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If you had to sum up modern liberalism.....

Re: If you had to sum up modern liberalism.....
December 16, 2010, 09:45:15 PM
"Why should I not be allowed to do *insert retarded behavior*, if I'm not hurting anybody?"

Anyone got any succinct counterarguments for this one?

Plenty of succinct counterarguments could be posited, unless by "succinct" you mean logical strictly in context of your own perspective.

Oh yes that's one reason then, because  what I think is a "retarded behavior" isn't necessarily viewed that way by others, so any law of enforcement to prevent me from acting this way even if it's in accordance with my own perspective it will necessarily come into conflict with the perspective of others--others will in some situations be allowed to do things they consider retarded behavior, as well as in other situations be disallowed from doing things they don't consider retarded behavior.

I'm all for responsible or dutiful liberty. But for a population composed of serfs the two ideals are going to diverge forcing a choice between the one or the other. Modern liberalism is able to sustain some semblance of maintenance because it will transfer most of the responsibility part to one social strata and most of the liberty part to another. This is why modern liberalism can reign, yet keep a society divided against itself with perpetuated "class conflict". Its management bureaucracy then expands like a cancer forcing it into insolvency.

You really think modern liberalism is reigning?

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Anyone got any succinct counterarguments for this one? People tend to not be able to grasp the concept of doing indirect damage, so, when contemplating an action, they do a quick, cursory check of their surroundings against their preconditioned "morality," then determine whether the action is acceptable or not. Statements such as, "You're promoting mediocrity," or, "What you're doing is aiding in the decline of society" seem completely lost on such people.

I suppose that if they don't see it, it's going to be fairly difficult to get them to.
If they don't get it then they're like most of the population: common.

Maybe it's not too much their own fault that they don't get it. And in relation to this thread's focus I think this point is a pivotal and forgotten issue...

Re: If you had to sum up modern liberalism.....
December 17, 2010, 01:01:59 AM
"Why should I not be allowed to do *insert retarded behavior*, if I'm not hurting anybody?"

You'll notice that if you compare Modern Liberalism with Classical Liberalism (now called Libertarianism), they actually define liberty in directly opposite terms.  Libertarians define liberty by the responsibilities they are held to for themselves, while Liberals define it by having a lack of responsibility.

Classical liberalism and libertarianism aren't really the same thing. Libertarianism is merely one development of the classical liberal tradition, although there are some who contend that libertarianism isn't really a liberal view after all (see "Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism is not a Liberal View" by Samuel Freeman). It's also an open question to what extent the various versions of modern liberalism are part of the classical liberal tradition.

Your distinction between libertarian liberty and liberal liberty seems off-base. The distinction is never put in those terms in the academic literature on the subject, or any other serious discussion of the matter that I've encountered (for one thing, it begs some pretty important questions, it seems to me.) If there is a dispute about the concept of liberty between the two camps, it is more likely to be explicated in terms of negative and positive liberty, or perhaps negative and positive rights. It's not clear that those distinctions track the distinction you're making.

Anyone got any succinct counterarguments for this one? People tend to not be able to grasp the concept of doing indirect damage, so, when contemplating an action, they do a quick, cursory check of their surroundings against their preconditioned "morality," then determine whether the action is acceptable or not. Statements such as, "You're promoting mediocrity," or, "What you're doing is aiding in the decline of society" seem completely lost on such people.

I suppose that if they don't see it, it's going to be fairly difficult to get them to.

Or maybe people get it just fine and disagree with you about what's legitimately enforceable.

Quote from: Nous
Intrinsic morality.

And what in the world would that be? And why couldn't one appeal to "intrinsic morality" to defend the statement in question?

Modern Liberalism is utilitarianism propagated by convenience as opposed to beauty propagated by power.

That's odd. What makes you say that? It seems to me that modern liberalism, whatever it may be, is most often put forward as a rights-based doctrine, and utilitarianism is widely acknowledged to be inconsistent with the assertion that people have rights. Well, at least act-utilitarianism is, but even rule-utilitarianism doesn't obviously sit comfortably with rights-based doctrines. I don't think I've ever seen anybody let their liberalism depend entirely on utilitarian assumptions, but it probably depends on who you ask (an economist will be likely to justify it one way, and a philosopher will be likely to justify it in a quite different way.)

Re: If you had to sum up modern liberalism.....
December 17, 2010, 07:26:06 PM
Plenty of succinct counterarguments could be posited, unless by "succinct" you mean logical strictly in context of your own perspective.

I meant it more to mean, "Person A has been backed into a logical corner with a mere sentence or two, and is now either repeating himself or coming to understand the flaws inherent in the notion that there are things from which we are somehow causally disconnected."

