Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Common Sense Anti-Americanism

Well Merl the Perl, and Xlbrl, made a few interesting comments in the previous post, and the last ones I just couldn't contain within a single reply, and since they bear on where I'm headed in the next posts, touching as they do on the problems of pragmatism and that tricky thing called 'common sense', I figured I'd make a post of my replies.

" I try to deal with things based on practical considerations, rather than theoretical ones..."

Hint: If a theory isn't practical, it isn't a theory, it's a pretense. Further hint: If someone is asking you to have a sentimental regard for a theory, to support it in conversation and for the unity of the group, party, nation... but then says "Well... it's fine in theory... but it often requires us to break with theory in order to make things work in the real world"... then either the 'theory' is false (any variant of socialism), or the theory is true but isn't being followed (Bush's "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system") which is a principle method for undermining theories and principles - 'import fundamental contradictions into your practices, and attribute all resulting problems to the actual theory or principle, rather than the undermining actions themselves. We have not even approached Free Market Capitalism since the end of the 19th century, but have instead been under a mixed economy of some free market characteristics, mixed with (ever increasing) govt controls... and all problems are routinely blamed on either the free market, or on not having enough govt controls (excellent quick example of this is the 1920 depression).

Btw.... both these approaches are the result of... wait for it...

Pragmatism.The belief that reality isn't really knowable, principles are fantasies, and acting is more important than anything else. If you'd like a preview of where this type of thinking leads when it becomes unhampered by any principles or customs, inevitably, see Fascism, where there are no 'hard and fast' rules, laws, customs, but everything is subject to those actions The Leader says must be done... even if it's the opposite of what he said would work yesterday. Fascism, and especially the Nazi variety, are examples of a society being run according to the 'principles' of hyper pragmatism.

"True pragmatism is self-serving."

No, in fact true pragmatism is ultimately self dis-integrating, as it must be. A proper Human life, is one that is lived and foreseen over an extended perspective, lived long range, where your actions today contribute towards your success in the pursuit of Happiness decades down the line. Marylin Monroe, Elvis Pressley, John Belushi... these are examples of lives lived pragmatically, moment to moment. With Pragmatism, there is NO central self, NO central purpose, NO central morality, ALL is done on the basis of increasingly short term perspectives, for shorter term 'gains' and life becomes more and more fragmented and chaotic.

"But don’t worry, ethical principles seem to be hard-wired in me... So I’ll revise that to “I am a principled pragmatic”. "

Now what you are probably doing, is based on your experience and knowledge, you probably do what you can see is best... and I'll bet you do so because you feel it is the best thing to do over the long run... and ethically, because you feel it is the proper thing to do - both of which are highly UNpragmatic things to do. More than likely, you've bought into an 'ideal' which looks good and generous, but cannot be practiced consistently, and so you let those aspects of it which appeal to you sort of roughly guide your actions, but when 'theory' comes into conflict with Reality... you choose reality and do what you can see is sensible. Similar to, but an inverse of, the Mixed Economy, what you are doing is a result of a mixed-philosophy, where the actual though unnamed reality based principles you follow get you through, but the flawed 'theory' of pragmatism, gets the credit for your successes.

It is a very common mindset, the dominant one since the beginning of the 20th century... and a very dangerous one to live by.

"educating kids to not bully may be much less effective than teaching kids how to fight back and making it easier to use other legal options."

Yep. I don't remember who it was, but I once heard a fellow talking about manners... he grew up poor in the Appalachian's, and he was appalled when he came to New York at the rudeness of people and he said something to the effect of "People didn't dare talk or behave that way to another where I came from, they'd have been knocked flat by any and every passersby who overheard them."

Bottom up standards of behavior held by the society, supported by clear and immediate consequences, are the best way to keep such things such as that sort of bullying from happening, and it is precisely the Top Down 'codes of conduct' and counseling sessions held in schools, which every kid knows full well is B.S., and which every kid knows for sure that any proper retaliation against the bully will be punished MORE than the bullying, which ensures the unraveling, the dis-integrating, of standards of behavior and behavior itself.

"Wasn’t Stalin just a bank robber who saw the opportunity to steal an entire country, and then got to drive it around as the ultimate play toy? Being more intellectually sophisticated than a toddler (but emotionally, a toddler), he was expert at conning the people who mattered (to him) into believing he was doing it all for them."

That was certainly the effect, but no, I don't believe that of Stalin. He wouldn't have done the things he did, the forced starvation of millions, if all he really wanted was to rob them... he would have just robbed (taxed) them more heavily and kept them all working towards filling his coffers. No, he WAS a believer, and Communism (and any of the other isms) can be practiced in no other way, than he did - the more consistently you attempt to 'live' by a false philosophy, the more savage and destructive will be the consequences. Reality will not be swindled, and the more you war against it, the more you will be broken upon it. False ideals require pragmatic behavior, in order to smuggle in the results of reality based actions, in order to prop up the false ideal.

No other option.

"I don’t envy your quest for a better educational style. The best the Gates Foundation seems to have come up with is trying for better ways to evaluate the teachers. And the self esteem thing isn’t easy - what betters the few can poison the many."

Oh my... the Gates Foundation seems to think they can substitute PowerPoint slides for sound educational principles, and make current educationistas philosophy a success. The problem isn't in paper based homework assignments, lack of textbooks or blackboards, the problem is in the philosophy of modern education which finds its initial ideals in Rousseau and it's modern form through John Dewey's pragmatic (sensing a theme here?) policies and curriculum. I've hit this in numerous posts, but here's an overview in "Spreading the flames", and an overview of the destruction of Education in America in "What never was and never will be". If you're up to reading a well written examination of what Education has become, and why, it's pretty tough to top Richard Mitchell's "The Graves of Academe"... and the price is pretty good too... free online.

"Back to the original question - the tea parties are obviously American. But is there a power vacuum waiting to be filled? To what degree does it become un-american if say, GOP, corporate, or other organizational operatives take over leadership positions?"

Well... first you've got to define American... does being 'American' mean a passionate attachment to baseball, hometown and apple pie? Having a long string of ancestors born here? Waving the flag? Fighting to give everyone 'equality'? Supporting the U.S. Govt, troops and laws? IMHO, having any of those as the basis for being "American" is itself Un-American, and will soon lead to becoming Anti-American.

