Author Topic: Can capitalism alone create the citizens required to make it work properly?  (Read 1541 times)

Gary123

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
MOD NOTE: Moved thread to the appropriate--Off Topic--forum. The OP does not have the ability to reply due to the Off Topic forum policy requiring 100+ posts. An example of an unfortuante side-effect of that policy, designed to stop trolls from creating new accounts and stirring up the forums with inflammatory political posts.

Please feel free to PM him/her directly if you would like to engage with comments he/she has made, or feel free to continue the conversation with others here.

Cheers!

/END EDIT


A recent post about why are social conservatives always wrong is a shocking example of either how badly our (and the Canadian per the poster) education systems are failing to teach history and form citizens to operate successfully in a capitalist economy.

The poster actually believes “social conservatives” and Republicans were responsible for slavery, opposing women suffrage, creating prohibition and the list goes on.

Anyone with a cursory knowledge of history knows the self-described enlightened academics defended slavery through Darwin’s theory of evolution right up until the civil war. 

Stephen Jay Gould (1941–2002), a leading evolutionist, Marxist, and staunch anti-racist, admitted: “Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1850, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory.”

The best arguments against slavery by its opponents (Abolitionists) are ones that Darwin not only abhorred and refuted,

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27) and that subsequently, God “made of one man every nation of mankind” (Acts 17:26).  Lincoln, the founder of the modern Republican Party, believed the second ultimately using this as his justification to end slavery in the United States.

Now, regarding women’s right to vote, another Republican cause first found success in the most politically “socially conservative” state of Wyoming.  Prohibition was the direct result of women gaining the right to vote and hoping to stop their husbands from drinking......history our self-described “libertarian” conservatives apparently have never read.

It amuses me the silly comments about Christians opposing alcohol, for example.  The over 1 billion Catholics in the world who drink wine at Mass every Sunday might disagree.  Who do you think brought the great wineries to the west coast of the United States?  Scientists?  No, Franciscan priests just as the spread of Christianity brought the cultivation of grapes across the previously pagan Europe.

Capitalism has flourished in countries where participatory forms of governance relied on the consent of the governed and steeped in Judeo-Christian western civilization.  It hasn’t fared as well under Hinduism, for example, in India.

So I ask the large number of “socially liberal” libertarians on this forum who seem to buy into the most twisted revisions of history by Marxists propagating their politics of envy (also known as class struggle) how to solve one simple propblem,

Capitalism cannot create the citizens it requires to function successfully.  What is the code of ethics you propose can create those citizens necessary for the voluntary exchange of buyers and sellers freely and willingly engaging in ethical market transactions?

« Last Edit: June 30, 2019, 12:31:03 PM by arebelspy »

LennStar

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1306
There is so much mixing up and selection bias in the opening post I don't have the time to answer, but I want to at least give one example to the question asked.

Capitalism cannot create the citizens it requires to function successfully.  What is the code of ethics you propose can create those citizens necessary for the voluntary exchange of buyers and sellers freely and willingly engaging in ethical market transactions?

Medieval islamic trade.

caleb

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 108

Anyone with a cursory knowledge of history knows the self-described enlightened academics defended slavery through Darwin’s theory of evolution right up until the civil war. 


Darwin's Origin of Species was published in November of 1859.  South Carolina seceded from the Union in December of 1860.  If Darwin had any influence at all on pre-Civil War defenses of slavery, he had about 13 months to get the job done.

bacchi

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3720
This thread should go in the Other Topics sub-forum.


So I ask the large number of “socially liberal” libertarians on this forum who seem to buy into the most twisted revisions of history by Marxists propagating their politics of envy (also known as class struggle) how to solve one simple propblem,

That's quite a mishmash.

ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
There is no single, good definition of capitalism everyone agrees to.

The current definition the kleptomaniac gang in the us politics push for is not what was known as capitalism.

Go read Wealth of Nations!! If you handed it to Paul Ryan - I think he will call it Marxist propaganda!!

I don’t have the patience to read the full initial post right now. However, the same side that puts forth incoherent argument like the ones you seem to advance practice a form of ‘cronyism’ or ‘oligarchy’ - not capitalism when you follow their legislative history!

Hint - anything that increases efficiency in the marketplace is good. Anything that decreases efficiency is bad.

Regulation beyond a point is efficiency destroying. Monopolistic behavior resulting from lack of regulation (broadband in US) is worse!!

Find someone who tries to figure out the optimal efficiency and how to nurture that, and maybe sometimes gets it wrong but always introspective and adjusts - and that capitalist will have my full support.

Hint - that is definitely not the far right billionaire-owned plutocratic far right in todys’s US.

ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53

Anyone with a cursory knowledge of history knows the self-described enlightened academics defended slavery through Darwin’s theory of evolution right up until the civil war. 


Darwin's Origin of Species was published in November of 1859.  South Carolina seceded from the Union in December of 1860.  If Darwin had any influence at all on pre-Civil War defenses of slavery, he had about 13 months to get the job done.

How dare you use logic in the face of the grand Judeo-Christian sermons!!

God has decided - through evolution - what logic can or can not be used at a given moment of time. It's all relative - that is what all this relativity brouhaha was about.

Anybody who tells you otherwise is a liberal brainwashed Marxist!!

the_gastropod

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 174
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY

Anyone with a cursory knowledge of history knows the self-described enlightened academics defended slavery through Darwin’s theory of evolution right up until the civil war. 


Darwin's Origin of Species was published in November of 1859.  South Carolina seceded from the Union in December of 1860.  If Darwin had any influence at all on pre-Civil War defenses of slavery, he had about 13 months to get the job done.

Cursory knowledge of history, indeed.

caleb

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 108

Anyone with a cursory knowledge of history knows the self-described enlightened academics defended slavery through Darwin’s theory of evolution right up until the civil war. 


Darwin's Origin of Species was published in November of 1859.  South Carolina seceded from the Union in December of 1860.  If Darwin had any influence at all on pre-Civil War defenses of slavery, he had about 13 months to get the job done.

How dare you use logic in the face of the grand Judeo-Christian sermons!!

To be charitable to the original poster, they do generally point toward a real issue.  Some folks like Herbert Spencer, the guy who actually coined the phrase "survival of the fittest," picked up Darwin's biological work and interpreted it within the context of human society, laying the foundations for late nineteenth and twentieth century theories and practices of scientific racism and eugenics.  It's not totally wrong to say that some people have applied evolutionary theory and reached racist conclusions, and used them to legitimate atrocities like Jim Crow and the Holocaust.

Indexer

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1367
I'm rather confused.

The title of the topic is also about capitalism(the economy), but the meat of the topic is about social issues.


I do consider myself a socially liberal libertarian. I think the Federal government is far too involved in our daily lives. When the government decides to get involved with social issues it normally ends up being more, not less, invasive in our lives. I would much prefer the stance be to stay out as much as possible. Given that, prohibition was NOT a libertarian policy, no matter how one tries to spin in. Slavery was on a whole different level, and I wouldn't try to lump that in with socially conservative, liberal, or libertarian beliefs. I think any objective moral view of that situation would find that it was totally abhorrent. Libertarians for instance value personal freedom... slavery can't be any further from that.

With almost any topic, people will find data that supports their claim. It's no surprise to me that pro-slavery people latched onto both religious and scientific arguments for minorities being inferior. Current views around abortion are a great example. Pro-life supporters tend to be very religious. However, since our system of government is secular, and religious arguments can't be used in court, they reach for scientific arguments about when the fetus has a heartbeat or brain activity. Slavery and the holocaust both used religious and scientific arguments to justify their atrocities, but we know those arguments were fictions used by evil men to help themselves sleep at night.


Capitalism cannot create the citizens it requires to function successfully.  What is the code of ethics you propose can create those citizens necessary for the voluntary exchange of buyers and sellers freely and willingly engaging in ethical market transactions?

Treat others as you wish to be treated. That pretty much covers it.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 07:49:50 PM by Indexer »

caleb

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 108
Capitalism cannot create the citizens it requires to function successfully.  What is the code of ethics you propose can create those citizens necessary for the voluntary exchange of buyers and sellers freely and willingly engaging in ethical market transactions?

