 7:21 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:Explaining Rights to Libertarians
My understanding of Libertarianism is that it proposes conferring only the following rights:
1. The right to be left alone.
2. The right to property.
3. The right to expect freely entered into contractual agreements to be honoured.

I'd describe it as an ultra-individualist political philosophy.

So it doesn't propose that we ought to have conferred on us the right to healthcare or education, for example.

If this Bill Glod guy is a Libertarian, I don't see anything in your OP that is inconsistent with that.

Are you seeking to challenge his consistency or seeking to state that you disagree with him about the extent to which rights should be conferred?

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Steve3007 » May 14th, 2020, 7:32 am

Terrapin Station wrote:There are no real rights.
I assume that you're using the word "real" here as the antonym of abstract.

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Sculptor1 » May 14th, 2020, 8:07 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 12:06 am
GregRogers wrote:
May 13th, 2020, 7:41 pm
Sooooo, you are suggesting that human rights are relative and contingent based on what I can convince someone to provide to me?
Nope. Human rights are what we agree to respect and protect for each other. That is where all practical rights come from, and what distinguishes a practical right from a merely rhetorical right.
Is this distinction the same as a right that is protected by law and backed up by the system; and a right that is given in an abstract document such as the UNDHR?

Above, I think you have put the age old distinction drawn between the followers of Bentham (utiliatarianism); and Kant(the duty of the categorical imperative); just that the words have been changes to consequentialism and deontologicalism.

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Terrapin Station » May 14th, 2020, 9:10 am

Steve3007 wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 7:32 am
Terrapin Station wrote:There are no real rights.
I assume that you're using the word "real" here as the antonym of abstract.
As a synonym for my "objective" or "extramental." Rights are only something we think. They only exist insofar as we have thoughts about them.

Re your earlier comment about libertarianism, by the way, re "to be left alone" that would be better framed as "the right to consent and to avoid consent violations (re actions that directly involve one)." So you've got that, property, and contractual agreements.

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Steve3007 » May 14th, 2020, 9:16 am

Sculptor1 wrote:Above, I think you have put the age old distinction drawn between the followers of Bentham (utiliatarianism); and Kant(the duty of the categorical imperative); just that the words have been changes to consequentialism and deontologicalism.
I think you're right to mention Bentham's/Mill's Utilitarianism and Kant's categorical imperative. I think in this part of the OP...
Marvin_Edwards wrote:In Bill’s first scenario, Kenny is a healthy young man with a menial job in the hospital where he works. A doctor looks at Kenny and thinks of the five important patients whose lives he could save by harvesting Kenny’s organs. Bill suggests the consequentialists would favor this, because of all the good that those five important people could do. But Bill is only looking at the immediate consequences.

It is important to keep in mind that means become ends. If we decide to allow doctors to select unwilling organ donors, what are the real consequences? Any person, you or any member of your family, could be harvested on demand. And that would be an intolerable way to live. Because of those consequences, we allow no such right to doctors.
...the first paragraph is a classic example of what are proposed to be the consequences of Utilitarianism and the second is alluding to that categorical imperative - the notion that human beings should be treated as ends not means - in opposition to the first paragraph.

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Steve3007 » May 14th, 2020, 9:29 am

Terrapin Station wrote:As a synonym for my "objective" or "extramental." Rights are only something we think. They only exist insofar as we have thoughts about them.
Yes, I mentioned this because I've observed that the non-existence of real abstracts is the point you most often make across a wide variety of different topics. I think that it's the single point that you appear to be most interested in.
Re your earlier comment about libertarianism, by the way, re "to be left alone" that would be better framed as "the right to consent and to avoid consent violations (re actions that directly involve one)." So you've got that, property, and contractual agreements.
Yes, I accept this consent-based definition as the most general. It's a similar point to the one you made in another topic about the infliction of pain.

viewtopic.php?p=357114#p357114

taking into account people who don't want to be left alone and who enjoy pain, respectively. I used the term "left alone" because it seems to be a phrase that some Libertarians use as a kind of shorthand.

