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August 28th, 2009, 07:23
something deep within these shallow graphic presentation.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkSHg…eature=related

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August 28th, 2009, 09:02
Collectivism/individualism and people/government are both illusions. They are rooted in a worldview as black/white as good/evil, or proletariat/bourgeoisie.

Individual rights requires your neighbor to share them to work = collectivism.

The video also creates a false difference between people and government. The video displays government as a military force or ultimate authority, which was the case at the time US was founded, but it fail to pay any attention to the evolution that happened since. It ignores the concept of democracy, it ignores the purpose of parlamentarism etc.

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August 28th, 2009, 22:26
I agree JemyM.

This is something which has annoyed me a great deal the last couple of years. We seem to have a tendency in the modern world to look for opposites, though I have yet to learn of even one true opposite. It's the same stupidity when people say shit like "if you are not with us you are against us", as if there are only two ways of seeing things.
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August 29th, 2009, 18:16
There is false dichotomy, but then a woman is either pregnant or she is not…

How is this, "Individual rights requires your neighbor to share them to work = collectivism" makes any sense is beyond me. Seems like you don't have much idea about most the big terms you throw around… may help you clarify a bit if you watch the entire series.

There is no "us" in this.

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August 29th, 2009, 19:30
Originally Posted by mudsling3 View Post
There is false dichotomy, but then a woman is either pregnant or she is not…

How is this, "Individual rights requires your neighbor to share them to work = collectivism" makes any sense is beyond me. Seems like you don't have much idea about most the big terms you throw around… may help you clarify a bit if you watch the entire series.

There is no "us" in this.
You haven't spent much time thinking this through. The fact that you say I should see a bunch if movies proves my point. You cant build a society on theory, it needs agreement to work, and you need a way to build that agreement. If everyone is to agree with those movies you have already built a collective, and to keep it you also need a strategy to make people continue to see them and a reason to agree with them. If you can't, a more attractive system will squish your system like a bug beneath a giants foot.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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August 30th, 2009, 18:25
You are putting the carriage in front of the horse. It's idea/mind that drive humanity forword…not some arbitrary consensus at one time or another. You equate collective effort/cooperation/voluntary contract with collectivism that are complete polar opposites…the kind of mashmallow logic/newspeak that is prevalent.

If your theory of consentsus has any merit, American revolution would have never started and we would still have a clown and sing god bless the queer. I would focus on the concrete ideas presented in these utubes rather than speculating some imaginary "attractive system" would enable someone eat his cake and have it too.

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August 30th, 2009, 18:38
I don't even know what you're talking about.
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August 30th, 2009, 18:39
I can help with that, Rith. He's speculating on some imaginary "attractive system" that would enable someone to eat his cake and have it too.
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August 30th, 2009, 18:56
Ah. I think I get it now.
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August 30th, 2009, 18:59
Also that youtube is not a 'collective' where people gravitate to the ideas that they prefer and support each other, but a propounder of absolute truths.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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August 30th, 2009, 21:57
Originally Posted by mudsling3 View Post
It's idea/mind that drive humanity forword…not some arbitrary consensus at one time or another.
Intellect and cooperation are the two advantages that made mankind fit for survival and the latter is more dominant than the former. With dysfunctional or no education, humans are destined to form tribes, religions, gangs, families, looking for resources or land, protecting themselves against everything strange.
With a decent education however, one might be able to fully grasp the need for human rights, but only when they reached the age of adult. That is, as long as they can secure their basic needs, if they can't their primal programming will take over and you are back to tribes again.

This is a moment 22 situation. You can only keep individuals from forming tribes, as long as their needs are fulfilled. The only way for their needs to be fulfilled is to form a system that protects the needs, and teach about the rights and make sure that everyone agree that this is the best for all, and there you have the collective again.

Originally Posted by mudsling3 View Post
You equate collective effort/cooperation/voluntary contract with collectivism that are complete polar opposites…the kind of mashmallow logic/newspeak that is prevalent.
You are actually saying the same twice.

