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Author Topic: Gilgamesh and The Script: A Debate  (Read 4304 times)
The Script
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July 26, 2011, 10:25:56 PM
 #41

Right, just look at the world's royal families.

Agreed, they are without a doubt the most gluttonous parasites free riders.

FTFY.    Wink
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July 26, 2011, 10:38:24 PM
 #42

Free Rider actually works just fine. Just because you can take the term and put it in a literal context unrelated to the political science use and say "There, see! Now we must use Parasite." doesn't actually make your previous point valid.

Also "parasite" presumes a level of knowledge that may either be infeasible or impossible to attain.  We can call the life-cycle of a virus "parasitic" because we have studied it until it's end.  However one looking at a symbiotic relationship might easily classify it the same way because the benefits of these relationships can be very long term.   Likewise while you might be able to make probabilistic projections about the average "drug addict".  However you can't actually call the relationship that person has to society as parasitic until it reaches it's end.

I'm rather good with Linux.  If you're having problems with your mining rig I'll help you out remotely for 0.05.  You can also propose a flat-rate for some particular task.  PM me for details.
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July 26, 2011, 11:01:14 PM
 #43

I understand here you're coming from, but what of people in a famine? They have no food to barter with, and often nothing of value to trade at all. Are they livestock? At that point they do have a choice still, but since we're arguing practical applications it's sorth pointing out that the choice to starve to death is hardly a choice. They don't even ave the means of entering into an economic agreement or getting themselves to that point.
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July 26, 2011, 11:24:19 PM
 #44

I understand here you're coming from, but what of people in a famine? They have no food to barter with, and often nothing of value to trade at all. Are they livestock? At that point they do have a choice still, but since we're arguing practical applications it's sorth pointing out that the choice to starve to death is hardly a choice. They don't even ave the means of entering into an economic agreement or getting themselves to that point.

I'm sorry, I don't quite understand what your question is or what point you are trying to make.  Are people in a famine livestock?  No.  Being deprived of food or possessions by a natural disaster is no one's fault, and is not controlled by humans.   Can you clarify?
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July 27, 2011, 12:18:50 AM
 #45

Sure thing, sorry I muddled that a bit. You stated earlier that "if you cannot own property, you cannot survive". I stretched that to the very real situation in say, Somalia. People there own no property and are dying left and right. However, ownership of property isn't the primary issue there. Even for those with some kind of (usually non-monatery) wealth, the fact remains that there simply isn't food to be had. Perhaps someone in the position of being able to hire a transport delivery of food would be able to change that, but for most people simply having some form of economy isn't enough.

My livestock comment was related to this famine situation. In a starvation situation, someone has to either eat food given to them, or starve to death. In many ways, that person has just as much choice as a prisoner who is locked up and force-fed.

So, the point of that is simply this: How do you address a situation in which the basic needs of human life aren't available, even if someone has wealth?
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July 28, 2011, 02:07:16 AM
 #46

Sure thing, sorry I muddled that a bit. You stated earlier that "if you cannot own property, you cannot survive". I stretched that to the very real situation in say, Somalia. People there own no property and are dying left and right. However, ownership of property isn't the primary issue there. Even for those with some kind of (usually non-monatery) wealth, the fact remains that there simply isn't food to be had. Perhaps someone in the position of being able to hire a transport delivery of food would be able to change that, but for most people simply having some form of economy isn't enough.


My statement "without private property humans cannot survive" is rather axiomatic and a little semantic.  I'm simply saying that you have to have economic ownership of property (food, water, other resources) in order to survive.  It's the same as saying mankind cannot survive without eating and drinking, but I'm connecting this to the concept of property. 

