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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:22 pm 
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I know what people commonly call moral or ethical dilemmas (alhtough I dont think moral is interchangeable with ethical), I am asking what makes something moral, not for an example of a moral dilemma.


Well, Nozick is more libertarian than Ron Paul... haha, just kidding, not a good argument.

Now I am confused... Nozick is one of the people who wrote down many of the notions of libertarians. How can it be esoteric to consider the source of the idea? You seem to be stuck with this idea that somehow "common use" matters.

Most people think F=mass*velocity, ie for something to keep moving you have to push on it; that doesn't make it true at the fundamental level.

From wikipedia...
Philosophical libertarianism gained a significant measure of recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University professor Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974. The book won a National Book Award in 1975.[44] According to libertarian essayist Roy Childs, "Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia single-handedly established the legitimacy of libertarianism as a political theory in the world of academia.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:29 am 
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frogbyte wrote:
I was making a comparison of the legal/moral situations. If you have an actual point to make about why abortion is so clearly on one side or the other of personal liberty, then just say it rather than ignorantly demeaning my knowledge of biology.

If Ron Paul's official stance was that the government should enforce education of ID, I'd certainly agree that's not very libertarian.

But from what I can find, Ron Paul's official stance on education is that the Federal government should get out of the education business entirely, and it should be left to localities and the individuals. His personal feelings about ID are immaterial in regard to the libertarian position he holds regarding education. Ie, if his advocacy of ID is for individuals or private institutions that's completely consistent with libertarianism.

So where's the evidence to back up that claim? I do see lots of articles that indicate Ron Paul's advocacy of ID precludes him from being worthy of the Presidency, but even amongst those I don't see any quotes that say he wants the government to enforce teaching ID.


I didn't say enforce. That's your word. Allow is more like it.

As for the rest of it, I've been over and over it. You didn't comprehend what I was saying before, so there is no reason to think you will have any idea what I am saying now.

It's clear that you don't get it because when you sum up any point I make or rephrase it, it comes out as some simplistic idea nothing like what I said.

Plus I think I've wasted enough time at this point.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:36 am 
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Ironman, well of course the word "enforce" is applicable. Libertarians wouldn't have the government deny anyone the liberty of teaching what they wanted in a private setting. Sounds like someone misinformed you as to what Ron Paul's positions were, and rather than doing the research you just repeated it and now you're backing away from the original statement? Also note that disagreeing with or questioning you is not the same thing as not comprehending you.

Ryan, Nozick may well have strongly influenced libertarianism, but you seemed to be focused on a bit of a side-issue. And yea, common use does matter to some extent - the meaning of words can and do change over time so you have to be careful. The modern use of libertarianism is not defined by government redistribution of resources at the start of one's life. Personal charity, rather than collectivist government charity, is the more preferred method of leveling opportunity in society.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:39 pm 
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So Frogbyte, to that point of "things changing over time" I suppose that means we should freely interpret the constitution? I mean, it is quite esoteric after all. Should we just throw it all out and start over?


The problem with common use, as we have seen in this very thread is that... nobody agrees on what the common use means.

It seems to me like there are at least two (probably more) opinions which are (1) libertarian is some dynamic ideology that changes as the people carrying the banner of libertarianism come and go and (2) libertarian is a well defined historical perspective with basic tenets that don't change with time defined by the creators of the idea.

I mean, it's sort of like saying Platonism has a variable definition; how can that be when Platonism is whatever Plato wrote down? Obviously some new work could be discovered and integrated, but you are talking about some more to the spirit of some guy coming along and being a Platonist and then jumping ship and everyone gets confused and thinks that guy is representing Platonism and now all of a sudden, Platonism has some new meaning.


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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 11:17 am 
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I assume you're mostly joking there. I would hope that the meaning of libertarianism is mostly static, but it's a relatively new term so there may have been some shift. Webster's definition is the "common use" one, and I think is a very reasonable one.

As for interpreting the Constitution, it's just the opposite, as I'm sure you'd agree. Words can change over time, so we must take care to understand the original meaning and context of the wording of the Constitution.


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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 12:33 am 
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Well, I was joking however I am not really attached to the particular incarnation of the constitution. There are some things I think it gets wrong. There is also my discontent with the average man, who no matter how "good" of a system you have in place, seem to always complain. This has lead me to think that no system will ever be good enough so the "upper tier" of humanity should just give up trying to help them and worry about pushing the upper end of the distribution as high as it can go.

