Differences in political views.
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17-09-2013, 08:24 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
Note: I nor derrick jensen is talking about giving the current government more power, it is the complete opposite i.e. overthrowing the current government.

I have never seen any evidence to show that the government under capitalism and the capitalist class themselves are two distinct sections. They act as one and the same.
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17-09-2013, 08:43 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
Agreed that morality is subjective. Libertarians believe the use of violence is immoral, but others don't. I do not approve of any system where people exploit people and use force for profit.

But, let's say I have a bunch of orange trees, and you have a bunch of apple trees, and we're both sick of eating only one type of fruit, so we trade. Are we exploiting each other? Aren't we both entering the transaction because it makes both of us better off? And when another guy offers to fix your roof if you let him eat 3 apples/day for a year. Who is being exploited? Isn't that a win-win? If you start growing more and more apple trees than you can manage by yourself, and another guy is starving and says he'll help you tend to your apple trees if you give him something that he can trade with farmers to get food for his family (ie money), who is being exploited? You both benefit, you're both doing it because each of you feels you're better off. And as your apple orchard grows and you add more workers, are you exploiting them? Aren't the workers happy to have money to buy food?

To me, the idea of voluntary trade (ie running a business) is not the least immoral. Every party involved sees himself as a 'winner', and feels the transaction made him better off. If we had no business, no money (means of exchange), then every one of us would be hunter/gatherers spending all our time trying to get food to eat, and we would die whenever a drought came. Whereas if you have some medium of exchange to facilitate trade, then we can specialize and use our unique talents. The artist can do what he loves, paint, instead of look for food because he has a way of converting his painting into food.

So, when you ask if I "support" the current system, that depends on what you mean. I do not support that aspect of the system where force is used to pick winners and losers. But I do support that aspect of the system that is purely voluntary, where nobody feels exploited, and everybody is better off. I don't see why, if you scale the system up so that it includes large groups of people (ie corporations) it becomes immoral. If you are willing to give a day's worth of your labor to Apple to get an iPod, who is being exploited? You're giving it to Apple because you want the iPod more than your day's worth of labor, and if you didn't feel it made your life better, you wouldn't buy it. And Apple wants your day's worth of labor more than it wants the iPod it made. Who is exploited?

Pragmatically, which places in the world are people the best off? Where do they have the longest life expectancy? Where do they report being happiest? Where do you find that everybody has a home to live in and food to eat? Next, ask yourself "what type of system do those places have?" Can you think of one place on earth where people live long, healthy, happy lives that is NOT based on capitalism? Maybe some day there will be a better system, and for that reason, I do NOT want to use any kind of force to make people follow a capitalist system--I would love to see a better system have the chance to flourish and take over. But at this moment in time, of the systems that have been tried so far, which one do you think has worked best?
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18-09-2013, 06:06 AM
RE: Differences in political views.
(17-09-2013 08:43 PM)frankksj Wrote:  Agreed that morality is subjective. Libertarians believe the use of violence is immoral, but others don't. I do not approve of any system where people exploit people and use force for profit.

But, let's say I have a bunch of orange trees, and you have a bunch of apple trees, and we're both sick of eating only one type of fruit, so we trade. Are we exploiting each other? Aren't we both entering the transaction because it makes both of us better off? And when another guy offers to fix your roof if you let him eat 3 apples/day for a year. Who is being exploited? Isn't that a win-win? If you start growing more and more apple trees than you can manage by yourself, and another guy is starving and says he'll help you tend to your apple trees if you give him something that he can trade with farmers to get food for his family (ie money), who is being exploited? You both benefit, you're both doing it because each of you feels you're better off. And as your apple orchard grows and you add more workers, are you exploiting them? Aren't the workers happy to have money to buy food?

To me, the idea of voluntary trade (ie running a business) is not the least immoral. Every party involved sees himself as a 'winner', and feels the transaction made him better off. If we had no business, no money (means of exchange), then every one of us would be hunter/gatherers spending all our time trying to get food to eat, and we would die whenever a drought came. Whereas if you have some medium of exchange to facilitate trade, then we can specialize and use our unique talents. The artist can do what he loves, paint, instead of look for food because he has a way of converting his painting into food.

So, when you ask if I "support" the current system, that depends on what you mean. I do not support that aspect of the system where force is used to pick winners and losers. But I do support that aspect of the system that is purely voluntary, where nobody feels exploited, and everybody is better off. I don't see why, if you scale the system up so that it includes large groups of people (ie corporations) it becomes immoral. If you are willing to give a day's worth of your labor to Apple to get an iPod, who is being exploited? You're giving it to Apple because you want the iPod more than your day's worth of labor, and if you didn't feel it made your life better, you wouldn't buy it. And Apple wants your day's worth of labor more than it wants the iPod it made. Who is exploited?

