The Polluted Health Care Debate

The United States Senate sets to vote on a health-care bill over Christmas this Tuesday after what have been months of fierce political debate. As the opposition warned of “socialized medicine” and “death panels”, public support for “Obamacare” and the president himself understandably plummeted.

Although America’s health care is among the most expensive yet one of the most restricted systems in the world, people began to fear that under the Democrats’ plans, they would face a further decline in quality against ever rising costs. Strangely enough, people also indicated that by majority that health care today is too costly on the whole and that it placed a serious burden on the already fragile American economy. President Obama repeatedly stressed that America’s health care is in desperate need of reform but critics seem to have a point when they say that the Democrats will only make it more expensive.

Unfortunately, Republicans prefer instead to devise little doomsday scenarios and warn people that their elderly will soon be put to death if the Democrats have their way. They point at countries as Canada and the United Kingdom and say, “look how bad things are over there.” In fact, health care in these both countries is far from terrible.

In spite of the rather communist qualities of the British National Health Service, it operates at a lower cost per capita ($2,560, compared to $6,096 for the United States in 2007) while providing better care (PDF). Canada on the other hand, while much cheaper per capita than the American system, provides an approximately similar quality of care. It would appear then that a collectivization of health care doesn’t necessarily make things better or worse. A lot of other factors are in play.

Rather than denouncing “socialized medicine” as being impractical therefore, opponents should point out that it is immoral.

The NHS in Britain was established after the end of World War II, in 1948, with the express purpose of providing health care to all, “regardless of wealth.” Its principles were that the service should “meet the needs of everyone,” “be free at the point of delivery” and “be based on clinical need, not ability to pay.” This gave all Britons a right to proper care, no matter whether they were able to afford it or not. Need, not ability became the standard according to which care would henceforth be distributed.

This is a strange twist of ethics. Imagine that the law were to give people a right to much more basic needs than health care such as food and shelter. No such laws exist of course, for if people indeed are entitled to such rights, others must inevitably provide for them at their own expense.

Granting people a right to health-care demands that others provide such care, for free if necessary. Only a government can allocate care under such conditions for few individual doctors and nurses would go about their work unpaid any more than a supermarket would remain in business for long if it is to meet peoples’ “right to food”.

Even the Republicans, supposedly the champions of the free market, dare not question the alleged right to health care in the United States. Probably because they know how most people would respond to such criticism: “Should we just stand by then and let people die?” they’ll ask

Perhaps proponents of collectivization are only more than willing to pay so that others need not insure themselves but as long as they can’t answer the simple question, “Why shouldn’t we?” to their own charge without speaking of non-existent rights and undeserved charity, no man should be held responsible for the health and care of others against his own choice.

That is what opponents of “Obamacare” should have argued. Because they didn’t, collectivized health care is now likely to become a reality in the United States.

Comments

  1. You are of course aware that any form of government will be incapable of operating if people should decide on their own what their taxes will fund on an individual basis. This is naturally the reason why we decide these things by electing people to decide them for us, since the only other choice would be utter anarchy.

    And why are these rights nonexistent? Morals are, despite various claims to the contrary, essentially a boiled down version of what the majority agrees on in this given moment of time. Why is the right to healthcare less real then the right to vote? Should not the right to life (from which the healthcare question ultimately springs) be as basic as other rights?

    Hospitals are not supermarkets. Whether run by charities, religious institutions or states, ‘free’ healthcare in various forms have existed since the middleages. The reason for this is that in a situation where large amounts of people are deprived of this, chaos follows. The modern system is simply a natural outgrowth of this.

    Whether the Obama system is a better solution than the current one is a question that should be debated reasonably instead of propagandistically like now. But immoral? Sure, but then you have to dismiss every other moral as well.

  2. I’m not arguing that people should be allowed to decide how every single one of their tax dollars is spend. That would be unworkable. What I’m saying is that a goverment shouldn’t force people to have to pay for the health care of others.

    The “right to health care” is a non-existent in my view (or should be), because it demands that others provide for it. It demands that others work or pay for it. The same goes for a “right to food” which, logically, does not exist. Indeed, these are not so much rights, but obligations.

    People do have a right to life, absolutely. But that does not mean that others have to sustain it.

    I don’t oppose “free health care” by private initiative. If people chose to pay for the health care of others, fine. But in a collectivized health care system, people are forced to. That’s not “natural outgrowth”, that’s a big difference.

  3. “I’m not arguing that people should be allowed to decide how every single one of their tax dollars is spend. That would be unworkable. What I’m saying is that a government shouldn’t force people to have to pay for the health care of others.” So on this one issue people should choose. What if I don’t want to give money to say the defense? Or law enforcement? Or the maintaining of cultural heritage sites? Why is healthcare so majorly unjust compared to these?

    “The “right to health care” is a non-existent in my view (or should be), because it demands that others provide for it. It demands that others work or pay for it. The same goes for a “right to food” which, logically, does not exist. Indeed, these are not so much rights, but obligations.” Every single human right demands that other provide it. Democracy would not work without an electoral system which costs money to maintain. Do in this instance believe that we should the way of antiquity and only allow those with incomes to vote? Because why should I provide for someone else’s ballot?. Other rights require physical protection which also costs money.

    “People do have a right to life, absolutely. But that does not mean that others have to sustain it.”So those that mean that law enforcement is immoral? Because we should all protect ourselves so if someone gets murdered, well them’s the breaks.

    “I don’t oppose “free health care” by private initiative. If people chose to pay for the health care of others, fine. But in a collectivized health care system, people are forced to. That’s not “natural outgrowth”, that’s a big difference.”Hogwash. Nonprivate initiatives have been paying for healthcare since its creation. The modern system simply makes it more efficient by having it work on a national scale rather than local.

  4. Every single human right demands that other provide it.

    That’s not true. A right to life doesn’t require anyone else to do anything. The same is true for the right to liberty; the right to own property and the right to pursue happiness.

    There will however always be people who try’ll and infringe on these rights: murderers, thieves, you name it. In a just society, the government protects the people against these threats: by instituting a national defense, to guard against foreign aggression and through law enforcement and courts of law. All moral men profit from these institutions therefore it is just that they all, equally, pay for it.

    (I hope this also addresses the first and third point your raise.)

    Nonprivate initiatives have been paying for healthcare since its creation. The modern system simply makes it more efficient by having it work on a national scale rather than local.

    I beg to differ. I’m no expert on this, so please, correct me if I’m mistaken, but I was under the impression that for centuries, health care was mostly in the hands of the Church and private doctors. I don’t know of any State that has directly financed health care before the twentieth century.

  5. “There will however always be people who try’ll and infringe on these rights: murderers, thieves, you name it. In a just society, the government protects the people against these threats: by instituting a national defense, to guard against foreign aggression and through law enforcement and courts of law. All moral men profit from these institutions therefore it is just that they all, equally, pay for it.”

    Is plague and so on not equally credible security threat to the state? workers are the life-blood of the economy, the economy is dependent on them and the state on the economy.

  6. “A right to life doesn’t require anyone else to do anything”
    Yes it does. It requires them not to destroy the opportunities to sustain life, much as you yourself point out in the following;

    “There will however always be people who try’ll and infringe on these rights: murderers, thieves, you name it. In a just society, the government protects the people against these threats: by instituting a national defense, to guard against foreign aggression and through law enforcement and courts of law. All moral men profit from these institutions therefore it is just that they all, equally, pay for it. ”
    But the rich can pay for their own lawenforcement and even defense (which they did frequently during history). So why should they share this with those of less substance who cannot provide it for themselves? Everyone benefits from healthcare to.

    “I beg to differ. I’m no expert on this, so please, correct me if I’m mistaken, but I was under the impression that for centuries, health care was mostly in the hands of the Church and private doctors. I don’t know of any State that has directly financed health care before the twentieth century.”

    The church was not an organization you joined voluntarily. You were born into it, could not leave it and they demanded you paid your deeds. Furthermore, protestant countries (for instance) often exercised strict control over their churches, making it just another government arm (which you know, paid for healthcare). Cities ran their own hospitals with varying levels of payment. So while the state wasn’t directly involved until the twentieth century, communal organizations most certainly were.

  7. Is plague and so on not equally credible security threat to the state? workers are the life-blood of the economy, the economy is dependent on them and the state on the economy.

    Sure, but would you argue that for the sake of “the economy”, all people receive health care, regardless of whether they can pay for it or not?

    Yes it does. It requires them not to destroy the opportunities to sustain life, much as you yourself point out in the following […]

    Quite right. It requires that they not do something; not that they do something.

    But the rich can pay for their own lawenforcement and even defense […]. So why should they share this with those of less substance who cannot provide it for themselves?

    Because else you don’t get equal law enforcement for all, which you need to ensure everyone’s right to liberty and everyone’s equal right to pursue happiness.

    Everyone benefits from healthcare to.

    How?

    The church was not an organization you joined voluntarily. You were born into it, could not leave it […]

    I agree, to a certain extend. You could leave, unless there was an Inquisition going on and you had to fear for your life if you did. But there would be punishment either way, quite right, so Church membership wasn’t quite on a voluntary basis.

    So, indirectly, members of a Church ended up paying for the health care of the less fortunate. I don’t suppose you would call this a good thing though, considering that you just pointed out that Church membership was rather forced upon people.

  8. “Quite right. It requires that they not do something; not that they do something.”

    And by depriving someone of healthcare you do something. You forcibly lessen their chances of living a full happy life.

    “Because else you don’t get equal law enforcement for all, which you need to ensure everyone’s right to liberty and everyone’s equal right to pursue happiness.”

    And if you do not run some sort of system for providing everyone with basic healthcare everyone’s equal right to life is threatened. Same thing.

    “How?”

    Healthcare. You need it if you’re sick. Everyone gets sick.

    “So, indirectly, members of a Church ended up paying for the health care of the less fortunate. I don’t suppose you would call this a good thing though, considering that you just pointed out that Church membership was rather forced upon people.”

    I agree that forcing one religion upon others is not a good thing. My original point however was that communal healthcare has a long history hence staterun systems are far from ‘unnatural’.

  9. “1. Sure, but would you argue that for the sake of “the economy”, all people receive health care, regardless of whether they can pay for it or not? ”

    In pure functional terms. Yes. In South Africa when you have a large amount of urban and rural poor who cannot afford private health care, there is a public sector which keeps those people healthier despite their living conditions. This gives you a pool of potential workers from which to recruit from. No matter how good your company healthy plan, you can’t send medicine back in time and if families which want to work (which is most of them in this case) are too poor to get their foot on the ladder of advancement, then you end up with the problems of inescapable poverty. If you can’t find employment because of your illnesses or what have you (either by individual incidents or the conditions you have to live in) then you’re locked there and that would go some way to removing their rights of freedom and the pursuit of happiness. As I’ve said to you before, they do have freedom in the terms of no chains or slavery, but their bonds just aren’t that visible. I’d also argue ethically that the state has a moral duty to its poor for the reasons above. Freedom to be trapped by disease is nothing more than the removal of one set of shackles for another.

  10. And by depriving someone of healthcare you do something. You forcibly lessen their chances of living a full happy life.

    Possibly. But because they have a right to life and a right to pursue happiness, doesn’t mean I have to sustain that life, nor provide that happiness.

    And if you do not run some sort of system for providing everyone with basic healthcare everyone’s equal right to life is threatened. Same thing.

    No, because again, it’s the difference between requiring people to not do something, and requiring them to do something.

    Healthcare. You need it if you’re sick. Everyone gets sick.

    I meant: How does everyone benefit from universal health care? Or: How do I benefit from paying my neighbor’s health insurance?

    My original point however was that communal healthcare has a long history hence staterun systems are far from ‘unnatural’.

    I agree, and as I noted, I don’t know too much about the history of health care to really say much about it. Maybe it’s natural, in the sense that it’s long been common. That, of course, doesn’t mean it’s also moral.

    […] I’d also argue ethically that the state has a moral duty to its poor for the reasons above. […]

    Don’t your reasons come down to: because they need it?

  11. Can some people achieve their inaliable rights without disese? no. Can they end their own suffering or are they too poor?
    if they are too poor to aleviate their own condition and achieve the level playing field to obtain those rights then they are not as free as first may appear. In which case it may be just for society in which they live to take further steps to ensure that that right exists where the foundations for it to exist are lacking.

  12. If man has inalienable rights—life, liberty, property—this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, at all times. The rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another.

    How can you uphold that principle when you demand that one man pay for the health care of another? How can you uphold that principle when you suggest that one man pay to elevate another from poverty?

    I’m not saying it’s wrong to do those things though. Quite to the contrary—there are, I hope, many people out there who very much deserve that you provide them with free health care or aid them in fighting poverty. But it becomes quite a different issue when you force all men to do that.

