Brugle on September 27, 2010, 12:11:58 pm
No, the best way to handle it is to resolve the legitimate claims of those who become the "terrorists".
The trouble with that is that there never were any such claims.
Innocent people who have been orphaned or maimed or tortured or raped or stolen from have no legitimate claims?  Sometimes you seem to make some sense, but this is idiocy.

So this is the great historic injustice about which the Islamic world complains to this day.
You (and some other people including some Muslims) may be obsessed with the past.  But most of us (including most Muslims) are more concerned with the present.

Large numbers of innocent people in the Middle East (many of them Muslims) have been (and are continuing to be) murdered, maimed, tortured, raped, stolen from, and impoverished by agents of the US government and by agents of governments supported by the US government.  This is a great present injustice about which the civilized world complains today.

Of course, many terrorists make the same mistake that you and other collectivists make.  You and they blame a group of people (such as Muslims or Americans) for the actions of some members of that group.  It's barbaric when they do it and it's barbaric when you do it.

Brugle on September 27, 2010, 01:11:01 pm
Taxing people extra because you don't like their lawful actions is an initiation of force which even those who accept taxes and conscription in principle recognize as an infringement of freedom.
I don't think so.  Those who accept taxes and conscription in principle have abandoned freedom in principle.  Once you recognize the state's right to dispose of your life and your wealth as it sees fit in principle, what reason can you have to oppose the state's disposing of your wealth as it sees fit in a particular case?

Tucci78 on September 27, 2010, 01:29:33 pm
The central thing is that they [animals] don't know english to tell us about their moral agency. So we don't think of them as fellow citizens. That's an arbitrary standard, but it's what we use.
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Not at all "arbitrary."  Throughout human history there has been a helluva problem with the treatment of human beings as the property of someone else, as "less than human," put under the command of some aristocracy or priesthood or monarchy or bureaucracy because they're not good enough to think and act for themselves.  Chattel slavery, serfdom, peonage, corvee labor, "bride price" and "cookstove accidents" resulting in unsatisfactory wives getting burned to death, castrati and other people involuntarily mutilated, human victims of religious sacrifice (which is how the gladiatorial combats of ancient Rome got started, remember), "life unworthy of living."

Do not bring up the subject of America's War of Northern Aggression as if it had anything but a mythological connection to slavery.  Considering that our legends hold that the first shots of that conflict were fired upon a customs post in Charleston Harbor, its more appropriate to call it "The War to Enforce the Morrill Tariff."

A lot of hard thought and dickering went into the development of the concept of moral agency as the touchstone of what is and is not a human being.  Americans not utterly crippled by having been run through the mulching machine that politicians and bureaucrats have made of the country's educational systems tend to have an adequate appreciation of what the philosophical Enlightenment entailed, and how the political product of that Enlightenment is our own United States of America, centered upon the concept of government as a service agency of defined responsibilities and powers, held "down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

People who call "arbitrary" the distinction between non-sapient animals and human beings are  not only quite contemptibly stupid, but they're dangerously stupid. 

It's not that there's much risk in elevating Fluffy-Wuffy to the status accorded a human child when it's not a matter of push come to shove.  It's an indulgence that available resources make it possible to enjoy.  Sometimes.

But when faced with a situation in which your favorite pet is in the middle of the swimming pool along with a random wandering four-year-old child you've never seen before, your first priority had better be to get that kid out and safe and undergoing whatever resuscitation might be required.  To hell with Fluffy-Wuffy.

Is that an "arbitrary" discrimination?  Bullpuckey.
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Your esthetic judgement is open to being judged by my esthetic judgement. I judge your morality according to my morality. And vice versa.

My original point was that the people who try to make sure that nothing bad every happens to any cat are being obviously silly, and the same applies to people who try to keep anything bad happening to US citizens -- for the same reasons.