Pragmatically, which places in the world are people the best off? Where do they have the longest life expectancy? Where do they report being happiest? Where do you find that everybody has a home to live in and food to eat? Next, ask yourself "what type of system do those places have?" Can you think of one place on earth where people live long, healthy, happy lives that is NOT based on capitalism? Maybe some day there will be a better system, and for that reason, I do NOT want to use any kind of force to make people follow a capitalist system--I would love to see a better system have the chance to flourish and take over. But at this moment in time, of the systems that have been tried so far, which one do you think has worked best?

The nations that have the better life styles are the ones who overthrow poorer countries to keep third world countries resources benefitting the already wealthy countries, corporations want that and so do their former capitalist class in temporary government jobs. Corporations push for war and they get war and they profit off of war.

Me and you differ on our views of capitalists and government. You view them strictly as what they are defined in a dictionary (as theoretically two separate entities). I view them according to their actions historically, and the fact is that the capitalist class has over and over and over again used the state as a tool to make laws in their favor, start wars in their favor, and all the perks that come with being the richest group.

Again I ask, when in the history of capitalism has government (tool of the capitalist class) and the capitalist class ever acted as two separate entities?
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18-09-2013, 09:43 AM
RE: Differences in political views.
Quote:Again I ask, when in the history of capitalism has government (tool of the capitalist class) and the capitalist class ever acted as two separate entities?

As I've mentioned, I think Switzerland is a great example. The country's history is different because in every other country, like say, France, or England, the various 'tribes' battled and killed each other trying to get control of the whole region, and whichever won, he used violence to force everyone to speak his language, practice his religion, etc., and power was transferred to a central authority (king, parliament, etc.) You'll see that France is 100% French-speaking, and historically 100% Catholic. England is 100% English-speaking, and historically 100% Protestant. And decisions are made centrally.

Switzerland started in the year 1291 as the first example I can find of a libertarian society. Rather than using force, the 30+ competing tribes agreed to simply form a non-aggression pact and let the others live side-by-side. This is why Switzerland has 4 different language groups with 4 distinct cultures and over 30 different dialects, each state (canton) has it's own religion, it's own culture, it's own architecture, and operates as a sovereign autonomous entity with it's own laws.

As I've said before, I think the way a country treats foreigners and indigenous people is simply a reflection on the way they think and organize themselves. Those countries that push for central government control, forcing everyone to conform, are also the countries the invade and attack neighbors. Switzerland, however, because they agreed to follow a non-aggression libertarian system over 700 years, has NEVER attacked anybody, they are NEVER at war. This doesn't mean they're totally passive so that they're easy prey for aggressors. The opposite, actually. They maintain a VERY strong military defense. Every structure (home, apartment, office, etc.) has a bomb shelter, all the roads and bridges have explosives so they can be destroyed if invaded, every year every town tests their 'bomb alert' system with drills that everybody flees to the shelters. Every home is given military weapons and training so that in the event of a threat, they can quickly mobilize. This is why, even during WWII, when Germany took over all the countries around them, and Switzerland should have been an easy target, and it was a key target because it blocked the only direct routes between Germany and Italy, but Germany gave up even trying to penetrate Switzerland, since the Swiss would have a third of the population on the front line with assault weapons and destroy all the passage ways and every household was armed to fight a guerrilla war shooting German soldiers as they passed.

But because as a culture they teach the libertarian principle that force should ONLY be used defensively to stop violence, and NEVER initiated, this attitude permeates everything they do: they not only don't attack other countries, they don't attack each other either, enjoying a very low homicide rate, even though every home is stocked with military assault weapons. They are the wealthiest nation in the world (ie average household wealth), but they got this way purely because of their libertarian policies. They have no natural resources (no “gifts from god” to give them a leg up), and they've never colonized or attacked or plundered from anybody. The corporations have much less influence simply because the central government lacks the power to give it to them. The federal income tax rate is generally 1 or 2%--nearly all taxation occurs purely at the local level. So, it's true that at the local level, the cantons do have the power to cut deals with corporations, but if this gives the corporations an undue power, the people are guaranteed the right to relocate to another canton, and this would strip the corporation of it's influence anyway. Power cannot extend beyond a small, local area. This helps keep corporatism in check. Has it eliminated it 100%? No. But the fact that they've eliminated poverty, they're the only country where the poorest make at least half what the rest does, everybody gets all the education they want at great universities, everybody gets a month's vacation and every Swiss travels abroad a lot, they all have access to good medical care, transportation, and infrastructure, and the government is transparent and rated as one of the least corrupt. The people rank among the 'happiest' in the world, the most satisfied with their government, and they don't fear the future like many do. So, while not 100% perfect, it's the best system I've seen because the people thrive and prosper and it's done without the state being a tool of war that profits by stealing from others.