  13. “I meant: How does everyone benefit from universal health care? Or: How do I benefit from paying my neighbor’s health insurance? ”

    You benefit but not having him spread diseases. You benefit from him being able to work and thus sustain the economy which in turn helps sustain you. You benefit by contributing to a stable society instead of one where injustice (or perceived injustice if you will) runs rampant creating confusion, divisions and chaos.

    “If man has inalienable rights—life, liberty, property—this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, at all times. The rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another.”

    And what makes these inalienable and moral? Nothing, they just happen to exist a consensus at this particular time that they are. You cannot just claim that some morals are more perfect then others because you do not want to pay your taxes. Also, if what you say is true then why should your right to property violate another man’s right to life.

    “But it becomes quite a different issue when you force all men to do that.”

    Of course. But regrettable as it may be, enforcement is necessary. Same with crime, people have a choice not to commit them. Yet we still enforce those laws.

  14. You benefit but not having him spread diseases. You benefit from him being able to work and thus sustain the economy which in turn helps sustain you. You benefit by contributing to a stable society instead of one where injustice (or perceived injustice if you will) runs rampant creating confusion, divisions and chaos.

    I hope you don’t mind me saying I’m not convinced. ;-)

    See, your argument doesn’t really tell me what I get from paying another man’s health insurance. You tell me all the things I don’t get. In other words: you’re almost arguing at gun point, telling me to pay, “or else!”

    Sure, it would be best if everyone were to get health care. Of course, that makes for a much nicer society. But that alone isn’t enough to justify that people pay for the medical care of others.

    In fact, I’m convinced that with less government interference and regulation in the health insurance business, a lot more people could afford to insure themselves.

    And what makes [life, liberty and property] inalienable and moral [rights]? Nothing, they just happen to exist a consensus at this particular time that they are.

    I don’t think so… Being something of an Ayn Rand fan, allow me to quote from her article “Man’s Rights,” originally published in The Virtue of Selfishness:

    A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)

    You’re right when you say that this is not some “eternal” realization. Indeed, these ideas only surfaced fairly recently and were instrumental in the founding of the United States. But it’s unfair to dismiss them simply as a “consensus of our times”—especially it’s one such consensus (the right to health care) that I’m arguing against.

    Also, if what you say is true then why should your right to property violate another man’s right to life.

    It shouldn’t, and it doesn’t.

    But regrettable as it may be, enforcement is necessary. Same with crime, people have a choice not to commit them. Yet we still enforce those laws.

    Quite so, but again, it’s the difference between forcing people to not do something and forcing them to do something.

  15. “See, your argument doesn’t really tell me what I get from paying another man’s health insurance. You tell me all the things I don’t get. In other words: you’re almost arguing at gun point, telling me to pay, “or else!””

    What do I get for paying for another mans lawenforcment. I have never been the victim of any crime? Or another man’s army? You are arguing for these governmental posts but your argument is identical to mine; “pay or the Russians/Taliban/mafia/whatever gets you!”

    “In fact, I’m convinced that with less government interference and regulation in the health insurance business, a lot more people could afford to insure themselves.”

    And you base this on what exactly?

    “But it’s unfair to dismiss them simply as a “consensus of our times”—especially it’s one such consensus (the right to health care) that I’m arguing against.”

    Why is it unfair? It is unfair because you have subjectively decided that these particular consensuses are somehow more important than the logical extension of the right to life that healthcare consist of. As I have proven, this consensus has existed in various forms just as long as yours. Yet you refuse to believe them equal. It is similar to how Rand seem to dismiss arguments that disagree with her as nonrational. Its subjectivity masking as objectivity.

    “It shouldn’t, and it doesn’t.”

    Yes it does. Your petty hording of your own money is violating another man’s chance of getting the healthcare he needs.

    “Quite so, but again, it’s the difference between forcing people to not do something and forcing them to do something.”

    Okay then. So continuing the crime analogy, what’s your policy on traffic laws. Here we are forcing people, no matter how good drivers they may be or how fast their cars go, to follow a specific set of rules. Does this make it immoral?

  16. What do I get for paying for another mans lawenforcment.

    You can’t directly pay for another man’s law enforcement, or for another man’s defense. These things work for everybody. You benefit from law enforcement and defense because there always have been and probably always will be, criminals and nasty foreign states.

    Health care doesn’t work that way. Health care is an individual business.

    And you base this on what exactly?

    I’m actually working on another article that will explore this in more detail.

    It is unfair because you have subjectively decided that these particular consensuses are somehow more important than the logical extension of the right to life that healthcare consist of. […] Its subjectivity masking as objectivity.

    I don’t agree, and it might be interesting to note that Rand specifically addressed the difference between subjective and objective ethics in one of her essays.

    The subjectivist theory holds that the good bears no relation to the facts of reality, that it is the product of a man’s consciousness, created by his feelings, desires, “intuitions,” or whims, and that it is merely an “arbitrary postulate” or an “emotional commitment.”

    From “What Is Capitalism?” published in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

    An objective ethics on the other hand, from which objective rights are derived, holds that the good is not some attribute of man’s emotions, but an evaluation of reality by man’s consciousness according to a rational standard of value. An objective ethics will hold that the good is an aspect of reality in relation to man; that the good is whatever sustains man’s life; and that the good must be discovered, not invented.

    Your petty hording of your own money is violating another man’s chance of getting the healthcare he needs.

    That doesn’t mean that by appreciating my right to property, I am violating another man’s right to life. Again, that all man have a right to life is not to say that all man have the obligation to sustain the life of others.

    Besides, I don’t recognize need as a claim.

    So continuing the crime analogy, what’s your policy on traffic laws. Here we are forcing people, no matter how good drivers they may be or how fast their cars go, to follow a specific set of rules. Does this make it immoral?

    I, for one, wouldn’t object to raising the speed limit. ;-)

    Participating in traffic is a voluntary choice and by adhering to traffic law, you don’t actually have to sacrifice, besides, perhaps, the thrill of speeding.

  17. “You can’t directly pay for another man’s law enforcement, or for another man’s defense.”

    If you’re government decided to arm another country then yes you do. And if can afford to hire security firms to guard your property, family and self from harm you have no reason to pay for law enforcement. I benefit from public healthcare because it insures that I will always, no matter what hard turn my life may have taken (which does not need to be your own fault) will have access to it. They still are the same issue, even if you ideologically refuse to see them as such.

    “An objective ethics on the other hand, from which objective rights are derived, holds that the good is not some attribute of man’s emotions, but an evaluation of reality by man’s consciousness according to a rational standard of value.”

    But because these are subject to one own rationality, which differ depending on various factors, you cannot derive any form of moral, at all from it. Hence it devalues your argument.

    “Participating in traffic is a voluntary choice”

    If you live in a city like you and me yes. If you live on the countryside then no and don’t come with some semantic argument of choosing to work, you need to take part in traffic if you live outside major hubs of communication.

  18. […] if [you] can afford to hire security firms to guard your property, family and self from harm you have no reason to pay for law enforcement.

    In a society where individuals are held responsible for their own security and where there is no single law enforcement, there can be no rule of law. In such a society, the law becomes arbitrary and thus, a meaningless concept.

    You might be able to provide private security, but you cannot provide private law enforcement, because “private law” is really not law at all.

    Law enforcement and health care are far from the same issue.

    But because these are subject to one own rationality, which differ depending on various factors, you cannot derive any form of moral, at all from it.

    The morality isn’t derived from rationality on itself. The morality is derived from reality. In order to exist in reality, man must use his mind. “[A]n evaluation of reality by man’s consciousness according to a rational standard of value” means: perceiving reality rationally.

    If you live in a city like you and me yes. If you live on the countryside then no […]

    I agree that it’s practically necessary to participate in traffic but it’s not impossible not do. One doesn’t have to participate in traffic in order to survive. We chose to participate in traffic (for many good reasons!) and as such, we chose to abide by traffic laws.

  19. “You might be able to provide private security, but you cannot provide private law enforcement, because “private law” is really not law at all. ”

    Lawenforcement is security with an ideological twist. The rule of law is the rule of the state; it ensures state security within the national borders. However, if you can provide for your own security then you do no profit from the rule of law, hence why should you pay for it? Modern law exists to smooth out the differences between those who can provide security, those who need security and those who are a threat to security. Same thing with healthcare

    “perceiving reality rationally.”

    The problem with this is that reality has no objective value. Its subjective,; that is we see everything through a prism constructed out of our own experiences, which differ from person to person. Hence rational people striving for rational solutions may and often do come to different results. Hence morality, as it exists now and always, is constructed out of consensus. The moral debate exists when there is no clearly defined consensus. Democracy exist to create a forum for this debate and to essentially create a compromise between the different consensuses. You cannot derive morality from reality when you cannot define it on a nonindividual basis.

    “I agree that it’s practically necessary to participate in traffic but it’s not impossible not do.”

    Semantics.

  20. Lawenforcement is security with an ideological twist.

    If you want to call it that. Anyway, by privatizing law enforcement, you take out that “ideological twist”—which I call, objective law by the way.

    Modern law exists to smooth out the differences between those who can provide security, those who need security and those who are a threat to security.

    I don’t quite agree. Modern law exists, as I see it, to restrain force. The initiation of force should be banned by law; the retaliatory use of force requires objective rules of evidence to establish that a crime has been committed and to prove who committed it, as well as objective rules to define punishments and enforcement procedures.

    When force is not restrained, and even retaliatory force alone is left in the hands of private citizens, society would soon degenerate into mob rule, lynch law and an endless series of bloody private feuds or vendettas.

    If physical force is to be barred from social relations, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules. This is the proper task of a government.

    The problem with this is that reality has no objective value.

    Well, there we fundamentally disagree. I believe that reality exists outside of our ability to perceive it. I believe that existence exists, objectively.

    Yes, our abilities and our experiences might shape the way in which we perceive reality differently from person to person, but that does not make multiple realities. There is only reality.

    Hence rational people striving for rational solutions may and often do come to different results.

    Indeed. In such cases, reality will be their arbiter.

    Democracy exist to create a forum for this debate and to essentially create a compromise between the different consensuses.

    You’re bordering closely here on defending that whatever the majority decides is therefore righteous. Majority rule is not a justification in itself, nor is “compromise” or “consensus”.

  21. “You’re bordering closely here on defending that whatever the majority decides is therefore righteous. Majority rule is not a justification in itself, nor is “compromise” or “consensus”.”

    I do not believe something is righteous just because the majority says so. But this is an emotional value. Fact remains that the modern system works on the principle that what the majority wills is enforced without hurting the rights of the minority. And here is where we fundamentally disagree. I do not believe that paying a certain amount of one’s income hurts a person livelihood or ability to pursue happiness. I believe that this mild redistribution instead guarantees that particular right for everyone. Rights are fundamentally defined from needs; they exist to provide the means from which one can build one’s own happiness. The idea that loaning a minor bit of one’s means to provide a major part of another’s is somehow immoral is fundamentally childish.

    “When force is not restrained, and even retaliatory force alone is left in the hands of private citizens, society would soon degenerate into mob rule, lynch law and an endless series of bloody private feuds or vendettas.”

    And that is fundamentally how our first laws were created. Today of course the law has taken on many different facets. However, just as the lack of law creates anarchy so does the lack of justice (or at least what is perceived as justice). Lack of basic care, especially in a wealthy society such as ours, breed anger and discontent. And if those emotions get widespread enough there is no law that can stop the process.

    “Indeed. In such cases, reality will be their arbiter.”

    No, no and very much no. Since their solutions are all based on their perceived reality you cannot claim that the mystical force of reality will appear to create order (unless you turned into a fatalist when I wasn’t looking). In a modern system, debate followed (normally) by compromise and consensus constitutes the arbiter.

    “I believe that existence exists, objectively.”

    I actually agree. I’m just highly skeptical that it is possible for anyone short omnipotence to perceive it. Human rationality isn’t something we’re born with; it is something we have to learn. Since we learn in different ways from different sources in different environments we take notice of different facets of reality. This is not mathematics

  22. Fact remains that the modern system works on the principle that what the majority wills is enforced without hurting the rights of the minority.

    Not quite, and the latter part is very important. Notice the difference between a “republic” and a “democracy”. None of the modern nation-states are full democracies. The law always takes precedence over the whim of the majority.

    The idea that loaning a minor bit of one’s means to provide a major part of another’s is somehow immoral is fundamentally childish.

    That’s not quite what I’m saying though. I don’t want to claim that it’s immoral to help people; what I’m saying is that it’s immoral to force people to do so.

    Lack of basic care, especially in a wealthy society such as ours, breed anger and discontent.

    Only when people presume—which is quite the case today though!—that they somehow have the right to receive such basic care, i.e.: that others must provide for them. That I contest.

    No, no and very much no. Since their solutions are all based on their perceived reality you cannot claim that the mystical force of reality will appear to create order […]

    Let me first say that the “mystical” and “reality” are perfect opposites in my view. It is exactly the mystical belief that “somehow” things will get done in blissful violation of objective reality that so upsets philosophy today.

