Crony Capitalism


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13 hours ago, Samson Corwell said:

What an Objectivist answer. I didn't say what is right is different for different people (oddly enough, Objectivism does say so (sort of)).

Interestingly, I have, and I think it's implicit in Rand's fiction and observable in reality. Certainly men and women have contrary moral purposes.

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On 12/28/2016 at 10:28 AM, Samson Corwell said:

No, every law is an imposition of value on those who disagree with it. Just as the current system is an imposition on libertarians, a libertarian system would be an imposition on non-libertarians who would find their views excluded from the public sphere.

But not necessarily initiation of force imposition.

--Brant

are you trying to have your rights and eat them too?

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On 2016/12/28 at 7:27 PM, Samson Corwell said:

A utilitarian standard may be the wrong one, but is none the less NOT morally subjectivist. Unless, you are using "subjectivist" in the Randian sense of "that which I have no other criticism for".

ha, very cute. Perhaps you could take another look at 'subjectivism' in the AR Lexicon. Bet on it that Rand is never going to be anything like as vague and non-specific as you suggest. Utilitarianism is not ~whatever works, whatever turns out best~ as I think it's taken sometimes. (This would be roughly a consequentialist-pragmatism). Rather, it has meant ~the greatest good for the greater number~ which shows its subjectivist (yes) and sacrificial, altruist roots.

If "the good" is defined by a number, people's numbers constantly change and therefore the good is arbitrary and changeable - and so, subjective..

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

Utilitarianism is not ~whatever works, whatever turns out best~ as I think it's taken sometimes. This would be roughly a consequentialist-pragmatism. Rather, it has always meant ~the greatest good for the greater number~ which shows its subjectivist (yes) and sacrificial, altruist roots.

Utilitarianism has not always meant 'the greatest good for the greater number'. It didn't mean that to its founder Bentham. Wikipedia.

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32 minutes ago, merjet said:

Utilitarianism has not always meant 'the greatest good for the greater number'. It didn't mean that to its founder Bentham. Wikipedia.

And eye-opening. Should I say, eye-popping?!

"Jeremy Bentham... described utility as the sum of all pleasure that results from an action, minus the suffering of anyone involved in the action".

Whew!

Although you are right, utilitarianism is much more in line with consequentialism than I thought, the above shows that "numbers" ("the sum") are key, and the greatest good for the greatest number still applies. It's really a fine line between cause and effect which distinguishes them.

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2 hours ago, anthony said:

And eye-opening. Should I say, eye-popping?!

"Jeremy Bentham... described utility as the sum of all pleasure that results from an action, minus the suffering of anyone involved in the action".

Whew!

Although you are right, utilitarianism is much more in line with consequentialism than I thought, the above shows that "numbers" ("the sum") are key, and the greatest good for the greatest number still applies. It's really a fine line between cause and effect which distinguishes them.

addition and subtraction or operations done on sets  or on quantities.   Pleasure and Pain cannot be quantified.  So what meaning can be applied to Bentham's postulate?

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1 hour ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Pleasure and Pain cannot be quantified.  So what meaning can be applied to Bentham's postulate?

Pleasures and pains can be ranked, which is a form of quantification.

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9 minutes ago, merjet said:

Pleasures and pains can be ranked, which is a form of quantification.

I tend to agree with Bob, one can quantify a spectrum of pain to pleasure in oneself, but here the context is across many individuals. One man's pain ~might~ be an other's pleasure, to be extreme ... and, who can tell? What measure is there to gauge anyone else's pain etc. ? That's the pure subjectivity of Bentham and the sacrificial immorality of his utilitarianism.

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20 minutes ago, merjet said:

Pleasures and pains can be ranked, which is a form of quantification.

People can be inconsistent in their ranking.  A is preferred to B,  B is preferred to C,  it does not follow that A is preferred to C.  Preference works on pairs but transitivity need not hold.   Without transitivity  ordinal ranking does not work. And preference even when transitive need not be a linear order. It could be a partial order.  A  preferred to B  A' preferred to B   but  no preference order to A and A'

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55 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

People can be inconsistent in their ranking.  A is preferred to B,  B is preferred to C,  it does not follow that A is preferred to C.  Preference works on pairs but transitivity need not hold.   Without transitivity  ordinal ranking does not work. And preference even when transitive need not be a linear order. It could be a partial order.  A  preferred to B  A' preferred to B   but  no preference order to A and A'

Of course, people can be inconsistent in their rankings, and transitivity need not hold. However, that does not imply ranking isn't a form of quantifying. Suppose P1, P2, and P3 race 100 yards. They finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively. Your not knowing their times by stopwatch does not imply there is no quantifying. If they race again and the finishing order is P2, P1, P3, does that mean 1st, 2nd, and 3rd no longer apply?

