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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best?
    #2810364 - 06/20/04 03:42 AM (13 years, 10 days ago)

Do you believe that the ultimate test of sociopolitical ideology is whether or not it is the best thing overall for everyone, or whether it is the morally correct thing to do, even if it means making life worse for most people?


For example, if you were a libertarian, and you somehow learned that libertarianism ultimately and unavoidably resulted in a crushing feudal system with a few large overlords owning and controlling everything and having complete controll over almost everyone's lives, would you still be for it?


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2810655 - 06/20/04 09:13 AM (13 years, 10 days ago)

Baby_Hitler asks:

Do you believe that the ultimate test of sociopolitical ideology is whether or not it is the best thing overall for everyone, or whether it is the morally correct thing to do, even if it means making life worse for most people?

This is a "have you stopped beating your wife" question. The thing is, behaving in a moral manner (or "ethical" or "good" or "correct" or "right" or whatever other synonym floats your boat) cannot make life worse for most people.

For example, if you were a libertarian, and you somehow learned that libertarianism ultimately and unavoidably resulted in a crushing feudal system with a few large overlords owning and controlling everything and having complete controll over almost everyone's lives, would you still be for it?

Libertarian principles followed consistently cannot result in such an outcome, so the question is moot.

pinky


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: Phred]
    #2810735 - 06/20/04 10:08 AM (13 years, 10 days ago)

By "moot" you seem to mean "avoided".

And no, it is nothing like "have you stopped beating your wife".

What part of libertarianism exactly prevents a few people fromgaining tremendous overwhelming power.

If you own everything, including all the food, doesn't libertarianism give you the right to decide who eats and who doesn't?


Do you believe in what you believe in because you believe it will result in the best outcome, or because it is inherently morally correct even if it underperforms another system?


I don't mean to pick on libertarianism. Socialism, and all the other "systems" are just as relevant to the question.


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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2810749 - 06/20/04 10:27 AM (13 years, 10 days ago)

Yes, it is like "Have you stopped beating your wife" because of the way it is worded:

Quote:

Do you believe that the ultimate test of sociopolitical ideology is whether or not it is the best thing overall for everyone, or whether it is the morally correct thing to do, even if it means making life worse for most people?




It's a loaded question, presuming facts not in evidence. Leave out the bolded last clause, however, and it becomes a legitimate question.

What part of libertarianism exactly prevents a few people fromgaining tremendous overwhelming power.

The core principle -- the prohibition on the initiation of physical force (and through extension, fraud) in interactions between humans.

If you own everything, including all the food...

Again, an invalid "if". How, through non-violent means, can anyone acquire all the food?

... doesn't libertarianism give you the right to decide who eats and who doesn't?

Nope. It recognizes your right to decide to whom you will give your own food. No more, no less.

Do you believe in what you believe in because you believe it will result in the best outcome, or because it is inherently morally correct even if it underperforms another system?

Both, since it outperforms any other system. It's a genuine twofer.

But the main reason Libertarian (more accurately, Laissez-faire Capitalism) philosophy is the one to follow is that it is the only ethically correct socio-economic political system. The fact that it is also the system which benefits humans the most is a pleasant side effect. The moral is the practical.

pinky


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: Phred]
    #2810755 - 06/20/04 10:38 AM (13 years, 10 days ago)

So to you ethical correctness is independant of results?

I understant that it is your belief that LfC produces the best results i.e. more prosperity for everyone, but are you saying that even if it resulted in widespread catastrophic poverty that it would still be the correct system?


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2810794 - 06/20/04 11:08 AM (13 years, 10 days ago)

I have often felt conflicted over this. On the one hand, I believe that people have a fundamental right to do as they wish so long as they do not initiate force against others. On the other hand, I am an environmentalist, and believe that our resources and natural beauty should be preserved for future generations. Now, this in itself isn't necessarily a contradiction so long as the environment can be protected through voluntary means, but I'm not so sure if it can.


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"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: silversoul7]
    #2810806 - 06/20/04 11:15 AM (13 years, 10 days ago)

It is my suspicion that a pure LfC system would result in a few extremely wealthy people who own almost everything, and a huge population of impoverished people.


If .001% of the population owned 99% of the land, where would everybody live? Where would they grow their food? They would be completely dependant upon the wealthy overlords and the world would return to a near feudal system.


Or not. Maybe it would be all Utopic and shit. I seriously doubt pure Communism would be a better system.


