Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Krugman: If You Oppose "Infrastructure Spending," You Support Slavery

Leave it to Paul Krugman to ratchet up the use of the non sequitur in dealing with people who might disagree with him. Here is a guy who takes a stray quote and then implies that anyone who might agree with one part agrees with everything else.

In a recent blog post entitled "Opposition to Infrastructure Spending," Krugman writes:
I’m currently reading Daniel Walker Howe’s What Hath God Wrought, and there’s an interesting discussion of the debate over “internal improvements.” Some southerners were opposed, for an interesting reason. Here’s Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina, in 1818:

If Congress can make canals, they can with more propriety emancipate.

I leave the elucidation of any parallels or lack thereof to modern politics as an exercise for readers.
So, we have the implication from the Nobel winner himself: Oppose the "stimulus" (which is why he is advocating more "infrastructure" spending), and you are a racist, the worst kind of racist, someone who approves of slavery.

Actually, a lot of people opposed the "internal improvements" to be funded by tax dollars because a lot of the money was wasted or ended up in the pockets of people who were less-than-honest. (But, hey, they spent the money, and that is the good thing about any kind of "stimulus.")

98 comments:

Desolation Jones said...

Ironically, many libertarians would argue, "If you support infrastructure spending, you support slavery"

Taxes supposedly being a tool of oppression, coercion, and all that jazz.

zackA89 said...

Infrastructure spending can be done voluntarily, in the free market by entrepreneurs, absent government spending financed through taxation. If folks collectively want to pay a tax voluntarily or donate their own funds to finance a bridge or a building within a state or community it can surely be done. Force is not required to build infrastructure.

Bala said...

"Taxes supposedly being a tool of oppression, coercion, and all that jazz"

Not a tool, but oppression and coercion itself. Just how do you plan to argue against that?

Jonathan M.F. Catalán said...

It's especially humorous, because one of the institutions which prolonged the life of the institution of slavery in the United States was in fact that American government, driven largely by northerners who did not want to lose their jobs to cheaper labor.

In any case, what parallels do you think he's really implying? I don't think he's arguing that anybody supports slavery. Or, do you think this is a hidden attack on DiLorenzo?

Dan said...

@Bala...coercion, oppression? Even Adam Smith said that institutions and property rights are fundamental elements of a prosperous nation. Do you propose we fund these with tip jars?

You're pretty out there my friend...and probably a complete sellout(unless your writing these posts from your cabin in Montana...that'd give you some unabomber style street cred)

Bala said...

Dan,

You are truly hilarious. You said

"Even Adam Smith said that institutions and property rights are fundamental elements of a prosperous nation."

So what? How does the point that property rights are a fundamental element of a prosperous nation imply, by any stretch of imagination, that government needs to protect property rights, that too by violating property rights, and thus providing a justification for the forcible expropriation of people that you call tax? And why should those 'institutions' be government? Why not in the private sector? How does all this translate into tip jars? It would be good if you explained.

Please also explain how
1. tax is not a coercive expropriation of an individual and is hence not a violation of the right to property
2. making it legitimate for government to thus coercively expropriate people and violate people's property rights is not oppression.

This time, try to post without arguing by smear.

jason h said...

Do you propose we fund these with tip jars?

Why the heck not? If (as you say) the people want these services, charge them directly. Surely, then the state balance sheet would start looking more like Apple and Google.

Dan said...

@Bala Your dream world of perfect competition where the private sector provides for all societal wants/needs without price fixing, collusion, monopolies, corruption, etc, etc, etc is nothing more than a delusion.

You are both complete sellouts probably believe that Goldman Sachs should rewrite our Constitution. coocoo coocoo.

jason h said...

You must be a fan of Krugman, as you prefer name calling over a rational defense of your position. Maybe you should leave the strenuous mental exercise to the adults

Mike Cheel said...

According to a non-profit organization I am familiar with, private charity donations out perform government charity funding by 5 to 1. This includes 'tip jars' that you find in public business places.

When people want to do something they will fund it.

When businesses realize a profit potential, they will fund it.

Government only squanders what they have stolen and never consider whether the people really want \ need it or whether it will be profitable. The countless times that big government fails they nearly always think the solution is throwing more money at their ill gotten gains.

Mike Cheel said...

Errr, correction, I meant to say throw their ill gotten gains at the problem.

burkll13 said...

@ Dan-

"Your dream world of perfect governance where the government provides for all societal wants/needs without price fixing, collusion, monopolies, corruption, etc, etc, etc is nothing more than a delusion."

David said...

Dan makes me miss AP Lerner and Lord Keyenes. At least they had some rudimentary contact with libertarian/Austrian School theory.

Dan said...

Jason,

What rational defense can I mount against people who will not even accept the premise of taxation? We can't even get off the starting blocks here.

It's a good thing that most of you are too fat, lazy and content with your suburban lifestyle to actually do anything. Otherwise we could have another Egypt on our hands!

Fight on armchair warriors!

jason h said...

Sorry for feeding the troll.

So do you support your tax dollars supporting a corrupt Egyptian dictator, or you side with the peaceful overthrow of said dictator?