    Second, I agree that men might perceive reality differently and will therefore come up with different solutions to the same problem. But in the end, reality will dictate which of those solutions work and which do not. There’s nothing mystical about that.

    I’m just highly skeptical that [reality] is possible for anyone short omnipotence to perceive it.

    Why, you have your eyes, your touch, your smell, and, exactly as you state, you have learned to think rationally (or at least, you have the ability to do so); you have learned to identify that which your senses perceive.

    Since we learn in different ways from different sources in different environments we take notice of different facets of reality.

    Quite right, but that does not mean that there are also different realities in fact.

  23. “The law always takes precedence over the whim of the majority.”

    The law is changed, maybe not quite at the whims of the majority, but by the people the majority elects to represent them. The system is created so that this process is arduous and complicated, as to slow down and changes that may be harmful. However, despite the fact that the law takes precedent in theory, the whims of the majority hold de facto power. Public matters, that’s what the word republic means.

    “Only when people presume—which is quite the case today though!—that they somehow have the right to receive such basic care, i.e.: that others must provide for them. That I contest. ”

    And that is your right. But once again, de facto morality is formed out of consensus. There exists no objective moral laws based on some stonewall reality. In this case, if the people think they have the right then they have the right, especially since this isn’t a communist revolution and a healthcare system as such doesn’t hurt anyone’s chance of happiness, despite your claims to the contrary. Democracy, if they want it they get it.

    “Let me first say that the “mystical” and “reality” are perfect opposites in my view.”

    Which is why I find your statement self-contradictory. As follows:

    “But in the end, reality will dictate which of those solutions work and which do not.”

    This doesn’t mean that there isn’t more than one solution. Several solutions may work to a greater or lesser degree. To think that one must be optimal then the others is fatalistic.

    “Why, you have your eyes, your touch, your smell, and, exactly as you state, you have learned to think rationally (or at least, you have the ability to do so); you have learned to identify that which your senses perceive.”

    Can you read every book ever written? Talk to everyone? Feel the same thing as every single being on earth? Know everything that has happened through history? If you can then you’re on your way to omnipotence. If you can’t then you can only perceive your angle of reality. So while you can of course learn to use your senses better, you can never take in the whole of reality.

    “Quite right, but that does not mean that there are also different realities in fact.”

    I have never claimed such. My point is that perception is everything when it comes to how we look at the world and how we rationally come to conclusions.

  24. The law is changed, maybe not quite at the whims of the majority, but by the people the majority elects to represent them. […] the whims of the majority hold de facto power.

    More or less, but in order for the majority to rule, it first has to make law, which, as you point out, can be a slow and arduous process. Besides, a mere majority in most republics cannot alter the Constitution. Indeed, in the United States, the Constitution cannot be altered at all, only amended. And it is exactly herein that the basic rights of all men are guaranteed—as much as the powers of government are restrained.

    There exists no objective moral laws based on some stonewall reality […] if the people think they have the right then they have the right […]

    All right. Let’s say people “think” they have a “right” to food. Since there is no “stonewall reality” that demands that food be produced, it will come to them—how? “Somehow.”

    Let’s say people “think” they have a “right” to “happiness”. Since there is no “stonewall reality” that demands that one works to gain happiness, it will come to them—“somehow.”

    That is the logical consequence of any morality that denies that existence exists and whichs holds that laws are arbitrary and rights are relative.

    This doesn’t mean that there isn’t more than one solution. Several solutions may work to a greater or lesser degree.

    Of course! What I’m trying to say is that reality will always doom the efforts of those who try to solve problems irrationally—who try to solve problems by denying reality.

    For example: You might be able to fuel a car by petrol or hydrogen or alcohol, but no matter how hard you try, a combustion engine will not run on vanilla. If anyone claims otherwise, reality will prove him wrong.

    […] while you can of course learn to use your senses better, you can never take in the whole of reality.

    Sure, but that doesn’t mean that reality as such cannot be perceived. You don’t have to read the book to see it and know that it’s real. You needn’t gain omnipotence to gain knowledge.

    My point is that perception is everything when it comes to how we look at the world and how we rationally come to conclusions.

    And I agree. Perhaps I misinterpreted the point you were trying to make. We all perceive reality in our own way, but I think that there is but one reality. We all look at it differently and none of us can grasp it in full, but that is not to say that the unseen does not exist; that colors do not exist because a colorblind person cannot see them; that sound does not exist because a deaf person cannot hear them.

  25. “And it is exactly herein that the basic rights of all men are guaranteed—as much as the powers of government are restrained. ”

    The law is only the law as long as people believe it to be the law. It can still be changed, especially if people think it to be antiquated, as can happen when a constitution is not applicable for change. For an instance look at the (in)famous second amendment, which is meeting strong resistance, precisely because many feels that the rights guaranteed therein belong to a different century. Whether they are correct or not is an entirely different debate but it can serve as an example that the law can and will be changed if strong enough support can be mustered.

    “That is the logical consequence of any morality that denies that existence exists and whichs holds that laws are arbitrary and rights are relative.”

    No, that is what happens when one is overly literal. Of course you cannot give people something that do not exists. Yet in a modern society, the resources to provide these rights do exist. International law has support for this in form of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which holds that everyone has the right to “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”. It also comes with a clause stating that if the resources do not exist then states cannot be held responsible for not following it. In short it acknowledges reality and also acknowledges that resources exist.

    “Of course! What I’m trying to say is that reality will always doom the efforts of those who try to solve problems irrationally—who try to solve problems by denying reality.”

    When did I claim that you should deny reality? I have simply argued for a less extremist point of view where all rationality doesn’t lead to one end, which is what you are arguing for. I would say that thyat is true irrationality.

    “Sure, but that doesn’t mean that reality as such cannot be perceived. You don’t have to read the book to see it and know that it’s real. You needn’t gain omnipotence to gain knowledge.”

    You’re being way too literal again. What I am stating is that we each hold different perspectives and as such there cannot be any “reality given” morality.

    “We all look at it differently and none of us can grasp it in full, but that is not to say that the unseen does not exist; that colors do not exist because a colorblind person cannot see them; that sound does not exist because a deaf person cannot hear them.”

    And I agree. The point is that in a debate centered on the facts of reality, what we don’t know becomes irrelevant.

  26. The law is only the law as long as people believe it to be the law.

    There is a fundamental difference of understanding between the two of us. You are claiming that the law is a relative; I want objective law.

    No, that is what happens when one is overly literal.

    You sure you don’t mean “logical” and “consistent”?

    [I]n a modern society, the resources to provide these rights do exist.

    I’m not saying that they don’t exist. They do exist. But they don’t exist out of thin air. They have to be produced by men. Which means, as I see it, that they properly belong to the men who produce them. If you want to extract them in part from those men, you must give me another reason than “need”.

    When did I claim that you should deny reality? I have simply argued for a less extremist point of view where all rationality doesn’t lead to one end, which is what you are arguing for.

    I’m afraid we misunderstood eachother on this point. I never wanted to give the impression that I believe that rational thought always leads to one and the same answer or solution. All I’m saying is that there’s only one reality, i.e.: that reality is not a relative.

    You’re being way too literal again. What I am stating is that we each hold different perspectives and as such there cannot be any “reality given” morality.

    Again, reality is not a relative. How can you reasonably base a just morality on “perception”?

  27. “You are claiming that the law is a relative; I want objective law. ”

    And I claim that there is no such thing as objective law. Human beings are not computers, we ultimately base our decisions on what feels right. This does not make us irrational; but rationality is a tool, not a philosophy. Only a being completely devoid of emotions can be truly rational.

    “f you want to extract them in part from those men, you must give me another reason than “need”.”

    Well, now I know that you’re not going to buy this next part at all but how about giving back to society. Individuals are dependent on the smooth running of the surrounding society. A society where basic needs such as healthcare are not taken care of despite the existence of the possibility is unstable. Hence it is a threat to the individual. Since the whole is greater than the sum of its parts what’s wrong with some of the parts contributing the oil to ensure smooth running?

    “All I’m saying is that there’s only one reality, i.e.: that reality is not a relative. ”

    Reality is not relative. But our perception of reality is and since morals are fundamentally based not on rationality but on emotion, out perceptions are more important then reality.

    “Again, reality is not a relative. How can you reasonably base a just morality on “perception”?”

    What is just? Nick, what you don’t seem to be willing to grasp here is one of the fundamental laws of history; things change. Everything changes, always. There cannot be a perfect natural moral code. Morality grows out of a shared consensus based on everyone’s perception. This doesn’t mean that there is no such thing as morality. But it changes and grows and trying to put one set down on paper is fundamentally futile.

  28. And I claim that there is no such thing as objective law.

    I’m afraid we’re going to have to agree to disagree there.

    Since the whole [society] is greater than the sum of its parts what’s wrong with some of the parts contributing the oil to ensure smooth running?

    Let me state again that there’s nothing necessary wrong with it. It’s forcing people to do so that’s immoral, IMO.

    […] since morals are fundamentally based not on rationality but on emotion […]

    There’s another disagreement between us that’s probably fundamental. I wouldn’t be able to consider a morality based on “emotion” to be a morality at all! Such is a morality of the whim, which, if brought into law, would be arbitrary and chaotic.

    […] what you don’t seem to be willing to grasp here is one of the fundamental laws of history; things change. Everything changes, always.

    That’s not true. The laws of nature won’t ever change: nothing will change about gravity, or the fact that a plant needs water to survive. Nothing will ever change the fact that in order to survive, man needs to breath and eat. A proper morality, a Morality of Life, accepts this reality and does not try to evade or deny it.

  29. “Such is a morality of the whim, which, if brought into law, would be arbitrary and chaotic. ”

    Or dynamic, adaptable and progressive. It’s all in the wording.

    Fact is that whether you like it or not, morals change. Once slavery was a perfectly normal aspect of society; today it is wretched and immoral. Homosexuality was abhorred but now it is largely accepted, in he western world at least. Why should this historical dynamic change because some people cannot move beyond the thought of an all encompassing force?

    “That’s not true. The laws of nature won’t ever change: nothing will change about gravity, or the fact that a plant needs water to survive. Nothing will ever change the fact that in order to survive, man needs to breath and eat”

    We’re discussing history here, not biology. Humankind changes, evolves, devolves. Our basic biology may remain the same (though various scientist are working to change that) but our reality is constantly in flux. Nations, religions, philosophies rise and fall. The world is dynamic, not static and by attempting to force into a narrow ‘objective’ framework you are diminishing the very processes you claim to celebrate.

    And anyway, if a proper morality is based in the need to eat, would it not be immoral to deprive some people of this to safeguard the luxury of others?

  30. Isn’t morality an abstract created by man? without man it does not exist therefore it’s subjective by man’s presece as a social animal.Hein?

  31. Or dynamic, adaptable and progressive. It’s all in the wording.

    That doesn’t change the fact that a law based on “emotion”, or a law acknowledged as “relative” leaves people in constant uncertainty of what is legal and what is not; it leaves them at the mercy of the whim of any law enforcement officer and bureaucrat that they might happen to stumble upon. Such is not a society in which people could thrive and such is most certainly not a society in which capitalism could prosper.

    Fact is that whether you like it or not, morals change.

    True. Would you say that slavery and the persecution of homosexuals was a good thing? Of course not. We can both agree those things are horrible. Note what made them possible: denying people their right to life (slavery) and their right to liberty (homosexuality).

    The world is dynamic, not static and by attempting to force into a narrow ‘objective’ framework you are diminishing the very processes you claim to celebrate.

    The world is dynamic only because of what people do. Nature is, pretty much, predictable. So is, to a certain degree, human nature. A proper morality acknowledges the undeniable: a proper morality acknowledges reality.

    […] if a proper morality is based in the need to eat, would it not be immoral to deprive some people of this to safeguard the luxury of others?

    I didn’t state that a proper morality is based “in the need to eat”. I used that as an example to back up what I wrote above: that a proper morality is one based in reality.

    Isn’t morality an abstract created by man? without man it does not exist therefore […]

    As much as man cannot exist with a morality. Without morality, man can be no more than a savage. Morality may be “subjective” in the sense that man has to discover it, but that doesn’t mean it’s arbitrary.

  32. “Such is not a society in which people could thrive and such is most certainly not a society in which capitalism could prosper.”

    Such is the society we currently live in. Yet, apart from hijinks like the latest bust, capitalism seems to be coming along rather well. I’m starting to wonder whether you aren’t the one wanting to impose your viewpoint on reality, rather than the other way around.

    “A proper morality acknowledges the undeniable: a proper morality acknowledges reality.”

    And human reality is dynamic hence claiming the existence of a singular moral code is irrational. Voila!

    “Note what made them possible: denying people their right to life (slavery) and their right to liberty (homosexuality). ”

    No what made them possible was that people believed it to be just and proper and thus it was. That their “rights” were denied were the effect, not the cause. If you or me had been born back then we wouldn’t have though it strange or immoral because that was reality and as such if they would build an objective morality they would not be against slavery. What is real for human beings are not based on natural laws; it’s based on social factors.