What was the name of that philosophy where people can't own land you have mentioned before in here?


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2810812 - 06/20/04 11:20 AM (13 years, 10 days ago)

Quote:

Baby_Hitler said:
It is my suspicion that a pure LfC system would result in a few extremely wealthy people who own almost everything, and a huge population of impoverished people.


If .001% of the population owned 99% of the land, where would everybody live? Where would they grow their food? They would be completely dependant upon the wealthy overlords and the world would return to a near feudal system.



This is exactly why I espouse Henry George's version of libertarianism. It solves the land monopoly problem.

Quote:

Or not. Maybe it would be all Utopic and shit. I seriously doubt pure Communism would be a better system.



Libertarianism is not meant to be a Utopia. It is meant to be fair.


Quote:

What was the name of that philosophy where people can't own land you have mentioned before in here?



Georgism, or Geolibertarianism.


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"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: silversoul7]
    #2810835 - 06/20/04 11:39 AM (13 years, 10 days ago)

I think I'm a semi-Georgist Laissez-faire Capitalist. I believe some portion of land can be privately owned, and some of it should be collectively owned, which is basically the system we have right now except I think the restrictions as to how public land is used should be modified allowing people to reside on public land as long as they follow regulations.

They could not, for example, clear cut a huge chunk of public land and start farming it. A certain amount of thinning would be allowed, and even preferred, but any farming done on private land would have to be non-profit.


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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2810861 - 06/20/04 11:56 AM (13 years, 10 days ago)

Baby_Hitler writes:

So to you ethical correctness is independant of results?

Of course. How could it be otherwise?

I understant that it is your belief that LfC produces the best results i.e. more prosperity for everyone, but are you saying that even if it resulted in widespread catastrophic poverty that it would still be the correct system?

Since it couldn't result in widespread catastrophic poverty the point is moot. That's like asking "If extinguishing a campfire with sand and water fed the flames, resulting in a catastrophic forest fire, would extinguishing campfires be the correct thing to do?"

pinky


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: Phred]
    #2810868 - 06/20/04 12:01 PM (13 years, 10 days ago)

I disagree with your conclusion that LfC cannot go awry.

I believe unchecked wealth leads to feudalism.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2810872 - 06/20/04 12:03 PM (13 years, 10 days ago)

Quote:

Baby_Hitler said:
I disagree with your conclusion that LfC cannot go awry.

I believe unchecked wealth leads to feudalism.



Only if combined with a land monopoly.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: silversoul7]
    #2810876 - 06/20/04 12:05 PM (13 years, 10 days ago)

It wouldn't be unchecked otherwise.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2810881 - 06/20/04 12:08 PM (13 years, 10 days ago)

It is my suspicion that a pure LfC system would result in a few extremely wealthy people who own almost everything, and a huge population of impoverished people.

Why is this your suspicion? In the countries which still retain the most Capitalist (from here on in I will use the capitalized word "Capitalism" as shorthand for Laissez-faire Capitalism) vestiges in their socio-economic system, there are no people who own almost everything, and certainly no huge population of impoverished people who own almost nothing.

If .001% of the population owned 99% of the land, where would everybody live?

First of all, how can .001% of the population acquire 99% of the land without the initiation of force?

Secondly, pretending for the sake of argument that such a situation ever did occur through peaceful means (which it couldn't) "everybody" would live where most urban "everybodies" do today -- on rented land.

Where would they grow their food?

Where do you grow your food today?

They would be completely dependant upon the wealthy overlords and the world would return to a near feudal system.

How do you figure that? It may surprise you to hear that a lot of farms even in the US are not owned by the farmers who farm the land. They are rented. Look it up if you don't believe me. I'll bet you yourself can find a dozen farms for rent within 100 miles of where you live now. Ever hankered to be a farmer? Go for it.

pinky


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: Phred]
    #2810902 - 06/20/04 12:19 PM (13 years, 10 days ago)

Would you like to dispute these numbers:

http://karmak.org/archive/2004/04/income&wealth.htm


It seems likely that pure Capitalism would trend towards more concentration of wealth over time.


Of course, increased wealth concentration does not nessisarily mean increased poverty.


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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2810904 - 06/20/04 12:21 PM (13 years, 10 days ago)

I would like to see a comparison between those numbers and the numbers from before the Great Depression and New Deal, when America was more Capitalist than it is now.