The dominant tradition in the United States has been, and I think still is, the idea that virtuous citizens are the foundation of a good society.  (This is a strand of classical republicanism with late Roman and Renaissance touchstones.)  In the American case, this development of the virtuous citizen occurs within a virtuous society. (This comes out of Calvin's theology, and influences both Puritans and Anti-Baptists [Baptists] in the United States.)  The most prominent manifestations of this vision of virtue that hybridizes the need for virtuous citizens with a community context are  institutions like universal public education that has historically had a religious component, and the maintenance of a liberal arts curriculum within land grant universities: the basic idea is that we can only have a good society if we teach and habituate citizens to virtuous behavior within a good environment.

Yet, there's another major tradition that's been minimized in the United States that emphasizes virtue not as a social product, but as a product of an individual's relationship to the divine or the sublime.  In this version of virtue, we become virtuous by having the good revealed in transcendent moments, often in a one-on-one encounter with God and/or nature.  Catholic hermits exemplify this tradition, as do American transcendentalists like Thoreau and Emerson.  Virtue, in this understanding, is something we learn individually rather than collectively.

Implied in the original question is an idea that it is the task of society to cultivate virtue.  Perhaps it is, and that has indeed been the dominant American tradition.  However, there is another tradition with strong representation in the Christian tradition that the individual's virtue is mostly independent of social context, and the major task of society is to leave space and time for people to come to terms with the good and the beautiful around them.

Gary123

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
There is no single, good definition of capitalism everyone agrees to.  I don’t have the patience to read the full initial post right now. However, the same side that puts forth incoherent argument like the ones you seem to advance practice a form of ‘cronyism’ or ‘oligarchy’ - not capitalism when you follow their legislative history!

Funny you call the argument “incoherent” after admitting you didn’t even bother to read the entire post.  I call that a self-identified uninformed opinion.

It is also faulty logic to say a defifintion cannot be true of it isn’t popular let alone universally agreed.  On the contrary, what makes something right or wrong is not it’s popularity but it’s accuracy. 

I admit the post wonders a little in the subject and to keep it shorter I didn’t try and connect every dot but instead left that to the reader. I have read ”Wealth of Nations” and do believe the invisible hand, while frequently mocked, is indeed a true misunderstood influence on how capitalism can improve lives.  However, that isn’t the entire story.

My favorite explanation, however, would be Hayek’s book “Fatal Conceit.”  Everything you need to know about why socialism fails and a free market economy succeeds is well explained by Hayek in that book.  For those who will never read it, a gross over-simplification is socialism is largely a proposition of how things should be created largely in a vacuum by academics while a free market economy or Capitalism evolved over time as a more natural way in which people can exchange goods and services.

Having spent a significant part of my life growing-up in third world countries and working and living internationally as an adult, I will offer one simple example.  It used to be that hardware stores in many third-world nations required 5 people to sell you a single wrench.  One to take it off the board behind the counter and show you.  A second person to verify they have it in stock and provide you a paper with the price.  A third person to fetch the item.  A fourth person at the cash register to accept your money and provide you the receipt.  A fifth person to verify your receipt and retrieve the item.

So, as your definition of the more efficient the better, I agree.  Unfortunately, in a society where morality is relative “screw people who have more but not my family” and there is no common sense of community morality or purpose, capitalism hardly works at all.

Greg Wyler, founder of O3B and Oneweb once told me while preparing to announce Oneweb, what a great world it will be if every child in Africa has unlimited access to the internet.  I disagree, absent proper adult supervision and a strong sense of character and purpose in the child, that unlimited stream of information and influences could also destroy his young life.

« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 10:35:27 AM by Gary123 »

caleb

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 108

So, as your definition of the more efficient the better, I agree.  Unfortunately, in a society where morality is relative “screw people who have more but not my family” and there is no common sense of community morality or purpose, capitalism hardly works at all.


Totally agree with your point here.  We used to use the phrase noblesse oblige as shorthand for the idea that people with advantages and resources had a social and moral responsibility to help the less fortunate.  Such a notion sounds quaint these days.

I'd say that most of the genuine gains we've seen in American society in the past 40 years have been political (e.g. greater gender and racial equality), while market capitalism on its own hasn't done much to make American society a better foundation and context for people to live good lives.

Gary123

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
Darwin's Origin of Species was published in November of 1859.  South Carolina seceded from the Union in December of 1860.  If Darwin had any influence at all on pre-Civil War defenses of slavery, he had about 13 months to get the job done.

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744 – 1829) proposed his theory of the transmutation of species, the first fully formed theory of evolution.  Darwin first posited his similar thesis beginning in the late 1830’s publishing various works in a piecemeal fashion for the next twenty years.

While he waited until 1859 to publish his overall integrated argument, thus becoming a household name, his theories were decades old by then and well known thoughout the academic world along with the transmutation of species posited by Jean-Baptist’s decades earlier.


caleb

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 108
Darwin's Origin of Species was published in November of 1859.  South Carolina seceded from the Union in December of 1860.  If Darwin had any influence at all on pre-Civil War defenses of slavery, he had about 13 months to get the job done.

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744 – 1829) proposed his theory of the transmutation of species, the first fully formed theory of evolution.  Darwin first posited his similar thesis beginning in the late 1830’s publishing various works in a piecemeal fashion for the next twenty years.

While he waited until 1859 to publish his overall integrated argument, thus becoming a household name, his theories were decades old by then and well known thoughout the academic world along with the transmutation of species posited by Jean-Baptist’s decades earlier.

I imagine it's possible that a few pro-slavery people had read Lamarck and Darwin's early work, but I've never seen it incorporated in any sustained way into their arguments.  Can you show me some examples?

ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
Lamarck was an unknown till Darwin mentioned him as an inspiration in his work.

https://ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/lamarck.html

"Lamarck's scientific theories were largely ignored or attacked during his lifetime; Lamarck never won the acceptance and esteem of his colleagues Buffon and Cuvier, and he died in poverty and obscurity. Today, the name of Lamarck is associated merely with a discredited theory of heredity, the "inheritance of acquired traits." However, Charles Darwin, Lyell, Haeckel, and other early evolutionists acknowledged him as a great zoologist and as a forerunner of evolution. Charles Darwin wrote in 1861..."

In short - Lamarck was a nobody before Darwin revived him.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 11:24:14 AM by ctuser1 »

ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
While he waited until 1859 to publish his overall integrated argument, thus becoming a household name, his theories were decades old by then and well known thoughout the academic world along with the transmutation of species posited by Jean-Baptist’s decades earlier.

Darwin was very cagey about publishing his work on evolution till he received a manuscript from Alfred Russel Wallace on 1858 - that basically arrived at very similar conclusions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publication_of_Darwin%27s_theory

He was cagey because he anticipated the attacks from the - ahem - "social conservatives"!!


Gary123

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
While he waited until 1859 to publish his overall integrated argument, thus becoming a household name, his theories were decades old by then and well known thoughout the academic world along with the transmutation of species posited by Jean-Baptist’s decades earlier.

Darwin was very cagey about publishing his work on evolution till he received a manuscript from Alfred Russel Wallace on 1858 - that basically arrived at very similar conclusions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publication_of_Darwin%27s_theory

He was cagey because he anticipated the attacks from the - ahem - "social conservatives"!!

Yes, I am aware of the “delay” conspiracy theory for fear of the religious persecution which is easily refuted by his writings of 1842 and his first theory of the origin of species he documented and shared with numerous colleagues in the “Essay of 1844.”  While his thinking evolved with time, the differences are unimportant for this conversation and his assertions were hardly a state secret.

Regarding the “social conservatives” I suppose you mean only the monarchy of Great Britain.  Post reformation, many governments placed themselves over church teachings in the 1500’s which really set-up a civil government vs. science debate not necessarily a theological schism with science.

In fact, the Catholic Church from which the Protestants left, and arguably the “social conservatives” of the time was and is still the majority in Europe, never took any official position against Evoluion or other similar theories of the time.  This is simply explained because ever since the Catholic Church assembled the books of the modern Bible it never asserted genesis or any other part of the Bible to be the literal history of the world. 

Here is an in-depth study of the question with regards to Darwin’s theory which I don’t entirely agree but is well researched and informative.

https://saeculumjournal.com/index.php/saeculum/article/download/11311/13001/

My point here is the British Monarch who founded Protestantism in England as the Church if England was King Henry VIII because the Pope denied his annulment request.  By making himself the “Defender of the Faith” he could terminate any marriage he wanted and even have his wives beheaded without judgement from a higher earthly authority.