Dan said...

If you believe that U.S. constitutional democracy is the equivalent of Mubarak's regime in Egypt then let's not even begin.

jason h said...

Not making a comparison at all, just asking if you consent to your money being used to support Mubarak, since taxation pays for things everyone wants.

Bob Roddis said...

I agree. Bring back AP and LK. Speaking of AP, his crazy guru L. Randall Wray has gone "mainstream" today in Salon:

http://salon.com/a/szSkfAA

Let us start with honesty about budget deficits and government debt. There is no honest economic argument against running budget deficits when the economy is below full employment. While we can debate about which programs government ought to fund, and at what level, and about who ought to pay taxes, and how much, there is no legitimate concern about the size of the resulting budget deficit or growth of government debt.

These Chartalists still have no underlying economic theory and seem to have never heard of the law of scarcity or else they are simply scarcity deniers.

LK said...

"Please also explain how
1. tax is not a coercive expropriation of an individual and is hence not a violation of the right to property
2. making it legitimate for government to thus coercively expropriate people and violate people's property rights is not oppression."


Your libertarian guff is based on natural rights/natural law B.S.

You were challened in the past here to explain yout position on ethics, but refused to.

In a previous post here:

http://krugman-in-wonderland.blogspot.com/2010/11/krugman-brooks-and-hijacked-good-sense.html

you proclaimed that "a government that coercively takes away people's property in the unholy name of tax (progressive or otherwise)" is "mass murder of a lower order of magnitude" - then retreated from that as you got destroyed on point after point.

David said...

Bob,

The MMT view is not an economic model. It's an accounting model masquerading as an economic model.

As you know, savings is an action. It can and does occur independently of government/central bank activity. Anytime someone foregoes consumption to produce or consume more down the road, they are saving.

This nonsense about increasing net private fiat dollars is just that, nonsense. When pressed, MMT proponents accept that they are not talking about real wealth building. So what are they talking about? Fixing balance sheets. It's an accounting problem to them, nothing more.

This is fanciful and all, but not worth even considering as an economist.

What's even worse, when pressed AP Lerner found no objection with ABCT. Yet, he continued to provide solutions that fixed the balance sheet without understanding that such actions distort the act of savings and cause even more malinvestment. Egads.

No theory of exchange. No human action. This is what you get. Fix the balance sheets and everything will be splendid.

David said...

LK,

Do you know where the Right to Life comes from?

LK said...

What's even worse, when pressed AP Lerner found no objection with ABCT.

ABCT is false, and cannot be an even remotely credible explanation of 2001-2008:

http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2010/10/austrian-business-cycle-theory-its.html

Moreover, it's not even a consistent theory, there are different forms of it.

Mike Cheel said...

Let's ask the government lovers if they think this is how it is supposed to work...

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1ecr7_who-profits-from-war_news

LK said...

"Do you know where the Right to Life comes from?"

There is NO "natural" right to anything.
The belief that there is on a par with belief in the tooth fairy:

L. A. Rollins, The Myth of Natural Rights (Loompanics Unlimited, 1983).

Kai Nielsen, “The Myth of Natural Law,” in S. Hook (ed.), Law and Philosophy: A Symposium, University Press, New York. 1963.

Rights are moral or legal constructs, nothing more.

David said...

Rights are moral or legal constructs, nothing more.

Legal constructs are privileges, not rights.

You obviously believe in the Right to Life. If you didn't, you wouldn't find yourself on an Internet chat board discussing economics and politics. That act runs in direct contradiction to saying that the Right to Life do not exist. Do you only discuss issues because you are allowed to?

Before there were formal legal constructs and ethical debates (in some cultures, were talking about 50 years ago. Ya know, way back in the day), did people arbitrarily murder each other on a regular basis?

LK said...

"That act runs in direct contradiction to saying that the Right to Life do not exist."

And where did I deny the "right to life"?

Right to life = moral and legal right not to be subject to unjustifed bodily harm or killing.

That is, as I said, a moral and legal contract. There is nothing in nature that gives a human being that right.

did people arbitrarily murder each other on a regular basis?

History is littered with arbitrary murder, in case you hadn't noticed.

That we developed the ethical idea in small hunter gatherer groups that murder was wrong (WITHIN the group) is no doubt explained by evolution.

LK said...

Correction:

That is, as I said, a moral and legal construct

David said...

History is littered with arbitrary murder, in case you hadn't noticed.

I did notice. Arbitrary murder is the preferred method of the state.

But as you recognized, and explained as evolution, within societies arbitrary murder is not the norm. In stateless societies, like Zomia, arbitrary murder is almost non-existent.

What binds you to this legal construct to not subject another to unjustified bodily harm or killing?

LK said...

"Arbitrary murder is the preferred method of the state."

And by any number of private individuals and private organizations. Ever heard of the mafia and all the other organized criminal groups in the world?

"What binds you to this legal construct to not subject another to unjustified bodily harm or killing?"

Natural rights and natural law are not required.