America, being an American, is understanding and supporting the ideas this nation was fashioned from, and although this is a key part of the series of posts I'm in the midst of on Justice, the core are Natural Rights as evoked in the Declaration of Independence,

"... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness...."

, and the understanding that vital to any political rights whatsoever, is the protection and defense of Property Rights. All of which has been under assault by the progressive left since the early 1800's, and brought out as explicit targets by creatures such as John Dewey, Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson under the guise of more pragmatic and progressive mindedness. Calvin Coolidge gave the last best response by a President to this in his "The Inspiration of the Declaration of Independence" from 1926, in part with,

"About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers."

Which is why I refer to the 'Progressives' as Proregressives. No matter the ideals they proclaim, they are doing nothing but taking us back to tyranny and slavery... and whether they are speaking from the left or the right or the middle, they and their ideas are, in the full and proper meaning of the term, Anti-American. No matter the party or movement, Democrat, Republican, Tea Party or Libertarian, if they propose as a central principle or policy, an opposition to Property Rights, then whether they know it or not, the propose the overthrow of all Individual Rights and any proper conception and practice of Justice, and in that case, they must be opposed... loudly and visibly.

"And you really get into this stuff, don’t you? I’m judging by the title of the blog that you’re not in the educational field. What inspired you to learn all this stuff?"

Heh... yes I do! And nooo... I'm not in the 'educational field', but what got me into it was becoming a Parent and discovering what was in store for my kids in the 'educational field'. It's sick, it's disgusting... and fortunately it is easily discombobulated through talking with your kids and, discussing what they are being taught, what they are not being taught, and why.

The truth of the matter is that today, MOST kids realize that their schooling, their 'texts' and their 'teachers' are laughable fools.

This is both a good thing, and a very dangerous thing. The danger, is that if unanswered by Parents or others who do know better and who explain the basis for why what they know better IS better, it will rapidly corrode into cynicism. It can also lead to a reliance on "Common Sense" and a dismissal of the need to know anything other than what common sense makes readily apparent to be a necessity.

To the extent that that ever elusive 'Common Sense' is brought to bear on what they themselves can see to be true and have a proven basis for knowing to be true (Parenting is a basic example of this... most reasonably aware parent will soon discard their 'Better Parenting' books for the ignorant stupidity that they are... they have first hand knowledge of reality contradicting ever word of them, and if they are in the habit of deriving their knowledge from reality, and not the opposite, their own 'common sense' will reject the screeds as folly), then their common sense is sensible, and this is natural and a good thing.

But!

But... Common Sense can only be counted on in those areas where you do have direct evidence and understanding.

Unfortunately, it is very easy to not know what you don't know, and to form ideas based on that absence of knowledge, which may seem very common sensical - in the absence of important knowledge... but which is actually the very opposite, such as a very common common sense view,

"What? People aren't buying things because Interest rates are too high? Well, then just force interest rates to be cut! Make high interest rates illegal! Simple common sense!" and economic ruin will follow shortly afterwards.

Which is one reason I take zero comfort from the new catch phrase making the rounds "Common Sense Conservativism"... if rooted in sound principles... great. But if not... well... Teddy Roosevelt was a 'common sense' progressive conservative... and he implemented or at least proposed and legitimized every statist policy of the 20th century: Income Tax, Federal Alphabet Agencies, govt control of the economy, govt Health Care, baseless entangling alliances (see "Imperial Cruise"), Govt and Coroporate interactive partnerships... he paved the way for everything Wilson, FDR and the rest did.

I'm no fan of "Common Sense Conservativism" that is not firmly rooted in the ideas which our Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution was developed from.

Xlbrl asked "Can we examine the phrase "common sense conservatism"? I heard Palin as she first uttered it, and it was clearly a political motto, which it's repetition confirmed.
The founders did not primarily employ common sense on their way to greatness, but rather were brilliantly counter-intuitive. Common sense will get you another turn at bat in your enemies game. Counter-intuition will remove a game which never should have been played.
"

And by the way it's being picked up by others, I'm afraid we're in for a long couple years of hearing it. Ugh.

What I was trying to show in my previous post, was that having sound people of Common Sense and virtue... is not enough, the Athenians leading up to Pericles day, and America leading up to our time... had those traits in common, and they also had abundant common sense in common, but soon after reaching their height - they fell.

Our Founders had those traits as well, but they also had something more, they had a solid education... not degree's, but actual Education, a training of the mind to be aware of and in control of its own thoughts and passions and fit for self governance, and they had a sound knowledge of how previous generations met and failed the tests. Sam Adams's Master's Thesis at Harvard (!) at the then typical age of 21, was arguing the affirmative of "Whether it be lawful to resist the supreme magistrate, if the common wealth can not be otherwise preserved?".

The answer is Yes. And it is Common Sense ONLY if you understand the core ideas of what it means to be an American, and can be acted on properly, only if you have more than common sense to proceed from.

But I'm getting ahead of myself again... and am late for the Dentist (sorry... no time to double check & spell check...). More later.

44 comments:

merl the perl said...

It's almost as good to stir the pot as it is to be the king. Be back later.

Van said...

Hey, when it's stirred well, even if counter-clockwise, it still helps improve the soup.

(But... being King is still better though. Just sayin')

merl the perl said...

Here's something to get you started.

From Google’s dictionary: “Pragmatism means thinking of or dealing with problems in a practical way, rather than by using theory or abstract principles.”

Dunno about “abstract principles”, but Historically Tried And True Principles? Who wouldn’t want to live in a world where most people lived and died by all the same HTATPs, with government only ever butting into the bad peoples lives? But we don’t live in that world. Your mission (if you choose to accept it) is to persuade me that such a world is possible. And no cheating – that world has to contain increasing population, technology and competing countries operated by nutjobs.

Here’s a little thought experiment:

It’s the near future. The tea party movement had expanded to such proportions, that Ron Paul has been elected president. He slashes taxes and federal government across the board. The economy grows to where we’re all partying like it’s 1997. Good times. Then lower Manhattan is laid waste by a terror nuke. The economy collapses into a panic. Angry mobs demand retaliation. Other angry mobs demand jobs. Still other mobs, but less angry, demand candlelight vigils. The mobs combine into one big statist lovers wet dream, and they march on Washington. You are Ron Paul’s chief military and economic advisor (offices combined due to budget cuts). Your advice: (answer here).

merl the perl said...

