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Author Topic: Defending Capitalism  (Read 48355 times)
NghtRppr
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April 10, 2011, 04:32:42 AM
 #21

The only reason they don't have armies is because the state exists and serves their purpose. Without a state the most powerful would invent it even if that power is simply measured by wealth. Each group paying for their own armed men is anarchy and the really powerful (again measured by wealth or productive power if you like) will not tolerate that.

First of all, we have to acknowledge that most people don't want constant violence in their daily lives and that most people are basically decent. If that isn't the case then humanity is already fucked and no form of ideology is going to save us. Assuming there are no objections to that, let's say that 90% of humans just want to live in peace and the other 10% want to use aggression to accomplish their goals. So, the argument is that the 90% should concentrate all their force into the hands of a single group of people to protect us from the other 10%. The flaw in this is that, what's to stop the 10% from taking control of this concentration of power? It seems only natural that the bad 10% of people would seek to control it. You're only making things easier for them that way. At least in a stateless society we have a fighting chance and of course the 90% can overpower the other 10% and defend themselves. At some point it comes down to sheer numbers rather than who has the most gold.
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benjamindees
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April 10, 2011, 04:41:10 AM
 #22

Harming me by radiation poisoning or smoke inhalation is no different from throwing a rock and hitting me in the head with it. So, obviously that's not legitimate unless I agree to let you do those things to me. Of course, if you do throw a rock at me, it's not the fault of the guy that gave you the rock.

Okay, I can see that subtlety is not getting us anywhere.  Let's use this example.  Let's say that I own a rather large cache of fossil fuels.  I also own a small plot of land.  And I'd really like to build a pyramid, one as large as humanly possible.  So I'm going to burn all of my fossil fuels in order to obtain the energy to build my pyramid.  In fact, let's just say that I own enough fossil fuels to completely consume all of the oxygen on Earth.  And I intend to use them.  Once my pyramid is complete, my plan is to crawl inside of it just as Earth's oxygen levels dip below the level required to maintain human consciousness, remove my oxygen mask and tank, and gloriously ascend into the afterlife.

Don't I have a right to build a giant pyramid?  Don't I have a right to use my property as I see fit?  Regulating this would just be unnecessary government intrusion on the free market, right?

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NghtRppr
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April 10, 2011, 04:48:40 AM
 #23

Okay, I can see that subtlety is not getting us anywhere.  Let's use this example.  Let's say that I own a rather large cache of fossil fuels.  I also own a small plot of land.  And I'd really like to build a pyramid, one as large as humanly possible.  So I'm going to burn all of my fossil fuels in order to obtain the energy to build my pyramid.  In fact, let's just say that I own enough fossil fuels to completely consume all of the oxygen on Earth.  And I intend to use them.  Once my pyramid is complete, my plan is to crawl inside of it just as Earth's oxygen levels dip below the level required to maintain human consciousness, remove my oxygen mask and tank, and gloriously ascend into the afterlife.

Don't I have a right to build a giant pyramid?  Don't I have a right to use my property as I see fit?  Regulating this would just be unnecessary government intrusion on the free market, right?

You have the right to use your property as you see fit but not if it involves damaging my property, which includes the air. If you can somehow keep all your pollution in your airspace why would I care? I only care when it starts to affect me and my property. There's little difference between polluting my air and dumping raw sewage on my property.

Also, don't you feel a bit silly engaging in these extreme cases? We don't base general principles on extreme cases and for good reason. They aren't reflective of typical situations.
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April 10, 2011, 04:49:12 AM
 #24

The only reason they don't have armies is because the state exists and serves their purpose. Without a state the most powerful would invent it even if that power is simply measured by wealth. Each group paying for their own armed men is anarchy and the really powerful (again measured by wealth or productive power if you like) will not tolerate that.

First of all, we have to acknowledge that most people don't want constant violence in their daily lives and that most people are basically decent. If that isn't the case then humanity is already fucked and no form of ideology is going to save us. Assuming there are no objections to that, let's say that 90% of humans just want to live in peace and the other 10% want to use aggression to accomplish their goals. So, the argument is that the 90% should concentrate all their force into the hands of a single group of people to protect us from the other 10%. The flaw in this is that, what's to stop the 10% from taking control of this concentration of power? It seems only natural that the bad 10% of people would seek to control it. You're only making things easier for them that way. At least in a stateless society we have a fighting chance and of course the 90% can overpower the other 10% and defend themselves. At some point it comes down to sheer numbers rather than who has the most gold.