Act or rule utiliatrianism are perfectly capable of doing it. So can Kantian ethics. Or the non-absolutist ethics of W.D. Ross
Or Rawl's Human rights objectivism.
Or David Gauthier's Morals by Agreement.

David said...

And by any number of private individuals and private organizations. Ever heard of the mafia and all the other organized criminal groups in the world?


Nope. Never heard of them.
Oh wait, yes I have. Organized criminal groups are now called banks and states. Must be evolution.

That's not going to get us anywhere.

Natural rights and natural law are not required.

Act or rule utiliatrianism are perfectly capable of doing it. So can Kantian ethics. Or the non-absolutist ethics of W.D. Ross
Or Rawl's Human rights objectivism.
Or David Gauthier's Morals by Agreement.


And people who have never heard of Kant, Ross, Rawl, Gautheir, or rule utilitarianism, are they lost in the wilderness?

How do these uninformed souls know that murder is wrong? Or do they just keep hacking away at each other until they disappear off the face of the Earth?

And did you use rule utilitarianism in deciding to engage in this discussion?

LK said...

"And people who have never heard of Kant, Ross, Rawl, Gautheir, or rule utilitarianism, are they lost in the wilderness?"

Already explained it to you above. Our moral intuitions are explained by evolution:

http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2011/02/hunter-gatherer-ethics.html

Bala said...

"then retreated from that as you got destroyed on point after point"

I never retreated from that point. You prove repeatedly that what I said about you on the last thread is absolutely true - that you are a whatever-Keynesian pathological liar.

Taxation is coercive expropriation and hence a violation of property rights. Prove me wrong.

I see rights as a moral and not a legal construct. The legal means nothing except to statists like you. Do you even understand what "morals" and "morality" are? As someone else asked, do you even understand what the "Right to Life" is and how it is recognised? Clearly, you do not, but I thought it would be fun watching you try and make a fool of yourself (as in everything else).

Bala said...

"Already explained it to you above. Our moral intuitions are explained by evolution:"

It's amazing how you keep up such a steady flow of nonsense.

Bala said...

LK,

It's hilarious watching you talk of ethics without once answering the key questions -

1. What is ethics?
2. Why does man need ethics?
3. How can/does man develop his code of ethics?

To answer the last question, you will need to provide the additional definition of the concept "man".

LK said...

man = homo sapiens

1. What is ethics?

Study of what is right and wrong - two non-natural concepts.

2. Why does man need ethics?
There is a straightforward utilitarian explanation: we are a social species. We evolved that way. We need some procedures/rules for sucessful life in communities. Without such rules, we would never have been selected for.

3. How can/does man develop his code of ethics?

Depends on what ethical theory you think is justified:

http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2010/10/economics-and-ethics-brief-survey.html


"Already explained it to you above. Our moral intuitions are explained by evolution:"
It's amazing how you keep up such a steady flow of nonsense.


You make a fool of yourself by continuing denying even basic ideas that are now accpeted by manys scientists and for which there is considerable evidence.

David said...

LK,

If our moral institutions arise out of evolution (don't remember that from my reading of Dawkins, but ok)....

Why do I have any need for rule utilitarianism?

Seems like an awful waste of time to institute rule utilitarianism when our moral code is going to evolve anyway.

And if our moral code arises out of evolution, are you not parting with natural evolution by convincing society to follow rule utilitarianism?

LK said...

If our moral institutions arise out of evolution ...

Not institutions - our innate moral intuitions and feelings, different thing.

Why do I have any need for rule utilitarianism?

http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2011/02/hunter-gatherer-ethics.html

And if our moral code arises out of evolution, are you not parting with natural evolution by convincing society to follow rule utilitarianism?

Of course. Our moral intuitions provide NO objective basis for morality, any more than the intuition that god exists can provide any rational basis for beleiving in god.

If a Buddhist told you that he has an overwheling, internal intuition that Buddhism is the only one true religion, would you think this is a remotely convincing argument?, just because he "feels" - has an intuition - that it must be so?

Bala said...

"Study of what is right and wrong"

Good beginning.

"- two non-natural concepts."

Meaningless balderdash.

"There is a straightforward utilitarian explanation:"

Actually, it is fairly straightforward, except that some people have it all backwards, like you do.

"we are a social species"

Ha Ha Ha!!! This is downright hilarious. This "defines" man???? We tend to live in close proximity with and interacting in various ways with other individuals. That, however, has the simple underlying reason that we are individually better off living in close proximity with and interacting in various ways with other individuals than in complete isolation. Therefore, for the individual, society is not an end in itself but a means to his end - his own well-being. It is truly funny to see you confusing means for ends.

"We need some procedures/rules for sucessful life in communities."

We is the "we" in this statement? What is "successful life" and how is "successful life in communities" different from "successful life in the absence of a community"? Further, when you say "life", whose "life" are you talking of?

"Without such rules, we would never have been selected for."

Selected for WHAT? By WHOM or WHAT? This is mind-blowingly hilarious.

"Depends on what ethical theory you think is justified:"

Nonsense as usual. There is only 1 way man "knows" anything at all - by the use of his rational faculty.