So for all you guys who say “violence is inevitable” and all the liberals and conservatives who insist that no matter what the problem, the solution is violence, answer this: Why is it that the one country that existed in the 13th century and still exists today is also the one country that has never used of violence? If violence is inevitable, why haven't the Swiss ever had to use violence? And if violence is the solution, why is it that the place where the people are happiest and most prosperous is also the place where violence has never been used?

You guys always think that if you use violence to get whatever goal you're pursuing at the moment that it will be contained and only used to achieve your goals. But humans don't work like that. When you tell them that violence is the way to achieve what they want, they use it everywhere and you have wars and killings and other rampant violence.

Since I answer all your questions, please answer mine. I've told you the closest system I've seen to my ideal, what is the closest system you've seen to yours? Don't just complain, make suggestions to make it better. I've given my proposed solution to fix the problems we have, namely eliminate the use of violence. What solution do you propose that you think will work better?
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18-09-2013, 10:05 AM
RE: Differences in political views.
(17-09-2013 10:30 AM)frankksj Wrote:  Speaking as a libertarian (in the original sense of classic liberalism), there's only one difference: rejecting the use of violence (ie threats of physical force to coerce individuals into doing things against their will). Libertarianism, imo, is NOT a position on the political spectrum. The left say libertarians are right, and the right say libertarians are left. But if you go to a libertarian meetup, you'll meet people who are left and want a strong safety net and a system that focuses on equality, even socialists, like Noam Chomsky, identify as "libertarian". And you'll see the far right, like Ron Paul, religious Christian conservative. The only thing they have in common is belief in the non-aggression principle, namely they try to achieve their goals through voluntary means, rather than with physical force. I've never met a "classic" libertarian who started out that way. You always start out believing force is the way to achieve your goals. But, over time you realize it's possible that you're wrong, and so you shouldn't force other people to do it your way.

Liberalism =/= libertarianism. I don't even know if I accept "classic-liberalism" as a term, there is just liberalism in various form, that cannot be compared accurately over time; specifically pre versus post industrialization.

There might be some things that were said by people like Hobbes, Locke, Bentham, Voltaire, Paine, Von Humboldt, etc., or others from that earlier time period, that might come close to libertarianism in idea, but that is only because things in forms of liberalism, as an ideology, or Enlightenment ideas, can be said to be consistent with libertarianism; however, Marxists can do the same thing, or any other sort of ideology, while at the same time, you can have people who follow one set of ideas, while holding the complete opposite toward another aspect (e.g. Lenin).

And rejecting violence, definitely has absolutely nothing (directly) to do with libertarianism. Pacifism has to do with the rejection of violence. A libertarian can either reject or accept violence. Same as the non-aggression principle, which is simply adopted by some people to arbitrarily justify ideas that they have previously constructed.

And as far as people not originally accepting non-violent means, speak for yourself. Some people do the complete opposite, i.e., accept non-violent means, then realize that probably isn't going to work. Plus, that is just a contradictory stance to take. A lot of people only accept violence in certain circumstances, which is usually when it benefits their self-interest-- people accepting the non-aggression principle, for example, don't reject violence when it is in what they arbitrarily label as "defense".


Quote:I'm from the left. So to me, it was realizing I was being ignorant and hypocritical to think that if someone else (ie the police) were initiating force at my direction, this wasn't violence. I accepted that violence is in the eye of the victim--whenever an individual is threatened with violence it is violence whether I'm holding the gun or if I voted someone else to do it on my behalf. I never gave up my goals or worldview, which is still 'left', and I tend to agree with fellow leftists on most issues and the only time we reach a disagreement is when they want to use violence to accomplish those goals. If I had to choose between voting for a President who thought exactly like me in every possible way and was going to pass laws requiring everyone to do all the things I think they should be doing, _OR_ a President, like Ron Paul, who is the exact opposite of me in every possible way BUT he has committed to not force his views on everyone, I would vote for the latter every time. Whenever I get into disagreements with the left, they always think I must be right because it's just assumed that if I want the same things they do I'll use force to get them. If I don't want to use force to get them, then I must not want them.

That is a contradictory view, if you are someone who accepts violence, at all. Regardless, you would be confusing, whatever you are attempting to say is libertarianism, with non-violent pacifism.

Also, people are mostly, only responsible and in control of their own actions. For example, people who make laws don't force the people who enforce the laws, to actually enforce the laws or dictate the means by which they should do so. How people make laws toward their goal and how those laws are enforced are all variables.