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Oh yes that's one reason then, because  what I think is a "retarded behavior" isn't necessarily viewed that way by others, so any law of enforcement to prevent me from acting this way even if it's in accordance with my own perspective it will necessarily come into conflict with the perspective of others--others will in some situations be allowed to do things they consider retarded behavior, as well as in other situations be disallowed from doing things they don't consider retarded behavior.

If someone doesn't understand his errors, then we should at least attempt to enlighten him; if we fail repeatedly, then it will become impractical to remain so firmly fixated on him in particular.

Why do laws exist? To uphold standards. It doesn't matter that some people are opposed to those standards; all that matters is that the standards themselves exist and are being enforced. The method may be questionable, in some cases (a scientific conclusion is always superior to a simple "majority opinion"), but it is imperative that we, in some cases, negate a potential action -- regardless of who is thinking about taking it, or how innate he thinks his right to take it is.

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If they don't get it then they're like most of the population: common.

Maybe it's not too much their own fault that they don't get it. And in relation to this thread's focus I think this point is a pivotal and forgotten issue...

Depends on who the person is, and to what extent he's capable of understanding, just as it is with any concept. There are those who will eventually understand things, but who currently do not; likewise, there are those who will never understand things.


Anyone got any succinct counterarguments for this one? People tend to not be able to grasp the concept of doing indirect damage, so, when contemplating an action, they do a quick, cursory check of their surroundings against their preconditioned "morality," then determine whether the action is acceptable or not. Statements such as, "You're promoting mediocrity," or, "What you're doing is aiding in the decline of society" seem completely lost on such people.

I suppose that if they don't see it, it's going to be fairly difficult to get them to.

Or maybe people get it just fine and disagree with you about what's legitimately enforceable.

Plenty of people disagree that what is being enforced is legitimately enforceable. Sometimes, they're right; other times, they're not, but isn't the same true of the inverse -- that plenty of people are right when it comes to what isn't being enforced? If not, why not?

If you subscribe to the notion that human affairs are far more complex than simple physical phenomena, and thus consider all "opinions" on matters social to be of equal merit or value, then consider that, by living, you are necessarily always acting -- even when you're choosing to "not act." In other words, where an idea seems reasonable to us, once factoring in the cognitive biases and emotionally founded assumptions of our peers, we can decide whether the idea is worth putting into practice, regardless of who opposes it; while the idea could ultimately prove a bad one, not acting (to preserve "equality" and allow everyone to hold their views while preventing them all from acting on them) may prove worse at the time. What good is "liberty" if it preserves our worldviews while completely obliterating our ability to act on them? That sounds like the definition of slavery to me.

Also consider that even the laws which you believe to be just are not universally accepted. Maybe this underlies a huge contradiction in our society: We believe that, where someone disagrees with us, we shouldn't be allowed to act, yet we still make laws and feel entitled to that which we selfishly proclaim to be "harmless."

Of course, counteractions will cancel out initial actions -- or worse, introduce destructive agents -- so not everyone should be allowed to act on every idea that pops into their heads.

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Quote from: Nous
Intrinsic morality.

And what in the world would that be?

Not sure what the poster intended to convey, but perhaps he meant "intrinsic self-worth." Morality, however, regardless of whether its defenders view it as intrinsic or not, is always a problematic concept, as it posits that there is "good" and "bad" in life, with no in-betweens or exceptions. This is overly simplistic nonsense, and hardly a practical way of viewing the world.

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And why couldn't one appeal to "intrinsic morality" to defend the statement in question?

Because their appeal would have no substantive basis, and would therefore be fallacious.

Re: If you had to sum up modern liberalism.....
December 18, 2010, 03:53:29 AM
Quote from: Nous
Intrinsic morality.

And what in the world would that be? And why couldn't one appeal to "intrinsic morality" to defend the statement in question?

Intrinsic morality is the subjective knowledge of good and evil. One could also call it virtue, or, in its absence, vice. It derives from man's theomorphic substance and is more universal than the law, wherefore it must overrule the law if necessary.
A man who already knows that *insert retarded behavior* is wrong, cannot, starting from this knowledge, show that it is not.
Example: If I subjectively know that procrastination is wrong, this is enough of an imperative to refrain from it, even if others are not hurt.

Morality, however, regardless of whether its defenders view it as intrinsic or not, is always a problematic concept, as it posits that there is "good" and "bad" in life, with no in-betweens or exceptions. This is overly simplistic nonsense, and hardly a practical way of viewing the world.