I don't really like democracy in the sense that I don't think half of the people who do vote are actually qualified to vote, and half is probably too generous. I also don't like the idea of majority rule, where (50+x)%, x arbitrarily small gets to tell (50-x)% what they can have access to.

I am not a strong believer in "you can learn lessons from the past". Although you can learn general trends, the truth is, there are too many variables to make any non-random relation between 10 years ago and now, so trying to say the founders genius is applicable today, just doesn't work for me. This especially apparent when dealing with new technologies, gene manipulation, the internet, etc. The generation gap in terms of "notions of reality" pre and post computer is phenomenal.

Rant done. Basic point of mine, common use=errand of fools.


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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 1:59 pm 
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There seem to be some contradictions there.

Part of the timeless beauty of the Constitution is that it deals in high-level general principles which tend to not change over time.

Also, the Constitution is a case study in how to prevent democratic mob rule. The layout of our Republic is devoted almost entirely to ways to prevent the government from doing things to you.

(You have to deal with reality when it comes to words. Around 600 years ago "cheap" meant monetary transaction or trade - today it means inexpensive. If you stick with the original definition you'll just confuse everyone.)


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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 7:48 pm 
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Care to elaborate on these contradictions? I hope you are not referring to contradictions with libertarianism, as I have never said I am so libertarian, I was merely arguing their point.

I think the constitution gets some of the high level general principles wrong, like equality.

I am unsure what your point is with this

"(You have to deal with reality when it comes to words. Around 600 years ago "cheap" meant monetary transaction or trade - today it means inexpensive. If you stick with the original definition you'll just confuse everyone.)"

Just because I admit what must be done in practice, does not mean I think it is what should be done. You seem to throw up these red herrings so you can argue with yourself often. Rather than respond with very general critiques "seem to be, some contradictions" (you should like a politician), could you state something clearly and explain your position?

I am not sure the constitution is a case study on how to prevent democratic mob rule. I didn't see the homosexual community in CA rejoicing at the banning of same sex marriage. But I guess that was not mob rule, since the constitution is so beautifully designed to prevent precisely mob rule.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 12:34 pm 
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The contradiction seemed to be your complaints about democracy and the Constitution side-by-side. The Constitution doesn't set up a democracy, it's a representative Republic.

The constitution of California actually is mob rule to an extent, as it bizarrely only takes a 50% vote to amend the California constitution. But they can't overrule the protections in the Constitution, so the people are still mostly safe.

What's the red herring? Words mean what they mean, whether it be "cheap" or "libertarian", you have to use them in the context of what they mean now.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 1:41 pm 
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A representative republic is a democracy...

and

my main point is that just because some common man thinks something, doesn't mean we should all follow suit. There is some "fact of the matter" like 2+2=4 that can not be changed by popular opinion.

If you will not adhere to a representative republic being a democracy, then I could just as well complain as I have thus far and replace democracy with representative republic where representatives are elected by a vote. The common people elect the players, so the the common people still mob rule the system. Common people elect people based on ridiculous ideas like "the representative shares my views on God so I will vote for him." That is a bad reason. Therefore, I see no reason to expect the representatives in office to be any smarter on average than the common man. Therefore, I have a problem.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 4:47 pm 
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Sure, there are axioms which cannot be reasonably redefined by popular opinion. But in the case of "libertarian" or any other commonly used word, it pretty much means what Webster's says it means, unless you're dealing with some unusual context.

Well certainly a representative Republic has elements of Democracy in it. I didn't in any way imply that the Constitution, as good as it is, somehow allows citizens to abdicate their democratic responsibilities. (Perhaps the most important responsibility of all being to know the Constitution itself.)

I think most people would agree that religious tenets aren't a good litmus test for politicians. The most dangerous reason though (because of how common it is) is voting for politicians based on the too-good-to-be-true goodies that they promise to hand out.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 5:19 pm 
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Ryan A wrote:
Well, I was joking however I am not really attached to the particular incarnation of the constitution. There are some things I think it gets wrong. There is also my discontent with the average man, who no matter how "good" of a system you have in place, seem to always complain.


Agreed. But you act as those "above average" never complain, which they almost certainly do just as much as the average. If you don't believe me, work at a place that caters to rich people.