    “I used that as an example to back up what I wrote above: that a proper morality is one based in reality.”

    “As much as man cannot exist with a morality.”

    Yes we can. No matter our technology we are still more or less the same communal apes that waked out of the great rift valley thousands of years ago. Modern civilization is constructed around several coexisting moral codes; yet these aren’t permanent and cannot be, unless you want to freeze human development.

    Human beings are human beings. The whole ‘savages’ or ‘a man without freedom is not man’ spiel is not objective reasoning; they’re the creation of various social factors that have built us a mental picture of what a ‘man’ is. Many of the go back to the slave owning Romans.

    Capitalism greatest virtue is the fact that it’s dynamic. It is, in most cases anyway, progressive. Its anarchic to a certain degree. It allows free thought and new ideas. Yet you want to force it into your own narrow ‘objective’ mold. To me that sounds more dangerous than any communistic idea.

  33. Such is the society we currently live in.

    Why, I certainly hope not!

    And human reality is dynamic hence claiming the existence of a singular moral code is irrational.

    I’m not sure what you mean specifically with “human reality”. If you mean the conditions under which we live, the world we built ourselves, the why of course, it’s dynamic. But human nature is not. Reality is not.

    No what made them possible was that people believed it to be just and proper and thus it was.

    Yes, but I meant to refer to the legal framework by which such horrors were made possible. Do you want to live in a society where what people “believe” to be just, is? Surely that can’t be the basis of any morality, let alone the law!

    What is real for human beings are not based on natural laws; it’s based on social factors.

    This I suppose, applies to many people indeed. They let social factors shape their lives more than logical and nature and reality.

    No matter our technology we are still more or less the same communal apes that waked out of the great rift valley thousands of years ago.

    Really? Would “communal apes” have been able to built a combustion engine? Would “communal apes” have been able to built airplanes, space shuttles, and nuclear power plants? Would “communal apes” have been able to discover germs and atoms and black holes? Could a “communal ape” have written a literary master piece or composed a symphony? No, of course not! It is progress that defines man. And for that, he needs a morality. You cannot sow any seed unless you learn the laws of nature. You cannot expect a man to farm unless you grant him the right to own his land and whatever it produces. And you take it from there, all the way to cars and skyscrapers and nuclear fission.

    Capitalism greatest virtue is the fact that it’s dynamic. It is, in most cases anyway, progressive. Its anarchic to a certain degree. It allows free thought and new ideas. Yet you want to force it into your own narrow ‘objective’ mold.

    No! What I want it exactly for it to be free and dynamic! It is talk of “relative”, arbitrary law, “the public good”, “social circumstances” and the supposed non-existence of objective reality, that so restricts freedom, free enterprise and the potential of capitalism.

    All I demand is three rights for all people: life, liberty and property. And all I want from any government is that it protects those rights. That’s (pretty much) it. How can that be a narrow and restrictive view?

    As for communism, what I propose is the perfect opposite.

  34. “Do you want to live in a society where what people “believe” to be just, is? Surely that can’t be the basis of any morality, let alone the law! ”

    That IS the society we live in. That’s my entire point. You are going on and on about reality and being objective and yet you flat out ignore the reality we live, have lived in and probably (notice the use of that word) always will live in.

    “Yes, but I meant to refer to the legal framework by which such horrors were made possible.”

    And I was referring to the social factors which created those legal frameworks in the first place.
    “This I suppose applies to many people indeed. They let social factors shape their lives more than logical and nature and reality.”

    My, arrogant are we? Everyone’s action is dictated by social factors. Logic is a tool we use in social relations, among other areas. This is human nature. If you think yourself above this then you’re badly out of touch with reality.

    “It is progress that defines man. And for that, he needs a morality. ”

    I have never denied the existence of morality. What I am trying to show you is that morality progresses (if you want to use that term) right alongside with technology and all the other factors. You cannot create one ‘objective’ reality without forcing progress to a halt.

    “You cannot expect a man to farm unless you grant him the right to own his land and whatever it produces.”

    This is just flat-out untrue. If you don’t give him choice he will. It might not be the best system and its certainly not one I want to live in but history has proven that it is possible.

    “How can that be a narrow and restrictive view? ”

    Because you fail to account what other possibilities that exist to better people’s lives. Because you fail to understand the difference between stealing someone’s livelihood and taxing luxuries. Because you fail to understand that rights are fundamentally derived from needs and how your ideology thus threatens the right to life. Because you overestimate the individual and ignore society. Because you fail to understand the true nature of dynamic progress.

    But most of all because you cannot fathom a morality outside your own so called objectivity. Because you claim to celebrate change and progress and yet you are deadly afraid of it, to the point where you refuse to even acknowledge its existence.

  35. That IS the society we live in.

    That’s just not true. A murderer might believe that what he did was just, but that doesn’t make it so. A thief might say that what he did was just, but that doesn’t make it so. A majority of the people in a given country might say that abortion is an abomination but that doesn’t mean it is.

    Everyone’s action is dictated by social factors. Logic is a tool we use in social relations, among other areas. This is human nature. If you think yourself above this then you’re badly out of touch with reality.

    I don’t let “social factors” dictate my actions exclusively, nor primarily. Nor do I believe that doing so would make me more happy. In fact, I am convinced that it won’t.

    What I am trying to show you is that morality progresses (if you want to use that term) right alongside with technology and all the other factors. You cannot create one ‘objective’ reality without forcing progress to a halt.

    See, I think that one such objective morality created material progress in the first place, and that by gradually distancing ourselves from it is why things are coming to a halt.

    If you don’t give him choice he will [work]. […] history has proven that it is possible.

    Quite true—slavery. Then, indeed, you have to force people at the point of a gun to work. Many will, under such circumstances. But no man will farm voluntarily if he knows in advance that whatever he produces won’t be his.

    Because you fail to understand the difference between stealing someone’s livelihood and taxing luxuries.

    Which is—that it’s legalized?

    Because you fail to understand that rights are fundamentally derived from needs […]

    Are such rights moral then? People need so many things. The only thing I can utter in response is: At whose expense?

    Because you overestimate the individual and ignore society.

    What is society—other than a number of individuals? Society as such does not exist. “Society” has not one voice, other than the voice of any power-hungry bureaucrat who stands up to speak on behalf of “the people”. “Society” has no rights, other than the rights of the individuals of which it is composed. “Society” is not some super-organism, superior to man. Whenever something is justified “in the interest of society”, you can bet that it’s not in the interest of individual, free and responsible men.

    Because you fail to understand the true nature of dynamic progress.

    Which is—other than productive, intelligent individuals, living and working in freedom?

    [Y]ou claim to celebrate change and progress and yet you are deadly afraid of it, to the point where you refuse to even acknowledge its existence.

    I suppose we must have a contradictionary understanding of the word “progress” for just one comment ago, I claimed that progress defines man.

  36. “Isn’t morality an abstract created by man? without man it does not exist therefore it’s subjective by man’s presence as a social animal. Hein?”

    What if I reword this sentence:

    Isn’t food an abstract created by man? without man it does not exist therefore it’s subjective by man’s presence as a social animal. Hein?

    It’s pretty much the same principle for all the requirements of life, oxygen, food, morality etc. I think even a savage has some degree of morality, enough to keep him alive at least.

    “Or dynamic, adaptable and progressive. It’s all in the wording.”

    Until we adapt ourselves into oblivion. Just because things can change doesn’t mean that all change is necessarily good.

    “Fact is that whether you like it or not, morals change.”

    What we believe to be moral may change but what actually is moral does not change. A good example is slavery. It has always been immoral even though most people of ancient times did not believe this.

    “Because you fail to understand the difference between stealing someone’s livelihood and taxing luxuries.”

    Exactly what is this difference? In either case what is being taken is not so much money or resources but the time the person spent working to earn it.

    “The only thing I can utter in response is: At whose expense?”

    Unfortunately, it seems the answer is always, “at my expense”. If rights are fundamentally derived from needs then the only answer is that other people have to be forced to provide them. Then what about their needs?

  37. Unfortunately, it seems the answer is always, “at my expense”. If rights are fundamentally derived from needs then the only answer is that other people have to be forced to provide them. Then what about their needs?

    Exactly. Therein lies the inconsistency: it is right for others to demand that you sacrifice for their needs, but it’s wrong to demand that others sacrifice for yours.

  38. “That’s just not true. A murderer might believe that what he did was just, but that doesn’t make it so. A thief might say that what he did was just, but that doesn’t make it so. A majority of the people in a given country might say that abortion is an abomination but that doesn’t mean it is.”

    Because the majority (or at least the majority with the resources of expressing their views that is mainly westerners) disagrees with them. Thus it’s not moral. Yet a century ago abortion was highly immoral, as was premarital sex and other things we find highly normal today.

    “See, I think that one such objective morality created material progress in the first place, and that by gradually distancing ourselves from it is why things are coming to a halt.”

    Since when are things coming to a halt? Technological advancement is speeding up, has been for several centuries. And when that process began this objective morality you speak of didn’t exist and wouldn’t occur to anyone.

    “But no man will farm voluntarily if he knows in advance that whatever he produces won’t be his. ”

    If he knows he gets protection out of it, though I can suppose you can argue that that is a fair trade. Or if he’s indoctrinated enough. But my point was that the modern definition of individual freedom isn’t necessary for progress. It helps and it certainly speeds up the process; but the process would never have begun if not those slaveowners had participated in it.

    “The only thing I can utter in response is: At whose expense?”

    To which I answer: those who can afford without it being a threat to their livelihoods and basic rights.

    “What is society—other than a number of individuals? Society as such does not exist.”

    These days it’s typically called a nationstate. But of course society is made up of individuals. It’s a constant series of meetings, discussions and concentration of resources. It’s an arena where men compete to prove their worth. And without it the individual would be nothing, a mere idiot to use the original meaning of the word. Of course the term ‘good for society’ has been used by all manner of despots through the ages. This doesn’t negate the fact that sometimes what’s good for the individual is what’s good for society, because if society is nonfunctional then men are alone, isolated and done for.

    “Which is—other than productive, intelligent individuals, living and working in freedom?”

    Progress is a dynamic group wide process where groups of people pool their resources to create greater things, where individuals are allowed to experiment and where change can work on all levels. ‘productive, intelligent individuals, living and working in freedom’ is not progress, it’s the result of progress. You’re confusing effects with causes.

    “What we believe to be moral may change but what actually is moral does not change. A good example is slavery. It has always been immoral even though most people of ancient times did not believe this.”

    And you base this upon what exactly?

    “In either case what is being taken is not so much money or resources but the time the person spent working to earn it.”

    Resources is exactly what is being taken. Two people can work the exact same number of hours and yet earn staggeringly different wages. This by itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What is bad is when one person thinks that it is more important for him to own a 52 inch widescreen instead of owning a 42 inch while the other poor bugger gets his healthcare. It’s a nonproductive form of selfishness.

  39. Because the majority […] disagrees with them [on abortion].

    So whatever the majority of a given group of people finds is what is moral?

    Since when are things coming to a halt? Technological advancement is speeding up […]

    I was referring to the whole recession-thing. ;)

    Technological advencement is speeding up, yes. Especially in communication technology. Which happens to be the least regulated sector of industry.

    And when that process began this objective morality you speak of didn’t exist and wouldn’t occur to anyone.

    At the time of the Industrial Revolution, probably many didn’t realize what morality made the process possible, but we have learnt to identify it in hindsight: freedom of production, freedom of enterprise, freedom of trade.

    […] the process would never have begun if not those slaveowners had participated in it.

    How’s that?

    [In answer to: “At whose expense?”] […] those who can afford without it being a threat to their livelihoods and basic rights.

    By what right—other than the “need” of others?

    […] sometimes what’s good for the individual is what’s good for society […]

    Or: is good for everyone—why, yes, absolutely. As far as I’m concerned though, society in itself cannot be pivotal to any morality. Or, put another way: society cannot be an end in itself.

    […] ‘productive, intelligent individuals, living and working in freedom’ is not progress, it’s the result of progress.

    As I see it, that is the cause of progress. Yes, “groups of people pool[ing] their resources to create greater things” helps, but there is no such thing is a collective thought or a collective idea. Progress is the product of man’s mind; an individual’s mind, for there is no such thing is a collective mind.

    What is bad is when one person thinks that it is more important for him to own a 52 inch widescreen instead of owning a 42 inch while the other poor bugger gets his healthcare. It’s a nonproductive form of selfishness.

    But is that enough reason to force the television-buyer to give up part of his money for the sake of the poor bugger? And who is to make that choice—if not the owner of that money?

  40. “So whatever the majority of a given group of people finds is what is moral? ”

    Essentially, yes. Or rather that is what the consensus is. Your or me can disagree with them but on the whole that’s what holds for morals.