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On December 29, 2016 at 9:01 PM, Brant Gaede said:

But not necessarily initiation of force imposition.

--Brant

are you trying to have your rights and eat them too?

I don't belief in rights as important components of a moral theory.

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On December 30, 2016 at 4:28 AM, anthony said:

ha, very cute. Perhaps you could take another look at 'subjectivism' in the AR Lexicon. Bet on it that Rand is never going to be anything like as vague and non-specific as you suggest. Utilitarianism is not ~whatever works, whatever turns out best~ as I think it's taken sometimes. (This would be roughly a consequentialist-pragmatism). Rather, it has meant ~the greatest good for the greater number~ which shows its subjectivist (yes) and sacrificial, altruist roots.

If "the good" is defined by a number, people's numbers constantly change and therefore the good is arbitrary and changeable - and so, subjective..

I gave you what the term "subjectivist" has come to mean in practice when used by many Objectivists. Utilitarianism contends that maximizing happiness is OBJECTIVELY moral. It presupposes moral realism. Whatever makes someone happy may be different from person-to-person and from time-to-time, but that there is something that does make them happy is entirely objective. And it is not altruism as altruism may in fact conflict with it. Anyway your reason for dismissing it is also Kant's reason as well as his reason for dismissing egoism.

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1 hour ago, Samson Corwell said:

I gave you what the term "subjectivist" has come to mean in practice when used by many Objectivists. Utilitarianism contends that maximizing happiness is OBJECTIVELY moral. It presupposes moral realism. Whatever makes someone happy may be different from person-to-person and from time-to-time, but that there is something that does make them happy is entirely objective. And it is not altruism as altruism may in fact conflict with it. Anyway your reason for dismissing it is also Kant's reason as well as his reason for dismissing egoism.

You make your happiness. You adduce the things that do that. Your objectification is historical. It's something that happened.

Something is moral, amoral, not moral, immoral. OBJECTIVELY has nothing to do with it for it's redundant. And, for the record, what is moral un-realism? BTW, if altruism may in fact conflict with "it" may it in fact not conflict?

What is altruism, really?

--Brant

 

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On 2017/01/10 at 5:09 AM, Samson Corwell said:

I gave you what the term "subjectivist" has come to mean in practice when used by many Objectivists. Utilitarianism contends that maximizing happiness is OBJECTIVELY moral. It presupposes moral realism. Whatever makes someone happy may be different from person-to-person and from time-to-time, but that there is something that does make them happy is entirely objective. And it is not altruism as altruism may in fact conflict with it. Anyway your reason for dismissing it is also Kant's reason as well as his reason for dismissing egoism.

"Utilitarianism contends that maximizing happiness is OBJECTIVELY moral".

For whom?

And what is "happiness"? Can it be maximized - collectively?

You're swinging the beneficiaries between the major number and the individual, as if they are interchangeably one and the same. What if you are the single person who's happiness doesn't count in the greater scheme of things, and so are damned to non-happiness in favour of any arbitrary group? (Too bad - luck of the draw?) What about, in reverse, if you are one of the majority who gains their 'happiness' at the cost of that one individual? Could the 'beneficiary' stomach his 'happiness'? Not for a selfishly moral person, by definition. Utilitarianism is a coercive and cynical numbers game, which ennobles 'Happiness' in a Platonic Ideal (disconnected from a consciousness and reality) and indoctrinated as a 'measurable' (somehow) abstraction/emotion/consequence ... across a collective of minds/lives. I.e., SUBJECTIVELY (and immorally, btw).

Altruism as a doctrine reduces to sacrifice, others to self or self to others, so one can equate them: Altruism is sacrifice. "Others" becomes one's standard to live for, by, and through.

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On 2017/01/10 at 5:09 AM, Samson Corwell said:

 And it is not altruism as altruism may in fact conflict with it. Anyway your reason for dismissing it is also Kant's reason as well as his reason for dismissing egoism.