Ryan A wrote:
This has lead me to think that no system will ever be good enough so the "upper tier" of humanity should just give up trying to help them and worry about pushing the upper end of the distribution as high as it can go.


Welcome to the middle ages. Glad we had that little thing called the Renaissance which fostered new ideas and people stopped thinking like you. Too bad we seem to be reverting back.

Ryan A wrote:
I don't really like democracy in the sense that I don't think half of the people who do vote are actually qualified to vote,


I actually agree with this here. People should have to pass some sort of basic test to prove they are at least somewhat knowledgable on the issues and who they are voting for.

Ryan A wrote:
and half is probably too generous. I also don't like the idea of majority rule, where (50+x)%, x arbitrarily small gets to tell (50-x)% what they can have access to.


Yea, and with your logic, what's good for the upper 5% is the only thing that matters.

Ryan A wrote:
I am not a strong believer in "you can learn lessons from the past". Although you can learn general trends, the truth is, there are too many variables to make any non-random relation between 10 years ago and now, so trying to say the founders genius is applicable today, just doesn't work for me.


You can learn more than just "trends" by picking up a history book, but that is aside the point. Yes there is no way the founders could concieve of some current dilemmas, but that doesn't mean that the basic underlying principles of the consitution don't have merit today. Remember that the people who wrote it had just dealt with an oppressive government that did cater to the rich and wealthy...you know, the ones who try to push the upper end's distribution as high as it could go. I guess that's why the bible is still relevant today...some moral lessons should never be forgotten

Ryan A wrote:
This especially apparent when dealing with new technologies, gene manipulation, the internet, etc. The generation gap in terms of "notions of reality" pre and post computer is phenomenal.


Agreed. Caution must be observed with mixing new technologies and morality.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 5:45 pm 
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Rucifer wrote:
I actually agree with this here. People should have to pass some sort of basic test to prove they are at least somewhat knowledgable on the issues and who they are voting for.

Careful - I agree with the frustration of bad voters, and a test might sound nice in theory but that's a scary precedent.

I'd much rather there were a public outcry against mindless ad campaigns to "rock the vote" and such garbage. To look at some of those, you might think that going to the poll and picking a name at random was better than staying at home.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 6:12 pm 
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frogbyte wrote:
Rucifer wrote:
I actually agree with this here. People should have to pass some sort of basic test to prove they are at least somewhat knowledgable on the issues and who they are voting for.

Careful - I agree with the frustration of bad voters, and a test might sound nice in theory but that's a scary precedent.

I'd much rather there were a public outcry against mindless ad campaigns to "rock the vote" and such garbage. To look at some of those, you might think that going to the poll and picking a name at random was better than staying at home.


I don't see how. I know it sounds extreme but you have to do the same thing to become a citizen of the country. People who are born here get a free ride to just be ignorant? I don't mean unintelligent, I just mean those oblivious to the issues or people that don't agree with my point of view. But like you said, those who pick people at random simply because P Diddy told them it was important to get out and vote. Quantity is not necessarily better than quality. I'll admit- most of the time, I have no business voting, simply because I am one of those people who doesn't take the time to learn about most politicans.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 11:40 pm 
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First of all, I never meant to imply that upper tier meant "rich". To me, upper tier always mean "smart". I am not saying what is good for the upper 5% of the rich is all that matters. I am saying what the top 5% of intelligent people decide is what everyone should follow. My view on this could change with time but I am just saying right now, in the US, given the education level and corruption of the system. I also think it is more important to push human achievement than keep the average from bottoming out.

Unless you can show me some scientific evidence that shows this would somehow be bad, I will likely be unconvinced.

I would be all for a litmus test.

I am now willing to face the fact that not everyone can handle the same information. I wish it were not the case as it has lead me to some striking contradictions to hat I thought several years ago.

Not to start a personal fight Rucifer, but save for you being a historian who spends his life working on this subject, it is likely I appreciate the Renaissance at least as much as you. I should also add, I do not find the concept of "morality" useful. As far as I am concerned there is only selfishness and what one man can extract from another. That is the basis for all things, even apparent altruism. The golden rule is a consequence of large communities and the importance of reputation and social exchange, nothing more.

There is nothing of merit in the bible beyond an interesting fairy tale that could not be extracted from modern theories of social dynamics. I hope your comment was in jest. The fact that some people were able to ascertain the broad ideas of social interaction long ago merely speaks to how important they are. This does not speak to, as you call it, the importance of the bible today.


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