"True pragmatism is self-serving."

”No, in fact true pragmatism is ultimately self dis-integrating, as it must be.”


Google dictionary, again: “If you describe someone as self-serving, you are critical of them because they are only interested in what they can get for themselves.”

Actually, I think we’re in agreement here. And your term “self dis-integrating” describes it well, from what I’ve observed.

merl the perl said...

Bottom up standards of behavior held by the society

Probably why so many conservatives joined up. Gives insight into why “country” and is so red. “City” may be so overwhelmed with problems they feel no choice but to go blue.

merl the perl said...

nix the "and"

merl the perl said...

"Stalin... stealing..."

My bad – “stealing” - I wasn’t being literal. For Stalin it wasn’t about the cash, but control of the cash. The power. One cannot maintain an empire for long if the mob thinks they’re getting less than they’re hoping for. Stalin maintained power by growing the economy for most of the mob and those who mattered to him, on the backs of the minority. Communism without the totalitarianism looks like Allende’s Chile – a sucky economy full of unintended consequences, but without the death and starvation.

merl the perl said...

the more consistently you attempt to 'live' by a false philosophy, the more savage and destructive will be the consequences

One way to define sociopathy. But there’s at least a little of it in all of us. One of Gracian's key points was that life is a battle to limit this within our own selves, more than is fighting malice and folly from others. But I'm not sure if most people can be so disciplined.

merl the perl said...

One thing about Calvin Coolidge, is that he seems like exactly the type who would find Ayn Rand inspiring: The cautious-brainy personal-integrity goal-oriented ahead-of-his-time achiever who gets stomped on by mindless powers that be. That type represents about 2-5% of the total population, at best. Everybody else thinks differently, some very differently.

And Cal had never imagined the disgruntled employee who releases the self-replicating carbon-eating nanobots.

merl the perl said...

I’m not a big fan of non-democratic concentrations of power, of any kind. Mostly because of who it is that those kinds of power games rewards (the socially adept bullying theme again). Checks and balances provided by education would beat paying government to do it, if it could be done.

Uh, sorry about all the comments.

xlbrl said...

Common sense and instinct, paraphrasing von Hayek.

Mankind achieved civilization by developing and learning to follow rules first in territorial tribes, and then over broader reaches, that often forbade him to do what his instincts demanded, and no longer depended on a common perception of events. A common perception of events will describe the common sense of the time.

What are chiefly responsible for having generated this extraordinary extended order of capitalism are the rules of human conduct that gradually evolved. These rules are handed on by tradition, teaching, and imitation, rather than by instinct.
The extended order of capitalism is transcendent–that which far surpasses the reach of our understanding, wishes and purposes, and sense of perception. It incorporates and generates knowledge which no individual brain and no single organization could posses or invent.
Most knowledge is obtained not from immediate experience or observation, but in the continuous process of sifting a learned tradition. The process of selection that shaped customs and morality could take account of more factual circumstances than individuals could perceive, and in consequence tradition is in some respects superior to, or ‘wiser’ than, human reason. The astonishing fact revealed by economics and biology is that order generated without design can far outstrip plans men consciously contrive. The curious task of economics is to show men how little they know about what they imaging they can design.

That is why socialist always come back to bedevil us. Men prefer to believe they can design or understand everything that improves their lives. Like children. Our instincts, and the moral traditions that have survived cultural evolution and serve to restrain these instincts, are in conflict.

There can be no deliberately planned substitutes for such a self-ordering process of adaptation to the unknown. Neither his reason nor his innate goodness leads man this way, only the bitter necessity of submitting to rules he does not like in order to maintain himself against competing groups that had already begun to expand because they stumbled upon such rules earlier.
Custom and tradition stand between instinct and reason–logically, psychologically, temporally. They are due neither to the unconscious, not to intuition, nor to rational understanding. Though in a sense based on human experience in that they were shaped in the course of cultural evolution, they were not formed by drawing reasoned conclusions from certain facts or from an awareness that things behaved in a particular way. Though governed in our conduct by what we have learned, we often do not know why we do what we do. Learned moral rules--customs--progressively displaced innate responses, not because men recognized by reason that they were better but because they made possible the growth of an extended order exceeding anyone’s vision.

Evolving moral rules and tradition, rather than intelligence and calculating reason, lifted men above the savages.

Van said...

Merl quoted: “Pragmatism means thinking of or dealing with problems in a practical way, rather than by using theory or abstract principles.”

Uh-huh. That sounds nice and practical. And if you listen to Obamao's supporters he sounds as if he's practical too and utterly focused on reducing the debt and being fiscally responsible. Words can be deceiving.

Pragmatism started off as a way of trying to step back from the metaphysical entanglements of Descartes, Kant and Hegel... Peirce sought a method, rather than a set of beliefs - he threw up his hands regarding what metaphysically 'True' - he sought something more like a scientific experimentalism for thinking, that would free practitioners from rationalistic and idealistic idiocies, and enable them to 'just try this or that, pay attention to experience tells you and what results is what you take as being as 'true' as useful and necessary'.

This site gives an undeservedly even handed presentation (the current tone meant by 'philosophical') of it,
"the pragmatists saw themselves as providing a return to common sense and the facts of experience and, thus, as rejecting a flawed philosophical heritage which had distorted the work of earlier thinkers. The errors to be overcome include Cartesianism, Nominalism, and the ‘copy theory of truth’: these ‘errors’ are all related."

In some ways it is useful, as a scientific method... but as a guiding philosophy... it results in chaos. William James extended it further from Peirce, and John Dewey even further into a realm of meaningless 'truths' and relativism.

"... Bertrand Russell's famous objection that James is committed to the truth of ‘Santa Claus exists’ (Russell 1949: 772). This is unfair; at best, James is committed to the claim that the happiness that belief in Santa Claus provides is truth-relevant. James could say that the belief was ‘good for so much’ but it would only be ‘wholly true’ if it did not ‘clash with other vital benefits’. It is easy to see that, unless it is somehow insulated from the broader effects of acting upon it, belief in Santa Claus could lead to a host of experiential surprises and disappointments."