Morality is not problematic at all; one simply needs to understand it. That there are some in-betweens or exceptions is not denied by a moral viewpoint, as St Thomas shows:
http://newadvent.org/summa/2018.htm#article8
http://newadvent.org/summa/2018.htm#article9

Re: If you had to sum up modern liberalism.....
December 18, 2010, 12:00:54 PM
Morality is not problematic at all; one simply needs to understand it. That there are some in-betweens or exceptions is not denied by a moral viewpoint, as St Thomas shows:
http://newadvent.org/summa/2018.htm#article8
http://newadvent.org/summa/2018.htm#article9

Morality in the traditional sense is dogma. The kind of practical morality espoused above is simply a particular manifestation of "right action" or "logical action" -- which should be applicable to any part of life, regardless of whether a traditionally "moral" dilemma exists there. In other words, it's not "immoral" for me to lose control of myself and get fat, but it's not a good idea, either.

This also relates to liberalism, as we can see that there are a multitude of actions in life which make no sense, but which do not directly harm individuals (who aren't ourselves). Because liberal ideology at least, in part, incorporates a "morality" into its framework, it is able to bypass any non-"moral" criticisms.

Re: If you had to sum up modern liberalism.....
December 18, 2010, 03:07:05 PM
Morality in the traditional sense is dogma. The kind of practical morality espoused above is simply a particular manifestation of "right action" or "logical action" -- which should be applicable to any part of life, regardless of whether a traditionally "moral" dilemma exists there. In other words, it's not "immoral" for me to lose control of myself and get fat, but it's not a good idea, either.

Morality is not just dogma. Man is a moral being, there's no way around that. In your example, either you lose control involuntarily or because of some vice; if the latter, then why not call it immoral? By saying that it's not a good idea one already judges morally.


Re: If you had to sum up modern liberalism.....
December 18, 2010, 05:00:52 PM
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Your distinction between libertarian liberty and liberal liberty seems off-base. The distinction is never put in those terms in the academic literature on the subject, or any other serious discussion of the matter that I've encountered (for one thing, it begs some pretty important questions, it seems to me.) If there is a dispute about the concept of liberty between the two camps, it is more likely to be explicated in terms of negative and positive liberty, or perhaps negative and positive rights. It's not clear that those distinctions track the distinction you're making.
I don't doubt for a second that how I distinguished the two modes of thought is not how an academic would approach it.  I was speaking in terms of normal, everyday styled conversation between people.  Liberals often discuss freedom in terms of positing rights that place responsibility on others (e.g. right to work, right to health care, etc.), while Libertarians always discuss liberty in terms of individual responsibility (and as an extension, sovereignty).

Morality is not just dogma. Man is a moral being, there's no way around that. In your example, either you lose control involuntarily or because of some vice; if the latter, then why not call it immoral? By saying that it's not a good idea one already judges morally.
Holy shit!  I actually agree with nous.  There is an natural moral standard in non-sociopaths that is antithetical to Liberalism.

Re: If you had to sum up modern liberalism.....
December 20, 2010, 10:53:42 AM
Plenty of succinct counterarguments could be posited, unless by "succinct" you mean logical strictly in context of your own perspective.

I meant it more to mean, "Person A has been backed into a logical corner with a mere sentence or two, and is now either repeating himself or coming to understand the flaws inherent in the notion that there are things from which we are somehow causally disconnected."
I don't understand what you mean.

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Oh yes that's one reason then, because  what I think is a "retarded behavior" isn't necessarily viewed that way by others, so any law of enforcement to prevent me from acting this way even if it's in accordance with my own perspective it will necessarily come into conflict with the perspective of others--others will in some situations be allowed to do things they consider retarded behavior, as well as in other situations be disallowed from doing things they don't consider retarded behavior.

If someone doesn't understand his errors, then we should at least attempt to enlighten him; if we fail repeatedly, then it will become impractical to remain so firmly fixated on him in particular.
The point I was making is what constitutes an "error" in the first place.

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Why do laws exist? To uphold standards. It doesn't matter that some people are opposed to those standards; all that matters is that the standards themselves exist and are being enforced. The method may be questionable, in some cases (a scientific conclusion is always superior to a simple "majority opinion"), but it is imperative that we, in some cases, negate a potential action -- regardless of who is thinking about taking it, or how innate he thinks his right to take it is.
Emphasis on "in some cases".

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Maybe it's not too much their own fault that they don't get it. And in relation to this thread's focus I think this point is a pivotal and forgotten issue...

Depends on who the person is, and to what extent he's capable of understanding, just as it is with any concept. There are those who will eventually understand things, but who currently do not; likewise, there are those who will never understand things.
Never? Is the thing to be understood a logical thing? If so, I believe truth can always be conveyed as surely as the rigors of logic are inherently unforgiving.

Anyways I only meant to point out that succinct counter-arguments can be posited..

Re: If you had to sum up modern liberalism.....
December 20, 2010, 02:16:00 PM
Liberalism absolves retarded behavior of the consequences. Do whatever you want, but do it without a safety net. A little social darwinism would do us a lot of good.

Re: If you had to sum up modern liberalism.....
December 20, 2010, 03:59:18 PM
To paraphrase this website; "pleasant illusions in the face of difficult truths".