I personally try to keep bad things from happening to my friends. I choose to think of my pets as friends, and it's fine for me to want good things (as I see things as good) for my pets. You choose to think of your pets as possessions that have no rights and whose lives have no meaning except as they please you. That's your privilege. I would not give you a kitten, just as you would not give me your friend's daughter.

I repeat: "Bullpuckey."  It is emphatically not an "esthetic judgement."  It is a moral judgment. 

I am as prone to emotional investment in household pets as I suppose any other average American without experience in animal husbandry might be (the farm work I did in my youth dealt entirely with garden truck, orchards, and viniculture; we didn't even keep chickens).  Animal labs in college and med school were - literally - nightmares for me. 

But I wouldn't want a kitten from you or anyone else.  I've never sought pets.  That's always been the decision of dependents in my household, even though I'm the one who inevitably winds up responsible for feeding them, cleaning up after them, doctoring them when they fall ill, and burying them when they die. 

Behavioral biology - "animal psychology" - having been an interest of mine since adolescence, I've taken pains to learn how to provide any animal under my stewardship with the sorts of social cues to which their species respond with optimum levels of comfort and confidence, and thus far I've found that when rejected or neglected by their nominal owners, the pets in my household always seem to seek me out for emotional and physical succor. 

Your random kitten would be a helluva lot better off with me as its caretaker than you'd like to think.  I don't mistake cats for human beings, but adapt my comportment to suit their instinctual interactive behavior sets.  They sure as hell have only the most limited ability to reciprocate, and I have no unreasonable expectations that they could develop such.

They're not people.  Within their capacities, however, they can live in contentment and show affection. To impose upon them suffering or other hardship I can abate is something I mark as personally dishonorable.

Now, that's a matter of aesthetic judgment.
--
"I is a great believer in peaceful settlements," Jik-jik assured him. "Ain't nobody as peaceful as a dead trouble-maker."
-- Keith Laumer, Retief's War (1966)

Brugle on September 27, 2010, 01:34:58 pm
in evolutionary terms, an individual who doesn't reproduce has not contributed genes to the next generation. Loser.
Wrong.  In evolutionary terms, what matters is the (copies of) genes that get passed into succeeding generations, not where the (copies of) genes come from.  In general, the man who allows his 2 young siblings to die and raises his child to adulthood is an evolutionary loser compared to the man who raises his 2 young siblings to adulthood and allows his child to die.

Brugle on September 27, 2010, 01:45:20 pm
The central thing is that they [animals] don't know english to tell us about their moral agency. So we don't think of them as fellow citizens. That's an arbitrary standard, but it's what we use.
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Not at all "arbitrary." ...

Thank you.  Your post is much better than what I would have written.

By the way, I enjoyed the entire post, but I agree with Sandy that you've been a bit verbose. ;) [I am guilty of verbosity at times.]
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 01:53:50 pm by Brugle »

quadibloc on September 27, 2010, 02:54:01 pm
This is, while excusable in small children and people dumb enough to believe that Barry Soetoro had been  born in a still-as-yet-unspecified labor and delivery unit in Honolulu instead of in Mombasa's Coast General Hospital,
I take it you're referring to one Barack Hussein Obama.

It is unclear to me why there is any reason to suspect that he is not a native-born American citizen. None of the claims otherwise have come from any part of the respected mainstream news media, after all. Since Americans who dissent from prevailing views don't live in fear of being hauled away to slave labor camps in the middle of the night, surely this means that the mainstream press here isn't filled with lies and propaganda!

Of course, this could be a whopping case of the fallacy of the excluded middle. Maybe we just think we're free, but all the news organizations of any size have been co-opted. Because of my personal experience in knowing that people who say "Einstein was wrong" are themselves wrong, and so on and so forth, I'm not inclined to give any credence to people outside the mainstream - but what may be sound reasoning in distinguishing science from pseudoscience may not be equally applicable to politics.