Also, this statement is not reversible.  Without private property humans cannot survive is logically valid given the definition I've applied to property, but "with property humans can survive" is not necessarily valid.  You need specific types of property, namely food and water and shelter (the basics).  This is related to the bread/diamond paradox.  If a person is out in the middle of the desert with a pile of diamonds but no water, they are not going to survive long because they don't have the right kind of property.  I'm not trying to be sneaky here with my definitions, simply trying to show how I view private property as a fundamental necessity for human life.  The only given here is that I think that human life is good and that humans should attempt to survive.  If either of us truly disagreed with this we would not be here debating.  Smiley

My livestock comment was related to this famine situation. In a starvation situation, someone has to either eat food given to them, or starve to death. In many ways, that person has just as much choice as a prisoner who is locked up and force-fed.

Yes. I agree.  But the difference is that no crime has been committed against them by another human being, right?  Life and nature do not guarantee us anything, save only death.  No one really has a "right to life" because such a thing cannot be guaranteed.  I do believe that you have a right not to be murdered, but not to demand that others support you by the fruits of their labor.

So, the point of that is simply this: How do you address a situation in which the basic needs of human life aren't available, even if someone has wealth?

I think you are saying that we need the State to make sure that people are taken care of in disaster situations such as famines, correct?  However, if that is the function that States fulfill, why do so many people die of hunger and starvation every year?  (I realize this is a complex problem.)

How would I address situations where people are starving?  I think there is much to be said about charity and human compassion and that it is a responsibility for people to look after each other, but I don't support using coercion to accomplish such goals.  I don't see that the State is necessary, and, often seems cause the opposite of the desired affects.
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July 28, 2011, 10:27:34 AM
 #47

Except charity, applied to reality, is never enough to overcome a major disaster. In a multi-million person famine, the amount of food needed for those people to survive is well beyond what charity is capable of providing.

Let me accept your viewpoint about there being no natural right to life. What then makes a natural right to property? Does a starving person have less right to attempt to stay alive then a wealthy person does to stay wealthy at the expense of others? Are they equal?
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July 28, 2011, 04:15:37 PM
 #48

Except charity, applied to reality, is never enough to overcome a major disaster. In a multi-million person famine, the amount of food needed for those people to survive is well beyond what charity is capable of providing.

Let me accept your viewpoint about there being no natural right to life. What then makes a natural right to property? Does a starving person have less right to attempt to stay alive then a wealthy person does to stay wealthy at the expense of others? Are they equal?

Remember when New Orleans got flooded, how many companies sent trucks with food and water there? (WalMart, etc) Helping out during a disaster is a very good advertising and good will campaign move. Large companies with money to spare will likely jump on these opportunities.

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July 28, 2011, 06:36:51 PM
 #49

Yes, seems very reasonable.

I tend to advocate deontology over utilitarianism but I also think that my deontological principles are compatibile with utilitarianist principles and end up achieving the same goals.  I am relatively happy and content with my life now in a coercive system.  This may be because I encounter very little of this coercion on a personal level, but if voluntaryism created a horrendous world full of misery I would certainly renounce it.  I support voluntaryism because it appears to me that it is more moral than the current system and it will provide a better life for mankind in general.

I'm closer to a two-level utilitarian (but I generally eschew labels).  I don't even have much of a political label.  On occasion when someone wants one I say I'm a "rational empiricist".  Which I suppose is the reason I wouldn't take the label "Libertarian" since it doesn't yet meet the burden of proof I require.  However that doesn't stop me from voting Libertarian in the cases where that appeared to be the best choice.

So if you're deontological then can you describe to me which principles/duties you consider to be necessary?



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July 28, 2011, 07:42:12 PM
 #50

Except charity, applied to reality, is never enough to overcome a major disaster. In a multi-million person famine, the amount of food needed for those people to survive is well beyond what charity is capable of providing.

Let me accept your viewpoint about there being no natural right to life. What then makes a natural right to property? Does a starving person have less right to attempt to stay alive then a wealthy person does to stay wealthy at the expense of others? Are they equal?

Remember when New Orleans got flooded, how many companies sent trucks with food and water there? (WalMart, etc) Helping out during a disaster is a very good advertising and good will campaign move. Large companies with money to spare will likely jump on these opportunities.

