Crony Capitalism


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11 hours ago, Samson Corwell said:

i don't know if you are having trouble understanding that rights are only one type of moral theory.

Samson,

Is that meant to be condescending?

11 hours ago, Samson Corwell said:

Sacred texts such as the Bible and the Torah never used rights talk, for instance.

They don't use the word, but they do use the concept. A believer in the Abrahamic God obtains all kinds of rights that others don't get, starting with becoming a member of a special group. That membership to the elect is that person's right as a Jew or Christian whether anyone uses the word "right" or not.

If I were to be snarky, I could say, "I don't know if you are having trouble understanding that words and concepts are different."

But I won't...

:evil:  :) 

Michael

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1 hour ago, wolfdevoon said:

Whether the dominant armed association (a government) is subordinated to due process of law depends on the constitution of that government, which in turn depends on how a majority of men choose to associate for that purpose.

Wolf,

I recently went through another Great Course (I'm loving that series) called Sacred Texts of the World by Professor Grant Hardy.

Almost all societies have been structured around religions (to differing degrees), and the more advanced societies have sacred texts for their religions. This written form is one of the reasons those religions have persisted over centuries (oral-only religions have tended to die out). Trying to get an understanding of this process and an overview of the different religions is why I took the course. (btw - I'm very glad I did.)

But Hardy came up with an Easter Egg for me. In his next to last lecture (No. 35 of 36), he made a case that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are secular forms of sacred text. Not so much in terms of pointing toward God, but instead of fulfilling the different roles exercised by sacred texts throughout history. He gave those roles as informative, transactive, transformative and symbolic. He made a very good case.

For a long time, I've understood there is a critical difference between a contract and a charter document for a government (shades of Lysander Spooner :) ), but I couldn't put my finger on it. Just calling a charter document a contract did not make it one when I saw how people used it.

I believe this "secular form of sacred text" is part of the foundation of what a charter document is when it attains longevity of use. By treating a charter document in strictly contractual terms, which many governments around the world do (I am familiar with Brazil's several constitutions and this last from the 1980's will probably not be the final one), they don't work out as well as the US charter documents did and do.

Michael

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15 hours ago, anthony said:

Now you are equivocating. You said it truly in the first statement when you linked man to volition, to thought, and so to morality, and now you're backing off, with "morally neutral" and "circumstances".

Happens, there IS something in Nature which does "care" and "know of good and evil", it's called man.

Do you claim perhaps that man and his mind are not part of nature (and possessing a nature) and emergent from nature?

But yes, man is the only organism in nature who can see and conceive of good and evil, identify and judge each, make/permit them to happen in action, and "be" moral or immoral. Nothing else has that choice or knows of 'choice'. (And without alternative options, no morality is possible of course)..

(It's that friggin' David Hume, I tell ya, Bob. Not just anti-mind, if that's not bad enough, I'm thinking he was anti-reality.)

When I refer to nature I mean the atomic, energetic and thermodynamic  aspects of nature.  Nature at the microscopic  and ultra macroscopic levels.  Man is an accidental happening in the biosphere.  Earth existed for over 4 billion years without Man  and will exist billions more when Man is extinct. We are a temporary blip. 

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18 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

When I refer to nature I mean the atomic, energetic and thermodynamic  aspects of nature.  Nature at the microscopic  and ultra macroscopic levels.  Man is an accidental happening in the biosphere.  Earth existed for over 4 billion years without Man  and will exist billions more when Man is extinct. We are a temporary blip. 

So much for the value of life. So much for an evaluation of individual life. Blips. Thanks for digging the Humean-skeptical grave deeper. In the short time men have, do you mind if we make the most of it? ;)

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2 hours ago, anthony said:

So much for the value of life. So much for an evaluation of individual life. Blips. Thanks for digging the Humean-skeptical grave deeper. In the short time men have, do you mind if we make the most of it? ;)

Life.  Life  extends from one-celled biota  to the Leviathans of the Deep.  Humans have a marvelous opinion of themselves.  We are the new kids on the block. Our kind of primate has existed for maybe 250,000 years.  The Neanderthals were around for 320,000 years before the change in climate (end of the ice age and beginning of the current interglacial) finished them off.  Life made Earth what it is.  The cyanobacteria  changed the atmosphere of the planet from methane to oxygen.  Little one celled biota did that, lots of them.  Man with all his science  cannot do that. But our species does have The Gift of Gab and we tell marvelous stories about ourselves.  Most likely in a million or two million years from now  hardly a trace of our existence will likely remain. As I said,  we are blip, a bump, a glitch on the biosphere and after we are gone there will still be one celled biota on the planet. 