James says "We will accept a new opinion when ‘it preserves the older stock of truths with a minimum of modification, stretching them just enough to make them admit the novelty, but conceiving that in ways as familiar as the case leaves possible.’ Thus a true idea ‘marries old opinion to new fact so as ever to a show a minimum of jolt, a maximum of continuity.’ (1907: 34-5) Once again, our beliefs possess a kind of inertia: we need positive reasons to disturb them; but in order to preserve them, all that is required is that we have no reason to abandon them."

(annoying blogger break)

Van said...

(cont)
It's underlying meaning becomes clearer in Rorty with "...since we are fallible, we are never in a position to recognize that one of our beliefs is actually true—all we can recognize is that it meets standards of acceptance that are endorsed, for the time being, in our community."

Whatever the niceties used to express them, Pragmatism means, for human beings using it as a philosophy, or as a justification for their actions, that you cannot know what is true, and it doesn't matter, just try things that produce results and keep going as needed, until you receive the result, the Ends, you felt your Means were justified by seeking. This brings on an ever shortening perspective in goals, as life is planned more and more in the short range. It is really because of the influence of pragmatism that we have concepts such as Modernism, Post-Modernism, Post Post-Modernism, etc, and that same moment to moment cognitive cycle is the norm for ethics as well. From a different page on the same site,

"Value judgments are tools for enabling the satisfactory redirection of conduct when habit no longer suffices to direct it. As tools, they can be evaluated instrumentally, in terms of their success in guiding conduct. We test our value judgments by putting them into practice and seeing whether the results are satisfactory — whether they solve the problems they were designed to solve, whether we find their consequences acceptable, whether they enable successful responses to novel problems, whether living in accordance with alternative value judgments yields more satisfactory results. "

, which also included the end justifies the means as just another instrumentality to be practiced and tested - deception, if it produced results, was A-OK. A decent overview here, and the damnable educational policies of Dewey, such as:

"You can't make socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society, which is coming, where everyone is interdependent."

(more on Dewey's dismal system, shortly in reply to Xlbrl)

Van said...

Merl said "Who wouldn’t want to live in a world where most people lived and died by all the same HTATPs, with government only ever butting into the bad peoples lives? But we don’t live in that world. Your mission (if you choose to accept it) is to persuade me that such a world is possible. And no cheating – that world has to contain increasing population, technology and competing countries operated by nutjobs."

Your mission is to persuade me that that is a correct statement of the option... good luck. I do not seek any sort of utopia, or imagine that proper Education will somehow educate people to be good and virtuous people - it can show them what is necessary, but it is up to the persons choice to choose that... and Free Will and human nature being what they are... some will always choose badly. The mission, should we again choose it, is to restrain govt to it's proper role of upholding and defending against plunderers, rather than as a leading practitioner of it.

"The tea party movement had expanded to such proportions, that Ron Paul has been elected president."

Tea Party != Libertarian. Ron Paul has many good ideas, but I wouldn't vote him into any position that managed foreign policy... or much else above congressmen.

"The mobs combine into one big statist lovers wet dream, and they march on Washington. You are Ron Paul’s chief military and economic advisor (offices combined due to budget cuts). Your advice: (answer here). "

Since it's not even in the realm of the hypothetical I'm not going to bother looking it up, but I imagine it would be something similar to what Mr. Christian said to Captain Bligh before setting him adrift in the dingy.

Van said...

"The economy grows to where we’re all partying like it’s 1997"

You presume that there was actual growth involved there... there was not, only federally sponsored embezzlement, as yet undetected

Van said...

Merl said " I wasn’t being literal. For Stalin it wasn’t about the cash, but control of the cash. The power. "

Well of course, but all variants of leftism, philosophically, at their very core, are about Power and forcing others to comply with you... that is it's real Ends... communism, etc, is just a form for expressing it in a manner others can be easily conned into accepting and supporting, but first and foremost all variants of leftism is about power over reality, and so in violent opposition to what is True.

Curious how leftist policy requires separating others from connecting their thoughts and actions from reality and what they would otherwise choose to do... forcing the leftists policy from the living choice they might otherwise have chosen to do... The more you accept it's tenets, the more 'infected' your concepts, purposes and life becomes - what Religion expresses poetically in the form of Satan, etc, eternally in opposition to what is Good, Beautiful and True, because they are Good, Beautiful and True and incapable of being created or subsisting alongside with that which is not real - the Devil is a dead on representation of what the anti-true is in actual fact - Evil isn't a bad way of describing it....

"I’m not a big fan of non-democratic concentrations of power, of any kind. Mostly because of who it is that those kinds of power games rewards (the socially adept bullying theme again). Checks and balances provided by education would beat paying government to do it, if it could be done."

Well... I'm not a big fan of Democratic concentrations of power, of any kind. Mostly because it means imposing the Mob mind, over and above and in place of what an individual might have otherwise properly chosen to do - that is how individuals become lost in the society and bully those they feel justified in taking whatever they feel entitled to.

The only checks and balances that can keep the Demos from putting Socrates to death, are those as provided in our original constitution, with a public educated to understand the concepts it was derived from, and the refusal to be duped into thinking that govt interference into private business and education is anything other than an attempt to expand and wield power.


"One thing about Calvin Coolidge, is that he seems like exactly the type who would find Ayn Rand inspiring: The cautious-brainy personal-integrity goal-oriented ahead-of-his-time achiever who gets stomped on by mindless powers that be."

You sure you mean Calvin Coolidge? I think Rand would have hated him for this one alone... and I don't think I'd describe him as having been stomped on... Hoover ("That man has offered me unsolicited advice for six years, all of it bad") and FDR certainly reversed what he'd done, but he wasn't beaten down. Btw, this one (his view on teaching classics (his speech begins mid way down the page)) is interesting.

lance said...

"The tea party movement had expanded to such proportions, that Ron Paul has been elected president."

I am totally in agreement with Van on this one. (Pigs are flying) I just do not see the Tea Party being a movement that would put Ron Paul at it's head. His ideas on Foreign Policy are in my opinion out to lunch.

merl the perl said...

So quit dodging and pick an objectivist with a neocon twist for your president.

Since it's not even in the realm of the hypothetical I'm not going to bother looking it up, but I imagine it would be something similar to what Mr. Christian said to Captain Bligh before setting him adrift in the dingy.

You’d quote principles? Van, you’re avoiding the point by going after details. What I’m after is a demonstration of the power that principles have over any kind of pragmatism, as it might apply to real world situations. If you must, pick your own worst case scenario.