And then there is the factor of people who can do the right thing or not. You arbitrarily hold an idea in relation to force, and guess what?, as do others. Some hold that if people, in control of their actions, make a conscious decision to break the law, something they view as an immoral act of aggression, aggression and/or violence is justified in response. That would be as some accept that if someone else is holding a gun to your head and threatening you, there is a right to self-defense.

Quote:I've also met the right-libertarians who still believe in god and their religious rules, BUT, they've come to accept that other people have their own beliefs which must be tolerated. I have nothing in common with them, but since we both agree not to force the other into doing it our way, we get along fine and peacefully co-exist. The non-libertarian right, however, like Santorum, Bachman, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reily, etc., make my blood boil because I disagree with them on everything, and those club-wielding neanderthals will, when they get the chance, use force to make me live my life they want me to. It's that intense disgust over their use of force that made me realize it would hypocritical for me to similarly use force to get my way.

Glenn Beck, definitely, out of those people, identifies/has identified as a libertarian.

Is your basis for considering him a non-libertarian, just because his arbitrary cutoff point is different from yours?

Your views are just idiotic, more than rejecting force.

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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18-09-2013, 10:49 AM
RE: Differences in political views.
Trulyx,

Quote:people accepting the non-aggression principle, for example, don't reject violence when it is in what they arbitrarily label as "defense".

You seem to like pretending that the definitions are vague and ambiguous. They're not. They're black and white. Physical force has a very clear definition. Physical refers to matter. Violence is defined as initiating physical force (ie matter on matter).

Defense is also clear and unambiguous. If physical force is initiated upon you (ie a mugger or rapist) and you use force to repel it, that is defense. If you initiate physical force on someone who is not initiating physical force on you (ie you are the rapist), that is NOT defense. Period. Black & white.

The only aspect that is subjective is if the right to self-defense includes purely your body or if it also includes other tangible property that you have voluntarily and legally obtained (a house, a car, etc.). I've said all along that some libertarians believe defending private property is still self-defense, and others, like Noam Chomsky, do not. I've said there's no clear-cut way to say one is right and one is wrong, and that both have good points and should be allowed to co-exist peacefully side-by-side; one city may operate on the principle that all property is commonly owned (ie communism) and not grant perpetual titles to property, while the next believes in private property. Let the evolutionary process run its course, let people vote with their feet and decide which system is best.

I think the only reason you insist this is so vague is because you want it both ways. You like private property rights when it comes to stuff you have, but don't like private property rights when it comes to stuff other people have that you want to take. But if you pick one side or the other and either say self-defense is just for your body, or also extends to your property, then there is nothing vague. I won't claim that one side is right or wrong. Just pick a side.

Be specific. I've stated my policy recommendations on all sorts of issues in these forums. I challenge you to find even ONE instance where the ONLY difference between my policy and others was something other than my rejection of violence.

Quote: A lot of people only accept violence in certain circumstances, which is usually when it benefits their self-interest

I agree 100% that this is hypocritical. This is why I can't stand guys like Glenn Beck and others who call themselves libertarian, but accept violence when it benefits them. Can you find one instance in all my posts where I ever accepted violence (ie the initiation of physical force to coerce someone into doing something against his will)?

Quote:because his arbitrary cutoff point [for initiating physical force] is different from yours

I don't have an arbitrary cutoff point. Again, where have I EVER advocated the use of physical force, except with the very clear definition of 'defense'?

Quote:you would be confusing, whatever you are attempting to say is libertarianism, with non-violent pacifism.

I said from the beginning that all the labels, liberal, libertarian, conservative, etc., are confusing because everybody uses them differently. Thus I gave my definition: When I say libertarian I mean one thing only, namely rejecting the initiation of physical force to coerce people into doing things against their will. If you think my limited definition is wrong and 'non-violent pacifism' is a better term to use, then fine. However, if you look up 'libertarianism' in the dictionary or on wikipedia, you'll see that historically the core principle has always been adherence to the non-aggression principle, the rejection of violence, and belief in free-will, the ability to make decisions without physical force being used to coerce you. So, while lots of people use the term differently today, I do have justification for using it the way I do. Regardless, when I use the term, you know exactly what I mean, so I don't see why we should play word games.

Quote:Your views are just idiotic, more than rejecting force.

When I talk to those who today call themselves liberals, I always preface it by saying “I'll probably agree with all your goals, and the only time I'll disagree on your policy choices is you're using violence to achieve them.” And they always say “But I'm not using violence”. And then I always ask “So what happens to the person who resists your rule?” And after lots of side stepping, it always comes down to “You have to obey the rule because you'll get arrested or shot if you don't”. And then when I say, “Isn't that violence?”, they always pretend that 'violence' is hard to define and vague. And when I bring out the dictionary and point out that it's clear and black & white, then they revert to name calling, like “You're an idiot”.

