George H. Smith

My Cato Essays

Recommended Posts

41 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

The wrong man was hanged.  It should have been Benedict Arnold and Peggy Shippen too, for good measure.

The Brits didn't like Arnold much and tended to shun him in London.

--Brant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Abolitionism: Wendell Phillips on Voting and Political Action

Smith discusses the controversy over whether the U.S. Constitution is pro-slavery, as illustrated in the opposing views of two leading abolitionists: Wendell Phillips and Lysander Spooner.

 

My Libertarianism.org Essay #230 has been posted.

 

Ghs

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My latest Excursions Essays, #233 and #234. 

 

https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/can-abolitionists-vote-or-take-office-under-united-states-constitution 

Can Abolitionists Vote or Take Office Under the United States Constitution? 

Smith discusses the arguments of Wendell Phillips that abolitionists should not vote or hold political office. 

 

https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/more-wendell-phillips-anti-political-abolitionism 

More on Wendell Phillips and Anti-Political Abolitionism 

Smith discusses the arguments of Wendell Phillips that abolitionists should not vote or hold political office.

 

Ghs

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I missed this  one, #232.

https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/abolitionism-violence-how-william-lloyd-garrison-was-almost-killed-mob-0

Abolitionism, Violence, and How William Lloyd Garrison was Almost Killed by a Mob

Smith discusses the prevalence of violence against abolitionists during the 1830s, and how Wendell Phillips became an abolitionist. 

Ghs

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Final Comments on Wendell Phillips and Non-Voting

Smith concludes his discussion of the no-voting theory of Wendell Phillips by explaining Phillips’s attitude toward taxes and the limits of democracy.

My Libertarianism.org Essay #237 has been posted.

Ghs

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, George H. Smith said:

From the article:

**************************

But his theory of voting has broader implications. Consider what Phillips said in response to some other objections to his no-voting doctrine. Governments cannot claim any special moral rights or duties over those possessed by individuals. “Government is only an association of individuals,” he declared. Vices cannot be transformed into virtues by “the magic wand of government.” The “same rules of morality” that govern the conduct of individuals should also govern the conduct of governments. A government is merely a combination of men, and “a combination of men cannot change the moral character of an act, which is in itself sinful.” The “law of morals is binding the same on communities, corporations, &c. as on individuals

************************************************

If enough of the individuals  that constitute the government  decree that an act X is punishable then doing X  will bring punishment.  The morality or non-morality of X  has nothing (in this case)  to do with the actual real world results that follow from performing X. The morality of X  is doxa,  opinion. The judgement "X is moral"  does not following logically from any physical law describing the universe nor is it logically necessary. 

The proposition X is legal (or not legal)  can be empirically, objectively determined.  Just look at the statues.  The proposition that X is moral cannot be empirically or objectively determine nor can be it be objectively or empirically falsified. Morality is opinion. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

From the article:

**************************

But his theory of voting has broader implications. Consider what Phillips said in response to some other objections to his no-voting doctrine. Governments cannot claim any special moral rights or duties over those possessed by individuals. “Government is only an association of individuals,” he declared. Vices cannot be transformed into virtues by “the magic wand of government.” The “same rules of morality” that govern the conduct of individuals should also govern the conduct of governments. A government is merely a combination of men, and “a combination of men cannot change the moral character of an act, which is in itself sinful.” The “law of morals is binding the same on communities, corporations, &c. as on individuals

************************************************

If enough of the individuals  that constitute the government  decree that an act X is punishable then doing X  will bring punishment.  The morality or non-morality of X  has nothing (in this case)  to do with the actual real world results that follow from performing X. The morality of X  is doxa,  opinion. The judgement "X is moral"  does not following logically from any physical law describing the universe nor is it logically necessary. 

The proposition X is legal (or not legal)  can be empirically, objectively determined.  Just look at the statues.  The proposition that X is moral cannot be empirically or objectively determine nor can be it be objectively or empirically falsified. Morality is opinion. 

And what is your moral opinion about ____________________?

And why do these individuals "decree"?

You're looking up and seeing sky from a position of legality. You fail to look down. You are really claiming there is no down down there.

--Brant

or a human beings moral sentiments can't be objectified; if so individual rights cannot be either; you lecture about human nature when half of yours doesn't exist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

And what is your moral opinion about ____________________?

And why do these individuals "decree"?

You're looking up and seeing sky from a position of legality. You fail to look down. You are really claiming there is no down down there.