Sorry for the long digression, my point here is those who continued to follow the original Church had already outlawed slavery literally hundreds of years prior even forcing Spain and Portugal to give-up their economic dependency on the practice or face expulsion from the Church, were the true “social conservatives” of the time.

Protestants did eventually come around and the Abolitionsits like John Brown who gave their lives to end the evil institution did so from religious, not academic or scientific beliefs due to their Protestant beliefs which mirrored the Church teachings.

Below is a quick abbreviated history of official Church declarations regarding slavery.....you will not find a parallel in the academic literature denouncing slavery.  As for the current head of the church of England, Queen Elizabeth is hardly a theological authority so her Bishops I believe speak more to defend her government than propagate the faith.

In 1537, Pope Paul III (r. 1534-1549) issued a bull, Sublimus Dei, which taught that natives peoples were not to be enslaved. In 1591, Gregory XIV (r. 1590-1591) promulgated Cum Sicuti, which was addressed to the bishop of Manila in the Philippines and reiterated his predecessors’ prohibitions against enslaving native peoples. In the seventeenth century, Urban VIII (r. 1623-1644) promulgated Commissum Nobis (1639) in support of the Spanish king’s (Philip IV) edict prohibiting enslavement of the Indians in the New World.





conwy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 96
It's not capitalism's job to improve peoples' characters, and yet it does nonetheless (to the extent that it is practiced today).

"Capitalism demands the best of every man—his rationality—and rewards him accordingly. It leaves every man free to choose the work he likes, to specialize in it, to trade his product for the products of others, and to go as far on the road of achievement as his ability and ambition will carry him. His success depends on the objective value of his work and on the rationality of those who recognize that value. When men are free to trade, with reason and reality as their only arbiter, when no man may use physical force to extort the consent of another, it is the best product and the best judgment that win in every field of human endeavor, and raise the standard of living—and of thought—ever higher for all those who take part in mankind’s productive activity."

– Ayn Rand

I think she was spot on.

Of course, what we have come to call "capitalism" is not the pure capitalism that Ayn Rand envisioned, and thus, it has all the flaws one would expect from a mixture of freedom and controls.

ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
I think it is pretty easy to show that not all theists are evil - which is what you try to show. Plenty are - however! And good religious people can be made to do evil things in the name of religion - like supporting slavery or caging children etc.

Your arguments aim to show religious arguments were used in favor of abolishing slavery.

It's very easy to also show that religious arguments were made in favor of slavery. Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee etc were not godless "liberals" (neither was Lincoln - for that matter) - and there are a lot of quotes ascribed to them that invoke god and religion. It is safe to say they drew more of their inspiration from their conception of "religion" than they did from Darwin.

"Conservative" literally means people who like to keep things as is. Keeping the institution of slavery intact was a "conservative" clause - whether religious arguments were used in support of them or not!!

ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
It's not capitalism's job to improve peoples' characters, and yet it does nonetheless (to the extent that it is practiced today).

"Capitalism demands the best of every man—his rationality—and rewards him accordingly. It leaves every man free to choose the work he likes, to specialize in it, to trade his product for the products of others, and to go as far on the road of achievement as his ability and ambition will carry him. His success depends on the objective value of his work and on the rationality of those who recognize that value. When men are free to trade, with reason and reality as their only arbiter, when no man may use physical force to extort the consent of another, it is the best product and the best judgment that win in every field of human endeavor, and raise the standard of living—and of thought—ever higher for all those who take part in mankind’s productive activity."

– Ayn Rand

I think she was spot on.

Of course, what we have come to call "capitalism" is not the pure capitalism that Ayn Rand envisioned, and thus, it has all the flaws one would expect from a mixture of freedom and controls.

What Ayn Rand defines is anything but capitalism!!!!

Her writing is very seductive. I remember being transfixed by Atlas Shrugged and finished the whole book in 3 days.

Her version of "capitalism" ignores all secondary costs of actions taken by the John Galts of the world. Does John Galt pay for the environmental cost for the industry he creates? Does he even want to? Similar freeloading behavior of ignoring secondary costs (just look up the libertarian reaction to "cap and trade") is an unsaid theme in the entire "Ayn Rand" loving community.

Freeloading != Capitalism. You are supposed to pay for things you want in capitalism.

If you get a chance - search Greenspan's (he was a personal friend of Ayn Rand) mea culpa in a congressional testimony someday. He recants his theory that markets will "self regulate" and visibly eats lots of crows in the video.

Ayn Rand herself was a big fan of freeloading in her personal life. She paid into medicare for only 3-4 years - but used the benefits (in addition to Social Security) to the fullest when they were available to treat her for her cancer.

Gary123

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
I think it is pretty easy to show that not all theists are evil - which is what you try to show. Plenty are - however! And good religious people can be made to do evil things in the name of religion - like supporting slavery or caging children etc.

Your arguments aim to show religious arguments were used in favor of abolishing slavery.

It's very easy to also show that religious arguments were made in favor of slavery. Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee etc were not godless "liberals" (neither was Lincoln - for that matter) - and there are a lot of quotes ascribed to them that invoke god and religion. It is safe to say they drew more of their inspiration from their conception of "religion" than they did from Darwin.

Ctuser1 you are confusing rationalizations for what really influences or informs people’s views.  Sure, evangelicals may invoke pseudo science to support their arguments while atheist may quote the Bible to make a point.  Neither example means Sciences is as much an inspiration for religion than religious radicals who quote science is an argument that modern science is informed equally by the Bible.

Maybe you didn’t read my previous posts but Jefferson Davis was a politician not a religious leader.  Rationalizing his actions by trying to associate himself with religion doesn’t errase hundreds of years the Catholic Popes declared slavery evil and working to remove it from the world.  Equally, Protestant Europe can to similar conclusions much later but for the same fundemantal reasons of what they found in the Commandments and their own revised version of the Bible.

It is a little appalling you are unfamiliar with the national debate that preceded the civil war.  Suffice it to say, were the country secular in the 1850’s and rejected all wrongs of the earth coming from “social conservatives” and the religious we would certainly still have slavery today.  You see, the very arguments to unravel slavery were not just religious but originated from Christian doctrine and the belief all people are created equally in the image of God.

Science teaches us quite the opposite as people can be divided as unequal in talent, intelligence, skills and all other sort of categories.  Thankfully, our laws still reflect the religious instead of scientific conclusions about life on this planet. 

conwy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 96
What Ayn Rand defines is anything but capitalism!!!!

I think capitalism is the right word for it. What she captures is its essence - a system that protects individual rights.

Her writing is very seductive. I remember being transfixed by Atlas Shrugged and finished the whole book in 3 days.

I've been reading various works of hers over the past ~10 years, both the novels and non-fiction, and I confess that I remain not only seduced but convinced.

Her version of "capitalism" ignores all secondary costs of actions taken by the John Galts of the world. Does John Galt pay for the environmental cost for the industry he creates? Does he even want to? Similar freeloading behavior of ignoring secondary costs (just look up the libertarian reaction to "cap and trade") is an unsaid theme in the entire "Ayn Rand" loving community.

Well she would probably have asked you to be a bit more clear and specific than "environmental cost". All manner of nebulous and ill-defined "problems" are blamed on capitalism, typically with some kind of large-scale state intervention proposed as the solution.

In the Q&A period of a talk she gave on 'The Anti-Industrial Revolution' she points out that things like pollution can be and are handled as a matter of property rights. One actor polluting another's property is rightly seen as an infringement on the other's rights.

She also points out that the industrial revolution brought about benefits that far outweighed their negatives. Things like cheap, plentiful food, advanced medical devices, the automobile.

If she were alive today she would likely argue (as many pro-capitalists do today) that we now live in a far less polluted world than in the 19th century, thanks to fossil fuels replacing open fires, and that pollution is on its way to dropping even further, thanks to the shale/fracking revolution, hydro, nuclear, etc.

History has proved her right.

Freeloading != Capitalism. You are supposed to pay for things you want in capitalism.

Which is why what we have today isn't capitalism, as governments around the world are consuming an enormous and ever increasing amount of the productive surplus of the economy.

If you get a chance - search Greenspan's (he was a personal friend of Ayn Rand) mea culpa in a congressional testimony someday. He recants his theory that markets will "self regulate" and visibly eats lots of crows in the video.