If you could just get over the fact that you're advocating the use of violence, then we could have a productive debate. You could say “Violence is necessary BECAUSE ...”, and then we can debate the merits of a violent solution vs. a non-violent solution. But when you keep pretending that the definitions are vague because you don't want to admit that the only difference between us is that you're advocating the use of violence, then we just go round and round debating semantics.
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18-09-2013, 11:59 AM
RE: Differences in political views.
Nevermind me, just my 5 cents from a peanut gallery. I've got to post this thing some time. I superstitiously believe that my philosophic muse will not come if I don't publish what she tells me.

(17-09-2013 07:45 AM)TrulyX Wrote:  One thing I don't know, is whether the denial of moral standards, really in line with common-sense morality, is something that is natural, or is something from growing up in a particular culture with a certain type of indoctrination.
Sociologists say it is a new thing, a product of modern or post-modern culture. We always cling to old notions of what morality is - and so we have to break them and be for a time in this crazy state that seems as if there was no morality. In this state, words like "objective morality" reek to us of religious fundamentalism or dogmatism, yet "there is no morality" sounds good to pseudo-intellectuals of today.

Both are transitory. There is no perfection, the morality itself is a steadfast progress towards definite improvement. Not repeating past errors and not repeating them in a new guise. We must trust in the reason, have the brainpower to see through old bullshit in new propaganda and then we can see the basic elements of morality that stay the same in any successful social arrangement. So we can look primarily for these and not for any fixed notions of morality. Then we can at the very least choose among the fixed notions as for which expresses the best these elements of true morality.

Sorry for these platitudes, but there are so many guys here who say they trust in the reason, but don't trust it enough to find objective elements of morality.

(17-09-2013 05:33 PM)frankksj Wrote:  
Quote:Do you know who Derrick Jensen is?
No, although reading his wikipedia page, I don't like his position that he “sees civilization to be inherently unsustainable and based on violence.” To me that's just giving up. I think there are civilizations, like the Swiss, that have done a pretty decent job of keeping violence to a minimum and living in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Having lived there for 10 years, they recycle everything, have no landfills, you can drink the water from all the major rivers flowing their big cities, pollution is kept to a sustainable level. And if you ask “why”, you can see policies that encourage this. For example, you pay for trash service by buying a 5 franc sticker that goes on an approx 10 liter trash bag (ie pay for volume) with fines for not recycling. This discourages waste. As opposed to other countries where it's a flat fee and you can throw away as much as you want.
Derrick Jensen? An impressive man. He is right in his premises though not in conclusions. What we call civilization is inherently based on violence. It is based on a single party seizing the monopoly on violence and exercising it exclusively on a territory. Yes, it's violent and unsustainable, even though Egyptian empire lasted for 3,000 years.

However, Jensen seems another of those half-baked intellectuals, intelligent enough to say A, but not enough to get to C. Resorting to any ism, be it primitivism or indigenism is a failure of thought. If Jensen had read about the native South Americans of the Yanomamo tribes, he'd change his romantic notions. These people live in the same stone age way for thousands of years, without hunger. Yet they fight each other, have constant wars and take a lot of drugs... Their life is much more violent than ours. Our government seized the violence and took it overseas, theirs did not.
We have no choice. Once we took the poison of technology, we can not go back, we must take it as much as possible and go all the way to a sustainable technologic civilization. We must replace even the capitalism itself with technology. Jensen is inherently right that we will revert to a much simplier social arrangement. But this time it will be a conscious choice, less hassle and bullshit of today's capitalist family life. We will become a tribe, but it will be the online tribe of Earth.
For reasons I can't yet properly formulate unless asked, science is capable of neutralizing the element of violence (state power) altogether and create a true civilized civilization.
What we have today is not civilization, it's cannibals in Cadillacs Wink

(17-09-2013 07:45 AM)TrulyX Wrote:  Property taxes are unavoidable. If the oligarchs don't like them, then they can just move, at which point their property will sharply drop in value and thus get distributed further down the economic ladder anyway. In addition to property taxes, use shame vs. pride and social responsibility. The press should shame those who live extravagantly and don't donate generously to the poor, and praise those who do. Town leaders should convince the wealthy in their town that, when they're dead and gone, they won't be able to spend any of their money, but their name and their reputation will endure on forever. Do you want to die leaving more money to your spoiled kid than he can spend, and have him live his life always fearful and trying to guard it? Or build a hospital and university in your name, something will give you a great legacy for centuries to come (like Harvard, Stanford, Brown, etc.)? Nearly all the great institutions in the US, like all the top universities, started as charitable gifts from wealthy people wanting to leave a legacy. As I recall, when you rank the US universities by quality of education, the top 46 were all privately funded by charity. The left balks at the idea of charity. But what is charity? Is it not a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the less privileged? Is it not giving them education, and health care? Isn't redistribution through taxation of income doing the exact same thing, only with a threat of violence? Can't you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so that rewarding good behavior is better than holding a gun to someone's head and threatening to pull the trigger for behaving badly? When violence is used against the oligarchs, they feel justified in returning the violence back again as a form of self-defense, and will fight back with all their might, and transfer their wealth out of the country. If they feel rewarded for doing good things, there is much less resistance, and I think history shows it works much better.
Well said! I think you're right.

