MacFall on September 28, 2010, 12:50:04 pm
You say it would be newsworthy - but that simply isn't the case.

I can tell you from experience because I was a moral crusader before I became a libertarian. And I can tell you that nothing has changed since then, because I'm still a Christian, and I find myself CONSTANTLY struggling against pro-violence doctrine within the Church. I say doctrine and mean it. There are churches that will kick you out for speaking out against the military or police. Islam seems to give a greater leeway for violence than Christianity does, because Christ himself was not violent, while Mohamed certainly was. But that doesn't change the fact that the belief in the justice of legalized violence is just as strong within the Church as it is elsewhere.

I don't say this because I'm against Christianity - I AM A CHRISTIAN MYSELF. But I see state-worship and pro-violence doctrine to be the enemies of my faith, and denying that they exist would be naive and horribly irresponsible.
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 28, 2010, 01:01:54 pm
Innocent people who have been orphaned or maimed or tortured or raped or stolen from have no legitimate claims?
Raped? I didn't think the Israelis did much of that.

I do think that the Palestinians displaced around 1948 do not have a legitimate claim against Israel for the loss of their homes. This happened because of the decision of the surrounding countries to drive Israel into the sea. Thus, their claim is against the governments of those countries, and not against Israel.

The residents of the Gaza Strip do have a legitimate claim against Hamas for the fact that they have not been able to live in peace. Had rockets not been launched out of the Gaza Strip, Operation Cast Lead would not have happened. If it weren't for the suicide bombers, Israel wouldn't have had to build a wall around the West Bank.

Yes, innocent people are adversely affected by Israeli military actions. But that's because others are refusing to allow the Israelis to live at the same standard of peace and safety as enjoyed by Americans or Britons or other citizens of democratic nations. So Israel has had to respond to these external threats.

If Israel were persecuting Arabs and Muslims for no reason, simply because they were different, because it wanted to impose an order in which Jews could abuse Muslims without recourse, then Israel would be at fault. But Israel didn't do that kind of thing. It is, instead, the Muslims who have in the past done that sort of thing to Jews - and still do that sort of thing to Coptic Christians in Egypt, for example.

You are welcome to believe that moral judgements are more than esthetic judgements. But in reality you are wrong.
If that is the case, then I have no real moral reason not to go ahead and impose my aesthetic judgements on everyone else by force.

Hence, even if you are right, that is irrelevant. Either there is some objective moral standard by which we are compelled to refrain from stealing from and enslaving our fellow human beings, or, if there is no such standard in reality, then imposing obedience to this imaginary moral standard by force is not wrong, because there is no such thing as wrong.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 01:17:43 pm by quadibloc »

J Thomas on September 28, 2010, 02:45:02 pm
I do think that the Palestinians displaced around 1948 do not have a legitimate claim against Israel for the loss of their homes. This happened because of the decision of the surrounding countries to drive Israel into the sea. Thus, their claim is against the governments of those countries, and not against Israel.

This looks like an interesting claim to examine from an AnCap perspective.

Imagine it. You are an AnCap who does not recognize the authority of governments, peacefully living in your home. But collections of armed gangs are roaming the area killing people who look like you, and they threaten to kill everybody who looks like you. They heavily outnumber the people in your AnCap town and they have better weapons, but most of you successfully run away. Then a couple of governments fight on your land. One of the governments wins. It announces that you cannot come home, they will stop you at the border. If you sneak across the border they will point guns at you and escort you out of their country, unless they shoot you.

Whose fault is it that you can't go home? Is it the government that lost the war, or the government that won the war and won't let you go home? Or somebody else?

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

If that is the case, then I have no real moral reason not to go ahead and impose my aesthetic judgements on everyone else by force.

Hence, even if you are right, that is irrelevant. Either there is some objective moral standard by which we are compelled to refrain from stealing from and enslaving our fellow human beings, or, if there is no such standard in reality, then imposing obedience to this imaginary moral standard by force is not wrong, because there is no such thing as wrong.

Well, if you try to enslave me or my friends we will strenuously object. We disagree with that moral standard. We don't want you to enslave anybody. It's probably not practical for you to steal from us either, if we notice, because we will strenuously object to that too.