Kant tried to wriggle round both (sacrificial) utilitarianism AND egoism, and left us with not much. (imo)

A. we mustn't use people to our own ends.

B. only the "good will" counts (not the outcomes, whether self-interested, or other-motivated).

[Kant's] Humanity Formula:

"It is not human beings per se but the "humanity" in human beings that we must treat as end in itself".

{Stanford Encyc.]

I think this formula is superfluous for anyone who exists as a fairly aware human and therefore is "human". i.e. for 95% of people at a guess. An adult doesn't have to be told or warned that others are separate beings with separate minds, bodies, feelings and drives (surely?). That engenders a simple appreciation and consideration of general humanity. For those who don't know, not much will convince anyhow, making the 'law' further redundant. Over and above that, a rational egoist in particular has no concept of "using" others involuntarily, knowing full well each and every person is autonomous and self-directing. I think Kant's 'law' only could be attractive to some political thinkers as a rationale for human rights (I feel sure that his envisaged Society dominated Kant's ethical thinking).

Even so, rights in a society only limit or tell one what NOT to do (to others) - which is not much - therefore rights, of any sort, are not a morality per se. As contrast, to guide all the things that one DOES do, requires a proper rational morality.

More:

"Kant thinks that the only thing that is intrinsically good is a good will. And Kant makes it clear that what makes a will good has nothing to do with what it accomplishes or effects, thus distinguishing his view sharply from consequentialist views of any type, including utilitarianism".

For one thing, I think there's a screaming false dichotomy here. The presumption arises that an egoist individual acting rationally and selfishly to his own ends does not or cannot have a "good will". Why not, indeed?! -- considering he acts in the knowledge that what he aims to accomplish is objectively "right" in itself, for himself and his life-values, that he selfishly cannot harm or interfere with an other's mind and goals, and that everyone else is (or should be) acting rationally/benevolently to their own end, too.

To aim for good, selfish consequences and accompanied with good will aren't mutually exclusive, as Kant worried about. Actually, good will is derivative from rational intentions and rational ethics.

For another, Kant divorces volitional causes from their effects and leaves the probable consequences dangling. A "good will" is not any guide for action, and not sufficient cause for anything 'good' (for anyone). What K's plainly saying is: consequences are inconsequential; so long as the will is good, you are not morally or practically responsible for the results. Many a political leader must be glad to know ...

I disagree then, Samson. I think the Objectivist repudiation of utilitarianism and Kant's - as best as I figure his statements - are nowhere the same. As well, his ethical base is duty bound and other-centric -- I think, in effect, altruistic.

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Since the topic has drifted to utilitarianism ...

{quote}

"The greatest good for the greatest number" is one of the most vicious slogans ever foisted on humanity.

This slogan has no concrete, specific meaning. There is no way to interpret it benevolently, but a great many ways in which it can be used to justify the most vicious actions. Leonard Peikoff, The Ominous Parallels, 119 

{end quote}

Really? It can't make good sense ever in any context?

Suppose a CEO of a large business knows that one division of his business makes products that generate a small fraction of the company's revenues. Also, the division's revenues have been falling, it hasn't made a profit in years, and the outlook for the division is poor. If the CEO decides to shut down or sell that division, it will result in most employees of that division being laid off. On the other hand, the company as a whole, including stockholders, will be better off. It sounds to me like the greater good for the greater number outweighs any detriment to a lesser number (the employees in said division).

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2 hours ago, merjet said:

Since the topic has drifted to utilitarianism ...

{quote}

"The greatest good for the greatest number" is one of the most vicious slogans ever foisted on humanity.

This slogan has no concrete, specific meaning. There is no way to interpret it benevolently, but a great many ways in which it can be used to justify the most vicious actions. Leonard Peikoff, The Ominous Parallels, 119 

{end quote}

In the case of an overloaded life boat it means tossing people overboard. 

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10 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Samson,

That's quite an opinion.

Do you think the situation of people living in a community (two people on up) belongs in a moral theory?

Michael

Michael, *I believe in moral theory as the critical component of rights*-- I think could be the reverse way Samson might have put it.

Full individual rights - the positive freedom of the individual to act - have rational morality built in.

Morality is the horse which precedes the rights cart.