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Terrapin Station » May 14th, 2020, 9:56 am

Steve3007 wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 9:29 am
Terrapin Station wrote:As a synonym for my "objective" or "extramental." Rights are only something we think. They only exist insofar as we have thoughts about them.
Yes, I mentioned this because I've observed that the non-existence of real abstracts is the point you most often make across a wide variety of different topics. I think that it's the single point that you appear to be most interested in.
I wouldn't say it's a primary interest of mine, but it's so often a source of errors when it comes to things that other people say that I wind up sounding like a broken record. That's not the only common source of errors--others include hasty generlizations, argumentum ad populums, etc., but it's one of the more common problems.

My primary philosophical interest is ontology, probably. And in ontology I'm particularly interested in an idiosyncratic sort of physicalist "perspectivalism" or "reference pointism." I think it provides an ontological paradigm shift that we'd benefit from.

I'm also very interested in political philosophy, and there I also espouse a very idiosyncratic sort of socialist libertarianism that would be another paradigm shift, but I have little faith that anyone would ever be persuaded to attempt it in my lifetime (of which there probably isn't a ton of time left--I'm already nearing 60), so that, combined with the fact that it's dealing with something where there aren't correct or incorrect answers--unlike ontology, more often seems like a waste of time to me.

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Steve3007 » May 14th, 2020, 10:15 am

Terrapin Station wrote:I wouldn't say it's a primary interest of mine, but it's so often a source of errors when it comes to things that other people say that I wind up sounding like a broken record.
I think that you regard it as being such a common source of errors that you sometimes assume that it's happening when it isn't. Analogous to, but nowhere near as extreme as, the poster called NukeBan who sees what he refers to as "internet atheist ideology" wherever he looks.
My primary philosophical interest is ontology, probably. And in ontology I'm particularly interested in an idiosyncratic sort of physicalist "perspectivalism" or "reference pointism." I think it provides an ontological paradigm shift that we'd benefit from.
I just googled "perspectivalism". From a very brief glance at the Wikipedia article it looks like a more general form of what in the specific context of physics manifests as relativity (from Gallileo onwards). Perhaps you should start at a topic about it?
I'm also very interested in political philosophy, and there I also espouse a very idiosyncratic sort of socialist libertarianism that would be another paradigm shift, but I have little faith that anyone would ever be persuaded to attempt it in my lifetime (of which there probably isn't a ton of time left--I'm already nearing 60), so that, combined with the fact that it's dealing with something where there aren't correct or incorrect answers--unlike ontology, more often seems like a waste of time to me.
I presume you've touched on this with your previous comments about such things as society without money and the lessons that the covid 19 crisis should teach us about the provision of healthcare.

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Terrapin Station » May 14th, 2020, 11:16 am

Steve3007 wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 10:15 am
I think that you regard it as being such a common source of errors that you sometimes assume that it's happening when it isn't.
That could be, but I'll let folks defend that they're not doing that when it comes up. ;-)
I just googled "perspectivalism". From a very brief glance at the Wikipedia article it looks like a more general form of what in the specific context of physics manifests as relativity (from Gallileo onwards). Perhaps you should start at a topic about it?
It has some similarities to relativity, but it's not exactly the same as it.I've explained the basics of it a few times. I'm sure it will come up again.
I presume you've touched on this with your previous comments about such things as society without money
Right.

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 14th, 2020, 11:21 am

Sculptor1 wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 8:07 am
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 12:06 am


Nope. Human rights are what we agree to respect and protect for each other. That is where all practical rights come from, and what distinguishes a practical right from a merely rhetorical right.
Is this distinction the same as a right that is protected by law and backed up by the system; and a right that is given in an abstract document such as the UNDHR?

Above, I think you have put the age old distinction drawn between the followers of Bentham (utiliatarianism); and Kant(the duty of the categorical imperative); just that the words have been changes to consequentialism and deontologicalism.
Any document asserting specific human rights is rhetorical until those rights are guaranteed by law.

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Re: Explaining Rights to Libertarians (e.g. Bill Glod)

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 14th, 2020, 11:32 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 6:33 am
There are no real rights.

Moral rights are simply moral stances that one feels should be inviolable by any convention, including legal conventions.
And these moral stances remain rhetorical until implemented in law.
Terrapin Station wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 6:33 am
Legal rights obtain via whoever has the power to codify them. In many systems, sure, that's going to obtain via agreement--whether a majority population agreement, or the agreement of representatives, or whatever the political system in place.
Also at the personal level. If I live next door and notice someone stealing you car, I should call the police. If I just watch and enjoy the notion of you being without your car, then I have failed to protect your right to your car.

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