    Put it this way. If you read a study on the historical morality of say, the Roman Empire, it will chronicle the changes in morality for the whole empire in macro perspective. Other studies may show that individuals disagreed with this but on the whole it is possible to reconstruct a general moral. It cannot for further then generalities because people have their own morals as well. the moral consensus is all-powerful, far from it. Rather it can be described as a massive, ongoing debate on the values presented at various levels of society. This is why it’s futile to try and reconstruct a single moral code beyond some very basic generalities, since all always is in a state of change.

    I’m not a nihilist. I simply believe that what moral we have is given to us by our forbearers, many which we might see as immoral from our perspective. I’m quite certain that our descendants will find us immoral in some way as well.

    “I was referring to the whole recession-thing. ;)”

    That is a temporary setback, no matter what catastrophes it has wrung.

    “As I see it, that is the cause of progress.”

    So the world was standing still up and until this moment when these people appeared? As I was trying to show in my comments about the slaveowners progress has been ongoing since we have discovered fire. The various technological and philosophical advances made by the Romans lay the foundation for the middle ages, which lay the foundation for the renaissance and so on. The factors you are referring to have certainly quickened the process but you cannot claim that progress is due solely to them.

    “By what right—other than the “need” of others?”

    By what right should they keep them? They may not have earned that money. Or even if they if they are fantastical entrepreneurs they could have never become such in a vacuum. Society, as I chose to call, enabled their success. In the long run, everyone profits from the system. I can make the same argument with defensive; a rich man can easily move his assets around and as such do not necessarily profit from defense.

    “But is that enough reason to force the television-buyer to give up part of his money for the sake of the poor bugger? And who is to make that choice—if not the owner of that money?”

    Why not the man dying of pneumonia? Now if there was a way to ensure that the poor bugger got his medicine and the television owner keep his enormous phallus…I mean television then I would be aboard in a jiffy ;)

  41. Your or me can disagree with them but on the whole that’s what holds for morals.

    I’m afraid that’s another point on which we’ll have to agree to disagree then.

    So the world was standing still up and until this moment when these people appeared? […] progress has been ongoing since we have discovered fire.

    And what do you suppose invented fire? An individual—or “society”?

    Yes, the world was standing still, until man started to use his mind.

    The factors you are referring to have certainly quickened the process but you cannot claim that progress is due solely to them.

    Individual innovators naturally built on the innovations made by people in the past. Virtually no one truly “starts from scratch” in any endeavor.

    Or even if they if they are fantastical entrepreneurs they could have never become such in a vacuum. Society, as I chose to call, enabled their success.

    Sure, by voluntary choice. No one is forcing you to buy product you don’t like to accept any service you don’t need. No enterprise forces its products or services upon you. You have the choice to “enable” the success of any business. Yet you aren’t giving them any choice in demanding that they “repay” for that.

    Why not the man dying of pneumonia? Now if there was a way to ensure that the poor bugger got his medicine and the television owner keep his enormous phallus…I mean television then I would be aboard in a jiffy

    Heh :D My answer’s the same as to this question:

    By what right should they keep them?

    By the right that it’s their property, of course! Whether they produced it or earned it, it’s theirs.

  42. “And what do you suppose invented fire? An individual—or “society”?”

    A freak lightning strike :) But seriously, without the group it would have been meaningless in the long term.

    “Yes, the world was standing still, until man started to use his mind.”

    The world has been going on just fine without us. Just because there’s no human to observe doesn’t mean that there isn’t progress. And yet man used his mind despite being immoral slaveowners by your reckoning. So once again your rigid definition of rights is far from necessary for progress.

    “Virtually no one truly “starts from scratch” in any endeavor. ”

    Thank you. Hence, while the individual is important the surrounding society is also necessary.

    “No one is forcing you to buy product you don’t like to accept any service you don’t need. No enterprise forces its products or services upon you.”

    If they have the patent or monopoly on something critical like a certain drug then they can do that.

    “By the right that it’s their property, of course! Whether they produced it or earned it, it’s theirs.”

    I still say that life is more important than property and hence the right to life is more important than the right to property. But I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree there.

  43. […] without the group it would have been meaningless in the long term.

    Sure. My point is though that the group didn’t make it happen in the first place. Of course, once an invention’s been done, it becomes of great benefit to a great many people, and many others are able to use that invention to create even better things. But the source of all progress is an individual mind.

    The world has been going on just fine without us. Just because there’s no human to observe doesn’t mean that there isn’t progress.

    That’s rather a different sort of progress then, eh?

    And yet man used his mind despite being immoral slaveowners by your reckoning.

    First, distinct between a slave and a slaveowner. The latter is an immoral man, no doubt, but he isn’t the one being forced to do anything. As such, there is no reason why he can’t be productive.

    If they have the patent or monopoly on something critical like a certain drug then they can do that.

    Which virtually never happens in a free market.

    I still say that life is more important than property and hence the right to life is more important than the right to property. But I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree there.

    If I may give it one more shot.. ;) You can’t have the one without the other.

    The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.

    Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object, but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object. It is not a guarantee that a man will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values.

    From Ayn Rand, “Man’s Rights,” The Virtue of Selfishness (1964).

  44. “Everything changes, always.”

    You mean including the speed of light in a vacuum, or the law of supply and demand, or basic human nature?

    “without the group it would have been meaningless in the long term.”

    A group of what exactly? A group presupposes a group of something.

    “And yet man used his mind despite being immoral slave owners by your reckoning. So once again your rigid definition of rights is far from necessary for progress.”

    This is a matter of degree. A person including a slave owner may be immoral in some respects but moral in others and thus society still progresses. Imagine how much progress might occur if people acted in a moral fashion most of the time rather than just some of the time.

    “If they have the patent or monopoly on something critical like a certain drug then they can do that”

    True, thugs from Pfizer beat up my family the last time I refused to buy but now that it is off patent this doesn’t happen anymore. Now the thugs are too busy beating each other up to see who gets to force me to buy their drugs! Yah!

    “I still say that life is more important than property and hence the right to life is more important than the right to property.”

    It seems to me that the answer

    “You can’t have the one without the other.”

    Is pretty much correct so long as he means the ‘right to‘ part of your sentence. Yes, life (per se) is more important than property but the right to life is impossible without the right to property. See what happens when you put the words ‘right to’ in front?

    “how your ideology thus threatens the right to life.”

    Here is the question, Johan. What does your ideology require of Nick and what does his require of you? Seems to me from reading the comments that you would require at least some percent of his luxuries but not much more. Is that correct?

  45. whoops.

    “the last time I refused to buy”

    should read, “the last time I refused to buy Lipitor (or another patented drug)

  46. “But the source of all progress is an individual mind. ”

    I do not disagree with you exactly but I would like to amend your definition with resources. While cavemen may have been able to create ethnical progress on their own, modern technological advancements typically need A) more than one mind and B) resources created by other individuals. As the source of progress would be an individual mind somehow possessing the resources to carry out its ideas.

    “As such, there is no reason why he can’t be productive. ”

    Exactly! Hence there is no reason why such a society can’t be productive, if not as productive as ours.

    “You mean including the speed of light in a vacuum, or the law of supply and demand, or basic human nature?”

    The laws of nature don’t change but our understanding of them does, it changes and evolves. But I was mainly referring to human society, technology and other more or less tangible things constructed by man. Basic human nature doesn’t change which is one of the reasons why you can’t construct an objective morality.

    “A group of what exactly? A group presupposes a group of something. ”

    A group consist of more than one entity, in this case individuals.

    “You can’t have the one without the other.”

    I have never claimed that you can. What I claim is that you cannot impose them rigidly without threatening them. If you give too much focus on the right to life then the right to property will be threatened. The result would be communism. So while I’m not to sure what to call when you do it the other way around as you are suggesting the result will still be negative. What I am trying to argue for is some sort of harmony between the two rights.

    “True, thugs from Pfizer beat up my family the last time I refused to buy but now that it is off patent this doesn’t happen anymore. Now the thugs are too busy beating each other up to see who gets to force me to buy their drugs! Yah!”

    Oh quit the silliness. They don’t need to force you to do anything, its pay up or die without a single thug in sight. Now I assume that you can afford to pay for these drugs but many people can’t, both in western countries and in developing ones (but that’s a whole different ballgame). Drugs cost money so naturally the manufacturers will demand payment, that’s only fair. But what isn’t fair is when people who cannot afford them, in many cases through no fault of their own, suffer and die.

    “Here is the question, Johan. What does your ideology require of Nick and what does his require of you? Seems to me from reading the comments that you would require at least some percent of his luxuries but not much more. Is that correct?”

    More or less yes. I’m not a socialist Steve. I believe in a free market and in cutting government spending. But I do not believe in the Randian utopia, I find it silly and unrealistic. It’s an ideology that holds people responsible for things that are not their fault; who their parents where, where they were born, what school they went to, what diseases they get simply by standing on the subway one morning. People are not equals and no Randian morality will change that. And that isn’t necessarily a totally bad thing, because to a certain extent it breads healthy competition. But it’s also breeds injustice and that’s what I think should be addressed.

    The whole morality derives from consensus bit is not an ideology; it’s simply an historical analysis

  47. Hence there is no reason why such a society can’t be productive, if not as productive as ours.

    Yes, there is. As I pointed out before, it’s the difference between the slave and the slaveholder that’s of the essence here. Both can be productive; but the slave can only be productive under threat—and under constant threat with that.

    If you give too much focus on the right to life then the right to property will be threatened. The result would be communism.

    This, I don’t understand. Communism values the right to life?

    I do not believe in the Randian utopia, I find it silly and unrealistic. It’s an ideology that holds people responsible for things that are not their fault […] it’s also breeds injustice and that’s what I think should be addressed.

    When you write “injustice” don’t you mean “inequality”?

    Is it just to deprive those “favored” by nature or circumstance (the talented, the intelligent) of the right to the rewards they produce (or, the right to life) and grant them to the incompetent, the inable, the stupid; rewards these people could never themselves produce?

    I understand where you’re coming from. There is inequality and probably always will be because people are not equal. One man may be more intelligent than the other; the other may be more able in a given field than the next.

    When you start to try to remove those inequalities, you stumble upon two objections of mine: 1) by right right may you deprive men of their property in order for others to prosper—other than their “need”? And 2) where’s the end? Where do you stop trying to level out any remnant of inequality and is whatever limit you chose not an arbitrary one and therefore, proof that such a morality is inconsistent?

  48. “Both can be productive; but the slave can only be productive under threat—and under constant threat with that.”

    So? Its still a productive society. I wouldn’t want to live in it but there it is. On the other hand, slavery might make it possible for the owner to use his mind on a level he wouldn’t be capable of if he was forced to harvest his own crops. And since the slave is obviously inable and stupid by your own definition, whets the harm in letting him go on with his work?

    “This, I don’t understand. Communism values the right to life? ”

    The original marxian version valued the right to life, although from a macro perspective (or at least that was the general idea). Then the semi fascistic soviet union came along and removed even that.

    “Is it just to deprive those “favored” by nature or circumstance (the talented, the intelligent) of the right to the rewards they produce (or, the right to life) and grant them to the incompetent, the inable, the stupid; rewards these people could never themselves produce?”

    You seriously mean believe that? That those in need are naturally incompetent inable and stupid. Nick, I’m saying this as an old friend, are out of your goddamned mind! You think these things are biological? Education, family conditions, medical conditions etc etc and etc. You think people are out of a job because they are incompetent? You think they are poor because they’re stupid? You think everyone has an equal chance? They don’t and that’s not decided by their ability, its decided by their birth or social surroundings. It’s the inequalities that I find troublesome, not that someone is ‘more intelligent’ (which is often just code for better education) then someone else.

    “by right right may you deprive men of their property in order for others to prosper—other than their “need”?”

    By what right to you remove the possibilities for people to lift themselves from conditions that are not their own fault? By what right do you draw the lines deciding who’s worthy to belong to your great utopia?

    “2) where’s the end?”

    I have already answered that. The end comes when the attempt to bridge these inequalities becomes outright harmful, for the state, for society and for the individuals. When helping becomes suffering. But until then you really don’t need that 52 inch widescreen.

  49. So? Its still a productive society.

    It can be, yes. But look at another sort of “slave society” like Soviet Russia (not quite slavery, I know, but workers deprived of rights) and you see that by enslaving people, you don’t necessarily bring about productivity and certainly not greater productivity than in a capitalist society.

    […] slavery might make it possible for the owner to use his mind on a level he wouldn’t be capable of if he was forced to harvest his own crops […]

    If he’s able enough, he doesn’t need slavery for that!

    And since the slave is obviously inable and stupid by your own definition […]

    I beg your pardon? The slave is forced to do what he does. He has no choice in the matter. His ability and his intelligence are of no significance here.

    The original marxian version valued the right to life […]

    Marxism valued the right to life of some—at the expense of the rights of others, from the very start.

    That those in need are naturally incompetent inable and stupid.

    That’s not what I wrote! Not all “in need” are naturally incompetend and stupid; but those who are incompetend and stupid are always in need.