I will listen to it out of interest, however my understanding is that he wasn't very well schooled on her ideas and was disavowed by the objectivist community long before he became chairman of the fed.

Ayn Rand herself was a big fan of freeloading in her personal life. She paid into medicare for only 3-4 years - but used the benefits (in addition to Social Security) to the fullest when they were available to treat her for her cancer.

She argued herself many times that it's entirely ethical to "take back" what the government stole from us by any legal/safe means necessary. Given the magnitude of her economic and thought contributions to America and the world I think she was entitled to any and every state benefit.

---

As an Australian I find it a little sad that some of you Americans disdain Ayn Rand so much, when in my opinion, she exemplifies everything that's great about America. The fact that an immigrant from a war-torn country could build a new life in America. The character traits of conscientiousness, ambition, pride, rationality. The profound respect for the dignity of the individual above the tribe.

I'm talking about the ideals of America. I know you had slavery, Jim Crow, women not being able to vote, etc. I know you still have problems. But of the ideals and ideology of America, I think she's a good and admirable representative.

At least your country began with ideals and wasn't just an incidental colony of the British like Australia was.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 02:03:41 PM by conwy »

ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
I was trying to be respectful in my earlier posts. Since the gloves seem to be coming off - let me put my snark on as well. 

It is a little appalling you are unfamiliar with the national debate that preceded the civil war.  Suffice it to say, were the country secular in the 1850’s and rejected all wrongs of the earth coming from “social conservatives” and the religious we would certainly still have slavery today.  You see, the very arguments to unravel slavery were not just religious but originated from Christian doctrine and the belief all people are created equally in the image of God.

I am no professional historian, but I have read about this period enough out of curiosity that I don't make demonstrably false claims like "theory of evolution played a major role all the way up to the civil war".

You are yet to show a single reference that supports your point of view - by the way. Any reference of Jefferson Davis quoting Darwin to support his point - like you were claiming?

Science teaches us quite the opposite as people can be divided as unequal in talent, intelligence, skills and all other sort of categories.  Thankfully, our laws still reflect the religious instead of scientific conclusions about life on this planet.

Let's just say those are some fantastical observations and conclusion!!

If I were to create an equivalent strawman to yours - I'd say that the "Judeo Christian" tradition you wax so eloquent about teaches people to grab random women by their p***y against their explicit consent and to consort with p**nstars when their wives are pregnant with a child.

ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
Well she would probably have asked you to be a bit more clear and specific than "environmental cost". All manner of nebulous and ill-defined "problems" are blamed on capitalism, typically with some kind of large-scale state intervention proposed as the solution.

Let's see.

John Galt emits 5 tons of CFC and contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer?

Whose responsibility is it to define, understand and mitigate the cost? John Galt's? Or the kids in sub-saharan Africa who got Cancer due to the depleted Ozone Layer?

Let's say John Galt did not know about the relationship of Ozone Layer and CFC when he set up his business in the 50's. Whose responsibility is it to mitigate the costs he causes?

Why do you ask me as if I have the responsibility to define the costs? Shouldn't John Galt have to mathematically prove beyond all doubt the costs he is incurring for everyone before he takes any action?

If he is unable to demonstrate such proof - should he be allowed to take any action?

As an Australian I find it a little sad that some of you Americans disdain Ayn Rand so much, when in my opinion, she exemplifies everything that's great about America. The fact that an immigrant from a war-torn country could build a new life in America. The character traits of conscientiousness, ambition, pride, rationality. The profound respect for the dignity of the individual above the tribe.

Nobody is pure evil, or pure good. Ayn Rand argues some great points and is extremely readable. I found her writings fascinating.

Anything absolute tends to suffer from common problems that plague all ideologies. For example - I just set up above some questions that will, using methods inspired by "diagonalization" in mathematics, hopefully show the limits of the Randian approach if you choose to follow through.

My disdain is for the mindless following of Randian principles by the far right in today's politics. I personally think no economic system is perfect, and that any good economic/political system should oscillate between "good left-wing" and "good right wing" policies over time.

In my judgement - the acceptable leftmost boundary is defined by FDR in 30's, with some of the policies of his time going just over the boundary (price controls during 40's for example) and the acceptable rightmost boundary is defined by Reagan.

Oscillating between these two "extremes" would allow for a healthy economy that will correct issues that crop up from time to time.

The current crop of absolutists on the right fringe scare me - and that includes the Randian crop.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 02:32:50 PM by ctuser1 »

conwy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 96
John Galt emits 5 tons of CFC and contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer?

Whose responsibility is it to define, understand and mitigate the cost? John Galt's? Or the kids in sub-saharan Africa who got Cancer due to the depleted Ozone Layer?

Let's say John Galt did not know about the relationship of Ozone Layer and CFC when he set up his business in the 50's. Whose responsibility is it to mitigate the costs he causes?

Why do you ask me as if I have the responsibility to define the costs? Shouldn't John Galt have to mathematically prove beyond all doubt the costs he is incurring for everyone before he takes any action?

This is just my interpretation of Objectivism but....

We can observe that governments have already defined limits on issues such as pollution, and intergovernmental organisations and initiatives have already been created in order to work to resolve issues such as pollution across countries and continents, such as the Kyoto Protocal.

I can't see why the same work couldn't continue, along capitalist lines, to protect property, including the one's own body/person. In fact I think a lot of their thinking is already influenced by concepts of property rights, if not perfectly.

If he is unable to demonstrate such proof - should he be allowed to take any action?

Isn't it a bit absurd and ridiculous to require someone to prove that their action won't have any kind of unforeseeable negative consequence prior to taking it?

How would any innovation or invention at all be possible under this kind of tyrannical law? In fact how would practically any action at all be possible, since any action might have an unintended negative consequence.

A big part of Objectivism is the principle of objective law. That laws should be objectively defined, and able to be understood and adhered in advance of taking any action (so that we can properly plan out our lives instead of being under the whims of this or that political movement).

If we recognise abrogation of individual and property rights after the fact, then sure, individuals and groups are free to conduct lawsuits and there probably is a role for governments to enact objective laws that protect rights violations in advance of their occurring.

conwy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 96
The current crop of absolutists on the right fringe scare me - and that includes the Randian crop.

I agree with you about the current right. Also I'm as far from a fan of the orange guy as you can get.

Imagine if your "left wing" party reduced immigration restrictions, then your "right wing" party lowered taxes and reduced government spending, then your "left wing" party legalised all drugs and freed people imprisoned only for drug offences, then your "right wing" party stopped subsidising banks and oil companies, opening them up to competition.

After a period of turbulence, maybe you'd have a more sane, just and stable America in the long-term.

But none of this will happen let alone work until/unless American people come to understand capitalism properly.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 02:55:11 PM by conwy »

ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
This is just my interpretation of Objectivism but....

We can observe that governments have already defined limits on issues such as pollution, and intergovernmental organisations and initiatives have already been created in order to work to resolve issues such as pollution across countries and continents, such as the Kyoto Protocal.

"Governments" are evil entities - per Rand!!

Remember - after the atlas holding the earth shrugged - John Galt and others retreated to a secluded community to be free from governments? (I often confuse the storyline of the Fountainhead and Adlas Shrugged, please excuse me if I am doing so).

You would notice that the Rand-loving gang, at least in the US, misses no opportunity to sabotage the Kyoto Protocol and other such attempts to help real Capitalists actually pay for things they want!!

My question still stands - is an ethical capitalist responsible to determine secondary costs for things he does? John Galt, and by extension Rand, seems to think - no!! I think that would preclude them from being considered Capitalists - since they don't intend to pay a fair value for things they want!!
 

Isn't it a bit absurd and ridiculous to require someone to prove that their action won't have any kind of unforeseeable negative consequence prior to taking it?

So - how do we mitigate such unforeseen consequences?
Should John Galt just socialize such "unforeseen" losses, while privatizing the profits?

How would any innovation or invention at all be possible under this kind of tyrannical law? In fact how would practically any action at all be possible, since any action might have an unintended negative consequence.

Finally, we are reaching the point I am trying to make.
Would you agree that without imposing societal costs (i.e. socializing losses) - John Galt can't achieve anything!!



conwy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 96
"Governments" are evil entities - per Rand!!