A token in the larger effort, and New Orleans was never as bad off as, say, Somalia.
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July 28, 2011, 09:50:57 PM
 #51

Remember when New Orleans got flooded, how many companies sent trucks with food and water there? (WalMart, etc) Helping out during a disaster is a very good advertising and good will campaign move. Large companies with money to spare will likely jump on these opportunities.

A token in the larger effort, and New Orleans was never as bad off as, say, Somalia.

That's true, but in New Orleans you don't have heavily armed war lords roaming the countryside and taking whatever food is donated. That's a whole other problem that needs to be dealt with...

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July 29, 2011, 04:40:19 AM
 #52

Except charity, applied to reality, is never enough to overcome a major disaster. In a multi-million person famine, the amount of food needed for those people to survive is well beyond what charity is capable of providing.

To be honest I think this is pure speculation.  I don't think you can prove this objectively just as I cannot prove the opposite objectively.  However, I would like to hear more explanation on why you think this is so.  Certainly the current system isn't providing for people's needs as well as it could--people still die of famine and starvation all over the world.  I happen to think that without the corruption and inefficiencies of government the situation would be better.  Let's discuss.

Let me accept your viewpoint about there being no natural right to life. What then makes a natural right to property?

Rights are a tricky issue and I'm not sure I have an entirely cogent viewpoint yet.  If there is a God then it changes things as well as there might actually be "natural" or "God-given" rights.  I'm trying to cautiously develop a theory of rights without assuming a God, basing it solely on interaction with other people. 

So then, there is no "natural" right to life or property, i.e. you can lose your life or property to natural events outside of human control.  But you have a "right" to life and property with respect to other human beings, because you have a right to not be murdered and not be stolen from.  This assumes the given I stated a few posts earlier of considering general human survival as a good thing.

Does a starving person have less right to attempt to stay alive then a wealthy person does to stay wealthy at the expense of others? Are they equal?

This is a good question.  To be consistent with what I've stated I have to say that a starving person has a right to stay alive as long as he doesn't steal or kill other people.  However, I can see why most people might not consider it wrong for a starving person to steal some bread from a rich man (Les Miserables situation).  It's the kind of situation where it is still morally wrong, but shame on the rich man for not being generous and helping out his fellow human being.  I don't think it's the State's place to steal from people to redistribute wealth, even in the above situation, but rather people's individual responsibilities to provide for each other.  Ultimately I hope to live (and help create) a world where situations like this seldom, if not ever, happen. 

I'm still thinking through all this so let me know if it makes sense or if I need to clarify.
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July 29, 2011, 05:36:44 AM
 #53

So then, there is no "natural" right to life or property, i.e. you can lose your life or property to natural events outside of human control.  But you have a "right" to life and property with respect to other human beings, because you have a right to not be murdered and not be stolen from.  This assumes the given I stated a few posts earlier of considering general human survival as a good thing.

To clarify, the Right to Life is a right to not have that life taken by force. It is essentially a property right. You own your self. Like any property, you can give it away, or discard it, but if it is taken, you (or in this case, your estate) are owed restitution. The amount of restitution owed for taking a life is a hotly debated topic.

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July 29, 2011, 06:14:56 AM
 #54

So then, there is no "natural" right to life or property, i.e. you can lose your life or property to natural events outside of human control.  But you have a "right" to life and property with respect to other human beings, because you have a right to not be murdered and not be stolen from.  This assumes the given I stated a few posts earlier of considering general human survival as a good thing.

To clarify, the Right to Life is a right to not have that life taken by force. It is essentially a property right. You own your self. Like any property, you can give it away, or discard it, but if it is taken, you (or in this case, your estate) are owed restitution. The amount of restitution owed for taking a life is a hotly debated topic.

I think that's what I said, sorry if it wasn't clear.  Also in a previous post:

Quote
I think that human life is bound up in the concept of property.  As a human, if you cannot own property, starting with your own body, you cannot survive.  When I say "own" I use it in the economic sense of having control of and the capability of using for your purposes.  If I do not have control of my body and control of external resources (food, water, shelter) I cannot survive.  Without private property humans cannot survive.  
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July 29, 2011, 12:27:14 PM
 #55

What I stated about charity is highly provable, go look at the numbers it takes to overcome a major disaster such as Haiti, and go look at the amounts donated by charity.