Incidentally, I am sure you do not realise that your theory that ehtics arises from society leads to irreconcilable conflicts between the interests of that amorphous, non-existent entity called "society" and the real, existing, living entity called the individual. Your ideas are so warped that you will eventually tell the individual that it is good for society that he dies and then justify that he does die. Take a step further and you will find yourself justifying your action of taking his life as "being in the larger interest of society". No wonder that your ideas have been the ethical basis of every tyrannical system in this world.

Why does it not surprise me that a whatever-Keynesian says this!!!

David said...

If a Buddhist told you that he has an overwheling, internal intuition that Buddhism is the only one true religion, would you think this is a remotely convincing argument?, just because he "feels" - has an intuition - that it must be so?

Why do I have to be convinced? Atheist arguments always end up falling on the same sword as Christian ones. I'd wish the Buddhist a nice day, knowing that I can do no better in proving the existence or non-existence of his god.

You must mistake me for a Christian. I am not. Nor am I an Atheist. Atheism is just another religion.

No more links. If you can't explain, just say so.

How does rule utilitarianism provide an objective basis for morality?

If moral intuition does not provide an objective basis for morality, is that an evolutionary failure?

How did we get this far without an objective basis for morality as an evolutionary feature?

Bala said...

Oops...

"We is the "we" in this statement?"

Read as "Who is the "we" in this statement?

LK said...

"Selected for WHAT? By WHOM or WHAT? This is mind-blowingly hilarious."

Selected for by evolution by natural selction, idiot.

A process that explains the existence of every species on the planet.

Our physical traits and psychological traits (from evolved brain structure) are explained to a great extent by evolution, though no one denies the influence of culture too.

Our species is about 200,000 years ago, and agriculture only emerged about 10 000 years ago. For most of our history (probably over 88% of it), we were nomadic hunter gatherers. Modern human psychology (which is partly and significantly caused by the evolved structure of the human brain) remains fundamentally the product of that evolution.

Bala said...

"Selected for by evolution by natural selction, idiot."

This time, on my wife's, doctor's and Tel's advice, I shall not respond by calling you names. Actually, I don't need to call you names because I have an argument and you need to call me names because you do not have an argument. I should have realised this earlier, but better late than never.

Now to your non-answer. Natural selection selects individuals, not species. Even a species is a concept that denotes every single individual that constitutes that species. Species do not survive. Individual members do. In fact, species do not even exist. Only individuals do. The term "species" is just a mental construct to enable us to make sense of reality.

I do understand that your collectivised brain just cannot make sense of this simple point.

LK said...

More prize idiocy:

"we are a social species"

Ha Ha Ha!!! This is downright hilarious. This "defines" man???? We tend to live in close proximity with and interacting in various ways with other individuals….


I am talking about biology. Animals are divided into (1) social animals and (2) non-social, solitary animals.

Our evolutionary history is one of a social animal, just as our close relatives, chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas are social. As social animals, just like chimpanzees or bonobos, there is need for some adaptations or behavioural traits that allow us to live together successfully.

David said...

I am talking about biology. Animals are divided into (1) social animals and (2) non-social, solitary animals.

Well that's one way to divide them. Definitely not the way I learned biology, and certainly not the scientific way, but ok. I could also divide them by head-less and non-head-less. I wouldn't use it in argument for natural rights vs. rule utilitarianism but to each their own.

I'm off to bed. Enjoy the great convo.

LK said...

In fact, species do not even exist. Only individuals do. The term "species" is just a mental construct to enable us to make sense of reality.

That types or sets are mental categories does not mean they do not exist, you goddamn idiot. You might as well make a massive song and dance about the fact "numbers" do not exist in the physical sense.

Yeah, we know numbers don't exist as physical objects in the real world, say, like your pet cat, but that doesn't mean they don't exist as meaningful mental categories.

In the case of species, the concept has an existence stonger than that of numbers: a species is the set of all individuals with the same genome.

Natural selection selects individuals, not species.

While there is some debate over the levels at which evolution operates, inter-species competition and selection of species and populations are major factors in evolution, and concepts supported by many evolutionary biologists.

LK said...

And evolution even operates at levels above the species:

macroevolution
Evolution on the grand scale: the term refers to events above the species level. The origin of a new higher group, such as the vertebrates, would be an example of a macroevolutionary event.
Mark Ridley, Evolution, p. 686
.

But then no doubt you know more about evolution than Mark Ridley, a leading British zoologist and student of Dawkins.

callahan auto said...

LK - you are suggesting that a new phylum (ie. vertebrates) will evolve from a species in another phylum? you clearly have no understanding in what is meant by macroevolution. what a dummy

Bala said...

"That types or sets are mental categories does not mean they do not exist, you goddamn idiot."

There you go again throwing abuses when the other party has not done that and has in fact promised not to throw similar ones back at you. Looks like you are absolutely incapable of civilised debate.

That apart, mental categories do not exist in the physical world. If at all they exist, they exist as concepts in our minds. However, they are a concept of a class of entities that share the characteristics that are said to be "possessed" by the species. That means that every individual "belonging" to that species possesses the same characteristics.