You clearly haven't read much of Rand's writing on politics. She never said that government was evil. Only that government's powers should be clearly defined and strictly limited to protecting individual rights.

https://youtu.be/tzsyhxW1-5M?t=75

Remember - after the atlas holding the earth shrugged - John Galt and others retreated to a secluded community to be free from governments? (I often confuse the storyline of the Fountainhead and Adlas Shrugged, please excuse me if I am doing so).

Yes, that's Atlas Shrugged, and it's work of fiction, not a treatise on politics. Rand wrote many non-fiction essays and books about how her ideas could be applied to politics. You should read them.

You would notice that the Rand-loving gang, at least in the US, misses no opportunity to sabotage the Kyoto Protocol and other such attempts to help real Capitalists actually pay for things they want!!

Every significant idea or movement has one or several cults form around it in the early days. I wouldn't personally trust or even associate with people just because they claim inspiration from Rand. I pay attention to her own writings and the writings of others that are thoroughly consistent with her thinking. She even said during her lifetime that many of those who call themselves "libertarians" would be the last kind of people she would endorse.

My question still stands - is an ethical capitalist responsible to determine secondary costs for things he does? John Galt, and by extension Rand, seems to think - no!! I think that would preclude them from being considered Capitalists - since they don't intend to pay a fair value for things they want!!

As long as they violated no one's rights, they owe no one anything. What's the issue with that? It seems pretty straightforward to me.

So - how do we mitigate such unforeseen consequences?
Should John Galt just socialize such "unforeseen" losses, while privatizing the profits?

Precedent law. When we encounter a new form of violating individual rights, e.g. toxic waste dumping onto someone's property, we pass a new law to ban that. Subsequently, if a person or community becomes a victim of that, they can seek redress on the basis of that law.

Finally, we are reaching the point I am trying to make.
Would you agree that without imposing societal costs (i.e. socializing losses) - John Galt can't achieve anything!!

This idea of "societal costs" your language, not Rand's, and is nonsense as far as I'm concerned.

"Society" is just a sum of individuals. There's no "societal cost" to anything. There's a simple question of whether someone's rights were violated.

If people are affected by something, but not in a way that their rights are violated, then that's just an effect. If I walk down the street and hear music wafting out from a building, I might be affected or influenced. That doesn't mean my rights have been violated and we need the government to step in and regulate music!!

If you can clearly and specifically point to an individual or a group having their rights violated, then the government can retaliate, either through police or the law court.

"John Galt", as you put it, is not in any way impeded. The producers and innovators can continue to work and achieve their goals, free from interference.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 03:43:50 PM by conwy »

ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
Bear with me for a tiny bit more. I am just trying to show you that extending her logic (as I have understood it - which is limited to the two works of fiction I read) of rugged individualism taken to it's extreme leads to contradiction in terms.

Allow me to do that in the form of leading questions - because that is the quickest way rather than lengthy dispositions. I am not attempting to be adversarial by asking leading question here.

As long as they violated no one's rights, they owe no one anything. What's the issue with that? It seems pretty straightforward to me.

....
....

Precedent law. When we encounter a new form of violating individual rights, e.g. toxic waste dumping onto someone's property, we pass a new law to ban that. Subsequently, if a person or community becomes a victim of that, they can seek redress on the basis of that law.

It seems you seem to say John Galt is only responsible for the known costs his actions incurred in the present - with no accounting for things that are unknown at the present.

What about costs that are unkonwn and manifest itself in the future?

Should a moral capitalist have to pay for such costs?

This cost may sound abstract - but is not. Think of it as an insurance cost. Imagine how much it would cost for John Galt to go to Buffet and ask him to write an insurance for all current and future secondary costs - known and unknown! Let's assume such an insurance policy would cost $x. This $x is a real cost that John Galt's actions are costing the society.

Or are you arguing that John Galt should only pay for the mitigation of the current regulatory asks (gaps! regularion and libertarians!!??) based on today's understanding of these costs? Anything "unforeseen" is not his responsibility?

If you can clearly and specifically point to an individual or a group having their rights violated, then the government can retaliate, either through police or the law court.
Why am I on the hook to define such costs?
Why is John Galt not responsible to research, define and prove the extent of such costs?

I pointed out kids in sub-saharan Africa, in 2019, that are harmed from depleted Ozone Layer caused by John Galts in 1950.
How is Ayn Rand going to pay reparations for that?

<edited to add>
As an aside...
Almost all ideologies (or religions) tend to say that "that's just some rogue practitioner" when confronted with real world issues.
In the real world, any ideology - just like anything else - should be judged by what it "does", and not what it "says".
If the cult of rightwing randians have hijacked Rand's philosophy - then this cult is what really matters in the real world and the "randian philosophy" is defined more by the actions of this cult than what Rand says.
Of course, if there are contrary actions present - then we can take both into account.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 04:06:55 PM by ctuser1 »

John Galt incarnate!

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 470

It's very easy to also show that religious arguments were made in favor of slavery.

Long after Reconstruction,  religion was used by some  to form  the foundation for   invidious racial discrimination, particularly  against blacks.

 

Loving v. Virginia
(1967)

"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And, but for the interference with his arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriage. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 05:49:38 PM by John Galt incarnate! »

John Galt incarnate!

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 470



I'd say that most of the genuine gains we've seen in American society in the past 40 years have been political (e.g. greater gender and racial equality), while market capitalism on its own hasn't done much to make American society a better foundation and context for people to live good lives.

Actually (and happily)  the gains commenced long before 40 years ago.

Since the 1920s constitutional precedents have led the way to more equitable treatment of individuals and been the bases of great strides made with respect to the liberties enjoyed in civil society.

Bloop Bloop

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 729
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
I don't even know what 'ethical market' means. I believe in free markets, with fair laws that provide equality of opportunity to everyone. I otherwise don't care about ethics in the context of the market.

Gary123

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61

Religion has also been the foundation for   invidious racial discrimination, particularly  against blacks.

Thanks for proving my point that history is no longer taught in schools.   

 The KKK was not a religion nor did it have any influence on any modern theological thought.  Crazy people trying to use something they don’t even understand to gain credibility is not unique to religion.  Mao, Hitler, Manson, Jim Jones and even the Unibomber tried to invoke “science” to demonstrate their beliefs were either justified or proven.  In fact, these are crazy people trying to gain credibility through something to which they are not a contributor.  It doesn’t discredit authentic science.

Three early popes were from the Roman Africa Province. These were Pope Victor I (reigned c . 189 to 199), Pope Miltiades (reigned 311 to 314) and Pope Gelasius I (492 to 496) and all of them were Christian Berbers and in the modern vernacular “black.”

White people as we know them today weren’t really a majority of Christendom until long after Rome conquered Europe and Constantine become the first Christian Emporer of Rome.

Contrary to what you assert, the “foundations” of our civilization are not built on the teachings of any KKK leader from modern times but instead the following;

1. Philosophy of the Greeks
2. Laws of Rome
3. God of Jerusalem

Regarding the founding Fathers of the United States, they were not staunch defenders or even all promoters of slavery.  Regarding slavery, Jefferson even commented,

“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”  This was due to a compromise to allow slavery to continue in the south but essential lay the foundation, legally, for it revocation in the future.  Otherwise, the Declaration of Independence would have said all white men are created equal, but it doesn’t for a reason.

Informed by religion, civil leaders knew slavery was wrong.


ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
I don't even know what 'ethical market' means. I believe in free markets, with fair laws that provide equality of opportunity to everyone. I otherwise don't care about ethics in the context of the market.

Is it free market where John Galt privatizes all profit, and socializes secondary costs to everyone, in clouding people in different time/place?

I have not seen libertarians try to address secondary costs in practice - almost ever! Is that freeloading part of your definition of ‘free market’?

Buffalo Chip

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 362
  • Location: Tidewater Virginia
  • Politics DESTROYS kindness, decency, and community
I guess this has something to do with FI/RE? It really needs to be moved to off-topic.

If you come to the MMM forums it’s with the realization that a large portion of the posters seem to be on the left side of the political spectrum. No point in arguing with about it. They aren’t going to change their minds. Politics is a waste of time anyways.

As for fertility rates, it seems to have little to do with public policy. Basically folks have kids because they want them. Usually but not always due to religious belief. There is no good economic reason for doing having kids at least for middle and upper class folks. And public policy initiatives to increase birthrates have generally failed.