To put it this way: If most in a society would be rationally selfish, the rights of each person would be seldom invoked. Every disagreement would be temporary and settled quickly by moral, rational argument between two parties. If not, rarely, people would simply agree to disagree, and move on without rancor. As this is not the case, rights are essential to protect the self-responsible from immoral persons who will or could flout their freedoms. But the far preferable society isn't one in which rights and rules are all that keep its members in line. It makes for constricted minds and restrained actions - eventually, undermining of personal volition, resentment of 'the other', hypocrisy, and societal divisions, I think - then, intervention by governments - and - the loss of individual rights. Would one rather live in a society in which one, and all/most other individuals, choose each action freely without fear, mindful of consequences - or in one where everyone is only checked by fear of the Law?

 

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Tony,

I have a pretty good notion of what the Objectivist view of rights is. Why not just quote Rand? "Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law."

:)

I wonder when people divorce rights from morality, though. Just like when children are divorced from morality (except for a hat tip).

It's like, for some people, these ideas are perfect Platonic forms and humans are incidental to them.

And humans can be so goddam messy...

:)

btw - I have yet to understand what a moral principle or right is without a human being.

:) 

And that leads me to another issue. I have yet been able to understand what is an individual human being cut off from the rest of humanity. I can understand an ADULT human being who becomes shipwrecked on a desert island or chooses to become an isolated monk and so on, but I cannot understand that adult being somehow born without other human beings involved--nor raising himself or herself in the early years, for that matter.

:) 

Michael

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15 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

I have a pretty good notion of what the Objectivist view of rights is. Why not just quote Rand? "Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law."

:)

I wonder when people divorce rights from morality, though. Just like when children are divorced from morality (except for a hat tip).

It's like, for some people, these ideas are perfect Platonic forms and humans are incidental to them.

And humans can be so goddam messy...

:)

btw - I have yet to understand what a moral principle or right is without a human being.

:) 

And that leads me to another issue. I have yet been able to understand what is an individual human being cut off from the rest of humanity. I can understand an ADULT human being who becomes shipwrecked on a desert island or chooses to become an isolated monk and so on, but I cannot understand that adult being somehow born without other human beings involved--nor raising himself or herself in the early years, for that matter.

:) 

Michael

Moral Law is human made law.  It's only external constraint  is that a Moral Law with internal contradictions  cannot operate in the real world.  Other than that it is human artifice  therefore accidental  (i.e. not logically necessary).  No system of morality  logically flows from the physical laws of nature (insofar as we know these laws).  Perhaps some day a new physical law may be found which has moral import. 

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1 hour ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Moral Law is human made law.  It's only external constraint  is that a Moral Law with internal contradictions  cannot operate in the real world.  Other than that it is human artifice  therefore accidental  (i.e. not logically necessary).  No system of morality  logically flows from the physical laws of nature (insofar as we know these laws).  Perhaps some day a new physical law may be found which has moral import. 

And yet. You say on another thread: "He who refused to think allowed it [evil] to occur. Allowance can be by action or omission". Well spoke, but now you contradicted yourself.

Man's nature is the capacity to think. By his thinking and non-thinking he can create good and evil. So - morality (good or evil) is inextricably part of man's nature. A = B, B = C, therefore, C = A. How then, by your first statement, is morality a "human made law" and a "human artifice"?

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

I have a pretty good notion of what the Objectivist view of rights is. Why not just quote Rand? "Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law."

:)

I wonder when people divorce rights from morality, though. Just like when children are divorced from morality (except for a hat tip).

It's like, for some people, these ideas are perfect Platonic forms and humans are incidental to them.

And humans can be so goddam messy...

:)

btw - I have yet to understand what a moral principle or right is without a human being.

:) 

And that leads me to another issue. I have yet been able to understand what is an individual human being cut off from the rest of humanity. I can understand an ADULT human being who becomes shipwrecked on a desert island or chooses to become an isolated monk and so on, but I cannot understand that adult being somehow born without other human beings involved--nor raising himself or herself in the early years, for that matter.

:) 

Michael

Does the adult spring forth fully made, in other words? Ha, you're kidding. No clearly, he/she is imbued early with the 'culture' of parents, etc., etc., right up to the broad culture of the civilisation of his time and location. He 'finds his own feet' based on those human and cultural influences (assuming they were mostly good) to become a self-determining, conceptual grown-up in his own right in amongst humanity.

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