"You might as well make a massive song and dance about the fact "numbers" do not exist in the physical sense."

Oh yes!!! Numbers do not exist. They are an abstraction.

"but that doesn't mean they don't exist as meaningful mental categories."

However, they exist ONLY as mental categories.

"In the case of species, the concept has an existence stonger than that of numbers: a species is the set of all individuals with the same genome."

The "set" does not exist except as a mental category. Only the individuals exist in the physical sense. The process of natural selection operates ONLY in the physical world. Hence, to talk of natural selection as though it operates directly on species makes no sense.

Before you react to this, let me remind you of what I had said earlier - do not confuse the biologist's terms and definitions with that of the ethicist. For the biologist, "species" is the unit of his study. The biologist cannot conduct his study without grouping individuals into a mental category called the species. For the ethicist, on the other hand, it is the individual that matters. The collective or the set is irrelevant because ethics is in the domain of individual choice.

"While there is some debate over the levels at which evolution operates, inter-species competition and selection of species and populations are major factors in evolution, and concepts supported by many evolutionary biologists."

While this might be true in Biology, it is not so for Ethics. The more you (wrongly) use the terms and definitions of one area of study in another, the more you are going to come up with meaningless conclusions.

And I am not claiming that I know more about evolution than anyone else, leave alone Mark Ridley. I am just saying that the methods of Biology do not apply to ethics.

Bala said...

"I am talking about biology."

And I'm talking Ethics. Could we get back to the discussion on Ethics? Could you please address my original post properly? The one at February 23, 2011 7:39 PM. Please focus particularly on the following points.

"Therefore, for the individual, society is not an end in itself but a means to his end - his own well-being. It is truly funny to see you confusing means for ends."

"Who is the "we" in this statement? What is "successful life" and how is "successful life in communities" different from "successful life in the absence of a community"? Further, when you say "life", whose "life" are you talking of?"

"Nonsense as usual. There is only 1 way man "knows" anything at all - by the use of his rational faculty."

"Incidentally, I am sure you do not realise that your theory that ehtics arises from society leads to irreconcilable conflicts between the interests of that amorphous, non-existent entity called "society" and the real, existing, living entity called the individual. Your ideas are so warped that you will eventually tell the individual that it is good for society that he dies and then justify that he does die. Take a step further and you will find yourself justifying your action of taking his life as "being in the larger interest of society". No wonder that your ideas have been the ethical basis of every tyrannical system in this world."

LK said...

Your statment at 7:56 PM:

In fact, species do not even exist.

Your statment at 10:07 PM"

"That apart, mental categories do not exist in the physical world. If at all they exist, they exist as concepts in our minds.."

You retreat from your absurd earlier statement at 7:56 PM.

Most of the rest of the post is a complete waste of time you just repeat what I have already said, acting like you have proved some points which I already asserted at 8:19 PM.

Bala said...

LK,

That was not a retraction but to tell you that evolution and natural selection happen only to living things that exist in the physical world. I do not agree with you because you are saying nothing of substance.

"Most of the rest of the post is a complete waste of time you just repeat what I have already said"

That's a very unintelligent way of saying that you have nothing to say now that the tyrannical nature of your ethical system has been completely exposed. Your idea that ethics evolve from man's 'nature' as a social animal is utter nonsense. It is the basis of every tyrannical system the world has ever seen. You just exposed yourself as a shill for every tin-pot dictator that existed, exists and might exist.

Try evading giving an answer and post something meaningful for a change.

LK said...

"Depends on what ethical theory you think is justified:"

Nonsense as usual. There is only 1 way man "knows" anything at all - by the use of his rational faculty.


Your statement is idiocy. That we need a rational faculty to decide which ethical theory is justified is totally consistent with what I said earlier.

Natural rights/natural law theory either in the Randian or Rothbardian versions doesn't work.

If we don't support Randian or Rothbardian natural rights/natural law theory, then explain what ethical theory you adhere to.

LK said...

Your idea that ethics evolve from man's 'nature' as a social animal is utter nonsense.

Again you are incapable of even miminal accuracy.

What I said above is that our innate moral intuitions or feelings can be explained to a considerable extent by evolution, and that is a theory now widely held in evolutionary psychology:

http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2011/02/hunter-gatherer-ethics.html

But a proper defence of what is right and wrong must come from an objective theory of ethics, not from our psychology or mere intuitions or feelings.

Quite convincing moral justifications for government and government intervention (such as progressive taxes, basic welfare and universal health care) can easily be given independently of our psychology through objective theories of ethics, arrived at by human reason, such as act or rule utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, the non-absolutist ethics of W. D. Ross, Rawl’s human rights objectivism, or other liberal contractarian moral theories.

LK said...

Which is precisely what I said at
7:28 PM:

Our moral intuitions provide NO objective basis for morality, any more than the intuition that god exists can provide any rational basis for beleiving in god.

If a Buddhist told you that he has an overwheling, internal intuition that Buddhism is the only one true religion, would you think this is a remotely convincing argument?, just because he "feels" - has an intuition - that it must be so?

