Re: [atheists-27] Snow Day! Let's talk politics

From: Zach M.
Sent on: Thursday, March 7, 2013 10:02 PM

Not pessimism. The non agression principle does not mean passivism.

On Mar 7,[masked]:01 PM, [address removed] wrote:

The non agression principle does not mean pessimism. In fact, defense and protection by force is a significant part of the non agression principle. Sorry if that's not what you've been taught.

On Mar 7,[masked]:51 PM, "Duff Means" <[address removed]> wrote:
"How can greed affect a system when there is no individual property?"

Because some individuals declare property to be personal when it is supposed to be communal, or acquire or seek to acquire an unequal distribution of produced goods, through abuse of their positions of responsibility over the distribution of those goods or other goods. This is why the officials in communist Russia were wealthy and well-fed, whereas the peasants were starving and poor.

Both systems work well when all individuals buy in to the system, but are vulnerable to individuals that refuse to play by the rules.



On Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 6:58 PM, Styvens <[address removed]> wrote:
This discussion has appealed me enough to take part in it.

I will be short and focus on two different point raised by ,Duff and Zach , then by Vern.

First I do agree with Duff on ,
" Those that don't will immediately take advantage of those that do, rendering the system broken from day 1."
Which is certainly true assuming that the non - aggression activist (let say pacifist )  wouldn't have the means to defend themselves and win.
However your comment on the fail of communis m seems at least utterly wrong.
" [... ]like communism, it is entirely too vulnerable to corruption and greed"
How come an individual or an entity corrupt another one when you can't gather (capitalize) an tremendous amount of resource by any mean?
How can greed affect a system when there is no individual property?
I agree that communism does not comply the "sexual competition"  and that's why you would have an important part of any population who would oppose to it.


Second concerning the technology aspect, technology consequences are what people make of them.
You can not judge technologyy by itself.
It does changes peoples habits and thus cultures and lifes , but only in the extent decided by leaders.
Lately open source and open harware technology have been allowing people to do , learn and share more than any time before.
This side of the technologic boom have been allowing people to share the most valuable wealth , knowledge  and tools for production.
Things like free compiler , library or , design for 3D printer , or even fake limb prothesis , have made a world better in many sense.

If you want to focus on the big brand making big bucks on greediness commercial , and technological limitation it's your choice.
Yet there millions of people out there working for free , to help and allow anyone to face the biggest challenge he choose to solve.

Styvens
Rockville ,MD

Styvens Belloge
Data Analyst


2013/3/7 Vern <[address removed]>
I was more libertarian in my views previously (1990's) but with the continued exponential growth of technology, I'm left with the question how can a libertarian approach work?

Technology is built on previous technology and the winner take all philosophy is a problem. Also technology is in the business of automation and people skills will soon be unable to compete with technology. So how do we build a society in which people are motivated, have a means to contribute and the wealth that is built from technology is shared appropriately?

Vern Sheppard
Bethesda, MD

On Mar 7, 2013, at 4:10 PM, Duff Means <[address removed]> wrote:

I mean no offense when I say that you are being hopelessly naive to assume that everyone will both understand and agree to practice non-aggression. Those that don't will immediately take advantage of those that do, rendering the system broken from day 1.


On Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 4:03 PM, Zach Moore <[address removed]> wrote:

The non agression principle is at the heart of libertarianism. That's not a utopian vision because it assumes human behavior is too creative and diverse to control through coercion. Of course there is room for retaliation but to say that libertarianism is unworkable... I just can't imagine why anyone would say that or how they could argue against the non agression principle without immediately becoming a hypocrite.

On Mar 7,[masked]:59 PM, "Duff Means" <[address removed]> wrote:
I feel the need to throw my $0.02 with respect to libertarianism: Much like communism, libertarianism is a noble ideal - but also like communism, it is entirely too vulnerable to corruption and greed, and as such, in its pure form, is unworkable. To put it simply, the "do what you will" aspect is focused on far too heavily, and to the exclusion of "but take responsibility for what you do". Additionally, not everyone agrees on what those responsibilities are - which is why government and laws are still required, and pure libertarianism can't work.

Ultimately, Representative Democracy is not a bad form of government, so long as the representatives do represent the people, rather than those that pay them: lobbyists for corporations and capitalist interests.


On Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 3:46 PM, Zach Moore <[address removed]> wrote:

Don't have much time to respond but I'm an atheist libertarian and appreciate many things about the Tea Party. I don't appreciate the religious elements but I don't think the Tea Parties emphasis on tolerance and individual freedom is a hallmark of the religious worldview. Quite the contrary, I think the collectivists worldview of Plato, Kant, Hegel and of course religion is the dominant zeitgeist of the Democratic left. As an atheists who is humble enough to know that I am me and am limited in capacity, I think the libertarian position is one of the most moral positions to hold politically.

I'll be honest though. As an atheists, I do have to hold my nose with the religious elements of the GOP. Knowing the historical development of this faction helps me do this.

I say this just to add perspective to the conversation. In your pursuit of secular values, we need to be sure we do not adopt the mystical worldview of religion or secular collectivism. Both worldviews produce anti-humanitarian regimes (The crusades and The Final Solution). I'm reading a great book right now that explains how the  collectivist worldview led to Hitler's Germany. It's worth the read.