People like me aren't going to steal from you, nor will we try to enslave you. It offends our sensibilities.

I don't claim there's anything absolute about this. It's just the way we feel. But if you want to go out and coerce people when we think it's wrong, you'd better be strong enough to keep us from stopping you. Because we will try to stop you if we think we can.

If you are strong enough you can set up an authoritarian government. And if my best alternative to knuckling under is to die while accomplishing nothing, I just might knuckle under. You can search my house and neuter my cat. You can put my kids in counseling. You can require me to eat Wheaties in public. Whatever you choose, my moral or esthetic judgement has no force, because you have all the force. Lots of things happen in this world that I consider wrong, that severely offend my esthetics, that I put up with because I see no better choice. Sometimes I send email to my congressman. The bad things still happen.

Does it matter whether they are absolutely morally wrong or whether they just offend me and people like me?

I don't see that it makes any difference at all.

I don't see any way to tell whether my esthetics matches up with some absolute moral scheme. If you think you have an inside line on an absolute morality you're welcome to tell me about it and I'll tell you whether it appeals to me or not.

quadibloc on September 28, 2010, 03:09:08 pm
Whose fault is it that you can't go home? Is it the government that lost the war, or the government that won the war and won't let you go home? Or somebody else?
I'd say that it depends on whose fault the war is. If it's the people who looked like you who were the ones who first started trouble because they didn't like the other people's looks - and the other people had to go by their looks to defend themselves effectively, because attempts to deal with people as individuals let the other side sneak attackers in - then I would say you should blame the other people who look like you more than the people who are actually barring your way home.

That's what I believe to be the situation with regard to Israel.

Does it matter whether they are absolutely morally wrong or whether they just offend me and people like me?

I don't see that it makes any difference at all.

I don't see any way to tell whether my esthetics matches up with some absolute moral scheme. If you think you have an inside line on an absolute morality you're welcome to tell me about it and I'll tell you whether it appeals to me or not.
Well, I can reassure you that I don't see visions of a divine spirit speaking to me that tells me that killing and enslaving people is OK if they don't bow down to me as their prophet.

I will agree that you shouldn't need some theory of absolute morality to protect you from feeling guilty when you defend yourself against people who try to kill and enslave you. But that's basically my argument - that even if you're right, it's irrelevant: if there is no absolute morality "from on high" that says it's wrong to perpetrate injustice, that doesn't mean we should either perpetrate it or put up with it.

But when we're raising our kids, as an example, it seems to help if we make them feel guilty about bullying others and things like that... even when they think they won't get caught. This, along, of course, with the history of the attempt to control people's minds known as religion, is why we tend to use moral language when talking about the issue of how we should treat each other.

I'm happy to use this language for much the same reason I use English - it's the language most of the people around me use, so I can say things without a lot of extra explanation.

J Thomas on September 28, 2010, 04:38:27 pm
Whose fault is it that you can't go home? Is it the government that lost the war, or the government that won the war and won't let you go home? Or somebody else?
I'd say that it depends on whose fault the war is.

OK! Could it be that for you it depends very strongly on whose ox is gored? Since of course you believe that none of the wars were Israel's fault, then everything Israel has done during or after the wars was justified.

So, after WWII the USSR adjusted their border with Poland westward. They quite reasonably wanted a bigger buffer to prepare for the next war. Of course we all agree that the war was 100% the fault of Germany and 0% the fault of the USSR, so the USSR was 100% justified in what they did to Poland. Right?

And, when Yugoslavia broke up, the various ethnic groups that Titov had kept under control got loose and wanted to continue their fighting. This was the Balkans.... Some of the sides used institutional rape as a war tactic. We tended to blame the Serbians because they had gotten support from the Nazis during the war so we were predisposed to consider them the enemy. So anyway, let's decide whose fault it was they were fighting. After we decide which side to blame, then we can say that all the rapes by the other side weren't the fault of the rapists, they were the fault of the guys we think started the war.