Bala said...

"Natural rights/natural law theory either in the Randian or Rothbardian versions doesn't work."

Wrong.

"then explain what ethical theory you adhere to"

The Randian one. The Rothbardian one also makes sense. Since your previous assertion is wrong, this sentence of yours has no relevance either. We do not agree that the Randian or Rothbardian ethical theories do not work. So there!!!

"Your statement is idiocy. That we need a rational faculty to decide which ethical theory is justified is totally consistent with what I said earlier."

Lack of civility as usual. Chal. Jaane do. Your statement

"Depends on what ethical theory you think is justified:"

was in response to my question

"3. How can/does man develop his code of ethics?"

There can be no "depends on" in response to that answer. There are axioms and then there is reasoning. That's all I was trying to say. Looks like you have (as usual) decided to be obtuse about it.

All this apart, I have demolished your precious "rule utilitarianism" many times over. That you are still touting it shows you for what you are.

Bala said...

"What I said above is that our innate moral intuitions"

Firstly, the term 'moral intuitions' makes no sense. Secondly, to claim that morality is 'innate' makes no sense either. So, you still make no sense.

LK said...

Firstly, the term 'moral intuitions' makes no sense

Your statement = higher order idiocy, just like ABCT. You should be very proud.

I am not going waste time trying to demonstrate to an idiot an obvious fact, that humans have moral intuitions.

Secondly, to claim that morality is 'innate' makes no sense either.

Try to read. Innate moral feelings are not the same thing as moral theories like natural law, Kantian ethics etc.

Bala said...

LK,

Your language is showing no signs of improving. I shall however choose to ignore it.

Further, it does not matter how much of an idiot I am and how much of idiocy I am displaying. The important point that you are refusing to grapple with is that I have torn apart your entire approach to morality with this line above.

""Incidentally, I am sure you do not realise that your theory that ehtics arises from society leads to irreconcilable conflicts between the interests of that amorphous, non-existent entity called "society" and the real, existing, living entity called the individual. Your ideas are so warped that you will eventually tell the individual that it is good for society that he dies and then justify that he does die. Take a step further and you will find yourself justifying your action of taking his life as "being in the larger interest of society". No wonder that your ideas have been the ethical basis of every tyrannical system in this world."

Please do that if you want to retain even a shred of respectability

LK said...

"I am sure you do not realise that your theory that ehtics arises from society"

I do not belive that ethics "arises form society."

Ethics comes from a defensible objective ethical theory.

For the rule-consequentialist/ rule utilitarian, Brad Hooker's Ideal code, Real World: A Rule-Consequentialist Theory of Morality (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2000) is the most comprehensive modern statment.

Since the rest of your rambling comment follows from a statement that is not even my view, it is irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that LK decided to start arguing ethics, having been beaten in just about every other theater in these debates. Its like watching a political candidate go from a reasonable argument, to steadily worse arguments the more he is beaten until, finally, the politician can only fall back on attacking his opponent. LK, you truly are the epitomy of pathetic.

At least AP Lerner, while wrong, was able to argue from a perspective that offered.something new. You focus primarily on irrelevancies and don't even attempt to defend your theories when they're criticized. You duck and run, making lame excuses or even just falling silent completely, only to try pushing the same debunked ideas later. You should stay where you belong, with the moon hoaxers, creationists, astrologists, and law of attraction woos. Hell, your posts here could serve as material for an entire season of bullshit, or at least a guide to what logical fallacies are.

David said...

LK,

You tried but never answered my question:

If we have moral intuition as a product of evolution, why do we need rule utilitarianism?

Your answer, the rule utilitarianism provides an objective basis for an objective basis of reality, is a subjective view. You think this is a better arrangement.

That doesn't explain why we NEED rule utilitarianism, only why you think it's better.

So care to take another stab?

(I noticed also that you didn't want to debate on your religious Atheism.)

David said...

the rule utilitarianism provides an objective basis for an objective basis of reality

Egads. First cup of coffee.
Should read:

That rule utilitarianism provides for an objective basis for morality.

Wow. Sorry.

Bala said...

"Ethics comes from a defensible objective ethical theory."

So please lay out the premises and the reasoning of your much touted ethical theory. I don't care for any names you drop or links you provide. The only thing that matters is your own arguments. In particular, define the standard of "measurement"/"evaluation" on which your ethical system is based. If you can't/won't, please don't make any claims for they would have to be treated as false.

Dan said...

@Bala "That, however, has the simple underlying reason that we are individually better off living in close proximity with and interacting in various ways with other individuals than in complete isolation. Therefore, for the individual, society is not an end in itself but a means to his end - his own well-being."

This is a twisting of logic if I have ever seen one. The fact that you admit that the individual is better off because he/she lives in a society means that we are social creatures!

So, if you, individualist as you are, personally benefit from this arrangement, why shouldn't you be taxed? No one is "coercing" you to be another fat, lazy American living in suburbia. Sounds like you wanna be a free rider. Remember, no free lunches my friend.

David said...