--Brant

Those with the guns decree especially if their victims do not resist. 

I pay attention to facts and logic far more than to beliefs and opinions.  What is "down there" is the ground.  What do you think is "down there"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Those with the guns decree especially if their victims do not resist. 

I pay attention to facts and logic far more than to beliefs and opinions.  What is "down there" is the ground.  What do you think is "down there"?

Government based on individual rights displaces governments based on their violation. We say "by and large" for there cannot be a government that won't in some way violate rights and even totalitarian ones leave some freedom of action, however small (assuming they don't kill the subjects). You don't have access to these facts leaving your facts and logic a canoe without a paddle or, I'd guess, a paddle without a canoe for you do paddle, incessantly. It's moral--pro-human life--not to violate rights or have your rights violated so you can live a happy and productive existence through your best judgments and efforts.

--Brant

in a world of rights and wrongs Bob cannot even sing one song

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Brant Gaede said:

 

in a world of rights and wrongs Bob cannot even sing one song

I don't do right / wrong.  I do correct / incorrect  and  logical / illogical   and true/ false. Right / Wrong in the ethical sense  is doxa and cannot be determined by empirical means.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

I don't do right / wrong.  I do correct / incorrect  and  logical / illogical   and true/ false. Right / Wrong in the ethical sense  is doxa and cannot be determined by empirical means.  

Yep, Hume went overboard too.

Pure empiricism is doxa.

--Brant

on stilts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

Yep, Hume went overboard too.

Pure empiricism is doxa.

--Brant

on stilts

But impure empiricism created the modern world as we know it.  

Empiricism cannot be pure.  A mental or intellectual process is required to integrate the facts that are supplied empirically.

The pure empiricism you flog  simply does not exist.  Theories and hypotheses are derived from facts.  They require thinking.  If there were no sentient beings with a highly developed ability to abstract,  there would be facts but no theories. 

Theories do not leap from piles of fact like frogs leap off lily pads.  They do not emerge into the world like Athena from the Head of Zeus fully clothed.  They have to be created by thought.  It is a creative processes. Einstein said "Theories are creations of the human mind".  I am not so sure about the mind part,  but I agree that theories don't happen until people think them up. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ba’al maintains, “Right / Wrong in the ethical sense is doxa and cannot be determined by empirical means.”

A philosophy based on trial, error, learning by the errors (sometimes called *history,*) reason and science, can result in the formulation of a strategy of survival that is logically, ethical and evolutionarily, correct. If you do the right thing you survive. Do the right things and your family survives and in a larger sense your community survives.  So, if survival, the carrying on of your genes, fun, entertainment, and companionship are goals then Objectivism makes perfect sense. It cannot predict with certainty in a chaotic world but it is a good tool. The process begins when you don't roll off the couch a second time, as a baby.  

If you were not entertained or educated, even the supposedly emotionally muted individual would be incommunicado, and not participating on this forum.

Ba’al wrote: Einstein said "Theories are creations of the human mind". I am not so sure about the mind part, but I agree that theories don't happen until people think them up. end quote

Sorry, Charley. Nothing cannot create something  . . . so if it was not a mind and a person who thought the quote up, was it a squid? Tell us what a person is. 

Did I change anyone’s mind or are they moving to a more sparsely occupied area of earth?

Peter     

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Peter said:

Ba’al maintains, “Right / Wrong in the ethical sense is doxa and cannot be determined by empirical means.”

A philosophy based on trial, error, learning by the errors (sometimes called *history,*) reason and science, can result in the formulation of a strategy of survival that is logically, ethical and evolutionarily, correct. If you do the right thing you survive. Do the right things and your family survives and in a larger sense your community survives.  So, if survival, the carrying on of your genes, fun, entertainment, and companionship are goals then Objectivism makes perfect sense. It cannot predict with certainty in a chaotic world but it is a good tool. The process begins when you don't roll off the couch a second time, as a baby.  

If you were not entertained or educated, even the supposedly emotionally muted individual would be incommunicado, and not participating on this forum.

Ba’al wrote: Einstein said "Theories are creations of the human mind". I am not so sure about the mind part, but I agree that theories don't happen until people think them up. end quote

Sorry, Charley. Nothing cannot create something  . . . so if it was not a mind and a person who thought the quote up, was it a squid? Tell us what a person is. 