You think Israelis didn't commit rape. That's something that tends to happen during wartime. While the US army was in France during and after WWII there were a few hundred reported rapes of french women. The US military's response was that we'd be glad to hang the rapists if we could find them, but we couldn't. So we offered for our medics to give the women free medical care. Of course we tried to minimize rape of french women, it was utterly against our policies and our interests.

After the war the soviet army raped a lot of women in east germany, pretty much anybody they wanted to. We say there wasn't much of that in the US-controlled areas, and I can believe it. The german rationing system had broken down and people were very hungry, and US soldiers had plenty. It usually doesn't take more than a few weeks of real hunger to get a woman to wear a "Will Frack For Food" sign.

We talk like there wasn't much rape during or after our Civil War. It was a time when southerners were very hesitant to talk about it when it did happen. Kind of like, say, arabs today. I have essentially no data about how much the Israeli army (or the paramilitary gangs) have raped, and you don't either. But if it someday turns out that there was pretty much and it was policy, I predict you will say it was the fault of the arabs who created a problem for Israel, and not the Israelis who responded with rape. That's consistent with your stand otherwise.

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Does it matter whether they are absolutely morally wrong or whether they just offend me and people like me?

I don't see that it makes any difference at all.

I will agree that you shouldn't need some theory of absolute morality to protect you from feeling guilty when you defend yourself against people who try to kill and enslave you. But that's basically my argument - that even if you're right, it's irrelevant: if there is no absolute morality "from on high" that says it's wrong to perpetrate injustice, that doesn't mean we should either perpetrate it or put up with it.

Sure. We come up with morality that suits us, and we enforce it as best we can. Quoting Discordian scripture, "Everybody I know who is right always agrees with ME"

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But when we're raising our kids, as an example, it seems to help if we make them feel guilty about bullying others and things like that... even when they think they won't get caught.

I don't think it's right to lie to children for my convenience.

And getting people to feel guilty is an important part of social dominance, but it doesn't seem to improve their behavior. People feel guilty to prove they're good people even though they continue to do bad things.

Brugle on September 28, 2010, 08:17:55 pm
Innocent people who have been orphaned or maimed or tortured or raped or stolen from have no legitimate claims?
Raped? I didn't think the Israelis did much of that.

Very interesting.  NeitherRuleNorBeRuled and I were referring to US government agents.  But, in both cases, when we mentioned atrocities, you immediately assumed that those atrocities were committed by Israelis.

Israel government agents do have a well-deserved reputation for wanton brutality, but I think you are a little hard on them.  Agents of other governments (as well as people who are not government agents) do commit some atrocities.

quadibloc on September 28, 2010, 09:41:14 pm
Very interesting.  NeitherRuleNorBeRuled and I were referring to US government agents.  But, in both cases, when we mentioned atrocities, you immediately assumed that those atrocities were committed by Israelis.
Huh? It was the Palestinians who I was saying had "no legitimate claims", and so if I am asked if I think that people who were raped had no legitimate claims, I have to assume the querent is talking about rapes being committed against Palestinians.

I am aware that there are grounds for saying that Palestinians have had land stolen from them, though, so I guess you could say I have a bad conscience in that area.

Could it be that for you it depends very strongly on whose ox is gored? Since of course you believe that none of the wars were Israel's fault, then everything Israel has done during or after the wars was justified.

So, after WWII the USSR adjusted their border with Poland westward. They quite reasonably wanted a bigger buffer to prepare for the next war. Of course we all agree that the war was 100% the fault of Germany and 0% the fault of the USSR, so the USSR was 100% justified in what they did to Poland. Right?
In the case of Israel, it expanded because otherwise it would have been driven into the sea the next time it was attacked - and there certainly would have been a next time.

In the case of the USSR, the USSR is an evil dictatorship. Not a democracy. So it is not a regime that has any need to survive. And there was nothing for it to defend itself from. The United States successfully wiped out Nazism in the happy, peaceful German Federal Republic.

It is very important to avoid being biased about whose ox is gored when considering a conflict between equals - between two nations with democratic governments that represent their people. So, if there was a dispute between France and Israel, it would be very important to carefully consider the issue on its merits to avoid bias.