As for stealing from the rich man to stay alive, how does this work when the rich man has his wealth tied up in banks, or goods which even if the starving person could steal them, aren't of any use in helping the starving person stay alive. Now assume there are millions of starving people. Which is more beneficial to the rich man: a small tax shared by everyone in his position, or a million people trying to rob him every day so they can afford basic food and water?

It's like Rassah pointed out, you don't see wandering warlords going around New Orleans stealing all the food that aid groups send. That warlord is a rich man. Not in wealth, but in goods. He has found a way to vastly improve his personal circumstances at the expense of a few.

More importantly, you cannot run an industry when millions around you are starving. Compare Norway to Somalia. In Norway, taxes are incredibly high with vast social safety nets for anyone who needs them. At the same time, purchasing power per capita is one of the highest in the world. In Soalia, those with great wealth need to spend large chunks of it to defend themselves from starving masses. Which environment is better for a captain of industry?
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July 29, 2011, 02:19:43 PM
 #56

Now assume there are millions of starving people.

Take it back a step and ask what caused the millions of starving people. Currently the causes are either a natural disaster with bandits taking power and preventing help from getting in, or severely mismanaged economy with too many barriers preventing people from get themselves out of poverty.

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July 31, 2011, 09:32:21 PM
 #57

What I stated about charity is highly provable, go look at the numbers it takes to overcome a major disaster such as Haiti, and go look at the amounts donated by charity.

Show me the numbers if you have them readily available, if not I'll get around to looking them up at some point.  There are too many variables to consider, though.  Who came up with the amount necessary to overcome the Haiti disaster?  Governments?  They have an incentive to overstate the amount to feed their corrupt bureaucracies.  How do you know charities wouldn't give more in a different situation, one where they was no government?  Perhaps they are only giving x amount now because they know government will take care of the rest.  We can't know how an alternate time line would play out; we can only speculate.

As for stealing from the rich man to stay alive, how does this work when the rich man has his wealth tied up in banks, or goods which even if the starving person could steal them, aren't of any use in helping the starving person stay alive. Now assume there are millions of starving people. Which is more beneficial to the rich man: a small tax shared by everyone in his position, or a million people trying to rob him every day so they can afford basic food and water?

So first its impossible for the poor people to steal from the rich man because he has his wealth in secure locations or useless items, but then we have to tax him to prevent poor people from robbing him?   Huh  Which is it?

It's like Rassah pointed out, you don't see wandering warlords going around New Orleans stealing all the food that aid groups send. That warlord is a rich man. Not in wealth, but in goods. He has found a way to vastly improve his personal circumstances at the expense of a few.

Yes, you need rule of law in society.  That law does not necessarily have to come from the State, though. 

More importantly, you cannot run an industry when millions around you are starving. Compare Norway to Somalia. In Norway, taxes are incredibly high with vast social safety nets for anyone who needs them. At the same time, purchasing power per capita is one of the highest in the world. In Soalia, those with great wealth need to spend large chunks of it to defend themselves from starving masses. Which environment is better for a captain of industry?

Probably Somalia, actually.  Business men have started electric companies, internet providers, banks, etc. from scratch and done really well considering the impoverished state of the country, the current famine and the civil war in the South.  From what I've heard about Norway it has very high taxes and lots of regulations which make it hard for new companies to start up.
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August 01, 2011, 05:35:33 AM
 #58

So the Heritage Foundation ranks Norway as the 30th most economically free nation in the world, which is pretty good.  It has very high business and trade freedoms which means I am wrong about it being heavily regulated.  In that case it would definitely be better for starting a business than Somalia.  But I'm not sure it's appropriate to compare the two, one as an example of a successful government and one as a "failed" anarchy.  A lot of the strife in Somalia has been caused by foreign countries interfering and trying to force the people to accept a government they did not want.
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