Originally Posted by mudsling3 View Post
If your theory of consensus has any merit, American revolution would have never started and we would still have a clown and sing god bless the queer. I would focus on the concrete ideas presented in these utubes rather than speculating some imaginary "attractive system" would enable someone eat his cake and have it too.
The American revolution is important in history, but so much have happened since that it's just a footstep on a ladder rather than the foundation for the current zeitgeist.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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September 1st, 2009, 03:33
The difference between effort of a collection of individuals and collectivists' effort is like donating to your charity and paying IRS tax. For those who can't tell the difference, dig a little deeper…as for those intentionally blur the line, shame on you

Just look at the difference between Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, you would know there is no linear progress in history…there is a lot more regression.

"A strong president, means having the strength to resist the temptation of taking all that power isn't yours" - Ron Paul

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September 1st, 2009, 06:24
Originally Posted by mudsling3 View Post
The difference between effort of a collection of individuals and collectivists' effort is like donating to your charity and paying IRS tax. For those who can't tell the difference, dig a little deeper…as for those intentionally blur the line, shame on you
I have noted that people who stopped to study political philosophy in school, got enough time to grasp the socialism vs liberalism debate, but not what happened since, which is why they often engage in a 100-200 year old debate rather than debating today's landscape. It's not that I blur the line, but I root my thoughts in what we know about human nature through modern social psychology and anthropology, not 2-300 year old theory rooted in a vastly different landscape and experience.

The great difference is that the former is more likely to collapse in a revolution since individuality is not a natural human instinct, but a taught one. The natural human instinct is to find a tribe and defeat other tribes. Have a look at European history and you can see this trend happening over and over again throughout the recent 300 years, most of them after the US constitution was written.

The only way you can keep that from happening is to make sure that they are too preoccupied or satisfied with what they got to have the will to do so. If people are unhappy, for whatever reason, they will begin to organize themselves in tribes. If a large amount is unhappy they will eventually gather enough power to take over. The only way to stop that from happening is to make sure people have no need to do so.

North or southwest Europe have an authority that is put there by the people and are afraid of the people, that's how people gets their rights today. Military force might be the American source of rights, the people is now the European one. There's also much less difference between European socialism and European liberalism than what it used to be since the European political landscape have evolved into a balance between individual freedom and keeping people happy enough to not overthrow their government. This balance have kept itself reasonably stable in 2 generations now. Each extreme fails because it fail to pay attention to how humanity works as a whole. Communism fail to cover the need of self fulfillment, libertarianism fail to cover the need of security.

Furthermore, the taxes/charity you speak about. Some of it go to support public schoolsystems that among other things, teach people to see the value of freedom and personal rights, as well as solving issues through democratic vote rather than hostile force. This is an organized way to redesign the natural strive for tribalism in each born individual. Indoctrination if you will. Have you ever given some thought on how you want to fund a system that convince every newborn to not want to form a tribe and overthrow the government?

Originally Posted by mudsling3 View Post
Just look at the difference between Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, you would know there is no linear progress in history…there is a lot more regression.
In US maybe. In the rest of the world, certainly not. US was radical when it was founded, but eventually even the most modern craftmanship will show it's age.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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September 2nd, 2009, 13:36
I don't really know where to post this question, so I'm going to post it here. I'd prefer to limit this to the atheists/agnostics/non-theists here (as I already know the answer the religious amongst us would give). I've been torn recently, as an atheist when it comes to the subject of morality. I've always had a strong conviction that objective morality does in fact exist, and that morality is not subjective. I've always tied it to human reasoning (or self awareness/reason in general if you prefer) but with the understanding that since human reason is not perfect, we are unable to discover what truly is objective morality and to agree upon it.

I'd also say that if we had perfect understanding you would be able to define what is the right (or least bad, if all options are bad) choice in any given situation. It wouldn't say "Lying is always wrong", but that "lying to your mother that you stole twenty dollars out of her purse to go buy booze to get trashed thursday night for your own amusement instead of studying for a test" would always be wrong. I've recently found myself questioning this belief though, and I'm wondering if it's all that rational for me to feel this way, or if I just believe this because I feel it would be preferable if this is true.