When it comes to one between the United States and the Soviet Union - the United States is automatically always right for the same reason that a store owner or a policeman is always right and an armed robber is always wrong. The very existence of a dictatorship is a profound violation of human rights.

The Western democracies may not be perfect, but lumping them in with tyrannies because they haven't made it to AnCap yet is just silly. Yes, we have fallen away from some of the original Constitutional limitations on government - but that's partly because we woke up to the need to repair the consequences of past violations of nonaggression in other forms, such as slavery.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2010, 11:17:10 am by quadibloc »

jamesd on September 28, 2010, 11:01:56 pm
But that doesn't change the fact that the belief in the justice of legalized violence is just as strong within the Church as it is elsewhere.
But this is not because such support for violence was inculcated by Christianity, but through government, in particular through government schools, where, for example, "The grapes of wrath" is taught as documentary, rather than alternate universe fiction.

To argue that present day Christianity has a record comparable to Islam, is just nuts.  So to make the argument, you have to go back to  the Spanish inquisition and such like.  The Spanish inquisition in its entire history murdered fewer people than Che Guevera.  Yeah, the spanish inquisition, the condemnation of 1277, and all that, were very great wrongs - but compared to rest of the world, they were pretty Christian.
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J Thomas on September 28, 2010, 11:04:10 pm
Could it be that for you it depends very strongly on whose ox is gored? Since of course you believe that none of the wars were Israel's fault, then everything Israel has done during or after the wars was justified.

So, after WWII the USSR adjusted their border with Poland westward. They quite reasonably wanted a bigger buffer to prepare for the next war. Of course we all agree that the war was 100% the fault of Germany and 0% the fault of the USSR, so the USSR was 100% justified in what they did to Poland. Right?

In the case of Israel, it expanded because otherwise it would have been driven into the sea the next time it was attacked - and there certainly would have been a next time.

I have read that Catholic doctrine says it isn't a sin to commit crimes if you really need to. Like, if you're hungry and you can't buy food, it's acceptable to steal food. Are you perhaps Catholic?

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In the case of the USSR, the USSR is an evil dictatorship. Not a democracy. So it is not a regime that has any need to survive.

Yes, definitely it's a matter of whose ox is gored. It looks like you're saying that good guys have the right to do whatever they need to. Bad guys have no rights.

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And there was nothing for it to defend itself from. The United States successfully wiped out Nazism in the happy, peaceful German Federal Republic.

It didn't take long before we were threatening to nuke them. We told our own people that our relatively small hi-tech military stationed in western europe could not invade russia. But of course they had recently experienced Germany's relatively small hi-tech military.

I guess it would be possible to say that the soviets were entirely paranoid to think that they might have to fight the USA, when there was no possibility of such a war. But Israelis were not at all paranoid, they faced an overwhelming threat. We could argue that similarly the Germans had been wrong to try to take foreign land to get defensible borders since they also had no credible enemies (and also they were bad guys who didn't deserve to have anything at all, much less defensible borders).

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It is very important to avoid being biased about whose ox is gored when considering a conflict between equals - between two nations with democratic governments that represent their people. So, if there was a dispute between France and Israel, it would be very important to carefully consider the issue on its merits to avoid bias.

But if one of them is a bad guy then the other one is automatically right?

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When it comes to one between the United States and the Soviet Union - the United States is automatically always right for the same reason that a store owner or a policeman is always right and an armed robber is always wrong.

You assert that a policeman is always right and someone accused by the police of a crime is always wrong. I am surprised. Perhaps I shouldn't be.

MacFall on September 28, 2010, 11:08:34 pm
To argue that present day Christianity has a record comparable to Islam, is just nuts.

Well, good thing I'm not making that argument then. But your argument seems to be that Christianity doesn't have a violence problem, and I'm telling you that's not the case. Saying that to me would be like telling an oncologist who is in the process of operating on a tumor that his patient doesn't have cancer. The violent doctrine is obfuscated, but it is there, and it is ubiquitous and stubborn.
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.

mellyrn on September 29, 2010, 08:29:03 am
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But when we're raising our kids, as an example, it seems to help if we make them feel guilty about bullying others and things like that... even when they think they won't get caught.