J Thomas on September 27, 2010, 03:07:45 pm
in evolutionary terms, an individual who doesn't reproduce has not contributed genes to the next generation. Loser.
Wrong.  In evolutionary terms, what matters is the (copies of) genes that get passed into succeeding generations, not where the (copies of) genes come from.  In general, the man who allows his 2 young siblings to die and raises his child to adulthood is an evolutionary loser compared to the man who raises his 2 young siblings to adulthood and allows his child to die.

You are right. Siblings each have on average half his genes, and his children have half his genes, it's two for one.

However, neutered cats don't get a lot of chances to aid the survival of their non-neutered siblings. They tend not to have non-neutered siblings, and they get little chance to contribute. So I believe the point I was making does stand.

J Thomas on September 27, 2010, 03:56:25 pm
The central thing is that they [animals] don't know english to tell us about their moral agency. So we don't think of them as fellow citizens. That's an arbitrary standard, but it's what we use.
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Not at all "arbitrary."  Throughout human history there has been a helluva problem with the treatment of human beings as the property of someone else, as "less than human," put under the command of some aristocracy or priesthood or monarchy or bureaucracy because they're not good enough to think and act for themselves.  Chattel slavery, serfdom, peonage, corvee labor, "bride price" and "cookstove accidents" resulting in unsatisfactory wives getting burned to death, castrati and other people involuntarily mutilated, human victims of religious sacrifice (which is how the gladiatorial combats of ancient Rome got started, remember), "life unworthy of living."

Yes. There has never been general agreement about these matters, and there is not general agreement about them today. Now we are tending in the USA toward prison labor, where the theory is that what happens to convicts is what they deserve because they have gone through the legal process.

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A lot of hard thought and dickering went into the development of the concept of moral agency as the touchstone of what is and is not a human being.

Yes, that's one way to do it. It did take a lot of dickering, and a large minority agreed to this particular compromise to decide which individuals are human beings who have rights, and which individuals have no rights.

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.... the political product of that Enlightenment is our own United States of America, centered upon the concept of government as a service agency of defined responsibilities and powers, held "down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

That was a good compromise for awhile. I think you're right that one of the central failures to maintain that approach was education. A whole lot of kids got drilled into them that "It isn't a democracy, it's a republic" and they took that to heart.

Still, for a long time the system worked. The Constitution constrained the mass-murderer Andrew Jackson, it constrained Lincoln, and Grant, and Harding and FDR, it constrained Truman. It seems like it did a good job stopping all the mischief-makers before my time, and it just stopped working say, from Kennedy on.

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People who call "arbitrary" the distinction between non-sapient animals and human beings are  not only quite contemptibly stupid, but they're dangerously stupid. 

You're welcome to your stupid opinion. It should be obvious that the difference in sentience between humans and other mammals is a matter of degree.

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But when faced with a situation in which your favorite pet is in the middle of the swimming pool along with a random wandering four-year-old child you've never seen before, your first priority had better be to get that kid out and safe and undergoing whatever resuscitation might be required.  To hell with Fluffy-Wuffy.

Ah, the old "you can't save them both, which one do you save" ploy. In India it's considered proper to say that you would save your mother and not your wife. This is jarring to american women who marry indian men.

In practice I find that what people do when it comes to the crunch tends to be somewhat random. As soon as they make the decision that it's too urgent to stop and think it out, this is pretty much inevitable. So for example, I knew a guy (not me) who was coming back from a caving trip with his girlfriend. He was carrying the ropes. Suddenly she screamed and pointed at a rattlesnake he was about to step on. He panicked. First he threw the rope on the snake. Then he threw the girl on the rope. Then he ran away. She forgave him, but she still talked about it years later.

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Your esthetic judgement is open to being judged by my esthetic judgement. I judge your morality according to my morality. And vice versa.

My original point was that the people who try to make sure that nothing bad every happens to any cat are being obviously silly, and the same applies to people who try to keep anything bad happening to US citizens -- for the same reasons.