I’m not disagreeing with the importance of social “moral rules and tradition”, just saying that as long as clever sociopaths and “vulgar folly” exist that these things alone are not enough.

Joan of Argghh! said...

This is a delicious bit of pot-stirring, all the same.

:o)

Van said...

Merl ordered "So quit dodging and pick an objectivist with a neocon twist for your president."

No.

Speaking of dodging... saying you are fond of Gracian doesn't serve as an answer to what you do believe and would propose yourself. I've no interest in performing stupid word tricks for the amusement of skeptics and cynics... if you've got an actual position on something, please state it. If your answer is no answer but doubt... sorry, but that's your prison not mine, I'm darn sure not trapped in there with you.

I've put up several years of posts that deal with the issue of the primacy of Principles over the 'pragmatic', as well as the metaphysical basis for it, and I've stated my case best I can, if you've got a particular question on one particular of them, please, pose it... I'll cheerfully tusstle over it with you, and even more cheerfully admit defeat - should you prove to me the error of my ways (Hey... it's happened) - but I'm farrr tooo longwinded to recap what has taken me in some cases 30 pages to post (not 30 posts... but individual posts which may have 20, 30, 40 printed pages worth of stuff in them) into a single comment.

If you seriously want to side with Machiavelli and say that such 'real politik' (pragmatic) - unprincipled - actions are really more effective than principled long range actions such as the Founding Fathers pursued... I may not be able to help you out. Oh... except maybe to note that as Machiavelli noted of his bud Cesare Borgia,

"...on purely effective grounds, Machiavelli notes the benefits of hiring a thug to cow a people, and once the job was done, order that the thug be sawn in half and left in the town square, putting himself into both the position of having gotten rid of a hated ruler, and at the same time making it clear that he could be even more brutal than his thug had been, Borgia was to be reap both thankfulness and at the same time be even more feared."

I'll just note that of the Founding Fathers, mostly died of old age and with the love and respect of their nation and posterity, while Mr. Effective... well... wiki puts it this way,

"While moving to Romagna to quell a revolt, he was seized and imprisoned by Gian Paolo Baglioni near Perugia. All his lands were acquired by the Papal States. Exiled to Spain, in 1504, he was imprisoned in the Castle of La Mota, Medina del Campo, from which he escaped and joined his brother-in-law, King John III of Navarre. In his service, Cesare died at the siege of Viana in 1507, at the age of thirty-one."

"You’d quote principles?"

Yes. And again, see my previous gazillion posts for explanations and demonstrations of them. Might want to start with "What are Words For" or "Reasons of Reason".

"Van, you’re avoiding the point by going after details."

Heh... never. Ever.

"I’m not disagreeing with the importance of social “moral rules and tradition”...."

Btw, “moral rules and tradition” are fine and all, as long as they don't violate well reasoned principles of Natural Law. See the American Revolution or England's Glorious Revolution for further examples.

"..., just saying that as long as clever sociopaths and “vulgar folly” exist that these things alone are not enough."

If you are looking for some sort of fool proof protection against folly and evil... I'm afraid you've stumbled into the wrong species. Free Will exists, and everything from bad to worse is always on the table for someone to choose. Principles offer no magic talismans against such beasts... they only offer a way to rise above the beasts and live as Men.

Van said...

P.S.S If you haven't noticed yet, picking 'an objectivist with a neocon twist' is not something I'd have any interest in finding, let alon electing President.

Ok... on to Xlbrl's....

Van said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Van said...

Xlbrl said "What are chiefly responsible for having generated this extraordinary extended order of capitalism are the rules of human conduct that gradually evolved. These rules are handed on by tradition, teaching, and imitation, rather than by instinct. "

One of the things which I was trying to point out in the "...Bog of the Gaps", was that the first stirrings of freedom and liberty which Solon and Cleisthenes released, for the first time in history enabled that low level "order generated without design" to first begin to flourish,

"For the first time in history individuals were able to gather information from the world about them from the bottom up and spread it outwards; it truly was the beginning of the first information age - analog anyway. Citizens were now free to take the materials and facts as they knew them, and using their own ideas and efforts, reform them into what they judged would be useful products, services and ideas, exchanging and transmitting and further transforming them, from one person to another – expanding knowledge enabling information and creating real wealth and enriching themselves and their world… rather than depending upon, and waiting upon, the single, eternally impoverished rivulet of thought,
...trickling down ...from one closed authorized mind to the next, ...leaving people, ...and things, ...unchanged, ...unenhanced, ...undead - the eternally grey hallmark of Statism.
"

It really was the start of the first information age, and by far the greater part of the information processed and transmitted, is not consciously done or even known or grasped.

"the rules of human conduct that gradually evolved. These rules are handed on by tradition, teaching, and imitation, rather than by instinct."

Well yes... but in an important sense, it seems that something like,

"Neither his reason nor his innate goodness leads man this way, only the bitter necessity of submitting to rules he does not like in order to maintain himself against competing groups that had already begun to expand because they stumbled upon such rules earlier. "

, gives much more importance to customs having evolved, as if by mindless tradition, slowly self correcting and refining as it may seem to be, and not enough to actual Reason - properly used, and not to be confused with calculation, logic chopping or rationalism. All of the "the bitter necessity of submitting to rules he does not like in order to maintain himself against competing groups " would have done nothing, without the active Reasoning of Solon, Cleisthenes, Pericles, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Aquinas, Locke, the Founders, etc, and those processes did nothing, zip, nada, for Africa, Asia or the rest of the world. The traditions of The West, the Free Market, didn't properly 'evolve' or significantly take root, anywhere else but in the west, and there is a Reason why that is so, and there is a reason why that it wasn't until a better understanding of Natural Law was developed (more with the English, not Frenchfried conceptions), and practiced, that the West was able to develop and free the Free Market to work it's wonders in the world.

And it's on that deeper level that I come into conflict with Hayek, especially in his "The Constitution of Liberty"... I suppose, where you can see Hume's influence in Hayek's thought, you can also see my disagreement with him. I see Natural Law as something that is real and actual, a direct result of the Free Will, Reality and Reason... and any whiff of Hobbessian conceptions of it... I fully reject. With reasons. And annoying as it is, I don't just want to blurt out my answers, without having shown my work which leads me to them... the posts are coming as fast as I can.

(annoying blogger break)

Van said...