    You think everyone has an equal chance?

    Certainly not! But that is not enough reason to disadvantage those who happen to have “more chance”. You say, a child can’t help what family he’s born into. True—but it works both ways.

    Note, again, that I don’t object to helping people—as long as it’s done by choice. I’m not going to stop anyone from donating to charity or setting up a free clinic for the poor. What I’m arguing against is that people are forced to participate in such.

    It’s the inequalities that I find troublesome, not that someone is ‘more intelligent’ […] then someone else.

    Which is an inequality. ;)

    By what right to you remove the possibilities for people to lift themselves from conditions that are not their own fault?

    I’m not denying them any rights—except the right to the charity, the generosity and the money of others. If you consider that “removing their possibilities” then we have a fundamental disagreement on the matter of property rights. My money does not belong to anyone else because to them, it might represent the “possiblity” of improving their livelihood.

    The end comes when the attempt to bridge these inequalities becomes outright harmful, for the state, for society and for the individuals.

    Define “harmful”. (I’m not trying to be picky I’m; I’m trying to show you that such a system would be completely arbitrary and fundamentally unjust.)

  50. “Not all “in need” are naturally incompetend and stupid; but those who are incompetend and stupid are always in need.”

    How do you define stupid and incompetent anyway? Everybody has something they can do. And anyway, these people you are describing hardly constitute the majority or even close to it.

    “I beg your pardon? The slave is forced to do what he does. He has no choice in the matter. His ability and his intelligence are of no significance here.”

    There is a lot of significance to his abilities. In roman society, for instance, not only was there possibilities to advance on the command ladder within the slave society, there also existed the opportunity to buy one’s own freedom. Naturally these rights applied mainly to the household slaves and not the chain gangs on the fields but they were still there.

    “I’m not denying them any rights—except the right to the charity, the generosity and the money of others”

    And as such you are denying them the right to live, the right to be healthy and, if we take your argument long enough, the right to education. Because why should we waste your precious money on stupid people?

    “Marxism valued the right to life of some”

    Some? Are you referring to Marx proletariat or Lenin’s revolutionary elite?

    “I’m not denying them any rights—except the right to the charity, the generosity and the money of others”

    Which is great, marvelous even. Unfortunately that money will never be enough hence why taxes are needed.
    “If you consider that “removing their possibilities” then we have a fundamental disagreement on the matter of property rights.”

    Yes we have. To me the right to life (in which I include healthcare) is far more important than an overly strict definition of property rights. To me forcing those who won’t suffer by paying to be a bit empathic and pay for the healthcare of others is really no different from enforcing other laws. In both cases they help selfish people from hurting others.

    “Define “harmful”. (I’m not trying to be picky I’m; I’m trying to show you that such a system would be completely arbitrary and fundamentally unjust.)”

    And as I have tried to show you every system on planet earth is arbitrary. In the west we call it democracy. These is not about taxing some small group, the majority of taxpayers are middleclass. What is harmful is decided by popular vote (though personally I say when it starts to actively damage the economy). Anything else would be outright undemocratic.

    Besides, I still don’t get why it is moral to force people to pay for militaries that may fight wars that have absolutely nothing to do with their security but immoral to force to pay for healthcare.

  51. Everybody has something they can do.

    Quite right, and everybody has the ability to excell at what they do. A lot of people seem to lack the will to do so however.

    […] these people you are describing hardly constitute the majority or even close to it.

    I certainly hope not, no.

    There is a lot of significance to his abilities. In roman society […]

    I’m sorry, I was thinking about the more recent instance of slavery in the Caribbean and the US. Slavery was different in Antiquity indeed.

    And as such you are denying them the right to live, the right to be healthy […]

    How? I deny them the right (!) to “the charity, the generosity and the money of others”. How does that make it impossible for people to live?

    Some? Are you referring to Marx proletariat or Lenin’s revolutionary elite?

    Both. Both encompass only a certain group of people.

    Unfortunately that money will never be enough hence why taxes are needed.

    So what you’re saying is that, like me, most people put their own interests first. I’d like to remind you here of our little discussion on majority rule. ;)

    To me the right to life […] is far more important than an overly strict definition of property rights.

    And I say they can’t properly exist without one another…

    In both cases they help selfish people from hurting others.

    What’s wrong with being selfish? And how are they “hurting” others, by refusing to pay for another man’s health care? They are not responsible for the fact that that man needs care. They are not to blame. They are not hurting that other person. They only refuse to help.

    On the matter of “harmful”, you wrote, harmful, “for the state, for society and for the individuals.” (Emphasis mine.) It’s specifically the latter I’m interested in. When, in your opinion, does the leveling out of wealth inequality become to harmful to the individual? When he can no longer afford a plasma TV? When he can no longer afford to see a movie twice a week? When he can no longer afford orange juice with his breakfast? Where you do you think it’s proper for a state to draw the line when it comes to luxuries?

    Anything else would be outright undemocratic.

    Democracy can’t be its own moral justification. Saying that something is right because a majority of the people say so equals moral bankruptcy—and the denial that any objective truth is within reach of human knowledge.

    Besides, I still don’t get why it is moral to force people to pay for militaries that may fight wars that have absolutely nothing to do with their security but immoral to force to pay for healthcare.

    I never said it’s moral to pay for fighting wars. Quite to the contrary, I have stated, IIRC, that the initiation of force is wrong no matter what. It is moral to pay for the defense of a state, for the protection of its citizens is the very purpose of having goverment.

  52. “A lot of people seem to lack the will to do so however.”

    You know, I here allot of people claiming this and yet I have ever seen any proof. Besides, while does who attempt to live of the government without valid reason are criminals they hardly constitute a reason to shut down the system.

    “Both. Both encompass only a certain group of people. ”

    Yet Marxian ideology eventually strives to make everyone equal, not out another group above the other permanently. And anyway, the point of the example is the Marx’s work statred out after seeing the plight of the 19’th century worker class. Unfortunately he drove his ideals into extremism (and let’s not event talk about the people who came after him).

    “How? I deny them the right (!) to “the charity, the generosity and the money of others”. How does that make it impossible for people to live?”

    Subject A has a disease. Subject A can’t afford medicine. Charities can’t cover since the lack the monetary means. Subject A dies. Meanwhile benefit from the low taxes and buy a new 52 inch television. Subject A is now dead because you cannot se how your moral claims kills people.

    Clear enough?

    “And I say they can’t properly exist without one another… ”

    And I have never disputed this.

    “They are not responsible for the fact that that man needs care. They are not to blame. They are not hurting that other person. They only refuse to help.”

    Let’s say you have a child. That child one day falls of a pire and drowns. When you arrive you find me there, hands in my pockets, casually explaining how I watched you’re child drown. Would you say I’m completely free of responsibility for your child’s death?

    “and the denial that any objective truth is within reach of human knowledge.”

    Which, simplified, is what I have been doing, at least in regard to social sciences.

    “Where you do you think it’s proper for a state to draw the line when it comes to luxuries?”

    First of all it’s not the state but the voters who make that the decision. They don’t like current policy they vote for another party. The only line the state apparatus should draw is when they see the economy being actively harmed by to high tax levels.

    “It is moral to pay for the defense of a state, for the protection of its citizens is the very purpose of having goverment.”

    But since people will always find uses for a military apparatus apart from territorial defense, it will still be used. And once again defense of the state is far from clearcut, unless you define it as nothing but territorial defense. Since military power is naturally coercive, wouldn’t this be a greater threat then spending money on healthcare?

  53. You know, I here allot of people claiming this and yet I have ever seen any proof.

    I doubt there’s any scientific research, for it’s rather difficult a matter to investigate. I can only relate from personal experience for that reason and I have come across many people who complain about their work, about their lives, about their unhappiness—yet they never do anything about it. They seem to be under the impression that life is somethin that happens to them, without human beings having any ability to shape or control it.

    Yet Marxian ideology eventually strives to make everyone equal […]

    Making everyone “equal” is not the same as recognizing everyone’s individual right to life.

    the point of the example is [that] Marx’s work statred out after seeing the plight of the 19′th century worker class.

    True. He should have been more thorough and stopped for a moment to consider the plight of the 18th century working class, or the 17th century working class for that matter, and then write a critique of capitalism.

    Subject A has a disease. […] is now dead because you cannot se how your moral claims kills people.

    Let’s say you have a child. That child one day falls of a pire and drowns. When you arrive you find me there, hands in my pockets, casually explaining how I watched you’re child drown. Would you say I’m completely free of responsibility for your child’s death?

    (Because both examples come down to the same issue, I hope you’ll agree that I picked the more difficult to respond to.)

    It depends. If you value me and you know that I value my child, and saving it from certain death will do you no harm, then there’s little reason why you shouldn’t. If, however, you don’t know me and saving that child you don’t know either might even come at a person risk to yourself, there is little reason why you should.

    In the end, the most important thing, as far as I’m concerned, is your person choice. No one can force you to save that child—certainly not if it leaves you worse off.

    I have never disputed [that the right to life and the right to property can’t properly exist without one another]

    Then how should I interpret:

    To me the right to life […] is far more important than an overly strict definition of property rights.

    You are saying that one of these two rights is “far more important” than an “overly strict”, i.e.: consistent definition of the other. How can these two rights exist in conjunction when one of them is rendered practically insignificent in the face of the other?

    […] it’s not the state but the voters who make that the decision.

    OK, then where do you think it’s proper for them to draw the line?

    Let’s put it in more simpler form: To what extend to you think it’s proper for your neighbor to decide what level of luxury you may enjoy?

    But since people will always find uses for a military apparatus apart from territorial defense […]

    That’s not necessarily true and even if it were, it is rather a weak argument. Imagine that we were discussing the police instead. In almost every country, police brutality occurs, if only rarely. Yet no clear-headed individual would therefore propose that the police be abolished altogether.

  54. “But I do not believe in the Randian utopia, I find it silly and unrealistic.”

    It seems to me that the closer a society is to this so called Randian utopia the more productive and happier the people are. Why is it silly to extrapolate to a society even closer to it than our own?

    “More or less yes. I’m not a socialist Steve.”

    I don’t see anyway to fairly draw this line. What is it, more or less? What if instead of having to give up my 50 inch TV for the other guy’s medicine I have to give up my car? What if it means I have to put my son in a less expensive and not as good school. What if it means I can not save the money in my bank account as a hedge for when he needs medicine. ‘More or less’ covers a lot of ground. Are you going to say that you will take 10% of what I earn and after that NO MATTER WHAT you won’t take any more? I might actually be able to live with that. What I cannot live with is someone telling me after the fact how much I owe or changing the rules as they go along.

    “In your opinion how are we doing in regards to this. Is the US at exactly the correct point – or should we move a bit in one direction or the other?

    “But what isn’t fair is when people who cannot afford them, in many cases through no fault of their own, suffer and die. ”

    Of course that is not fair. But why is it fair to force me to pay for them? Why does the fact that they cannot pay for them make me a slave?

    “They don’t need to force you to do anything, its pay up or die without a single thug in sight. “

    What if the drug didn’t exist? Now what are the choices? I see only one.

    ” It’s an ideology that holds people responsible for things that are not their fault;”

    No, it is NOT. It simply states that their bad luck shouldn’t impose obligations on me. It is not my fault either. It works both ways. You CANNOT say that their bad luck is my fault, or societies fault or anyone’s fault.

    “Let’s say you have a child. That child one day falls of a pyre and drowns. When you arrive you find me there, hands in my pockets, casually explaining how I watched you’re child drown. Would you say I’m completely free of responsibility for your child’s death?”

    If this happened you would not be responsible but in most cases you would still be described as a big jerk. However, should not helping the child be a crime? I would give the same answer for “its pay up or die”. Wow! The people who make these drugs are not very nice are they?

    The vast majority of people, especially in a free society would help. I would and your question implies that you would. I am guessing that Nick would as well. Do you know anyone that wouldn’t help, especially if it cost them nothing or very little? I would be hard pressed to name someone. Most of the drug companies have programs to help people who cannot pay.

    I repeat: Should not helping the child be a crime? Should not giving someone the drug be a crime?

    “To me the right to life […] is far more important than an overly strict definition of property rights.”

    This is the core issue of disagreement I think. I comes down to the fact that my property derives from the work I do. This is not so much my money as my time. If you take this (time) away from me for what ever reason you have stolen part of my life. Then the question you have to answer is what part of my life you are willing to take. Can you state a straight percentage (10, 15 %) or is there some other way to determine this? This was the point of my last question about what your ideology will require of me.

    How can you separate my life from my time? I have a limited amount of time on this Earth and it should be mine to use as I want.

  55. “True. He should have been more thorough and stopped for a moment to consider the plight of the 18th century working class, or the 17th century working class for that matter, and then write a critique of capitalism. ”

    Yes he should have. However, the reason I dragged him up is to show what happens when focus too much on one right at the expense of the other.