Dan,

You have serious psychological issues. If my memory serves me, Bala lives in India and provides private education services for underprivileged youths. (Apologies to Bala if speak incorrectly.)

I live in Qatar and work in the IT field.

In other words, neither one of us is a fat, lazy American surburbanite.

Stop being ridiculous.

Dan said...

Let me add for all you nutball individualists that you should learn some basic game theory. Mainly, Prisoner's dilemma and Nash Equilibrium.

The fact that individuals wish to maximize their utility is not rocket science...even tho Bala seems to think it is.

However, in many cases a society can maximize its overall payoff by coordinating a solution among disparate players....basic Nash equilibrium.

On the other hand, prisoners dilemma shows the pitfalls of each individual working in his/her own interest regardless of what is the better outcome for all.

This is why I say that Bala and others are sellouts and wannabe free riders. They have maximized their individual utility by being part of a societal arrangement, however they want to have their cake and eat it too. There is no philosophy to this...it is basic greed 101.

Dan said...

David,

Let me guess. Your a federal contractor living off the largess of our DoD defense budget...

Hillarious.

David said...

Dan,

Why don't you explain to us how Nash equilibrium and Prisoner's Dilemna apply to a division of labor working with scarce resources and an infinite amount of ideas and choices?

I'm all ears.

David said...

Dan,

Guess again. I work for a private firm in the aviation industry.

Are you used to being embarrased or is this a new feeling for you?

Dan said...

David,

Sorry don't believe it. We've got a huge miltary presence over there and I don't believe that your firm doesnt benefit from federal tax dollars.

My game theory post wasn't directed at you(as you should have noticed the quote I pasted). That was for our amateur Randian philosopher Bala.

David said...

Dan,

That's ok, I don't mind jumping in. You seem like a person who is clearly more intelligent than the rest of us and willing to proselytize.

Go ahead and explain how Nash equilibrium and Prisoner's Dilemna apply to the division of labor working with scarce resources and an infinite array of choices and ideas.

I will await your wisdom.

Anonymous said...

@David: I'd just like to point out that atheism isn't necessarily counter to Kantian ethics, nor does it necessitate a utilitarian ethical system. I know plenty of atheists who adhere to an ethical/moral system of inherent natural rights. The only difference is that said natural rights arise from consciousness rather than being given by god.

Sorry, but I've had enough people being judgmental about my views on the existence/nonexistence of god without giving any credence to my value as a person.

Anonymous said...

@David: Also, don't feed the troll. The prisoner's dilemma is a very limited example with a rather limited application. Nash equilibrium may make the individual producers worse off, but their customers are better off with the lower prices.

It would seem that Dan is more or less regurgitating what others have told him. The fact that he simply said to 'look up game theory and nash equilibrium' means that he has no understanding of those concepts himself. He's probably heard someone make a similar criticism, failed to understand it, and hoped that all it would take is to point us in the direction of the topic related to said criticism in the hope that this would somehow be as good as actually positing the claim. He also probably thinks we haven't heard of these ideas.

That, and his persistent use of various logical fallacies, including the ad hominem, indicates that he's either a delusional moron, or a troll. Either way, little is to be gained by entertaining him.

Dan said...

blah blah blah...

Given my example, why don't YOU try to answer why an individual who benefits from a society's norms and institutions should not be obliged to pay taxes. You forget that this conversation started which the assertion that taxation is nothing more than confiscation and coercion of your hard earned money...boo hoo.

That has been my argument from the beginning, no matter which logical bunny trail you try to run down. So answer my question...I'm just calling you what you are...a free rider.

David said...

Dan,

I'm here to learn. You said that Nash equilibrium and prisoner dilemna are superior in solving these problems.

I don't know why you won't answer the question I posed. I will put it out there again:

How does Nash equilibrium and Prisoner's Dilemna apply to the division of labor working with scarce resources and an infinite array of choices and ideas?

I want to learn. Teach me.

David said...

@Anonymous,

I thank you for your comment. I do know some atheists/evolutionists that are strongly grounded in libertarian philosphy. I have had lengthy discussions with them and enjoy it. I don't particularly enjoy the company of Atheists who claim to have answers to the most difficult philosophical questions. At that point, they sound creepily like theologians and it becomes just another religion.

I'm not interesting in feeding trolls. I like feeding on them :)

Lord Keynes has walked himself into a trap. If, as he states, moral intuition is a product of evolution, he must now explain why rule utilitarianism is needed. Judging by his first attempt to explain this, he's in for big trouble. I'm sure you can see why.

As for Dan the Man, the best way to deal with a blowhard is to ask them to explain their beliefs. If they could explain them, they wouldn't be blowhards.

Dan said...

I have no problem explaining my beliefs. My question was never answered in the first place. I'm definately not interested in going down another 30 comment trail so you can clarify your fringe ideologies on a topic I never broached...

Recipe for more Austrian hot air...

David said...

Dan,

But you did broach the topic:

Let me add for all you nutball individualists that you should learn some basic game theory. Mainly, Prisoner's dilemma and Nash Equilibrium.