The Ominous Parallels by Leonard Peikof.

Regards,

Zach Moore
Washington DC

On Mar 7,[masked]:56 PM, "Don Wharton" <[address removed]> wrote:
I think Chad is right that the Tea Party is now a liability for the GOP. However, members of the Tea Party do not consider themselves to be a liability. They remain within their delusional world view where they are right and the rest of the world is supposed to come around to their views of reality.
Morover, Boehner and company are fanatical on a basic Tea Party platform of no increase in taxes to achieve a move toward fiscal balance. Polls show that the majority of the GOP favor an increase in taxes on the rich so GOP leadership is substantially out of touch with their own base. I am sure that most members of the GOP would consider those making between $250 and $450k to be among the wealthy and those people did not have any increase in taxes with end of year agreement.
 
Chris Mooney has documented the fact that conservatives are substantially less inclined to be open to new experience. They want cognitive closure around their existing world view which comes from their various sources of conservative authority. The fact that Rick Scott has moved away from this knee-jerk variety of conservatism is to be applauded.
 
This brings me back the question of how we define what our secular values are? As part of my organizing activity for our upcoming Secular Voter's Forum I have be communicating with the Secular Coalition for America. This is a profoundly wonderful group. However, I found myself a bit disturbed by their understanding of the secular/religious divide in a conference call they had today.
 
Someone successfully made the point that within the SCA that voter ID laws are not considered a secular issue. I was appalled by this since I am rather certain that support for those laws would come disproportionately from the religious. Moreover, I doubt that we would have even 5% of our members here which would support those laws.
 
As a matter of science it has been demonstrated that extreme societal inequality results in substantial increases societal dysfunction and the probability of complete collapse of the social order. The current American trajectory toward a future where the rich and super-rich take a vastly disproportionate percentage of the economic wealth of our nation is not good.  Voter ID laws are specifically designed to disenfranchise those on the low end of the income spectrum to make the world more comfortable for those who are already extremely comfortable.   How is this not a secular issue?
 
Don Wharton

From: Chad <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Thursday, March 7,[masked]:51 AM
Subject: Re: [atheists-27] Snow Day! Let's talk politics

On a national level the Tea Party is now a liability for  the GOP. Moreover, like a goiter, the TP is cumbersome and embarrassing.  Scott may be trying to cut them off. A pat on the back is in order if it is anything but a briefly lived bipolar episode. 

Chad Albus


Robert W Ahrens <[address removed]> wrote:


I was struck by an article today about the Florida Governor, Rick Scott.

We had a lot of fun poking fun at the guy in the election, and excoriating him for his anti-democratic voting laws, among other things.

But, this article notes that in recent weeks, he has made some surprising 180 degree turns on several subjects, including the ACA and Medicaid expansion.  One thing he cited as a reason (one of several, he said) for changing his mind was his mother, who died last year.  Apparently, they were poor, and poor enough his mother at least considered putting him up for adoption at one point.

One of the comments to the article was a terrible recounting of his past actions in favor of the Tea Party, and saying that nobody should believe his turnabout, etc., etc.

Yes, the article does recount how he endorsed the TP in his first year.  Don't forget, the TP was in its ascendancy then, and it was, in a lot of places, fairly popular.  Such things attract politicians, as they carry votes they need to win.  Today, not so much, and Scott's popularity ranking is basically in the toilet.

Accordingly, he is going around endorsing the Medicaid expansion he has decided for, early voting periods and several other much more center of the road positions he was against last year.

Horrors!  The man changed his positions!  He must be a - gasp! - flip-flopper!

Actually, I can admire a man ((or woman) who can reasonably tell the voters that circumstances - and the voters - have changed his/her mind about something.  A person who cannot or will not change their mind upon encountering either new information or hard and fast opposition is called a hard liner and is usually too stubborn for anybody's good.

Don't get me wrong, someone who changes their minds to follow however the wind blows whether from new information or not is nobody to follow either, but there is a difference here.  One can be a principled person with reasonable beliefs and be able to change one's mind upon being presented with new information or upon being persuaded by someone else with a good argument.  That is a good thing, and is something every politician should be encouraged to do.  It's called being a good skeptic with an open mind.

The main thing I want to talk about is that we have, supposedly, a democracy.  It is a representative form of government that is technically a federal system.  The representatives are elected to represent their constituents' interests in a body we call a Congress, or a legislature.  The President and VP are also elected to represent us in their Federal and centralized positions.

In this kind of system, instead of being sent there to represent themselves and their own interests, they are supposed to represent ours.  Yes, we like principled people with strong morals, but - and this is a big but - we expect them to do what WE want them to do, not what monied interests would pay them to do or what they want as members of a political party in opposition to our wishes as their constituents.

So, when a politician stands up and supports positions that are different from previous policies he has taken and those new positions are obviously popular ones, why do we tend to look down on that person?  Isn't that what we expect them to do? Especially a sitting Governor!  If he is asked by a reporter, "Did you take these positions to get re-elected?" I would fully expect him to answer honestly, "Yes!  I did, because these are the things that are important to my constituents and I want to do what is good for them!"  That is an honest answer, and one I would be impressed to hear.

What are your thoughts?


Robert Ahrens
The Cybernetic Atheist


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