You can't pretend the 10% that seek to control the rest is a static group. The moment the 90% overpower them another 10% will materialize out of the winners and they will want to control the rest. Revolutions for hundreds of years have proven this. (An outstanding exception was the American revolution. The miracle is they balanced state power against federal power in a stable configuration.)

What you're describing doesn't exist. It's just another utopia.
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April 10, 2011, 04:49:42 AM
 #25

I also like to build robots.  Self-replicating robots.  Tiny, self-replicating robots.  And they are powered by oxidizing common elements, such as iron, aluminum, carbon, and hydrogen.  Basically all they do is consume resources and reproduce.  I'd like to keep them in my back yard.  Actually, no, scratch that, I'd much rather let them go free to roam the Earth.  So I will program them to only consume resources that people aren't currently using.

Any objections to this plan?

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April 10, 2011, 04:53:16 AM
 #26

Also, don't you feel a bit silly engaging in these extreme cases?

Don't you feel silly being oblivious to how the world works and the flaws in your idealized system?

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not if it involves damaging my property, which includes the air.

You own the air?  Can I use some?  Can the rest of us have some to breathe?

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April 10, 2011, 05:00:04 AM
 #27

Wow.  This is the largest example of mental masterbation that I have seen in a long time, and I read a lot on the Internet.

This is an unresolvable disagreement, simply because both sides talk past each other because neither can really agree on the definition of critical words.

I have a question...

Whatever it may be called, and based on the given that, whatever it is called, basicly every "Western" society largely shares the majority of characteristics of the same whatever.  Do you believe that your lifestyle today is better, worse or about the same as your grandfather's?

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
NghtRppr
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April 10, 2011, 05:02:02 AM
 #28

What you're describing doesn't exist. It's just another utopia.

No, it's Utopian to think that you can have a monopoly on legitimate violence and that it won't lead to abuses.

I also like to build robots.  Self-replicating robots.  Tiny, self-replicating robots.  And they are powered by oxidizing common elements, such as iron, aluminum, carbon, and hydrogen.  Basically all they do is consume resources and reproduce.  I'd like to keep them in my back yard.  Actually, no, scratch that, I'd much rather let them go free to roam the Earth.  So I will program them to only consume resources that people aren't currently using.

Any objections to this plan?

You talk about me being oblivious to the real world when you're talking about replicators from Stargate SG-1? If your replicators only used unowned resources then why would I care? Until you damage me or my property, I have no concern. Of course, if I see your replicators running wild I'm not going to sit on my thumbs until everything is used up. I will start to claim more resources for myself so that I don't run out. I see no problems other than the absurdity of your question. By the way, if we can make Stargate SG-1 replicators then I want my Star Trek food computer that produces Earl Grey tea on voice command.

You own the air?  Can I use some?  Can the rest of us have some to breathe?

I didn't say I own all the air. Don't make straw man arguments. I own some air though. Do you have an issue with that? What's the argument that you can own land but not air? Land moves too. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_tectonics

Wow.  This is the largest example of mental masterbation that I have seen in a long time, and I read a lot on the Internet.

I'm under no delusions that I'll convert anyone here. I'm just trying to refine my views through trial-by-fire. You'll never know if you're wrong unless you put your views to the test.
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April 10, 2011, 05:10:45 AM
 #29

This conversation should rarely go further than both parties to the conversation ensuring the other one will not use violence to implement their ideas upon the other.

If neither believes a difference of opinion should end in violence, great!  You can put together whatever kind of economic or political scheme you wish, as long as you can convince others to work towards that system as well, and as long as you do not force anyone to join you.

If one of you is willing to use violence over a difference in opinion, don't engage with that person because:
  • That's not a conversation.
  • Engaging with the idea that violence is an appropriate means to resolving a difference in opinion only gives credence to that all-too-common world view.

The correct play is to walk away and just interact with those who don't whip out the implicit gun every time there's a disagreement.

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NghtRppr
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April 10, 2011, 05:20:56 AM
 #30

The correct play is to walk away and just interact with those who don't whip out the implicit gun every time there's a disagreement.

The problem is that unless people are forced to point the gun themselves they don't actually think they are using violence. They just get to vote for whatever laws they want and blue uniformed thugs do the actual dirty work. Also, I'm interested in getting my ideas tested rather than just proselytizing.