Bloop Bloop

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 729
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
I don't even know what 'ethical market' means. I believe in free markets, with fair laws that provide equality of opportunity to everyone. I otherwise don't care about ethics in the context of the market.

Is it free market where John Galt privatizes all profit, and socializes secondary costs to everyone, in clouding people in different time/place?

I have not seen libertarians try to address secondary costs in practice - almost ever! Is that freeloading part of your definition of ‘free market’?

I never said I wanted free markets with nil taxation. I believe there should be enough taxation (preferably of inheritance more so than income) to ensure that no one starves / freezes, and there is no public rebellion.

caleb

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 108

I'd say that most of the genuine gains we've seen in American society in the past 40 years have been political (e.g. greater gender and racial equality), while market capitalism on its own hasn't done much to make American society a better foundation and context for people to live good lives.

Actually (and happily)  the gains commenced long before 40 years ago.

Since the 1920s constitutional precedents have led the way to more equitable treatment of individuals and been the bases of great strides made with respect to the liberties enjoyed in civil society.

My earlier point must not have been clear.  What I meant to say was that capitalism more or less plateaued circa 1980, and the real gains since 1980 in terms of living better lives have been political and not a product of really free markets.

On might argue that health care from 1980 to the present has been a boon, but it's a serious stretch to call that a result of the free market.  I don't see how anyone would argue that health care is a free market system.

Maybe cheap airfare qualifies?  It's allowed me to travel the world, for sure.  But it's also had consequences both for the environment and for workers in the airline industry.  I'm not sure the benefits outweigh the costs on that one, especially if we have a long time horizon.

Any other proposals for where the free market has made us more fulfilled and the change clearly outweighs the costs?

When I sit back and look for the post-1980 benefits of unrestricted, free market capitalism for American society, I mostly see small benefits and significant downsides.  It doesn't seem to have been a clear good.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 09:05:15 PM by caleb »

Bloop Bloop

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 729
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
It's created a lot of wealth and it's bolstered the ranks of the upper middle class. There's a start for you.

It's also created a lot of middle class wealth in India and China.

caleb

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 108
It's created a lot of wealth and it's bolstered the ranks of the upper middle class. There's a start for you.

It's also created a lot of middle class wealth in India and China.

Sure, I'll accept all of that.  I just don't know that more wealth, and more cheap widgets, lead us to better lives.

The point of an economy is, after all, to serve human life, right?  To exchange stuff effectively and efficiently so that our lives are better than before?  Wouldn't we then think a good economy would be able to clearly demonstrate how it makes human life better?

The strongest arguments I see for global capitalism have nothing to do with the developed world, but rather that people on the periphery/fringes/3rd world are now less likely to die of starvation than 40 years ago.  Deep poverty has been reduced, for sure.  But that's not the argument anyone uses to say global capitalism as we know it is a good that should be continued.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 09:18:02 PM by caleb »

caleb

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 108
@Gary123 Imagine that I'm convinced that a successful society needs a shared moral basis.  Moreover, that the shared morality of American society has been eroded so that a serious restoration would be desirable.  What is to be done? (to quote Lenin)

Over the past couple months, there's been something of an emergent crisis on the cultural right as they come to terms with the present direction of the Republican party (including, but not limited to, the current president's past and current behavior, and the lack of concrete policy during the last Congress). 

As I understand them, cultural conservatives are coming to terms with the fact that they're maybe 20% of the electorate, and the most they're going to get out of electoral politics are a few messaging issues like abortion legislation.  A serious reconsidering of the place of morality in public life is just not on the table in any campaign, anywhere.

Cue the frustration apparent in Tucker Carlson's viral monologue early this year: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/tucker-carlson-mitt-romney-supports-the-status-quo-but-for-everyone-else-its-infuriating

Now, we could try to convince people that a more moral society would be desirable.  We could advocate for even moderate changes, like rolling back no-fault divorce.  But I think it's clear people broadly aren't interested.

People like Sohrab Ahmani would like to see the place of public virtue restored through a/non/un-democratic means like the appointment of judges, who are presumably better than the people and able to impose moral practices and eventually moral sentiments upon the citizenry: https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2019/05/against-david-french-ism  Given that electoral politics, and certainly this current administration, are not going to restore a moral order, then it seems that the only solution(s) are adjacent to or maybe even outside of electoral politics.

But here's the thing, and I echo Ross Douthot's criticism of Ahmani, while amplifying it: how does any a/non/un-democratic solution create a new, shared morality for a people who broadly don't want it without becoming authoritarian?  To me, that's the real nut of the issue.  It's not that a shared morality wouldn't be good, it's that there's no realistic path to it that's worth the costs.

Buffalo Chip

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 362
  • Location: Tidewater Virginia
  • Politics DESTROYS kindness, decency, and community
@Gary123 Imagine that I'm convinced that a successful society needs a shared moral basis.  Moreover, that the shared morality of American society has been eroded so that a serious restoration would be desirable.  What is to be done? (to quote Lenin)

Over the past couple months, there's been something of an emergent crisis on the cultural right as they come to terms with the present direction of the Republican party (including, but not limited to, the current president's past and current behavior, and the lack of concrete policy during the last Congress). 

As I understand them, cultural conservatives are coming to terms with the fact that they're maybe 20% of the electorate, and the most they're going to get out of electoral politics are a few messaging issues like abortion legislation.  A serious reconsidering of the place of morality in public life is just not on the table in any campaign, anywhere.

Cue the frustration apparent in Tucker Carlson's viral monologue early this year: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/tucker-carlson-mitt-romney-supports-the-status-quo-but-for-everyone-else-its-infuriating

Now, we could try to convince people that a more moral society would be desirable.  We could advocate for even moderate changes, like rolling back no-fault divorce.  But I think it's clear people broadly aren't interested.

People like Sohrab Ahmani would like to see the place of public virtue restored through a/non/un-democratic means like the appointment of judges, who are presumably better than the people and able to impose moral practices and eventually moral sentiments upon the citizenry: https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2019/05/against-david-french-ism  Given that electoral politics, and certainly this current administration, are not going to restore a moral order, then it seems that the only solution(s) are adjacent to or maybe even outside of electoral politics.

But here's the thing, and I echo Ross Douthot's criticism of Ahmani, while amplifying it: how does any a/non/un-democratic solution create a new, shared morality for a people who broadly don't want it without becoming authoritarian?  To me, that's the real nut of the issue.  It's not that a shared morality wouldn't be good, it's that there's no realistic path to it that's worth the costs.

What is to be done?  Nothing in the realm of politics, that’s for damn sure. Absent an autocracy that no one really wants, I don’t see a successful, imposed morality emerging in the US. And whose morality would that be in any case?  Most of the folks here on the MMM forums sure wouldn’t like my idea of morality.

Best alternative in my view is to improve what’s going on in our own backyard and leave other folks backyards alone. They’ll fix them as they see fit. Or not.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2019, 06:29:42 AM by Buffalo Chip »

LennStar

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1306

I think capitalism is the right word for it. What she captures is its essence - a system that protects individual rights.


First of all, what she captures has not much to do with it. It may be some strange version of the capitalist utopia, but it is far away from any reality. It has requirements baked into every sentence that are not given.

And for your point, the protection of individual rights, she does not mention this at all (in this). And way more important, the protection of individual rights is neither required nor automatically included in capitalism.

Quite contrary (looking at real life) it is often the lack of protection of individual rights that angers "capitalism critics", when Big Corp just takes away small people's property and/or rights to further it's profits. 

Quote
You clearly haven't read much of Rand's writing on politics. She never said that government was evil. Only that government's powers should be clearly defined and strictly limited to protecting individual rights.

Which isn't a government, but simply a judicial system without government.

Quote
when in my opinion, she exemplifies everything that's great about America. The fact that an immigrant from a war-torn country could build a new life in America.
Looking at reality again, it is far more likely to do that in Anti-Rayn northern Europe than in the USA.

Quote
Any reference of Jefferson Davis quoting Darwin to support his point - like you were claiming?

It is certainly easier to find quotes of Darwin where he hates that pro-Slavery people misused his works for their cause.