I repeat: "Bullpuckey."  It is emphatically not an "esthetic judgement."  It is a moral judgment. 

You are welcome to believe that moral judgements are more than esthetic judgements. But in reality you are wrong.

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Behavioral biology - "animal psychology" - having been an interest of mine since adolescence, I've taken pains to learn how to provide any animal under my stewardship with the sorts of social cues to which their species respond with optimum levels of comfort and confidence, and thus far I've found that when rejected or neglected by their nominal owners, the pets in my household always seem to seek me out for emotional and physical succor. 

Yes, same here. And yet we come to opposite opinions about what it means.

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Your random kitten would be a helluva lot better off with me as its caretaker than you'd like to think.  I don't mistake cats for human beings, but adapt my comportment to suit their instinctual interactive behavior sets.  They sure as hell have only the most limited ability to reciprocate, and I have no unreasonable expectations that they could develop such.

They're not people.  Within their capacities, however, they can live in contentment and show affection. To impose upon them suffering or other hardship I can abate is something I mark as personally dishonorable.

Now, that's a matter of aesthetic judgment.
--

Have you read Space Chantey by RA Lafferty? If so that's a shorthand we could use. Would you want to stay on Lafferty's Lotophage? Do you think you could tell which of your pets would want that?

Tucci78 on September 27, 2010, 05:24:09 pm
It is unclear to me why there is any reason to suspect that he is not a native-born American citizen. None of the claims otherwise have come from any part of the respected mainstream news media, after all. Since Americans who dissent from prevailing views don't live in fear of being hauled away to slave labor camps in the middle of the night, surely this means that the mainstream press here isn't filled with lies and propaganda!
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[sarc] Yeah, sure.  And hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the Obama Campaign funds paid to the law firm Perkins Coie alone - which has handled most of the procedural kabuki theater ritual that has thus far kept whatever Barry uses in lieu of a birth certificate out of the hands of a forensic documents examiner - since he stood up to perjure himself in taking the oath of office is nothing more than the usual-and-customary incidental expenditures expected in a political campaign that ended some twenty-three months ago. [/sarc]
--
"I is a great believer in peaceful settlements," Jik-jik assured him. "Ain't nobody as peaceful as a dead trouble-maker."
-- Keith Laumer, Retief's War (1966)

Tucci78 on September 27, 2010, 05:51:53 pm
Have you read Space Chantey by RA Lafferty? If so that's a shorthand we could use. Would you want to stay on Lafferty's Lotophage? Do you think you could tell which of your pets would want that?
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Haven't read anything by Lafferty for better than about forty years.  Didn't like his stuff then, don't have much reason to go back and re-read him now.

Have you ever read the definitions of the words "moral" and "aesthetic"?

Can you tell the difference?
--
"I is a great believer in peaceful settlements," Jik-jik assured him. "Ain't nobody as peaceful as a dead trouble-maker."
-- Keith Laumer, Retief's War (1966)

jamesd on September 27, 2010, 06:22:06 pm
Some friends of mine owned several strip clubs and adult bookstores.  A number of "Christians" led primarily by a group from Rod Parsley's World Harvest Church set about picketing these businesses (and thereby attempting to intimidate potential customers), and lobbied local "law enforcement" to find ways to shut them down (one of which was to bring state-sponsored civil suits to close them down -- these suits did not permit juries, thus ensuring that the predetermined decisions were made by the professional thugs).

Odd:  My observation is that opposition to strip clubs and so forth comes primarily from feminists and from nearby residents and businesses who are alarmed by a disturbing minority among the clients. 

A strip club should be inside a large fenced in parking lot, or at least put bushes around the parking lot. If it does not, it causes problems for people around it.  They don't need to be Christians to object.  Did your friend's strip club have an adequately secluded parking lot?  Or did it share parking facilities with other private businesses or residential streets?