    “In the end, the most important thing, as far as I’m concerned, is your person choice. No one can force you to save that child—certainly not if it leaves you worse off. ”

    And there another fundamental difference between us. To me the end result is what matters; that the child lives. Let’s say you could save the child without any form risk to yourself (and what risk do you take by paying your taxes?). You choose to stand at the sidelines. In this case, you have killed, just as surely as if you pushed it in front of a bus or drove it over while speeding. Its manslaughter, if not outright murder.

    “You are saying that one of these two rights is “far more important” than an “overly strict”, i.e.: consistent definition of the other. How can these two rights exist in conjunction when one of them is rendered practically insignificant in the face of the other?”

    In isn’t practically insignificant. When I say overly strict I mean your definition, that all taxes that don’t go to defense and lawenforcement are immoral. That I do not think that paying a small percentage of your income in taxes is a burden does not mean that I think the right to property insignificant.

    “Why does the fact that they cannot pay for them make me a slave?”

    It doesn’t. Taxes and slavery are to widely different things.

    “It seems to me that the closer a society is to this so called Randian utopia the more productive and happier the people are. Why is it silly to extrapolate to a society even closer to it than our own?”

    It’s silly because it is based on the idea that there exist a singular reason to why people are enjoying a higher living standard; namely capitalism and free enterprises. And those things are important. Yet how can we be sure that labor laws, union, historical coincidences, government funded research and education, social security and so on did not play a part. Its an extremist ideology. Historically, those tend to be wrong almost by default.

    Anyway, how do you measure happiness?

    “Should not giving someone the drug be a crime?”

    Yes it should be. Of course, outright taking the drug doesn’t work either. Hence why is suggest a road in the middle.

    “I comes down to the fact that my property derives from the work I do. This is not so much my money as my time.”

    This is not necessarily true. You can inherit money, win the lottery, happen to find a goldmine in your backyard and sell it, etc.

    But I do get your point. I still disagree with it however. You make a certain amount of money working. Someone else may make less money despite working for longer hours then you and still not be able to cover their medical bills. And yes that is not your fault, not directly. But still, if taking a small percentage of your income to level out the most critical parts of this difference (that is those that relate to life, death and education) then I think its justified to ask for small part of your income.

    And I can’t say how much that would be. I can’t. It depends on how much money is needed, how much money can be taken from other sources (like unnecessary government porkbelly programs) and how high taxes people are willing to accept. It’s arbitrary, as you say. Yet I still say it’s folly to believe one can construct a system not controlled by these changes in policy. Democracy, to certain extent, is like Russian roulette. If you are unlucky you lose big. And the only real way to abolish this problem goes in even worse directions.

  56. Let’s say you could save the child without any form risk to yourself […]

    As I said, if there’s no risk involved, and you think the child deserves to be saved (and why shouldn’t it?), you should save it.

    You choose to stand at the sidelines. In this case, you have killed […]

    No. To kill is an action. Standing at the sidelines watching someone die is inaction.

    [The Randian utopia is] silly because it is based on the idea that there exist a singular reason to why people are enjoying a higher living standard; namely capitalism and free enterprises. […] Yet how can we be sure that labor laws, union, historical coincidences, government funded research and education, social security and so on did not play a part.

    First, note that “capitalism” implies and requires personal liberty.

    Second, I do believe that with the exception of historical coincidence and government-funded research, the factors you mention have been of little to no consequence to bring about the prosperity enjoyed in the Western world today. In fact, I think they’re harmful to said prosperity.

    […] how do you measure happiness?

    What is happiness to you? To me, it means the enjoyment I find in fulfilling my goals. That can be measured.

    […] if taking a small percentage of your income to level out the most critical parts of this difference […] then I think its justified […]

    You can’t base a moral principle on this. Either it’s right to take part of someone’s wealth for the sake of others, or it’s wrong.

  57. “As I said, if there’s no risk involved, and you think the child deserves to be saved (and why shouldn’t it?), you should save it.”

    But it’s still okay to let it die?

    “No. To kill is an action. Standing at the sidelines watching someone die is inaction. ”

    A differences that matters little to the dead.

    “In fact, I think they’re harmful to said prosperity. ”

    Possibly. Yet they have proven instrumental in making sure that people at large, apart from those investing in industry, can take part in the fruits of capitalism (even if their modern incarnations doesn’t always work that stellar) especially in its earlier incarnations when industyraliasation serves (unwitignly) as a tool of alienation and decrease in personnal property. As for social secruity, well that’s something I consider to be a part of our prosperity.

    “To me, it means the enjoyment I find in fulfilling my goals. ”

    Can you fulfill those goals if you’re sick?

    “You can’t base a moral principle on this. Either it’s right to take part of someone’s wealth for the sake of others, or it’s wrong.”

    A) you can base moral principles on essentially everything, from objective observation to a man talking to a burning shrubbery

    B) It is right, at least in my view. Once again we here come to our disagreement about the existence of an objective morality.

  58. But it’s still okay to let it die?

    It depends on your reasons. Let me give you two examples to illustrate why I think it’s immoral to demand that no matter what, you save someone’s life when they’re in danger.

    Say, the child isn’t drowning but caught on the third floor of a burning building. Firemen daren’t even go in, for the building is about to collapse. Would it be immoral to “stand by” and let that child die?

    Say, the person drowning isn’t a child but the rapist of your daughter who managed to escape a jail sentence over some legal technicality. Would it be immoral to “stand by” and let him die?

    A differences that matters little to the dead.

    Quite—but it makes all the difference for the question of moral responsibility.

    Yet they have proven instrumental in making sure that people at large, apart from those investing in industry, can take part in the fruits of capitalism […]

    Nathaniel Branden has written an interesting piece on the effects of labor unions, quoting economist Ludwig von Mises, in his article “Common Fallacies About Capitalism” later published in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966). You can read it online here if you like.

    Note, on this topic, that the American auto market was one of the most regulated in the entire economy—and one in which labor unions enjoyed exceptional pull. Basically, no man could work for one of the Big Three if not a member of the same union, and neither of the automanufacturers were allowed to employ non-union workers.

    Can you fulfill those goals if you’re sick?

    No, that’s why I have health insurance.

    you can base moral principles on essentially everything, from objective observation to a man talking to a burning shrubbery

    OK, I should have written “a logical, objective moral principle.” ;)

    It is right, at least in my view.

    Then we’re back to the question: where is the end. If it’s right and morally justified to take part of another man’s wealth, the inevitable implication is that no man’s wealth is his and his alone.

  59. “Say, the person drowning isn’t a child but the rapist of your daughter who managed to escape a jail sentence over some legal technicality. Would it be immoral to “stand by” and let him die? ”

    Yes. Understandable and I wouldn’t send a man to prison for it but yes, technically it would be, by this moral code.

    As for the other example the person is risking his life. Of course you can’t demand such a thing from it in this situation. Yet let us return to the drowning child. Assume it’s a relatively calm day so there little to no risk to one’s life (you may even be able to stand in the water). Now the choice becomes one between someone’s life or wetting your new suit.

    And here’s the main part. Both of you are saying that risking one life and risking ones suit are one and the same, just as paying taxes and having government goons drag you into the street and shot you are one and the same. I dispute this. The level of threat are different, the risks are enormously different, the methods are different and in the end the goal is different. They are not the same situation.

    “No, that’s why I have health insurance.”

    Good for you. How about if you couldn’t afford it? Or if you’re say ten years old and your parents couldn’t.

    “Nathaniel Branden has written an interesting piece on the effects of labor unions, quoting economist Ludwig von Mises, in his article “Common Fallacies About Capitalism” later published in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966). You can read it online here if you like. ”

    A very interesting read. Of course, even he agrees (albeit grudgingly) that unions have a role to play;

    “Unions can have value as fraternal organizations, or as a means of keeping members informed of current market conditions, or as a means of bargaining more effectively with employers—particularly in small, isolated communities. It may happen that an individual employer is paying wages that, in the overall market context, are too low; in such a case, a strike or the threat of a strike, can compel him to change his policy, since he will discover that he cannot obtain an adequate labor force at the wages he offers.”

    Naturally he then continues to describe them as having little effect in general. Personally I think he underestimated their influence although he is right that many modern union are becoming more of a hindrance then a help.

    But once again its the narrow view of progress that ails me:
    “Economic progress, like every other form of progress, has only one ultimate source: man’s mind—and can exist only to the extent that man is free to translate his thought into action.”

    No. Human freedom is important. But so are resources, social stability (because you can’t invent if someone bashes your head in), geographical and historical coincidences and what not. There is no single source of progress.

    “OK, I should have written “a logical, objective moral principle.” ”

    And as I have pointed out, no such thing is ultimately attainable.

    This is the main reason why I talk about needs. Need are tangible. They’re real, they are objectively provable. They are not morals, which are consensus based social principles nor rights, which are abstract pseudo legal encoding of said principles. I suppose it’s another difference between us.

    “If it’s right and morally justified to take part of another man’s wealth, the inevitable implication is that no man’s wealth is his and his alone.”

    Yes it would be wouldn’t it? Yet no mans wealth is his and his alone. Practically speaking it can of course be taken at any time. Less practically, even your objective moral demands him to pay the state, pay for policies he might not agree with. Now I believe that if a society can demand him to pay for some wholesale killing somewhere else, it can demand that he pay’s for healthcare for those who cannot afford and should he need it himself.

  60. “It doesn’t. Taxes and slavery are to widely different things.”

    Widely different in degree, perhaps but very similar in principle. (the principle being the time and work of one man necessarily belongs to others).

    “And I can’t say how much that would be. I can’t. It depends on how much money is needed, “

    Then you can’t say that it won’t be 100% or close to it, if that is what is needed. In that case you do have socialism. If you say you only want small part, how do you define how much is needed? Who defines it? There is no way to do this objectively.

    “Yet how can we be sure that labor laws, union, historical coincidences, government funded research and education, social security and so on did not play a part.”

    You see, I happen to believe that you can be certain by their very nature that these things not only didn’t play a part but actually hampered progress. All of these you list (with the exception of historical coincidences which probably did play a part) are based on compulsion and if you understand the nature of force in relationship to human beings it becomes quite obvious that when you start forcing people to do things you are only going to make things worse. You make them less able to act on their own judgment. I point to the correlation between freedom and prosperity, as further evidence.

    The singular reason why people are now enjoying such a good standard of living is their minds and the fact that our system has freed our minds to the greatest extent ever known in history. Yes, we needed a certain technological level before this could happen but allowing people the use of their minds to the fullest extent is the basic factor.

    “But so are resources, social stability (because you can’t invent if someone bashes your head in), geographical and historical coincidences and what not. “

    They may be necessary conditions in some cases but they are not sources. Resources are useless without a human mind to shape them – but conversely, the human mind can discover resources which were not previously thought to be of any use. Social stability is important condition and look historically at what capitalism did for that as well. And further, social stability is necessary simply as a condition which allows the human mind to be free.

    “Its an extremist ideology.”

    Only because most people don’t follow it. Extremism is defined by what most people in a society believe not in relationship to the truth. I could say it is a very true extremist philosophy.

    If we want to truly understand out world we have to get beyond the superficial and deductive arguments and really get to the basics of how humans operate using their minds. That means induction. That means understanding the (metaphysical) nature of force and how it paralyzes our minds.

    I could (and I did) simply point to the strong correlation between how free a country is and its progress (today and in the past) and use the valid scientific method of extrapolating to a country a little more free and predicting even more progress. I could point to big difference in quality between private and public education. We could look at social security and see what a mess this is. We could show how minimum wage laws force people out of work. We could look at the mess that governments have made of health care time and time again. However, a much stronger argument in my opinion is show that in principle all these cases are based on compulsion and the results are to be expected since pushing people around is always a bad idea. It comes down to the fact that the system which best fits humans based on their nature is capitalism.

    “Both of you are saying that risking one life and risking ones suit are one and the same, just as paying taxes and having government goons drag you into the street and shot you are one and the same.”

    If I don’t pay my taxes then what happens?

  61. “Widely different in degree, perhaps but very similar in principle. (the principle being the time and work of one man necessarily belongs to others).”

    Actually no. Slavery is based on the principle that certain people for various reasons belong to others. It means someone owns your life, not just your property. The modern tax system means that the public has the right to a certain amount of the excess money you earn to use for the purpose of public good.

    “In that case you do have socialism. If you say you only want small part, how do you define how much is needed? Who defines it? There is no way to do this objectively.”

    Of course there isn’t. Objectivity is individual; human beings looking at social phenomena invariable come to different conclusions. Now, socialism demands total control of resources. That’s not the end of the ideology, it’s the means; it’s based on this premise. A national healthcare system, for an example, does not necessitate complete government control over resources. The problem here is the demand on healthcare systems differ over time, like any budgetary post, hence it is nonworkable to believe you can decide the amount of money before you identify the problem.

    “The singular reason why people are now enjoying such a good standard of living is their minds and the fact that our system has freed our minds to the greatest extent ever known in history.”