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42 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Life.  Life  extends from one-celled biota  to the Leviathans of the Deep.  Humans have a marvelous opinion of themselves.  We are the new kids on the block. Our kind of primate has existed for maybe 250,000 years.  The Neanderthals were around for 320,000 years before the change in climate (end of the ice age and beginning of the current interglacial) finished them off.  Life made Earth what it is.  The cyanobacteria  changed the atmosphere of the planet from methane to oxygen.  Little one celled biota did that, lots of them.  Man with all his science  cannot do that. But our species does have The Gift of Gab and we tell marvelous stories about ourselves.  Most likely in a million or two million years from now  hardly a trace of our existence will likely remain. As I said,  we are blip, a bump, a glitch on the biosphere and after we are gone there will still be one celled biota on the planet. 

We don't know why the Neanderthals died off. There is additional speculation but it's all speculations. I suppose you read about this is a peer-reviewed scientific publication after which you accepted it on faith.

--Brant

and you don't know how much of a "blip" we are or even whether we are a blip--your knowledge lacks modesty for you've dressed it up with "science"

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8 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

We don't know why the Neanderthals died off. There is additional speculation but it's all speculations. I suppose you read about this is a peer-reviewed scientific publication after which you accepted it on faith.

--Brant

and you don't know how much of a "blip" we are or even whether we are a blip--your knowledge lacks modesty for you've dressed it up with "science"

The Neanderthals were better adapted physically to cold climates than were the cro-mags (that is to say,  Our Kind).  The Neanderthal weaponry was better adapted to one on one  stabbing and looking the prey in the eye.  When the ice started to recede the prey had  more room to run  so throwing spears were the better weapon.  The Cro Mags developed the throwing spear.  The Neanderthal did not.  Also the Cro-Mags  told stories and drew pictures.  the Neanderthal did not.  During times of critical changes small differences can make the difference between survival and extinction.  The Neanderthals also had smaller vocal apparatus and could not articulate as well as Cro-Mag.   We can assume that Cro-Mags talked more and told better stories than his cousin Ally-Oop. 

Modern Man's  mastery on this planet is a function of  his ability to communicate.  Ideas, both good and bad  are effective on how well they are spread about.

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51 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Life.  Life  extends from one-celled biota  to the Leviathans of the Deep.  Humans have a marvelous opinion of themselves. 

You talk up "life" while revelling in non-life. I know you're not a nihilist usually, you are coming pretty close now.

Don't you see the irony? You have to be living to diss life.

(Isn't there sour grapes in this? - the hard fact of mortality, of the individual and of the species?).

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28 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

The Neanderthals were better adapted physically to cold climates than were the cro-mags (that is to say,  Our Kind).  The Neanderthal weaponry was better adapted to one on one  stabbing and looking the prey in the eye.  When the ice started to recede the prey had  more room to run  so throwing spears were the better weapon.  The Cro Mags developed the throwing spear.  The Neanderthal did not.  Also the Cro-Mags  told stories and drew pictures.  the Neanderthal did not.  During times of critical changes small differences can make the difference between survival and extinction.  The Neanderthals also had smaller vocal apparatus and could not articulate as well as Cro-Mag.   We can assume that Cro-Mags talked more and told better stories than his cousin Ally-Oop. 

Modern Man's  mastery on this planet is a function of  his ability to communicate.  Ideas, both good and bad  are effective on how well they are spread about.

You're still speculating about the extinction.

--Brant

which is fair if labelled as such

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5 hours ago, anthony said:

You talk up "life" while revelling in non-life. I know you're not a nihilist usually, you are coming pretty close now.

Don't you see the irony? You have to be living to diss life.

(Isn't there sour grapes in this? - the hard fact of mortality, of the individual and of the species?).

Of course. So what?  everything from the cyanobacteria, the archea  to the leviathans of the deep are alive.  This planet is what it is because of living things most of which are driven by photosynthesis.  In the total scheme of things stretching over 3.9 billions years (when the archea emerged)  humans  are not even a blip.  We have been around for less than 1/4 of a million years  which  is less than 1/15,000   of the time life has been on this planet. Long after we are gone and extinct  the bacterial will be multiplying. 

Honest to goodness,  humans are not that big a deal in the cosmic scale of things. 

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1 hour ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Of course. So what?  everything from the cyanobacteria, the archea  to the leviathans of the deep are alive.  This planet is what it is because of living things most of which are driven by photosynthesis.  In the total scheme of things stretching over 3.9 billions years (when the archea emerged)  humans  are not even a blip.  We have been around for less than 1/4 of a million years  which  is less than 1/15,000   of the time life has been on this planet. Long after we are gone and extinct  the bacterial will be multiplying. 

