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Author: sonofed Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 445671  
Subject: Re: Origin of Morality Date: 4/8/2002 12:00 PM
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Wrong again. I will attempt a brief re-explanation on the off chance somebody else is reading this. The entire tribe agrees upon a set of rules, and/or a procedure for making rules, that they agree is fair. The set of rules may be predominately capitalistic, or predominately communalistic, or somewhere in between, with everybody benefitting in different ways.

If they agree upon a set of rules which allows for a small portion of what each produces to go into the common kitty, that is a set of rules which benefits them all in different ways. (i.e., roads, military, buffalo to be shared, berries to be shared, etc.).


Joel,

I don't disagree with what you've said here. It is true that societies decide on a set of rules that they consider fair. In our thread, we were asserting what characteristics those rules must take on in order to be consistent with our vision of morality. Under that vision, society, since it was formed through an individuals consent, could require individuals to divert a portion of their produce to a common kitty to pay for essential services from which the individual benefits.

If you benefit from the military, and the roads, and the courts, but not the welfare rules, do you have the right to accept the benefits of the things you like and opt out of the things you do not like? Of course not.

While this represents a divergence from the main point of this thread, let me take a second to address this point...

As an individual, I absolutely have the right to opt out of the requirements society seeks to place on me from which I do not benefit. Now whether that opting out takes the form in our society of voting for candidates who support my position or takes the form of packing up my stuff and leaving the country is a decision I need to make based on a weighing of the benefits of staying vs the costs.

Having made the decision that staying is to my benefit, I do need to endure what I consider to be a massive overstepping of authority by the government in the form of social welfare programs. That doesn't require me to believe that it is right or moral for the Government to take from me to give to another based on their perception of the other guy's need.

Democracy is, in the end, rule by the mob. Unless there are higher principles established and adhered to that protect the primacy of the individual and protect their right to gather property in an effort to support themselves and insulate themselves from future hardships, you subject the individual to the whim of the masses. That whim can present a clear danger to individual freedom. The framers of our Constitution understood this simple truth and tried to build in a cushion between the people and the government that protected the individual from the whim of the masses.

Your argument is that only a purely capitalistic system of property rights is moral. That argument is bunk. It is based upon a fundamental misunderstanding of how property rights are defined and agreed upon in the first place.

My argument is absolutely that only a capitalistic system of property rights is moral. I disagree that it is bunk, and you'll have to excuse me for not taking your word for it.

It could very well be based on some misunderstanding on my part of the origins of propertry rights, although I don't think so. In it's most basic form, property serves the purpose of giving an individual sustenance and shelter from the elements. Property "rights" spring from the "right" that every individual has to continue living and to direct their will in an effort to secure the means of that survival.

But when property rights clearly hurt people, (i.e., pollution which kills people down river, or down wind, or forcing the person to starve rather than eat one out of 300 cans of somebody else's beans, then the right of the individual would take precedence

Pollution is a different matter. In that case, you have a person who is impacting other people without their consent. That would not be moral in the outline we put together.

As far as the beans, we continue to disagree. Refusing to give the beans is not "forcing" the other person to starve. There is no action on the part of the bean owner that could be construed as "forcing".

However, this come full circle to my original problem with your arguments. I don't see how you accept that a starving person had the moral right to take the beans of another person, based solely on the first persons need and perception of the other's wealth. What if I only had 2 cans of beans? What if I only had 1 can of beans? Should I be obligated to give it up and endure hardship myself to help another? Is the amount of property the person has relevant to the discussion? If so, who gets to decide how much a person gets to keep and what is the moral basis for that decision?

What if I bought 300 cans of beans because that was the exact amount I needed to survive the winter? Can he take a can then, even though I would go hungry?

What if my cabin is on a trail. Does every hungry hiker who happens by have a right to help himself to my beans?

Once you accept that a person has a basic right to help themselves to the property of another, I think forfeit the ability to draw a line on how far that activity can go.

But I am at my wit's end. There is no way I can compensate on a message board for your basic unwillingness to understand how societies function.

Nor is there any way to overcome your deeply ingrained prejudice that society has some sort of moral right to place a higher burden on some individuals than on others, when all members are ostensibly equal.

Steve
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