Did I change anyone’s mind or are they moving to a more sparsely occupied area of earth?

Peter     

Brains create theories.  Brains are not Nothing.  Brains are Everything in the thinking department. 

No thought has ever come into existence except as some action of someone' s brain. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gerrit Smith, Lysander Spooner, and Dio Lewis on Prohibition

Smith discusses Gerrit Smith’s arguments for prohibition and the reply by Lysander Spooner, as published in a book by Dio Lewis, Prohibition: A Failure.

My Libertarianism.org Essay #140 has been posted.

Ghs

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dio Lewis on Lysander Spooner and Prohibition

Smith discusses Lewis’s rare insights on Spooner’s personal life, and his libertarian case against prohibition.

My Libertarianism.org Essay  #241 was posted on Friday.

Ghs

Excerpt

In his obituary of Lysander Spooner (Liberty, May 28, 1887) the anarchist Benjamin R. Tucker wrote:

He died at one o’clock in the afternoon of Saturday, May 14, in his little room at 109 Myrtle Street [Boston], surrounded by trunks and chests bursting with the books, manuscripts, and pamphlets which he had gathered about him in his active pamphleteer’s warfare over half a century long.

The trunks and chests mentioned here ended up in Tucker’s warehouse, which also housed his printing press and stock. Tragically, the warehouse burned down in 1908 and destroyed everything inside. Tucker was unable to recover financially, so the fire ended the publication of Liberty, which was the cornerstone of the radical individualist-libertarian movement in America. Equally as tragic was the loss of Spooner’s collection of unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, and other personal material. Without this material it has been impossible to write a detailed biography of Spooner. We know little about his personal life and preferences, but some information was provided by Dio Lewis (1823-1886), Spooner’s friend and personal physician in later life.

Dio Lewis was a homeopathic physician who stressed the importance of exercise, sunlight, proper diet and other natural factors in the prevention and cure of diseases. In his many books—including New Gymnastics, Our Digestion, Weak Lungs, Chastity—we find a fair amount of sound advice sprinkled with only a minimal amount of quackery, at least by nineteenth-century standards. The relevant book for our purpose is Talks About People's Stomachs, published in 1870. Here we find two discussions of Lysander Spooner. Although these passages have nothing to do with Spooner’s political views, I have never seen them quoted or cited in any published discussion of Spooner, so I hereby quote them for their historical interest alone....

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/30/2017 at 6:38 PM, George H. Smith said:

Dio Lewis on Lysander Spooner and Prohibition

Smith discusses Lewis’s rare insights on Spooner’s personal life, and his libertarian case against prohibition.

My Libertarianism.org Essay  #241 was posted on Friday.

Ghs

Excerpt

In his obituary of Lysander Spooner (Liberty, May 28, 1887) the anarchist Benjamin R. Tucker wrote:

He died at one o’clock in the afternoon of Saturday, May 14, in his little room at 109 Myrtle Street [Boston], surrounded by trunks and chests bursting with the books, manuscripts, and pamphlets which he had gathered about him in his active pamphleteer’s warfare over half a century long.

The trunks and chests mentioned here ended up in Tucker’s warehouse, which also housed his printing press and stock. Tragically, the warehouse burned down in 1908 and destroyed everything inside. Tucker was unable to recover financially, so the fire ended the publication of Liberty, which was the cornerstone of the radical individualist-libertarian movement in America. Equally as tragic was the loss of Spooner’s collection of unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, and other personal material. Without this material it has been impossible to write a detailed biography of Spooner. We know little about his personal life and preferences, but some information was provided by Dio Lewis (1823-1886), Spooner’s friend and personal physician in later life.

Dio Lewis was a homeopathic physician who stressed the importance of exercise, sunlight, proper diet and other natural factors in the prevention and cure of diseases. In his many books—including New Gymnastics, Our Digestion, Weak Lungs, Chastity—we find a fair amount of sound advice sprinkled with only a minimal amount of quackery, at least by nineteenth-century standards. The relevant book for our purpose is Talks About People's Stomachs, published in 1870. Here we find two discussions of Lysander Spooner. Although these passages have nothing to do with Spooner’s political views, I have never seen them quoted or cited in any published discussion of Spooner, so I hereby quote them for their historical interest alone....

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, George stopped putting up his essays here, but he's still writing them. It's very hard to find a listing of them. I thought OL was a very good place to go to find them. I suspect it's due to a glitch.

--Brant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now