Quote
There's no "societal cost" to anything.
A typical Ayn Rand I would say :D

There is. As you have said, society is a collection of individuals. So if that collection is damanged, that is societal damange, or cost. And a lot of this can't be measured by individual rights or monetary worth.
How much worth has the village community compared to 100 people living next to each other?
Should - to take a more or less random example - the car industry pay damages for this community for breaking it down by letting people move around more easily? The TV industry for breaking all those small events of that past that melded the village together?


Quote
What I meant to say was that capitalism more or less plateaued circa 1980, and the real gains since 1980 in terms of living better lives have been political and not a product of really free markets.
That is an extremely intersting POV, mainly because since the late 70s all societies have moved to more (neoliberal) capitalim, while the era before that was extremely "socialism". Not coincidentally (I and many scientist's studies) think that the lower real growth and less good development for the lower half of people is (partly) based on this. 

conwy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 96
Is it free market where John Galt privatizes all profit, and socializes secondary costs to everyone, in clouding people in different time/place?

I have not seen libertarians try to address secondary costs in practice - almost ever! Is that freeloading part of your definition of ‘free market’?

Again, you're using this inflated term "societal costs" as if it were a magical incantation. Which costs and to whom?

If some specific community is affected by pollution, that community can mount lawsuits. This has in fact happened many times throughout America (and no doubt in other parts of the world).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_environmental_lawsuits

Where it becomes an issue one one nation causing pollution to another nation, then we have this thing called 'international diplomacy' which has prevented or minimised wars and led to the most peaceful era in modern human history.

If you start seeing everything anyone does as having "societal costs", which then need to be regulated, you're potentially calling for limits on practically any action anyone undertakes.

What if my choice of clothing presents a "societal cost" because some other person or group finds it offensive? Do I now have to alter my choice of clothing just to lower the societal cost?

The above is obviously an absurd example and probably could never happen. But we can already point to governments using surveillance technology to try and regulate/control lawful behaviour of citizens, e.g. China's facial detection technology and "social credit system". Is that the kind of world you want to live in?
« Last Edit: June 30, 2019, 04:04:03 AM by conwy »

Gary123

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
@Gary123 Imagine that I'm convinced that a successful society needs a shared moral basis.  Moreover, that the shared morality of American society has been eroded so that a serious restoration would be desirable.  What is to be done? (to quote Lenin)

Over the past couple months, there's been something of an emergent crisis on the cultural right as they come to terms with the present direction of the Republican party (including, but not limited to, the current president's past and current behavior, and the lack of concrete policy during the last Congress). 

As I understand them, cultural conservatives are coming to terms with the fact that they're maybe 20% of the electorate, and the most they're going to get out of electoral politics are a few messaging issues like abortion legislation.  A serious reconsidering of the place of morality in public life is just not on the table in any campaign, anywhere.

Cue the frustration apparent in Tucker Carlson's viral monologue early this year: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/tucker-carlson-mitt-romney-supports-the-status-quo-but-for-everyone-else-its-infuriating

Now, we could try to convince people that a more moral society would be desirable.  We could advocate for even moderate changes, like rolling back no-fault divorce.  But I think it's clear people broadly aren't interested.

Caleb,

Improving education should be the first objective since people who cannot think rationally are hardly able to make reasonable decisions.  This thread for example, demonstrates many people who don’t understand the difference between a system, religion or ideology’s ideals versus a single bad actor. 

Many of the comments can be taken to their logical conclusion to say if one police officer acts badly than the city charter is fatally flawed and all law enforcement should be abandoned as evil.  It’s both an inability to think relationally combined with perhaps a misunderstanding of scale and how to form a rational argument.  To dismiss all religion due to one ignorant comment by a KKK leader (who knows nothing about the history of religion) is equally irrational and is not even the basis of a rational argument.

I agree with your conclusion that you can’t legislate or mandate the better moral environment that capitalism requires to function at its highest efficiency.  India, for example, has no shortage of laws but the amount of corruption in their system is staggering.  I remember once trying to implement a power plant in UP and discovered over 50% of the electricity is lost to theft directly off the power lines.  Poverty persists in India because the very same kind of bald assertions and silly rationalizations for corrupt behavior are defended by local politicians who practice the worldwide politics of envy that appear to be taking over the Democratic Party in the United States.

Economic forces are perhaps the greatest drivers in social behavior.  Unfortunately, if you can demonstrate statistically that monogamous married and religious couples attain wealth at a much greater percentage in this country than single atheists or people with multiple partners throughout their lives it isn’t really appreciated by folks who rely on antidotes instead of real information to guide their life decisions.

Hedonism is perhaps the most destructive social behavior for any society but on this blog it would likely be rated somewhere above religion and a faith in God and universal truth. 

Capitalism is an economic and not moral system and our government a constitutional republic not a democracy.  I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said our system of checks and balances would be about as effective as stopping an elephant with a fishing net if society is not comprised of men of good and sound moral character.





ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
@Gary123 Imagine that I'm convinced that a successful society needs a shared moral basis.  Moreover, that the shared morality of American society has been eroded so that a serious restoration would be desirable.  What is to be done? (to quote Lenin)

Over the past couple months, there's been something of an emergent crisis on the cultural right as they come to terms with the present direction of the Republican party (including, but not limited to, the current president's past and current behavior, and the lack of concrete policy during the last Congress). 

As I understand them, cultural conservatives are coming to terms with the fact that they're maybe 20% of the electorate, and the most they're going to get out of electoral politics are a few messaging issues like abortion legislation.  A serious reconsidering of the place of morality in public life is just not on the table in any campaign, anywhere.

Cue the frustration apparent in Tucker Carlson's viral monologue early this year: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/tucker-carlson-mitt-romney-supports-the-status-quo-but-for-everyone-else-its-infuriating

Now, we could try to convince people that a more moral society would be desirable.  We could advocate for even moderate changes, like rolling back no-fault divorce.  But I think it's clear people broadly aren't interested.

People like Sohrab Ahmani would like to see the place of public virtue restored through a/non/un-democratic means like the appointment of judges, who are presumably better than the people and able to impose moral practices and eventually moral sentiments upon the citizenry: https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2019/05/against-david-french-ism  Given that electoral politics, and certainly this current administration, are not going to restore a moral order, then it seems that the only solution(s) are adjacent to or maybe even outside of electoral politics.

But here's the thing, and I echo Ross Douthot's criticism of Ahmani, while amplifying it: how does any a/non/un-democratic solution create a new, shared morality for a people who broadly don't want it without becoming authoritarian?  To me, that's the real nut of the issue.  It's not that a shared morality wouldn't be good, it's that there's no realistic path to it that's worth the costs.

I don't have a fully developed thought to respond to this, nor have I seen a more balanced scholarly take responding to this crisis of morality on the right.

Have you considered that this "crisis of morality" is just an artifact of right-wing politics since 1960's? It is probably also a big projection to think this is an issue encompassing all of america.

A few random points that have never been thought through to their completion to a degree where they can be published in any peer to peer reviewed journal:

1. The most far-reaching impact of FDR was putting "liberal" judges in the court. True to the form, the court handed "social conservatives" several major "losses" in 1950's, for which the legislative groundwork was laid in 1930's.

2. The anger from this "non-democratic" losses was massive among the "social conservatives". I mean, the southern segregationists seriously believed (and continue to believe) blacks to be inferior. Busing kids to school infuriate them. Welfare use by the blacks (ref: "welfare queen caricature" by Reagan) anger them, and the prohibition of displaying religious symbols and bible classes in public schools is something that this right is still smarting from and folks like Betsy DeVos (whose fortune is primarily built from MLM scam) are still trying to overturn them. Add in some other issues like Row vs. Wade etc - and the outrage was complete and sincere.

3. As a response to this anger from 50's, two things happened. Nixon started co-opting the "southern democrats". If you need a specific point where the conservative soul was lost - this is probably it!! Where Nixon (the crook he was) sold the conservative soul for votes from people who still supported slavery and Jim Crow and such.

4. Response II - conservatives started looking for judicial remedies for their woos. Federalist society was born. Several novel and innovative judicial theories were also born (e.g. "originalism"). These activities really gained steam from 1978 onwards. Since the conservative "response" was primarily aimed at getting even with liberals for letting the "uppity blacks into to neighborhood" - contradictions were papered over. Any consequences for these fantastical ideas (Some kids will die when you invent innovative legal theories of gun rights? who cares?) were worth the price for the moral outrage caused by the FDR court to the new "conservative" caucus consisting of the husk of the previous conservative ideology populated by the "southern democrats".