What do the rest of you non-theists think? And if the religious want to respond too, feel free, just remember I won't accept a god-based answer for anything. Do you think this position is rational, and so forth? What are your positions on objective vs. subjective morality?
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September 2nd, 2009, 13:51
Morality is completely 100% subjective until you codify it, sorta like you're saying in your second paragraph. No moral absolutes. There's always a "yeah, but" when you try for moral absolutes, even basics like not killing people.

There are a few difficulties with that approach, though. Namely, people will always come up with imaginative new ways to screw up. To account for that, you either have to make your code somewhat general, or accept a certain level of chaos. I suppose you could also dedicate a couple thousand monkeys to spitting out new laws every 20 seconds, but I'm going to stick with my nice binary "summary" choice since that's both impractical and fundamentally reactive. If you generalize the code, it gets draconian in a real hurry because you can't account for any and all extenuating circumstances. If you leave your code a little vague to allow some flexibility, you end up with bad people "getting off on technicalities". There's really no "sweet spot" balance to be had there unless you're running the dictatorship, which allows you to set the balance perfectly for you (but imperfectly for everyone else on the planet). Not to mention that you'll have to negotiate the moral code unless you've got the jackboots on.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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September 2nd, 2009, 14:00
My theory is that morality is a natural progression from reacting to biological desires, or needs. Humans, who share similar needs, develop socialised rules/behavior to cover and protect those needs. There are those who aren't born with mainstream needs, but may still have the need for others, and might adapt/protect the established rules in return.

If the theory I described above is true, mainstream biology is the source of objective morality, but established first during socialization. It will there naturally develop in a certain direction each time a large population of human beings have the chance to establish their own rules.

Needs vary from individual to individual, thus individual needs aren't the source of morality, but mainstream needs are. The minority will be socialized into accepting the needs of the majority and might adapt to that even if it doesn't suit their own desires.

Morality expressed in totalitarian regimes match the leaders own needs. If a single or a few people establish their own needs as the rules for the entire land, they will likely do so a long with the claim that their opinion is the moral one, where as opinions against them are immoral. Within a generation or two, socialization will make such rules known as morality, even if when examined, they don't represent mainstream needs.

In that way a "moral system" might be supported by a large population, even if when examined, doesn't support humanity at all.


Now young, uneducated people with little experience, cannot grasp advanced abstract concepts. Because of this, you get oversimplified, dumbed down oneliners like "lying is wrong", which people who grow up might take as an absolute. It might actually be a good general guideline, but it was taught as an absolute rule rather than a guideline, which might lead to trouble when breaking the rule is the moral thing to do.


There's another layer of morality, based on control over self. It's about recognizing that a short-term desire might collide with a long-term desire/need or goal that is ultimately better than the short-term one. Such morality is rooted in our ability to imagine consequences of our actions and understand that our emotions might mislead us.


Final tip:
Google "Talks Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives" on TED.

What I learned from that video is that there might not be one universal true morality that is easily found.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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September 2nd, 2009, 14:17
I like Herr Doktor Professor Karl Raimund Popper's take on morality.

I.e., that every system of morality is a whole that is amenable to engineering: you can think of ways to make it better, and then attempt to apply those ways. However, you can't derive a universal system of morality from first principles, because it's impossible to agree about what the first principles should be — and trying to do so is likely to lead to horrible things.

The conclusion is that it's useless to chase for "ideal" or "universal" systems of morality, whereas it's highly useful to try to find ways to make the ones we have better (for any of a number of values of "better" — fairer, freer, juster, whatever).
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September 3rd, 2009, 00:27
I think Jimminy Cricket had a good answer: Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide!! Now, what is your conscience?

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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September 3rd, 2009, 13:34
Thanks for the reply, guys! Interesting food for thought.
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September 3rd, 2009, 17:18
I don't quite remember who said this but I belive it was Aristotle or it was some other long-dead greek.
Having thought about morality and a system of morality a long time he said that the moral thing is to do the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason and so forth. Realising that that is completely circular he suggested that instead of worrying about the moral status of any one action one should try to be as virtuous as possible or perhaps possess as many virues as possible.
I really like that as a basis for individual morality even if it says very little.
Or just follow Jimminy Cricket, the difference is probably not to significant unless you're a philosopher.

conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evil, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

rational, adj. Devoid of all delusions save those of observation, experience and reflection.
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