Honest to goodness,  humans are not that big a deal in the cosmic scale of things. 

Life aware of the cosmos is "not that big a deal in the cosmic scale of things"?

While I'd be surprised to learn humans are the only conceptually aware life in the universe, I'd not be if that proposition applied to our galaxy.

Since you are addressing the grand and big thing of cosmic reality, it's only fair to apply the same context to human life so far and into our unknown future. To wit, nobody knows the aggregate consequence(s) of human existence.

In the meantime, let's have fun, fun, fun until Reality takes the T-Bird away!

--Brant

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10 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

Life aware of the cosmos is "not that big a deal in the cosmic scale of things"?

While I'd be surprised to learn humans are the only conceptually aware life in the universe, I'd not be if that proposition applied to our galaxy.

Since you are addressing the grand and big thing of cosmic reality, it's only fair to apply the same context to human life so far and into our unknown future. To wit, nobody knows the aggregate consequence(s) of human existence.

In the meantime, let's have fun, fun, fun until Reality takes the T-Bird away!

--Brant

Things are hard to predict,  especially the future.  Our future?  Who knows?  We don't.

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3 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Of course. So what? ... Long after we are gone and extinct  the bacterial will be multiplying...

Honest to goodness,  humans are not that big a deal in the cosmic scale of things. 

Whistling in the dark.

I'm understanding how it's their idea of God and Heaven, to some empirical-skeptics (atheists). A dead and empty universe lacking any minds to be conscious of it. Existence without consciousness - how wonderful!! It is after all, fundamentally what Hume preached.

Maybe that sort of a person finds a sort of rough comfort in looking eons ahead to when "we are gone and extinct", rather than try anticipate a much sooner time when "I" will be gone and extinct. Why admit to the inestimable value of an individual's life, when all "humans" are not that "big a deal"?

 

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36 minutes ago, anthony said:

Whistling in the dark.

I'm understanding how it's their idea of God and Heaven, to some empirical-skeptics (atheists). A dead and empty universe lacking any minds to be conscious of it. Existence without consciousness - how wonderful!! It is after all, fundamentally what Hume preached.

Maybe that sort of a person finds a sort of rough comfort in looking eons ahead to when "we are gone and extinct", rather than try anticipate a much sooner time when "I" will be gone and extinct. Why admit to the inestimable value of an individual's life, when all "humans" are not that "big a deal"?

 

Inestimable value to whom and for what?  Everyone values his own life. So what else is new?

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11 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Inestimable value to whom and for what?  Everyone values his own life. So what else is new?

Not quite, the context indicated the inestimable value in ALL individual lives - for themselves and whoever else finds value in them - in response to your cavalier "humans are not that big a deal". As you've forgotten, the starting point was your claim "morality doesn't exist in human nature". I see now why you'd say that, since lately you've expressed intrinsicism: That there can be 'value' in the Universe when there's no 'valuer' present. It's another take on mysticism.

"The skeptic is a disillusioned intrinsicist..." (AR)

The (mystical) intrinsicist and the skeptic are flipsides of the same coin, one can become the other, in Rand's insight.

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On 13/01/2017 at 11:07 AM, BaalChatzaf said:

When I refer to nature I mean the atomic, energetic and thermodynamic  aspects of nature.  Nature at the microscopic  and ultra macroscopic levels.  Man is an accidental happening in the biosphere.  Earth existed for over 4 billion years without Man  and will exist billions more when Man is extinct. We are a temporary blip. 

We are not only confined to the pale blue dot (Carl Sagan); we are also confined to a blip in time.

 

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3 hours ago, anthony said:

Not quite, the context indicated the inestimable value in ALL individual lives - for themselves and whoever else finds value in them - in response to your cavalier "humans are not that big a deal". As you've forgotten, the starting point was your claim "morality doesn't exist in nature". I see now why you'd say that, since lately you've expressed intrinsicism: That there can be 'value' in the Universe when there's no 'valuer' present. It's another take on mysticism.

"The skeptic is a disillusioned intrinsicist..." (AR)

The (mystical) intrinsicist and the skeptic are flipsides of the same coin, one can become the other, in Rand's insight.

More exactly,  no system of morality flow logically from the physical laws of nature..    Is that clear enough for you?

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36 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

More exactly,  no system of morality flow logically from the physical laws of nature..    Is that clear enough for you?

You are saying morality is arbitrary. I say not so, but I agree that a system of morality doesn't logically thus flow. I think morality as such is implicitly present in the organism, however, based on free will and right and wrong and that you are self-confessedly not competent for the conversation.

A system of ethics might have better traction qua system but qua (moral) philosophy not science so Rand came with "The Objectivist Ethics" not "The Objectivist Morality."