    And I have not criticized the current capitalist system. Which happens to include national healthplans and such. In fact, it seems to me that what causes trouble with many governmental programs is not their existence so much as the way they are handled. Public school, healthcare etc are not naturally failed propositions. They have become such by mismanagement. Look at the overly expansive American healthcare system. Is that more state managed then the relatively cheaper western European ones?

    “It comes down to the fact that the system which best fits humans based on their nature is capitalism. ”

    So how do you prove that humans are naturally onehundred percent individualistic and selfish then? Considering that most major primates are communal animals after all. Doesn’t the historical existence how communal values prove that to a human being, community is a very important factor?
    “If I don’t pay my taxes then what happens?”

    Depends on the laws where you live. Once again not an issue that can be decided by wholesale morality but rather by debate.

    “If I don’t pay my taxes then what happens?”

    Depends on the laws where you live. Once again not an issue that can be decided by wholesale morality but rather by debate.

  62. Both of you are saying that risking one life and risking ones suit are one and the same, just as paying taxes and having government goons drag you into the street and shot you are one and the same. I dispute this.

    So might I, personally. But it’s not up to me. It’s not up to me to say that someone else shouldn’t value their life or their suit, just as it’s not up to me to decide what part of their money another person can miss.

    How about if you couldn’t afford [health insurance]?

    Tough. In the nearly unregulated health insurance market that my own country has (since recently), however, everyone can afford insurance, whether they have a job or live off social benefits. Only in a market that’s frustrated with government regulation and control do the costs of health insurance become unbearable to so many as is the case in the United States.

    Human freedom is important. But so are resources, social stability […], geographical and historical coincidences and what not. There is no single source of progress.

    Sure, that all matters. But without man’s mind, none of those factors, not even all of them combined, will produce progress. Without a mind to use them, resources are just resources; stability is just stability, no more; geography is just geography, etc.

    (After typing this, I noticed Steve D had pointed out the same)

    Yet no mans wealth is his and his alone. Practically speaking it can of course be taken at any time.

    By force. That doesn’t mean it isn’t his.

    Less practically, even your objective moral demands him to pay the state, pay for policies he might not agree with.

    True. It’s unlikely, under my definition of a proper government, but possible.

    Now I believe that if a society can demand him to pay for some wholesale killing somewhere else, it can demand that he pay’s for healthcare for those who cannot afford and should he need it himself.

    That’s like saying: “one evil has been committed already, so what’s one more?” You understand, I’m not convinced.

    A national healthcare system, for an example, does not necessitate complete government control over resources.

    It does over the people involved. What about the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals? And what about the patients, who oftentimes have no or little choice in where and by whom they are treated?

    So how do you prove that humans are naturally onehundred percent individualistic and selfish then?

    It’s not about individualism and selfishness in the first place. Those are logical outcomes of a philosophy that values man’s rights to life and property.

  63. “In the nearly unregulated health insurance market that my own country has (since recently), however, everyone can afford insurance, whether they have a job or live off social benefits.”

    And voilá! We have replaced public healthcare with social benefits. That’s one solution. Quite frankly, I like the sound of that. As I said, its the right to healthcare I care about, not the public healthcare system as such system.

    “But without man’s mind, none of those factors, not even all of them combined, will produce progress.”

    And without those factors mans mind will produce nothing. Once again, progress does not stem from singular source.

    “By force. That doesn’t mean it isn’t his.”

    Technically, yes it means that. Your rights cannot exist if they are not backed up by force.

    “That’s like saying: “one evil has been committed already, so what’s one more?” You understand, I’m not convinced. ”

    And I’m far from convinced it’s evil to make him pay back to society. Want to call it quits there. to me it says: ‘one evil has been committed, how about we take its resources and use ot for good’

    “It does over the people involved. What about the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals? And what about the patients, who oftentimes have no or little choice in where and by whom they are treated?”

    National healthcare systems do not mean you cannot have private practices. Nor does it necessarily mean you cannot choose your own doctor, unless your going into the emergency room in which case you are seldom all that capable of making a rational choice anyway.

    “It’s not about individualism and selfishness in the first place. Those are logical outcomes of a philosophy that values man’s rights to life and property.”

    So they are the outcome of a philosophy that is based on the same presumption that human beings are, amongst other things, selfish?

  64. Not necessarily. I just meant to show that private health care can be cheap in an unregulated market (about €100 per month on average). Let’s have the debate on social benefits another time, OK? ;)

    And without those factors mans mind will produce nothing.

    True, but resources are a given; a man using his mind is certainly not.

    Technically, yes it means that. Your rights cannot exist if they are not backed up by force.

    Aye—which is the proper purpose of government: to protect men against force.

    National healthcare systems do not mean you cannot have private practices.

    Not quite true, unfortunately: public health care constitutes unnatural competition, making private health care oftentimes unprofitable unless B) it specializes in a certain field or unless B) the quality of public health care is so poor that people of means will demand enough quality care to warrant a wider supply of private health care.

    So they are the outcome of a philosophy that is based on the same presumption that human beings are, amongst other things, selfish?

    Human beings are selfish by nature—survival usually demands it. (That is not to say that selfishness is therefore right though.)

  65. “Let’s have the debate on social benefits another time, OK? ;)”

    Agreed ;)

    “True, but resources are a given; a man using his mind is certainly not.”

    Of course. But this doesn’t take away from the argument.
    “Aye—which is the proper purpose of government: to protect men against force.”

    And I agree with you. But then I do not just count force and threats in simple military terms.

    “Human beings are selfish by nature—survival usually demands it. (That is not to say that selfishness is therefore right though.)”

    Yet humans have also shown a great ability to sacrifice themselves for the group, whether that is a family unit or a country. This suggests that human survival, as with any communal animal, is closely tied to the group. As such, human selfishness does not disenfranchise the group; rather it naturally ties human beings to various groupings.

  66. But this doesn’t take away from the argument.

    Which I’ve indicated I agree with: man’s mind alone is not enough to produce progress. My point is only that you can’t have progress without it.

    But then I do not just count force and threats in simple military terms.

    Me neither! Hence the need for police and courts of law.

    Yet humans have also shown a great ability to sacrifice themselves for the group […]

    Of course! Indeed, I think humans are the only species on Earth who are able to be selfless, i.e.: act against their own interest.

    This suggests that human survival, as with any communal animal, is closely tied to the group.

    I beg to differ. The fact that men sacrifice does not “suggest” that sacrifice is somehow a necessary part of survival. If that is what you’re saying, I’m going to have to ask you to elaborate on that.

    As such, human selfishness does not disenfranchise the group; rather it naturally ties human beings to various groupings.

    That is very much possible. In many cases, it can benefit the individual to “join” the group—in fact, it can benefit him very much.

  67. “Which I’ve indicated I agree with: man’s mind alone is not enough to produce progress. My point is only that you can’t have progress without it.”

    Then we agree.

    “Me neither! Hence the need for police and courts of law.”

    More importantly hence the need for proactive measures so that people do not become criminals in the first place.

    “Of course! Indeed, I think humans are the only species on Earth who are able to be selfless, i.e.: act against their own interest.”

    I’m not an expert on the subject but i believe you can find similar tendencies among many communal mammals.

    “The fact that men sacrifice does not “suggest” that sacrifice is somehow a necessary part of survival.”

    Sacrifice as such isn’t a necessary part of survival. The group is. And since survival of the group is important to the survival of both the individual itself and its possible offspring, human beings have a tendency to value the group over the individual in certain situations, a basic fight or flight reflex. This instinct has then developing into various socially based ideologies that can be found all over the political spectrum.

  68. You’re observations on the historical development of man’s group nature might be sound, but I’m hesitant to draw any moral principles from that. You can’t argue, “it’s right to sacrifice for the group’s sake, because people have done so for a long time.”

    More importantly hence the need for proactive measures so that people do not become criminals in the first place.

    Then you’re presuming that under the right circumstances, everyone will be a criminal.

    Why should I have to pay money so that others don’t turn to crime? It almost sounds like a threat: “pay up, or I’ll become a criminal.”

  69. “Slavery is based on the principle that certain people for various reasons belong to others.”

    No, that’s just one type of slavery (chattel) although I admit you may define other forms of forced labor as not exactly slavery. In any event, its not really critical to the argument; even if it is not slavery, taking resource belonging to another by force is definitely theft and still wrong in any circumstances.

    Since I have to work in order to live I am pretty much forced into giving my resources by taxes. Not much different in that essential respect to involuntary servitude. (what are my choices – go on the dole and depend upon the servitude of others?) It’s still essentially forced labor.

    There is no real distinction between my life and property in respect to my rights. The proof of this is that society does claim to own my life. Otherwise how could they draft me and send me off to war to die whenever they want? The government obviously doesn’t believe I have a right to life or there could never be any such thing as the draft.

    I think once you start violating a person’s right to property all other rights will eventually succumb. Its just a matter of which ones and when.

    “So how do you prove that humans are naturally one hundred percent individualistic and selfish then?”

    I don’t have too. People can act however they want. It’s how they think (not what they think but the process itself) which is important. Thinking has to be done by individual human minds – there is no way to socialize this process. In that very important respect humans are and must be one hundred percent individualistic and selfish or not act in this respect as humans at all.

    I think the fundamental difference between us is that I do not see any difference in principle between thought and action (with respect to how they should be treated morally or legally). A man has to think to survive but in order to survive he has to translate thought into action. Both are necessary for his survival but the thought process has to be done by each human individually. There is no way to get around that and this necessarily, leads to the fact that a society in which thought and action are free MUST be the best society for human beings. You cannot restrict action without to some extent restricting thought as well (and vice versa of course).

    If you correctly induce the metaphysical nature of man and the nature of force, then the fact that selfishness is the optimal morality and capitalism is the ideal society is a necessary deductive conclusion.

  70. Well we seem to have fallen of the front page so maybe its time to end this debate

    “Then you’re presuming that under the right circumstances, everyone will be a criminal.”

    In a word, yes. Naturally there are multiple reason why people become criminals but predetermination is not one of them.

    “Why should I have to pay money so that others don’t turn to crime? It almost sounds like a threat: “pay up, or I’ll become a criminal.””

    By that reasoning law enforcement is ‘pay up or someone will come along and take all your stuff’. It’s about being smart on crime. Though if you want to throw that away based on your principles go ahead.

    “I think once you start violating a person’s right to property all other rights will eventually succumb. Its just a matter of which ones and when.”

    This sounds like a contradiction to me. You have already established that the right to property do not exists (since you do pay taxes) and that the state can draft you into the military and yet have your rights disappeared? Taxes are a far older phenomena then these rights and yet they appeared without fuzz. The support for rights of life and liberty are far more anchored then your clearcut version of property rights so why should they be as endangered. you are of course few to believe what you will but pardon me if i am not convinced.

    “Thinking has to be done by individual human minds – there is no way to socialize this process. In that very important respect humans are and must be one hundred percent individualistic and selfish or not act in this respect as humans at all.”

    Yet since complex thinking is fundamentally based on knowledge and experience, the process is partially socialized. You are still underestimating the effect of the society outside the individual.

    “You cannot restrict action without to some extent restricting thought as well (and vice versa of course).”

    This sounds like one of those ridiculous scifi scenarios where people get arrested for thinking about committing murder. But anyway;

    “There is no way to get around that and this necessarily, leads to the fact that a society in which thought and action are free MUST be the best society for human beings. You cannot restrict action without to some extent restricting thought as well (and vice versa of course).”

    This I do not really dispute. Yet I think you and I can agree that actions that cause harm should be regulated. Our main difference here lies in what actions we perceive as causing harm.

    What can be proven, really, is that people do not agree. I still hold to my deduction that morals are not given by nature but abstract sociological thought patterns fundamentally based on consensus. Your morality is an example of this; if you cannot convince enough people to agree then it will hold no sway. It has no existence of its own. I still hold that you underestimate the effects of the group, both detrimental and positive, both direct and indirect, consensus and not, on the individual. Progress requires flexibility; setting strict definitions of certain right will not help this.

    And of course I do believe that people should, if at all possible have the right to healthcare.

    But as I said we have been doing this for weeks and have fallen of the main page so how about we end it here?

  71. I agree, it may be about time we end this ;) Still, I’ll provide answers to these, just in case…

    Naturally there are multiple reason why people become criminals but predetermination is not one of them.

    No—but you’re forgetting about choice.

    By that reasoning law enforcement is ‘pay up or someone will come along and take all your stuff’.

    Not quite. What you’re suggesting is to pay in order to prevent people from becoming criminals. My law enforcement only deals with punishing those who have become criminals.

  72. I do want to end this but one last answer:

    “Not quite. What you’re suggesting is to pay in order to prevent people from becoming criminals. My law enforcement only deals with punishing those who have become criminals.”

    Still the purpose is the same; to prevent crime. once again i here propose a little less rigidity. But let’s discuss crime some other time. ;)