Communication is essentially an attempt to change someone's behavior. And violence is the oldest form of communication, the primal language. We talk in violence to those who have no other voice on behalf of those who have none. Of course you see that behavior can be altered subtly and effectively in many other ways than violence. Resorting to violence in today's times is a sure sign of failure to resolve differences. There were times of an early hominid, where organized violence was a sign of organization and therefore of civilization. These times are long gone.

You are also right in describing the mechanisms of taxing and money. Everything viable, living, organic, needs to have a circuit, the money must circulate in an economy to concentrate wealth, without bleeding out or being stolen. Everything must be responsive in a right way, good deeds need reinforcing response and vice versa. This creates feedback loops, positive or negative. Good setting of feedback loops produces stability. Circulation produces distribution, thus equality. Get both of these in a single system and you have a homeostasis, one of basic necessities of an organism. Then it's pretty much about the means, like money or laws. These create a heap of problems all on their own, but you know these. You know how local currencies work, local (horizontal) law enforcement, social reputation -shame and esteem, you know that. I don't like Libertarians who rely on these heavily, but they want ME to have all written down and enforced explicitly as a law. I believe in education, and educated public well taken care of materially to have a sense of right behavior.

Daaaaamn! I should study this theory of systems. I already use it Big Grin (actually, I kind of draw upon my automation high school curriculum)
Anyway, do you think that understanding this theoretical stuff could help pimp up your ride? I mean, improve your understanding? Right now I believe that we can quickly spot social problems, if we look for these "disturbances in the Force" as a Jedi would say. Disturbances in equality of laws, circulation of money and distribution of wealth, things like that.

Suddenly, this life, universe and everything is not such a great mystery after all, is it? Wink The problems of the world lie in selfish people doing wrong things on purpose, to get advantage for themselves and not for a greater order that includes them. Be it a family, a local community, or one's nation and its economy. And of course, good people not seeing what else is good or bad, trusting nothing but what they know. And intelligent people not using their reason properly or not trusting in it enough. And people who know, but don't act. And clowns. Don't forget clowns and mimes. Evil_monster
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18-09-2013, 12:50 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
@Luminon, I like reading your posts. They're so philosophical. But, again, bringing it down to earth, to the the practical, real-world and 'what can be done today with the tools we have to make the world a better place'. I think it's great that the free-spirited philosophers are planning the next great experiment in civilization. But until then, surely you agree there are concrete steps we can take to make things better?

I've previously referred to those measurable tests of how much force a country exerts on it's people on economic and social measures. Switzerland and Hong Kong are always at the top. North Korea, Zimbabwe, are generally at the bottom. If you then plot measures of who is living long, healthy, prosperous lives, it's always a curve where those countries that exert the least amount of coercion on their people do better. When I debate liberals and we ask “well our country is somewhere in between those 2 extremes, what should policy changes should we implement?” I always say “We should move in the direction to be more like the Swiss”, and they're response is often “Well Switzerland isn't perfect, it's not 100% free of coercion, and there are probably better ways. So I think we should head in the opposite direction, towards North Korea where the government exerts more coercion.” Which is to say that you're at a fork in the road. One path leads you to a place where people live long, healthy, prosperous lives. The other to a place where people die young, miserable and destitute. Why would a rational person say “Well because the first path isn't 100% perfect and could be improved upon, I'm going to choose the 2nd path. And I'm going to use force to make you join me on my journey down that 2nd path.”

Then they'll counter "Well what about Sweden and Denmark". But then we go round and round because they assume Sweden and Denmark exert more coercion on their people, but if you look at the facts, they exert LESS. Sure, they have high taxes. But having a tax rate of 40% vs. 30% isn't any more violent or coercive. What matters is if violence is used to enforce it. And both Denmark and Sweden make the payment voluntary; if you don't like it, they have treaties with the other countries in EU that their citizens can move to any of them, including tax-free havens, with no strings attached, no further obligations, without giving up their citizenship. They make it easy. And they have relatively light regulation. And they're generally peaceful and don't fight wars. I would be HAPPY if the US took a step towards being more like Sweden and Denmark. But "liberals" just want their high taxes but don't want their reduction in violence.