(cont)
"The curious task of economics is to show men how little they know about what they imaging they can design. "

Heh... that is often the result of it, at any rate, or at least to remind men that what they may fail to see, and not realize has been overlooked, can undo all their plans... and that what you fail to see, and are unable to ever see, increases geometrically with each new person introduced, no matter how tangentially, into your 'plans', each bit of information they participate in processing (everything from choosing to, or not to, make a purchase on down to choosing whether or not to tie their shoes - seriously), can discombobulate all of those 'well laid' plan's pitiful pretences to omniscience.

"Most knowledge is obtained not from immediate experience or observation, but in the continuous process of sifting a learned tradition."

Yes indeedy, and a really good skewering of Descartes and J.S. Mill's silliness regarding deliberately doubting everything you know before accepting it as true, is Dalrymple's "In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas".

And for those One Hundred Percentileists out there who don't recognize the importance of Context, I'd remind them that Prudence is a big part of Reasoning. Reason, properly used, is what provides us with our ability to discover what we shouldn't tamper with, and why, no matter how much it might appear to be an expedient benefit, the long range principled approach, is the better guide - and if any fool thinks culture and tradition are beneath Reason... is unreasonable.

(argh break)

Van said...

(cont)
Which brings me right back to Pragmatism and John Dewey, he was directly opposed to that, in fact dead set on preventing that, in Democracy and Education
"In this detailed and consistent form, the theory, outside of a small school in Germany (followers of Herbart for the most part), has had little currency. But the idea which underlies it is that education is essentially retrospective; that it looks primarily to the past and especially to the literary products of the past, and that mind is adequately formed in the degree in which it is patterned upon the spiritual heritage of the past. This idea has had such immense influence upon higher instruction especially, that it is worth examination in its extreme formulation.

In the first place, its biological basis is fallacious. Embyronic growth of the human infant preserves, without doubt, some of the traits of lower forms of life. But in no respect is it a strict traversing of past stages. If there were any strict "law" of repetition, evolutionary development would clearly not have taken place. Each new generation would simply have repeated its predecessors' existence. Development, in short, has taken place by the entrance of shortcuts and alterations in the prior scheme of growth. And this suggests that the aim of education is to facilitate such short-circuited growth. The great advantage of immaturity, educationally speaking, is that it enables us to emancipate the young from the need of dwelling in an outgrown past. The business of education is rather to liberate the young from reviving and retraversing the past than to lead them to a recapitulation of it. The social environment of the young is constituted by the presence and action of the habits of thinking and feeling of civilized men. To ignore the directive influence of this present environment upon the young is simply to abdicate the educational function. A biologist has said: "The history of development in different animals . . . offers to us . . . a series of ingenious, determined, varied but more or less unsuccessful efforts to escape from the necessity of recapitulating, and to substitute for the ancestral method a more direct method." Surely it would be foolish if education did not deliberately attempt to facilitate similar efforts in conscious experience so that they become increasingly successful.
"

For those who think education is worthless... they are probably thinking of the education we have today, and Dewey is one who is most responsible for it's condition. Rudolf Flesch wrote a book in 1981 called "Why Johnny Still Can’t Read", noted,

"Twenty-five years ago I studied American methods of teaching reading and warned against educational catastrophe. Now it has happened."

As it couldn't avoid happening, given it's basis.

This one's a bit sensational, but if unchecked, this is where such thoughts lead.

BUT! Things such as this "Central Falls to fire every high school teacher", and California's (!) "Parent Trigger Law" are hopeful signs that the 'Tea Party'ish waking up of that portion of the public who had turned away so long ago... communicating... organizing... from the bottom up... it's a hopeful sign.

merl the perl said...

Dude, you’re talking to somebody who had for years, stubbornly stuck to principles yet wound up a martyr. Repeatedly. And this in places where principles were demanded (and at least in pretense, respected) and yet the “pragmatics” still found a way. I experienced that no amount of “educating” peers, observers and bystanders had any real effect. It was only after I figured out that humans respect power more than principle that I was able to effectively fight back. And miracle of miracles, many of those peers, observers and bystanders then stood behind me. It sucked. But that was my reality.

So now I ask, do you think that going through “individual posts which may have 20, 30, 40 printed pages worth of stuff in them” will help me win in a difficult reality, better than being a “principled pragmatic” will?

If not, how do you expect national and world leaders to?

merl the perl said...

Here’s a fun exercise to help Van get over his “long-windedness”.

Ever ask somebody to define “postmodernism” for the newbie, just for fun? I have. The few who can answer have linked me to massive online screeds, wikipedia, or books on amazon. The rest of the responders all seem to have different ideas about what it is, if they even know at all. So I’ve come up with a little game:

Define postmodernism in 30 words or less, to be understandable by the newbie, which also clearly describes its importance to constitutional conservatives (and/or pseudo-objectivists). I’ll go first.

A philosophy of thought which emphasizes individual perception of cause and effect, but also causes the effect of de-emphasizing well reasoned commonly accepted moral rules and traditions, which America’s founders deemed crucial for effective self-governance.

Needs work, maybe, but if you google it you’ll find it’s original. Plus 5 words too many. Okay Van, that’s 30 words, not pages...

xlbrl said...

I do not think von Hayek had any difficulty seeing that there were crucial elements within the seeds of Western Civilization that separated it from all others, and he described them as a placing a unique value on the individual and his right to property. He believed also that the Greeks, and especially the Stoic philosophers, with their cosmopolitan outlook, first formulated the moral tradition which the Romans later propagated throughout their Empire, and provided a link to early Christianity.

BTW, I am still finishing your Athens and American.

Van said...

"I experienced that no amount of “educating” peers, observers and bystanders had any real effect. It was only after I figured out that humans respect power more than principle that I was able to effectively fight back. And miracle of miracles, many of those peers, observers and bystanders then stood behind me. It sucked. But that was my reality. "

In the Republic, I think after Socrates has reduced Thrasymachus's assertion that 'Justice is what the powerful say it is' argument to rubbish, and has conveyed the general sense that Justice is far more than a mere means to an end, Glaucon and Adeimantus ask of Socrates basically "What good is justice? What's in it for us?" ... meaning of course that they still thought it was some sort of a means to an end... and then he knows that this is one dialog that's gonna take a while to work through. I disagree with most of Plato/Socrates's answers, but I sure like his questions and processes, and this one in particular,

"Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of
this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political
greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue
either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside,
cities will never have rest from their evils, --nor the human race,
as I believe, --and then only will this our State have a possibility
of life and behold the light of day
."