However, you're right and it's always funny when people try to argue their way towards legitimizing aggression since violence is the interruption of discussion not the conclusion thereof. If they really thought violence was the answer then they would just shoot me in head and be done with it instead of engaging me in discussion. By engaging me in discussion you are already presupposing that your view of aggression as legitimate is wrong and that discourse is the proper mode of settling disagreements.
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April 10, 2011, 05:29:54 AM
 #31

The correct play is to walk away and just interact with those who don't whip out the implicit gun every time there's a disagreement.

The problem is that unless people are forced to point the gun themselves they don't actually think they are using violence. They just get to vote for whatever laws they want and blue uniformed thugs do the actual dirty work. Also, I'm interested in getting my ideas tested rather than just proselytizing.

However, you're right and it's always funny when people to argue their way to legitimizing aggression since violence is the interruption of discussion not the conclusion thereof. If they really thought violence was the answer then they would just shoot me in head and be done with it instead of engaging me in discussion. By engaging me in discussion you are already presupposing that your view of aggression as legitimate is wrong and that discourse is the proper mode of settling disagreements.

You are right that it is important to test your ideas, however you need to ensure that anyone you are having a serious debate with is actually interested in the truth and not some game where they use debate to mentally bully others in order to deal with unresolved issues.  The vast majority of people use philosophy as ex-post-facto justification for past wrongdoing, and you will never advance ideas in that context.  You might learn something about scoring points in a conversation or dealing with excessive frustration; but life is too short in my opinion.

That's why my play is generally to bring the gun into the room.  Make it personal.  If the person is willing to literally pull the trigger if I'm not willing to contribute to their plan, then you have the end of the conversation.  If they're not, it then becomes useful to square their ideas with the newfound realization of what they actually entail philosophically.  Then you can have a productive conversation from there.

Otherwise, just find people who are interested in truth and are interested in working with you in a voluntary fashion.  Anything else tends to detract from your quality of life IMO.

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NghtRppr
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April 10, 2011, 05:36:15 AM
 #32

You might learn something about .... dealing with excessive frustration; but life is too short in my opinion.

Actually, that is one of my goals. I used to completely lose it when dealing with intellectually dishonest people or just plain idiots. Then I moved on to typing scathing replies, reading them and then backspacing over them without posting, out of guilt. Now, it's very rare that my temper flares up and when it does I am able to just take a few breaths and let it pass. By the time I'm in my 30's I hope to be some sort of zen master at dealing with fools. Recently, I've had people applaud my patience so I think I'm making progress. To each his own though. I've always been an argumentative person.
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April 10, 2011, 05:49:51 AM
 #33

You might learn something about .... dealing with excessive frustration; but life is too short in my opinion.

Actually, that is one of my goals. I used to completely lose it when dealing with intellectually dishonest people or just plain idiots. Then I moved on to typing scathing replies, reading them and then backspacing over them without posting, out of guilt. Now, it's very rare that my temper flares up and when it does I am able to just take a few breaths and let it pass. By the time I'm in my 30's I hope to be some sort of zen master at dealing with fools. Recently, I've had people applaud my patience so I think I'm making progress. To each his own though. I've always been an argumentative person.

I would argue the capacity for anger when dealing with someone who is intellectually dishonest is a good thing.  Otherwise you'll often ignore the emotional underpinnings of what that person is saying, and you'll be arguing versus and argument that he isn't really making (because he doesn't care about the argument, intellectually dishonest people are often just working out their own emotional issues), and that's another reason, in my mind at least, why I've stopped engaging those people.  They troll anyone who is trying to find a scrap of truth until they either get bored or until they get the desired reaction from the person they are engaging.  However, they never put any idea of their own forth, and the conversation is never furthered by their involvement.

We're probably somewhat talking past each other here, but my only real point is that I only think it's worth it to debate with someone who is seeking truth and isn't tied to their conclusions.  Otherwise, you're probably better off dissecting your point of view yourself.

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April 10, 2011, 05:51:46 AM
 #34

I also want to make it clear that I don't think you should get mad at people for being idiots or for not being able to see past the stories they've been told their whole lives.  I'm mostly talking about those who only enter a debate to win and to be nasty to their opponent.

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April 10, 2011, 06:27:13 AM
 #35

Quote from: bitcoin2cash
Objection 2: But, but… wage slavery!

Quote
If you want to live then you have to work.

This is completely, totally false.  It is economically false --  it is based on a misunderstanding of "work".  It is historically false -- historically humans have worked less than they do now, especially in highly free-market-oriented countries.  And it is scientifically false -- there is absolutely no physical reason for humans to be required to "work" in order to survive.