So I'll ask another question. What if every country in the world was more like Switzerland. They all just left their people alone and didn't try to force anybody to do anything against their will, and they never had any wars, and they never went outside their borders or tried to coerce other countries, they never killed anybody, they never colonized any land, and they had a system that successfully eliminated poverty and ensured everybody had a home, food and medical care. Wouldn't the world be a better place? Do you think people would be complaining about how rotten the system is if everybody lived like that? So WHY resist living like that now? What's the harm in following that 'live long, healthy, prosperous' path today, while never stopping to find ways to make it even better and find the next evolution?

From a practical standpoint, as an American, the Swiss model is very easy to implement because it IS a copy of the US model. Their constitution was copied from the US's; they just followed it while the US abandoned it. There needs to be only change in the US to fix this; the Supreme Court needs to do it's job as defined in the constitution, the one it sworn to uphold, and strike down any and all laws that stray outside the very limited enumerated responsibilities in the constitution, all of which are to defend liberty, so that the Federal government plays a purely defensive role, and any 'coercion' occurs at the local level where there's automatic checks and balances (ie people can move if it's too much). Easy shmeazy. The only thing holding us back is the club-wielders who insist on using their violence at the national level because they want to be sure that everyone is subjected to it and has no way to escape by moving to another state.
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18-09-2013, 04:06 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
Corporations use force by using the government and government has the means to use to force by using/buying corporate weapons. Military industrial complex. Corporations install and promote the kind of government that best suits them, at home and abroad. The notion that government in a capitalist system is anything more than a tool to implement corporate control is not based on history.
Capitalism from its beginning to today is based on force. People have classes they are born in and chances are extremely extremely low that one will move to a different class.

The very beginning capitalism Adam smith in his book gives examples if early capitalism being about using government to get people off their land in the UK, thus creating a working class that is landless and is forced by circumstance to work for someone else.
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18-09-2013, 05:00 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
(18-09-2013 10:49 AM)frankksj Wrote:  You seem to like pretending that the definitions are vague and ambiguous. They're not. They're black and white. Physical force has a very clear definition. Physical refers to matter. Violence is defined as initiating physical force (ie matter on matter).

Defense is also clear and unambiguous. If physical force is initiated upon you (ie a mugger or rapist) and you use force to repel it, that is defense. If you initiate physical force on someone who is not initiating physical force on you (ie you are the rapist), that is NOT defense. Period. Black & white.

The only aspect that is subjective is if the right to self-defense includes purely your body or if it also includes other tangible property that you have voluntarily and legally obtained (a house, a car, etc.). I've said all along that some libertarians believe defending private property is still self-defense, and others, like Noam Chomsky, do not. I've said there's no clear-cut way to say one is right and one is wrong, and that both have good points and should be allowed to co-exist peacefully side-by-side; one city may operate on the principle that all property is commonly owned (ie communism) and not grant perpetual titles to property, while the next believes in private property. Let the evolutionary process run its course, let people vote with their feet and decide which system is best.

I said arbitrary, you are bring in words like "vague" and "ambiguous", along with the idea that I was addressing definitions.

However, any person can equivocate terms or apply standards differently, and especially if they use terms like aggression, which is completely different than violence or force. I was addressing violence, force, etc., as arbitrary cutoff points. Aggression is a term that is broad (violence and force to a lesser extent), it doesn't have to be ambiguous, i.e., there can be different things fitting within the definition. Like, for example, abuse, could include emotional and/or physical abuse, allowing for arbitrary cutoff points. Aggression could include direct or indirect action or threats of action, or potential or perceived threats, depending on agenda.

I don't even understand the response, especially given that you pointed out other arbitrary cutoff points, as part of your post. See: "if the right to self-defense includes purely your body or if it also includes other tangible property". That would be two arbitrary cutoff points.

Also, this: "If physical force is initiated upon you (ie a mugger or rapist) and you use force to repel it, that is defense." is the return of force. "Defense" is basically a euphemistic way to putting it. Like the US, calling the infrastructure/institution allowing them to carry out acts of aggression and terrorism against the world a Department of Defense or national defense/security. That would be an example of people using defense arbitrarily for acts of aggression. The defense you would be describing is defending your life from being taken or an action from being committed, but that is assuming that it will go through if you do nothing. That would be contradictory, also, to nonviolence or complete pacifism, where people could reject taking certain actions even when immoral actions are used toward them.

Also, you can defend other people and their rights-- "If you initiate physical force on someone who is not initiating physical force on you (ie you are the rapist), that is NOT defense". Things like a justice system, police, etc. They think they have just as good of a claim to use defense to describe their actions, so take that up with them.