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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's best? [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2811005 - 06/20/04 01:03 PM (13 years, 10 days ago)

Baby_Hitler writes:

Would you like to dispute these numbers:

Yes. There is no possible way that 1 per cent of the families in the US owns 39% of the wealth of the US. The total wealth of the US is in the tens of thousands of trillions of dollars. I recently saw an estimate of the total net worth of the US (as opposed to income) but I forgot to bookmark it. It is a staggeringly enormous figure, though.

Secondly, I must point out the obvious -- one of the reasons (probably the reason) these families are as well off as they are today is due to the effect of hundreds of years of government intervention in the economy -- protectionism of US industry, restricted entry into certain markets, as well as outright confiscation of land (think railroad right of ways) to reward political cronies, to name just a few. As you are well aware, Capitalism prohibits these practices.

Thirdly, what that simplistic web page fails to point out is that those who are in the bottom quintile at age eighteen do not stay in the bottom quintile all their lives. I have posted here in the past results from various studies showing that fully sixty per cent of those who were in the bottom quintile at one point in their lives move into the top quintile at some other point, and that roughly forty per cent of those in the top quintile drop into the second, third, or fourth quintiles at a later point.

Of course, increased wealth concentration does not nessisarily mean increased poverty.

You are one of the very few who post in this forum who recognizes this fact.

pinky


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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's bes [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2811336 - 06/20/04 04:12 PM (13 years, 10 days ago)

Hem, people here covered a bunch of stuff,

but I have to say it's right to do what's best. Morality can easily be skewed and misguided - take Bush for example. He says that what he is doing is morally right and for God. As a leader of the people, he should be helping people, and not God.

I mean this all on the level of a political system which is supposed to be best for everyone - I see this in a Utilitarian light, and so something like fascism would simply not be appropriate considering the effects it has on people because of their Natural Rights.

I do not believe that libertarianism is such a good political system though. It is pure "tough love" in application. No, it doesn't infringe on people's rights, but it is neither compassionate nor fostering in the least. You could argue that government should have nothing to do with those things - I wouldn't. Libertarianism may work on a small scale in small localities, but I doubt its widespread effectiveness.

IMO, if everything we have now were transformed into a libertarian form of government, then this may well happen: "libertarianism ultimately and unavoidably resulted in a crushing feudal system with a few large overlords owning and controlling everything and having complete controll over almost everyone's lives, would you still be for it? "


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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's bes [Re: vampirism]
    #2811350 - 06/20/04 04:30 PM (13 years, 10 days ago)

Quote:

No, it doesn't infringe on people's rights, but it is neither compassionate nor fostering in the least.



Which system is compassionate? Is our current system? The man down the street whose been unemployed and collecting welfare for the last year might say it is. On the flip side, the middle class father whose paying taxes to the tune of well over a quarter of his salary(probably more like half) and can't afford to send his kid to college, might ask what compassion you are talking about.

Quote:

Libertarianism may work on a small scale in small localities, but I doubt its widespread effectiveness.




Ironic that the same thing is said about communism. What would lead you to believe this? You must keep in mind that the change to a Libertarian(see:Constitutional) government would not be an overnight revolution but a gradual shift.

Quote:

IMO, if everything we have now were transformed into a libertarian form of government, then this may well happen: "libertarianism ultimately and unavoidably resulted in a crushing feudal system with a few large overlords owning and controlling everything and having complete controll over almost everyone's lives, would you still be for it? "



Can you outline how this would occur. I am trying to figure out what would be so different about a government predecated on the principles of Laissez-Faire Capitalism that would allow such a thing to happen barring any initiation of force. Unless those not among the "elite" start playing indian and selling off their land for fire-water and lightening-sticks, I cannot fathom how such an event would take place.


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?When Alexander the Great visted the philosopher Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for him, Diogenes is said to have replied: 'Yes, stand a little less between me and the sun.' It is what every citizen is entitled to ask of his government.?
-Henry Hazlitt in 'Economics in One Lesson'


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Re: Is it best to do what's right, or right to do what's bes [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2811360 - 06/20/04 04:41 PM (13 years, 10 days ago)

It seems likely that pure Capitalism would trend towards more concentration of wealth over time.

it may. remember however that what that really means, in a truly free market, is that the ability to create wealth is what becomes 'concentrated'. we're not talking about static quantities being shifted from one place to another.

Of course, increased wealth concentration does not nessisarily mean increased poverty.

especially in a free market.


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