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That's nature's fault (or God's fault if you're a Christian).

It is someone's fault.  But not God's since God is just a fictional character.

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Nobody is obligated to keep you alive.

True.

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You have the right not to be murdered, you don't have the right to live.

You have a right to life.  But it is a negative right.

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Otherwise, I'd have to take care of myself and everyone else which is unfair.

False dichotomy.  You are only responsible for your own actions.  But that includes all of them.

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Requiring me to provide you a living is actual slavery, much worse than nonexistent wage slavery.

That depends.  Are parents slaves?

Quote from: Gluskab
a bunch of offtopic stuff

You sure post a lot for someone who isn't interested in engaging in conversation.

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NghtRppr
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April 10, 2011, 06:39:58 AM
 #36

I'm only going to respond to your sensible comments. If you want me to address something I've ignored don't just whine that I've ignored it, elaborate on it so that I understand that you actually have some sort of cogent point to make.

Quote
If you want to live then you have to work.

This is completely, totally false.  It is economically false --  it is based on a misunderstanding of "work".  It is historically false -- historically humans have worked less than they do now, especially in highly free-market-oriented countries.  And it is scientifically false -- there is absolutely no physical reason for humans to be required to "work" in order to survive.

So you don't consider hunting, farming, fishing or foraging to be work? Well, I do but instead of playing semantic games why don't we just say that you have to "take action" in order to survive because food isn't going to hop onto your plate?

You have a right to life.  But it is a negative right.

If you have a right to life then I would be obligated to save you if you were drowning. No, you have a right to not be murdered. All negative rights must contain some sort of negation if they are to be negative.

That depends.  Are parents slaves?

No but they also aren't required to provide me a living. They can drop me off at any hospital (well it's too late now since I'm college, but they had their chance to give me up for adoption).
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April 10, 2011, 07:18:02 AM
 #37

They can drop me off at any hospital (well it's too late now since I'm college, but they had their chance to give me up for adoption).

Good and what happens when they do that?  Is the hospital obliged to care for you?  Is the hospital staffed by volunteers?  Does this action constitute force or is this just more free market goodness?  Free kid?  Is it a donation?

Quote
Well, I do but instead of playing semantic games why don't we just say that you have to "take action" in order to survive because food isn't going to hop onto your plate?

Fiat Victus.  But yes, some minimal action.  Certainly not life-long wage labor.

Quote
You have a right to life.  But it is a negative right.

If you have a right to life then I would be obligated to save you if you were drowning. No, you have a right to not be murdered. All negative rights must contain some sort of negation if they are to be negative.

You're misunderstanding the concept of negative rights.  They are negative precisely because they require no positive obligation.  It is a moral distinguishment, not a semantic one.  And they must be negative because they would be inconsistent otherwise.


By the way, just in case you didn't know Craig Venter and others are building self-replicating robots.  It is not science fiction and the concept (Von Neumann machines) is quite old.

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April 10, 2011, 07:26:37 AM
 #38

Defending capitalism bores me.

NghtRppr
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April 10, 2011, 07:29:01 AM
 #39

Good and what happens when they do that?  Is the hospital obliged to care for you?  Is the hospital staffed by volunteers?  Does this action constitute force or is this just more free market goodness?  Free kid?  Is it a donation?

There's no shortage of people that want to take in an abandoned baby.

But yes, some minimal action.  Certainly not life-long wage labor.

You do whatever it takes to survive. On your own you can hunt, farm, fish or forage. Nobody owes you anything. However, someone might offer you some food that they have in exchange for something. If you don't like their offer you don't have to take it. You then go back to the original state of affairs, doing what it takes to survive. Again, nobody owes you anything.

They are negative precisely because they require no positive obligation.

A right to life implies a positive obligation. Some socialists are saying they have a right to health care. That again implies a positive obligation. Nobody owes you that. They owe you negatives, inaction, not action; not murdering you, not raping you, not robbing you.
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April 10, 2011, 07:56:20 AM
 #40

There's no shortage of people that want to take in an abandoned baby.

If all humans are selfish, why do you suppose this is the case?  (Assuming this were true, which I don't believe it is.  I think there are far more un-cared-for children out there than potential adopters.)

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A right to life implies a positive obligation.

Of course not.  No right implies a positive obligation.  The entire concept is absurd.

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Some socialists are saying they have a right to health care.

They are short-sighted and wrong and abusing people's stupidity for short-term political gain.

Civil Liberty Through Complex Mathematics
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