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The preacher who threatened to burn a bunch of Korans is being fined two hundred thousand dollars.  Sure sounds like government force to me.  What is the guy who made piss Christ being fined?

I have seen it suggested that (a) said preacher requested special protection, and (b) the "fine" was in fact a bill for that protection.

I am pretty sure he did not agree to *hire* protection, for had he done so, he would have hired one of the many private protection services, not the government.  Further, my understanding is that he did ask for protection from the government and was repeatedly told he was on his own - that he would receive no protection from the government.

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I personally have encountered this

I think that what you have observed is that if you utter disrespectful words about Muslims you are likely to be punished, whereas it is easy and safe to utter hate filled words about Christians, demonize them to justify those that murder them - and so you condemn the people who are being attacked, and support the people who are attacking.

I gave a concrete and specific example above.

People can, and usually do, object to strip clubs near them for reasons entirely unrelated to Christianity.  You attribute this to wicked Christians, which you yourself have observed, but I have not observed.  How about we stick to events that have attracted sufficient news coverage that we can both know what the real facts are?

With events that attract such coverage, we do not see any Christian repression.  We do, however, see Islamic repression - and those that are outraged by this quite unobservable Christian repression, blandly smile and bend over for this Islamic repression.

MacFall on September 27, 2010, 06:27:38 pm
You missed my post, didn't you?

There are plenty of examples of Christians promoting and engaging violence; they only prefer to do it through the state instead of directly. And why should it be newsworthy for a town to block the opening of a strip club, regardless of who is behind it?

But I can tell you, again from experience, that Christians have blocked the openings of strip clubs before. Because I was one of said Christians (this being before I became an anarchist). And no, there was no press coverage.
Government is not, as is often believed, a "necessary evil". Rather, it is a plain evil of such power that it has been able to convince people of its necessity.

quadibloc on September 27, 2010, 06:52:05 pm
But I can tell you, again from experience, that Christians have blocked the openings of strip clubs before.
I remember a news item where a relative of actor Charlie Sheen was harassing people who went to an adult video store by taking their photographs, in an attempt to drive it out of business; this was in the news.

Those who accept taxes and conscription in principle have abandoned freedom in principle.  Once you recognize the state's right to dispose of your life and your wealth as it sees fit in principle, what reason can you have to oppose the state's disposing of your wealth as it sees fit in a particular case?
Those who used the slogan "No taxation without representation" did have principles, even if they were different from yours. They put limitations on the powers they vested in the government.

Yes, they allowed the government to initiate force on their behalf to enforce cooperation instead of defection - with the idea to ensure everyone contributed his fair share, not to impose a disproportionate share of the burden on a few.

Surrounded by hostile state societies on all sides, they didn't have the time to work the kinks out of anarchy - and, as I've noted, I'm not convinced you've done so either. Because the stakes are so very high, taking a leap into the unknown is something few will agree to. But if there's ever a frontier again, people will have a chance to live with a lot less government.

J Thomas on September 27, 2010, 07:07:37 pm

Have you ever read the definitions of the words "moral" and "aesthetic"?

Can you tell the difference?

If at some time you notice yourself choosing a moral stand that you hadn't thought out before, you will see that the body feel of moral judgement is just like the body feel of esthetic judgement. And if you look honestly at how you make moral judgements you will notice that it is the same as esthetic judgement. First you pick something that feels good, and later you come up with arguments to justify your choice.

The difference is that in our culture people are taught that esthetics is personal and variable -- de gustibus -- while morality is objective and universal. But in cultures where one form of art was considered sacrosanct, where for example good people all liked Socialist Realism and only bad people liked anything else, even that difference was gone.

jamesd on September 28, 2010, 12:29:28 pm
There are plenty of examples of Christians promoting and engaging violence; they only prefer to do it through the state instead of directly.

I do not see this.  You say you see it, but if it happened, it would happen with newsworthy events.  Point to one.