5. Response III - like any grievance-driven movement, the end now justified the means in the conservative movement. Stealing elections (blatant gerrymandering), initiating massive partisan public policy change with only a minority support (3 out of the 9 Supreme court judges were appointed by a president without popular vote, confirmed by a senate without one) etc. etc. and all other underhanded non-democratic means are kosher.

The frustration apparent in Tucker Carlson and other conservatives is the late realization that "America" has never really cared for the white-middle-aged-male-from-rural-south sense of morality and they have little chance of ever imposing that on everyone else despite using up all the tricks.

The women, the blacks and other other sundry demographics have started demanding an equal say in the affairs of the country.

If you want to look for the new, emergent American morality - you would not find that in the rural south, but most probably in the big metropolises of the new America.

You think new America lacks morality? Well - try to "backstab" someone in NYC, and you will quickly be taught it's moral to stab people in the front - not back!! We also think it is not a good idea to sexually harass someone below you in corporate hierarchy (how many "me too" story have you heard coming out of the hyper-competitive corporate world of NYC??), discriminate based on someone's birth etc. etc. etc.

If you think it a little through - the old morality you are so nostalgic about is dependent on white male privilege. Take that away, and it falls apart - as it should.

Gary123

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
3. As a response to this anger from 50's, two things happened. Nixon started co-opting the "southern democrats". If you need a specific point where the conservative soul was lost - this is probably it!! Where Nixon (the crook he was) sold the conservative soul for votes from people who still supported slavery and Jim Crow and such.

If you think it a little through - the old morality you are so nostalgic about is dependent on white male priviledge.

I was hoping to have a broader discussion regarding the practical problem that capitalism alone does not create the citizens it requires to function properly but you appear to have dragged us into a US partisan debate with some old tired and flawed arguments.

Above I copied what I believe was the basis for your argument; Nixon won the south by converting racist Democrats to the Republican party and anyone with less melatonin in their skin are automatically given things for free and don’t need to work for what they have.  Is this correct?

The first black Senator from Mississippi following the civil war was a Republican who enjoyed wide support among both white Republicans who opposed slavery and newly emancipated blacks.  After the assasination if Lincoln, moderate Republican Andrew Johnson withdrew federal troops and allowed the Democratic Party control again which instituted Jim Crow laws denying African Americans many of their most fundamental rights for another 100 years.

If you are following the debate between Joe Biden and Kemala Harris, you would know your argument is nonesense.  Biden wasn’t bragging about working with segregationalist Republicans but Democrats in the south and during the 1970’s.  These Senators died Democrats and never switched their political party.  While it might be convenient to try and blame Republicans for the segregationist South but there is simply no truth in your terribly misinformed argument.

Now, Republican Herbert Hoover gained 47% of the popular vote in the South over Al Smith in 1928.  I mention this to illustrate your theory that somehow it wasn’t until Nixon the south would support a Republican candidate is also demonstrably false.

Republican President Eisenhower won six critical states in the South when he ran for a second term after supporting Brown vs. Board of Education and sending the National Guard to Little Rock to force integration of public schools.  The Democrat segregationalist opposed President Eisenhower.

Of the 21 southern Democrat Congressmen who opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, only one eventually change his party to Republican Sid e the other 20 continued to support segregation from within their own party that created it; the Democratic Party.

By the way, Carter and Clinton won the south not their Republican opponents which is another fact that disproves your theory the South voted Republican following Nixon’s term in office.  In fact, a majority of Republican Congressman from the south didn’t occur until 1994 - decades after Nixon was in office.

Lastly, you appear to be a bit of a racist yourself.  I never said I was white nor did Caleb I believe yet you are making that assumption.  Suffice it to say my immediate family is mixed race but it really shouldn’t matter for the purposes of this discussion or any other political discussion for that matter if race is unimportant to deciding whether you value someone’s opinion.

Here is a short video to help you understand why the tired partisan arguments you are bringing to this forum are not only factually incorrect but further evidence history needs to be taught in school again.

https://www.prageru.com/video/why-did-the-democratic-south-become-republican/






« Last Edit: June 30, 2019, 07:30:37 AM by Gary123 »

ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
No, Nixon converting south as a single point event in history is not the primary thesis of my argument.

History is rarely a series of quantized events that can be discretely isolated. It makes no difference to my argument if it is shown that the south’s conversion to present day ‘right wing politics’, and the consequent republican conversion to Jim Crow politics was more gradual and happened over multiple decades.

It stands that lincoln’s Party is today an undisputed and welcoming home to the traitors of yesteryear (or yesterday-century).

That is the central tragedy of American politics - something that I find worth mourning for.

In any healthy system, balance is required. This is why republican conversion to Jim Crow politics sometime in the 20th century is so especially tragic. American politics is without a right at present (the pu**y-grabbing variety, I’m sure you’d agree, doesn’t count).

The best hope of ever reviving such a moral right today is to kill the current ‘right’ (something that will likely take decades) and the fracture the democrats into left of center and right of center. The first part is difficult and will take a long time - but is essential for us America to survive and not revolve into a pu**y-grabbing republic!!


ctuser1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
And by the way - the morality some people ignorantly pine for never existed.

A century ago, people were the same at best (if not worse).

Alfred Hitchcock - just like fox news bosses, or Weinstein from today's world - harassed his assistant for years. The only difference is that today the victims are not considered a lesser human being and can seek reparation for the crimes against them.

It can, and has been scientifically shown that when you compare average humans from the 17th century to that of modern world - the modern human is more intelligent and less violent. The moral trajectory has arched only upwards in the last few centuries - I believe thanks to the decline of widespread superstitions known as religion!!

fuzzy math

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 863
  • Age: 37
  • Location: PNW ---> Midwest (for now)
Snide, condescending and rude attacks abound in your posts Gary123. I'm impressed that other posters on this forum are giving you space in their lives and minds by formulating responses, because your demeanor does not seem to have earned it from anyone here.

You get upset when someone "brings up US partisan debates with some old tired and flawed arguments" and yet your first post talks about slavery and the civil war. You have a great knack for listing historical facts, but applying them logically appears to be another story.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13627
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I was hoping to have a broader discussion regarding the practical problem that capitalism alone does not create the citizens it requires to function properly

That's an interesting question to pose.  I guess the first thing to do would be to identify some capitalist systems that function properly and contrast them with capitalist systems that do not function properly.  If you can't find any examples of the former, then there may actually be a problem with the idea of capitalism on it's own.  So what states operate a capitalist economy correctly in your view?


Above I copied what I believe was the basis for your argument; Nixon won the south by converting racist Democrats to the Republican party and anyone with less melatonin in their skin are automatically given things for free and don’t need to work for what they have.  Is this correct?

Not exactly.  The Republican Southern Strategy hinged on racism though, (or at least it's difficult to argue against that view).  That is explicitly what Nixon's political strategist said his plan was:

"From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats." - Kevin Phillips (political strategist for Richard Nixon)


Nixon himself was unabashedly racist.  His chief of staff wrote that:
"[Nixon] emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to. Pointed out that there has never in history been an adequate black nation, and they are the only race of which this is true. Says Africa is hopeless. The worst there is Liberia, which we built." - H. R. Haldeman (President Nixon's Chief of Staff)


Since Nixon, the same strategy of deliberately exploiting anti-black racism for Republican party gain continued but in a more subtle way . . . as outlined by Republican political strategist Lee Atwater in a 1981 interview:

" Y'all don't quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger." " - Lee Atwater (Republican Strategist)



A recent post about why are social conservatives always wrong is a shocking example of either how badly our (and the Canadian per the poster) education systems are failing to teach history and form citizens to operate successfully in a capitalist economy.

The poster actually believes “social conservatives” and Republicans were responsible for slavery, opposing women suffrage, creating prohibition and the list goes on.

*waves*

Hi, uneducated socially liberal libertarian Canadian here!  Nice to meet you.

I'm a bit confused by the above.  You appear to be arguing that social conservatism is somehow related to capitalism in the above quote.  I don't really follow your logic there.  Capitalist economies don't typically care about the social liberalism/conservatism.  Can you explain your reasoning further?
« Last Edit: June 30, 2019, 08:40:29 AM by GuitarStv »