If that doesn't apply to your own self-governance... the rest doesn't matter.

You sound like you need to ask a few other question first, like what is it you expect these 'principles' to do for you? Make you 'successful'? For one thing, before seeking success, you ought to figure out what success would be if you found it... and if it's an IT, my bet is that you strayed down a false trail.

A couple questions that might be useful are first and foremost, can I live with myself, and then is myself worth living with? If not, would having big bucks and luxuries make it better? I know the answer is No. How about you?

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not interested in goodie-goodie, or being sanctimonious... I cringe and get what a friend calls the "Jesus Willies" if I come within 10 feet of the perma smiling holly rollers... but seriously... For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

(break)

Van said...

(cont)
Being principled has brought be a measure of success, inside and out. But being principled has not saved me from getting screwed over... but then I wouldn't say those instances were my Principle's fault. There were some warning signs, I should have taken a couple precautions, I should have made a bit more effort seeing that my bases were covered... and had I considered the position and remuneration more valuable than the time and effort it would have cost me to have done so, I would have. But I didn't. I gamboled that things might world out ok... it didn't. You take what you want, and pay for it. It can hurt the pocket... but IMHO it's better than having to pay for it with a piece of your soul... and I mean that in a this worldly, secular way. If you are not principled, or your principles don't integrate... then the pieces of your mind, heart and soul don't integrate... and you are splintered within, at war within.

There's no position or price I'm willing to pay that for.

I still intend to be financially successful... but I can live with it if I’m not, as long as I'm successful. The reverse isn't true.

"So now I ask, do you think that going through “individual posts which may have 20, 30, 40 printed pages worth of stuff in them” will help me win in a difficult reality, better than being a “principled pragmatic” will?

Heh. I know I can be principled and be successful... and because I've managed to educate myself a bit, I know what success means, and I know what it can seem to mean, but isn't. Believe me, that's priceless. Is reading 20 or 30 posts of 10 to 40 pages long going to Educate you? Well... I flatter myself that they wouldn't hurt, but I'm not foolish enough to think that merely by reading them they'll magically educate you and make everything clear. You could read them and do that... but you could read most any good book or set of books and do that... but it's not the info in the book, that's merely useful material... you've got to integrate it, understand it, and Educate yourself. Doesn't usually happen in a sitting though. I've got answers... a bunch of 'em. Good ones too... but answers won't do it either... their just more info... you've still got to do the education part yourself.

"If not, how do you expect national and world leaders to?"

Bill Whittle had a post a while back... found it... involves game theory and the "THE PRISONER’S DILEMMA"... might be worth reading.

But I've got no quick answers here. Gonna take time. Lots of it. Takes years for a person... heck of a lot longer for a nation of them. Even if everything went swimmingly as I see fit, we'd be looking at a generation... and that's some pretty heavy optimism.

You got kids? I do... it's worth the effort to try. IMHO.

I've gotta go to bed... back tomorrow.

Van said...

Saw the last two comments, can't answer now, but Merl - not bad... I think I can match ya... we'll see.

Xlbrl... I don't take any pleasure criticizing Hayek, and I know any criticism, especially a short one, is going to be a bit too broad... I agree with him far more than I disagree, but there are a few key points that make some big differences... but I'll get to it.

Van said...

Ooh... got it under 30! How's this for a short pomofo definition:

"A pretentious literary style of separating words from their meaning while claiming deeper meaningfulness, for the purposes of depriving the readers life of meaning and advancing political subversion."

Oh man that hurt... gotta go catch my breath.

xlbrl said...

I understand some of the the shortcomings of Hayek, and Mises as well. What I especially like about Hayek is his humility.

merl the perl said...

Humility implies caution, which I believe in moderation, is necessary for rational thought.

Alright Van, I thought about this from a ‘strictly principled with no pragmatism perspective’, and condensed it into one paragraph. Let’s see how it turned out:

Striving to be principled while also being aware that this striving is not common to all, can enable that person to better recognize others who are not principled.

The reasons for being unprincipled are many: self-delusion, indolence and cultural experience being three.

But the intentionally unprincipled (or sociopath), who is also successful, is notorious for being an astute psychologist, which can make them expert manipulators. This is because their only principle is “loyalty to self”, and everything else serves this one “principle”. Being morally fluid, they can be quick to spot rigid patterns which denote principles, which they may then exploit.

The trick is to make principles work for you, while taking care that your own principles cannot be used against you.


That wasn’t so hard after all.

merl the perl said...

"A pretentious literary style of separating words from their meaning while claiming deeper meaningfulness, for the purposes of depriving the readers life of meaning and advancing political subversion."

That one implies a conscious or unconscious attempt to undermine an existing political status quo. Mine doesn’t imply a motive, but suggests an end result of folly. Which is accurate, or if both are accurate I honestly don’t know.

merl the perl said...

But it was under 30 words and close enough, so you've got the medal. So far...

Van said...

Merl said "That one implies a conscious or unconscious attempt to undermine an existing political status quo."

Yeah... getting it below 30 was a toughie... had to leave out a lot, 'just the facts ma'am', but whether done consciously (as it certainly was by it's founders), it is inherent in its structure and style. Folly it is, but it is much, much darker and more destructive than that.

Van said...

Merl said "This is because their only principle is “loyalty to self”, and everything else serves this one “principle”."

Which I'd have to restate “loyalty to self” as putting short range personal pleasures, whims and passions above all else... which ultimately is disloyal to any meaningful sense of Self.

"The trick is to make principles work for you, while taking care that your own principles cannot be used against you."

Well... the trick is also to not confuse 'being principled' with some rigid caricature of being principled, which makes the alleged 'principle' more important than what the principle is expressly to serve. For instance, the 'One Hundred Percentileist' will say, as in an exchange I had some while ago on Lance's site, words to the effect of "You should never lie, it is always wrong, even if a man with a knife is at the door asking if your daughter is home so he can stab her - even then, 'lying' would be wrong", a position which owes a lot to one of the demolishers of the modern world, Kant, and his uber-'One Hundred Percentileist' categorical imperatives.