Quote:I think the only reason you insist this is so vague is because you want it both ways. You like private property rights when it comes to stuff you have, but don't like private property rights when it comes to stuff other people have that you want to take. But if you pick one side or the other and either say self-defense is just for your body, or also extends to your property, then there is nothing vague. I won't claim that one side is right or wrong. Just pick a side.

Exactly, "if" you pick a side, which means that it is arbitrary.

I'd say you don't have a right to either (self-defense or ownership of self or property), because the idea of natural rights is nonsensical bullshit.

If a system of law and justice is set up, then that is ultimately what decides rights, but fundamentally, it is just a matter of ability and desire. I'd rather people make rational decisions, however, as opposed to arbitrarily setting up markers that automatically justify certain things, without reason or basis.

Quote:Be specific. I've stated my policy recommendations on all sorts of issues in these forums. I challenge you to find even ONE instance where the ONLY difference between my policy and others was something other than my rejection of violence.

You don't reject violence, do you?

If you accept what you are considering defense, which you seem to be, and especially if you accept systems with justice/police systems/states/etc., that is definitely not rejecting violence.

You've said Switzerland. They have a system of justice, prisons, laws, crimes, etc., in Switzerland right?

Quote:I agree 100% that this is hypocritical. This is why I can't stand guys like Glenn Beck and others who call themselves libertarian, but accept violence when it benefits them. Can you find one instance in all my posts where I ever accepted violence (ie the initiation of physical force to coerce someone into doing something against his will)?

See above.

I have yet to see you describe absolute nonviolence.

Someone else using violence first, would not make your return of force, nonviolent. My teachers told me that in preschool-- they said, "Two wrongs do not make a right."

Quote:I don't have an arbitrary cutoff point. Again, where have I EVER advocated the use of physical force, except with the very clear definition of 'defense'?

Thanks for making that clear.

Different people can say different things constitute actions that violate the rights of people and justify defense.

You need a justification, other than just saying, "Here is my version of defense and justice, and it is correct because I say so."

Quote:I said from the beginning that all the labels, liberal, libertarian, conservative, etc., are confusing because everybody uses them differently. Thus I gave my definition: When I say libertarian I mean one thing only, namely rejecting the initiation of physical force to coerce people into doing things against their will. If you think my limited definition is wrong and 'non-violent pacifism' is a better term to use, then fine. However, if you look up 'libertarianism' in the dictionary or on wikipedia, you'll see that historically the core principle has always been adherence to the non-aggression principle, the rejection of violence, and belief in free-will, the ability to make decisions without physical force being used to coerce you. So, while lots of people use the term differently today, I do have justification for using it the way I do. Regardless, when I use the term, you know exactly what I mean, so I don't see why we should play word games.

Well then, let's forget about "Period. Black & white."

Libertarianism (Latin: liber, "free")[1] is a set of related political philosophies that uphold liberty as the highest political end.

Liberty to you might be all included and described perfectly by being defined as a non-aggression principle, which I pointed out is pretty arbitrary, but others might not have that same view. It is a big box. Allow others to jump in the box, if they want to be there.

It includes more than just your ideas of liberty and approach to gaining liberty, and historically, different people have taken different views, as you seemed to have pointed out earlier.

Quote:When I talk to those who today call themselves liberals, I always preface it by saying “I'll probably agree with all your goals, and the only time I'll disagree on your policy choices is you're using violence to achieve them.” And they always say “But I'm not using violence”. And then I always ask “So what happens to the person who resists your rule?” And after lots of side stepping, it always comes down to “You have to obey the rule because you'll get arrested or shot if you don't”. And then when I say, “Isn't that violence?”, they always pretend that 'violence' is hard to define and vague. And when I bring out the dictionary and point out that it's clear and black & white, then they revert to name calling, like “You're an idiot”.

If you could just get over the fact that you're advocating the use of violence, then we could have a productive debate. You could say “Violence is necessary BECAUSE ...”, and then we can debate the merits of a violent solution vs. a non-violent solution. But when you keep pretending that the definitions are vague because you don't want to admit that the only difference between us is that you're advocating the use of violence, then we just go round and round debating semantics.

One of the things that I am saying is that you should not attach a random rule to your views of liberty and justice, unless that rule has a rational basis. To me, the nonaggression principle is purposefully unsophisticated and arbitrary.

I'd consider myself pretty non-violent. I wouldn't advocate a violent overthrow of the American goverment, for example; but I definitely would not support, while seeing myself as a good person, regions of the world invaded by extremists, bombed, ripped apart socially and economically, subject to Islamic fascism, etc.; nor would I have accepted the same with regard to the "'rights' of men" in the past or women, or gays, or atheists, or any other groups/individuals.

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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