I find it helps much more to teach them compassion. 

If I step on your toe, my feelings of guilt about it do exactly nothing for you:  they don't heal your toe, they don't relieve your pain, and if you know nothing about my guilt feelings, they don't even distract you from your suffering.  Even if I do express myself to you, you may choose to disbelieve me; if you did believe me, I doubt you'd consider my misery (guilt is supposed to feel bad) as sufficient compensation for yours.  Yet I may feel so bad that it inhibits my taking any action, such as to seek to heal your toe.  Otoh, if I am a compassionate person, I feel no guilt as such, but I do feel vicarious pain, and I immediately seek to remedy your pain just as if it were my own.

If I am "guilty", I am always and forever "guilty" -- I cannot un-step on your toe.  And I'll probably err again sooner or later; thus guilt accumulates.  How burdensome.  If I am compassionate, your real pain and my vicarious pain are undone together and, not incidentally, as quickly as possible, and we both can live more lightly.

If you wanted me to go on hurting, wouldn't that make you as much of a monster as someone who steps on toes on purpose?

If the kids can't learn compassion, no amount of guilt or shame will prevent them from "wrong" action.  It'll just keep them from enjoying it.


Rocketman on September 29, 2010, 10:52:56 am
We tended to blame the Serbians because they had gotten support from the Nazis during the war so we were predisposed to consider them the enemy.
If I remember correctly, I think that the serbs were on the side of the USSR during the second world war.  Your thinking of the Cheniks.  That spelling may not be right.


J Thomas on September 29, 2010, 11:09:14 am
We tended to blame the Serbians because they had gotten support from the Nazis during the war so we were predisposed to consider them the enemy.
If I remember correctly, I think that the serbs were on the side of the USSR during the second world war.  Your thinking of the Cheniks.  That spelling may not be right.

Oops! You're right. I said that wrong.

OK, "We tended to blame the Serbians because they had gotten support from the USSR during the war so we were predisposed to consider them the enemy."

quadibloc on September 29, 2010, 11:24:01 am
You assert that a policeman is always right and someone accused by the police of a crime is always wrong. I am surprised. Perhaps I shouldn't be.
I may have misspoke. Police can indeed falsely accuse innocent people of crime and stuff like that. If the accused isn't innocent, though, and the officer isn't abusing his power, though, then the police officer is on the side of the ordinary people who want to do their noncoercive business in peace, and the robber their enemy.

But then I'm so brainwashed that I think that a government is more likely to give an accused shoplifter some due process than a merchants' protective association. And that the best plan lies somewhere in between the two. Of course, the government not being tough enough on some crime is a way to stimulate demand for more government power - turn criminals loose on strict rules of evidence, and use that to stimulate demand for gun control.

Brugle on September 29, 2010, 02:00:50 pm
Very interesting.  NeitherRuleNorBeRuled and I were referring to US government agents.  But, in both cases, when we mentioned atrocities, you immediately assumed that those atrocities were committed by Israelis.
Huh? It was the Palestinians who I was saying had "no legitimate claims",

Exactly.  That's what was interesting.

In NeitherRuleNorBeRuled's post, the only specific groups mentioned were the US government and the 9/11 hijackers.  You quoted his post and disagreed, and followed that with extraneous babble about mid-20th-century Palestine.  I quoted your disagreement with NeitherRuleNorBeRuled's post (but not the following babble) and disagreed with you (basically agreeing with NeitherRuleNorBeRuled).  Then you were surprised because you mistakenly thought that we were discussing only atrocities committed by Israelis.  I explained your mistake, and then (in the post I quote above) you act surprised because you mistakenly thought that we were discussing only atrocities committed against Palestinians.

Let me try to make it clear.  Not all atrocities are committed by Israelis.  Not all atrocities are committed against Palestinians.  Civilized people oppose all atrocities.

You and many terrorists make the same collectivist mistake: putting people into groups and justifying atrocities against innocent people who you consider to be in the same group as guilty people.  It is barbaric when terrorists do it.  It is barbaric when you do it.

 

anything