One of the lost arts of moral reasoning, is Prudence, and that requires a strong understanding of the hierarchy of truth and values. Statements such as the one above, and all categorical imperatives, far from being principled, through their explicit exclusion of all context, is the ultimate in anti-reasoning and unprincipled behavior.

I think rather than trying to rewrite the wheel, I think it fit this context fairly well, I'll nab part of that response... back in a moment.

Van said...

Here we go, from a couple years ago, a VERY long series of back & forths between a libertarian and religious semi-literalist named David, in this snippet (really... just a snippet of one of a hundred comments), over claiming that a Principle is unchanged by context, which I hold is false, that a principle ceases to be one, when used out of context it becomes as a dis-integrated imperative.

David said "Premise 1: It is always wrong to lie, regardless of the outcome."

Well, I believe that is fundamentally wrong in it's structure, assumptions and intent.
I think your working out the logic of your argument is fine, but is based upon a deeper flawed premise - that a Lie is nothing more than the misreporting of factual data.

And I think your premises are the wrong ones to work from. The contradiction I was speaking of, was that of two higher level values apparently in opposition to each other. If the premises you use to determine whether or not to tell the 'truth', mean that Honesty, Integrity and Truth are in apparent opposition to one of your supreme values, in our examples case, the daughter's life... then something has gone amiss in your premises. You need to ask yourself "Integrity ... to what?" Honesty, Integrity and Truth are of the highest values. Your daughters life is of the highest value. If maintaining one value means the destruction of the other value, somewhere you've got a contradiction in your premises, and that means an error.

I submit, that that error lies in where you have placed the source and allegiance of your honesty, integrity and Truth. Honesty to... what... a factual identification of things as they are? That the factual identification of things as they are is to be more highly valued, that you should spit out a GPS location of your daughter's position to a maniac, because... it is factual? Or you should say noting at all and rouse his suspicions to barge into your home and kill your daughter? That you should try to overpower him, who may be much more powerful than you, at the risk of both you and your daughters life?

Not buying it. But that is the unavoidable result of placing your Values in a flat and lifeless robotic response, in what amounts to Duty (hello Mr. Kant), as opposed to that which makes anything of value possible to be Valued. To say something is of value, presupposes the question: of value to whom, and for what. That whom and what, are your life, and for the purpose of living a life worth living.
(break)

Van said...

(cont)
"What if the maniac in our example finds rape to be 'the good life' - it's his life, is it not? How can I set any ethical standard upon him, if the criteria is 'not just any life, but your life' - and he holds to that as a truth? Have you not just excused his behavior in an effort to keep from flattening ethics into a set of universals?"

No.

Reason is our tool of survival, if you don't reason at all, you die. If you reason poorly, you live at best, less well than you could. To live a Reasoning life, requires that, in your relation with other men, that you forgo the initiation of force, since force negates reason. Forcing someone to do as you say, means forcing them to act contrary to their own reason, their own tool of survival, against their own life. Civilization proper, requires the need to recognize that each person must be free to live by the light of their own reason, which means the rejection of initiating force in your relations with other men.

That puts Rape out of the question. Robbery out of the question. If your life is your value, then your reason should be employed towards living your life as best as you reasonably can. Through a long chain of inference and deduction, lessons of life, history, religion, culture, that's going to mean living a virtuous life. A life of toys and thrills, can, with way more html that I can put in a comment, be shown to be a life unreasonable, empty, wasted. A life lived for breathing and eating only, again, can be shown to be empty and in the end, utterly worthless. There are many celebrity suicides we could point to for instances.

Life, your life, is enhanced, deepened, given more worth, depth and value, the deeper your conceptual understanding of not only the world, but yourself and your relations with those you love, is enhanced - they make your life worth living, and are, to a reasonable man, among your highest values. The more satisfying something is, the less it consists of the physical, perceptual pleasure, and the more it has of the conceptual pleasures, and they necessarily become more and more deeply integrated and intertwined, the more long range their scope and perspective.

That is what you give your honesty, integrity and Truth to. And the more you do, the more you will find that life, your life, is dependent upon, and enhanced through, your honest relations and love towards your friends, family, community... and the highest and furthest conceptual reach, your religion and God.
(break)

Van said...

(cont)
The reasoning Man, will also discover, that their own life, and the value they hold in it, may in many cases, not be worth living, if it meant abandoning those and that which gives meaning to your life. Most any Parent, Policemen or Soldier could tell you all about that. Preserving that which makes your life Valuable, could in some instances, mean giving up your own life.

That structure requires the deepest commitment to honesty and integrity and Truth, within, and for, those values. That is a critically important point.

Some unreasoning person, criminal or maniac, who has no concept of Truth as being other than a mere dutiful reporting of fact, has no claim upon you for anything whatsoever, and has no place in that integrated structure of truth, and I think Love, which is your life, and they have no claim upon you or your values, simply by demanding that you explain how to destroy all that is of value to you and makes life worth living.

Attempting to obtain information from you in order to destroy that which you value, an action in which you would in no way endorse or allow, is an implied fraud, and an initiation of force.

The madman, attempting to obtain what they have no right to, your daughters life, in order to destroy it, is an implied initiation of force.

We do not call someone who mistakenly passes incorrect information a liar. Lying, is purposefully conveying a misrepresentation of reality to someone who has a right to expect the full truth from you. I reject the idea that Truth is nothing more than a set of factual data. We are not robots. We are not rodents. Truth to a Human Being, is a deeply conceptual structure, and itself requires an ethical understanding which is only possible through a highly developed set of concepts and values. If a person has no right to claim the information from you, you are under no obligation to give it to him, and THAT is not lying, any more than shooting a burglar about to stab your wife would be murder, and it would be in no way unethical to do so. Conveying factually incorrect information to someone with no right to the Truth, is not Lying, it is not going against your deepest values of your life: honesty and integrity and truth, it is upholding them.

lance said...

Van!! Did you have to link back to my blog? I just killed an hour of work time rereading all of the old posts. :)

Maybe your link will increase my traffic.

merl the perl said...

I've got no quick answers here.

But the Whittle post was pretty good. Looks like it would work well for regular types, but not sure how well sociopaths could be "trained", though.

Van said...

Merl said "... but not sure how well sociopaths could be "trained", though."

I'm kinda partial to the .44 method... rarely requires more than one lesson.

;-)