Why not tell us your understanding of Rand's Objectivist Ethics then (try to) grind them up with your physical science aphorism generality? This river should flow both ways, no?

--Brant

it's a liberal arts thing

 

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13 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

You are saying morality is arbitrary. I say not so, but I agree that a system of morality doesn't logically thus flow. I think morality as such is implicitly present in the organism, however, based on free will and right and wrong and that you are self-confessedly not competent for the conversation.

A system of ethics might have better traction qua system but qua (moral) philosophy not science so Rand came with "The Objectivist Ethics" not "The Objectivist Morality."

Why not tell us your understanding of Rand's Objectivist Ethics then (try to) grind them up with your physical science aphorism generality? This river should flow both ways, no?

--Brant

it's a liberal arts thing

 

Objective ethics.  A made up notion with no support  from the known physical laws of nature.  Rand had a notion.  That notion has no basis in the physical nature of nature.  The universe is physical from the top to the bottom.  From the large to the small.  

Rand was at odds with biology.  She denied instinct.  Instinct is just another way of saying how we are genetically wired.

Actually Rand was somewhat  of an ignoramus concerning the physical sciences.  Starting with Galt's invention of a device for getting electric current from static electricity.  It just does not wash. 

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1 hour ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Objective ethics.  A made up notion with no support  from the known physical laws of nature.  Rand had a notion.  That notion has no basis in the physical nature of nature.  The universe is physical from the top to the bottom.  From the large to the small.  

Rand was at odds with biology.  She denied instinct.  Instinct is just another way of saying how we are genetically wired.

Actually Rand was somewhat  of an ignoramus concerning the physical sciences.  Starting with Galt's invention of a device for getting electric current from static electricity.  It just does not wash. 

You have said nothing about what Rand said.

--Brant

you might start with a quote instead of your generality or "Rand had a notion"

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Saying morality is arbitrary really means no morality, just force.

It also means there is no morality in individual rights which also means individual rights are no more valid, just force.

It also means Rand was a next to nothing. Libertarians too.

And the Founding Fathers were full of it along with John Locke.

All because of John Galt's impossible invention. If Rand had only known she would have realized no physical laws connect with philosophy, just blather as an agreed upon exception. That is, if it's not science, if it's not physical, it's blather.

--Brant

blather on OL; lots of blather here; I'm not the only one

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52 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

Saying morality is arbitrary really means no morality, just force.

Brant,

Bob likes to say Rand doesn't connect her ethics to the laws of physics, but if the axiomatic concepts are not laws of physics, I don't know what are. Everything physical sits on them. Here are main three axiomatic concepts (the last two my paraphrase--why paraphrase? Because I can and, anyway, laws are stated proposition form. :) ).

1. Existence exists.
2. Individual parts of existence exist and have identity.
3. Consciousness perceives that which exists.

Those are laws, they are physical (if existence is defined as physical) and they apply to everything.

By claiming that morality is subjective only--is arbitrary--he is claiming morality does not exist, nor does it have identity, nor is it perceived by consciousness--at least it is and is not at the same time in the same place in all three instances. 

And that violates a fundamental law of physics, that it is impossible for something to exist and not exist at the same time and in the same place.

If anyone says this doesn't make sense, then that person is essentially saying that morality obeys these laws of physics, therefore, at least to that extent, it is objective.

:) 

Michael

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11 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

You are saying morality is arbitrary. I say not so, but I agree that a system of morality doesn't logically thus flow. I think morality as such is implicitly present in the organism, however, based on free will and right and wrong and ...

 

Sure, but not to leave out the critical bit that justifies free will, *the nature* of the organism (man) - which is rational, self-directing and self-generating. Only man can choose good or bad, life or death, to merely exist or to flourish, and it's a code of values based in reality which he needs for life and the good.

"The first question that has to be answered [...] is: WHY does man need a code of values? Let me stress this. The first question is not: What particular code of values should man accept? The first question is : Does man need a code of values at all--and why? Is the concept of *value*, of good and evil, an arbitrary human invention, unrelated to, underived from and unsupported by any facts of reality--or is it based on a *metaphysical* fact, on an unalterable condition of man's existence?".

You've seen this countless times, I know, but it helps to touch base with TVoS sometimes as reminder.

Her last query applies directly to Bob's argument. "... based...on an unalterable condition of man's existence".

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10 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

More exactly,  no system of morality flow logically from the physical laws of nature..    Is that clear enough for you?

Did life flow from the physical laws of nature?

Does a system of morality flow logically from man's life?

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8 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

You have said nothing about what Rand said.

--Brant

you might start with a quote instead of your generality or "Rand had a notion"

Read "Atlas Shrugged"   It was all about her "notion".

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