The fact that individuals wish to maximize their utility is not rocket science...even tho Bala seems to think it is.

However, in many cases a society can maximize its overall payoff by coordinating a solution among disparate players....basic Nash equilibrium.

On the other hand, prisoners dilemma shows the pitfalls of each individual working in his/her own interest regardless of what is the better outcome for all.


So for the third time, I offer my question:

How does Nash equilibrium and Prisoner's Dilemna apply to the division of labor working with scarce resources and an infinite array of choices and ideas?

Robert Tulley said...

"why don't YOU try to answer why an individual who benefits from a society's norms and institutions should not be obliged to pay taxes"

The answer is very simple. You believe I am obliged to pay taxes, therefore you must also believe I have a source of income. That source of income is work. So since I work, I have already made a contribution to the well-being of the society. Can you guess what the contribution is? Yes, that's right, my work. I am not obliged to make any further contribution.

Mike Cheel said...

@Dan "So, if you, individualist as you are, personally benefit from this arrangement, why shouldn't you be taxed? No one is "coercing" you to be another fat, lazy American living in suburbia. Sounds like you wanna be a free rider. Remember, no free lunches my friend."

Explain what is wrong with pay as you go versus forced contribution. You claim to know about Americans but you don't seem to have any inkling at all of just how bad the US Government is and has been taking its citizens for a ride. Do you really not see the incredible squandering of its ill gotten gains? Do you really not see that it is the friends of the government who end up on top? Is this the reason you support them and their wealth confiscation programs so much? Please tell me.

Mike Cheel said...

And one other thing, it isn't just the suburbanites that are fat and lazy. I have met people from all economic levels who do what they can to take as much from the system as possible, rich and poor. I have met people who instead of looking for a job spend their unemployment check at the local bar. And they freely admit it.

Dan said...

"Yes, that's right, my work. I am not obliged to make any further contribution."
Typical sellout/free-rider rhetoric. Why don't you move to Waziristan and see how much income your work gets you there.

Shouldn't private agreements and pay as you go between their citizens have forged a workable society by now?

Utilizing economies of scale that a democratic government can organize to build infrastructure means nothing when you can round up a few of the locals to build a goat pen right?

That's your paradise man!

David said...

ROFL. That was awesome. Nice work, Dan. You gave me a really good chuckle. I'm going to go work on my goat pen now. I just want you to know that you have brightened my day.

Anonymous said...

@David: Thank you. I apologize if I come off as a little bit... Annoying? Is that the word I'm looking for?

Let me put it this way: I'm an atheist libertarian who has a habit of debating on youtube, so I might be a bit hyper-sensitive to this sort of thing. It's also why I find trolls such as Dan to be a bit old hat. =P

Anonymous said...

@Dan: Tell you what. Why don't you start by explaining what game theory and the nash equilibrium are? Use your own words, please. No copy/paste. I'll be using turnitin.com and duplichecker.com to check your work.

This ought to be good.

Anonymous said...

I would also like to declare that I could have made a very lame Austin Powers joke if I'd commented around the time that Bala and LK were mentioning Randian philosophy.

'Do I make you Randian, baby?'

A part of me is tempted to try this pickup line out in the philosophy section of the local Barnes and Noble, or maybe pay some poor sod $20 to do so for me. The results would be interesting. =P

Bala said...

@Dan,

"So, if you, individualist as you are, personally benefit from this arrangement, why shouldn't you be taxed? No one is "coercing" you to be another fat, lazy American living in suburbia."

Firstly David was absolutely right speaking for me. I live in India (which explains why it has taken me this long to reply. Sleep time, you see).

Secondly, let's say for the moment I accept (not that I do, but just for the sake of argument)the legitimacy of taxing me because I benefit from the arrangement called society. Let society come and collect it from me. Representatives are fine, but let them be representatives of society.

p.s. No metaphors please.

Bala said...

LK,

Here's the drivel that you call rule consequentialism torn apart in a few words based on the words of the "great" Brad Hooker himself. Here's what he has to say

"Suppose that accepting rules is a matter of having certain desires and dispositions. Now consider the theory that an act is morally right if and only if it is called for by the set of desires and dispositions the having of which by everyone would result in at least as good consequences judged impartially as any other. For lack of a better name, we might call this theory disposition/rule-consequentialism, or just rule-consequentialism for short."

How can you ever judge "good" impartially? The judgement of the "goodness" of an act is inherently subjective and ordinal. How on earth do you rule-consequentialists go about measuring, adding and comparing "good"? Your ideas are downright hilarious.

Thanks for the laughs and for quickly and completely discrediting yourself.

p.s. Please do not try to pick other lines to divert attention. These are the words of Brad Hooker himself.

Robert Tulley said...

"Typical sell out/ free rider rhetoric" I paid $37000 in taxes in 2010. Some free ride.

Bala said...

LK,

Here's the great Brad Hooker "addressing" my objection.

"One of the most popular objections to utilitarianism is that interpersonal comparisons of utility are impossible. I assume any plausible version of rule-consequentialism will have a utilitarian component, and will therefore need an answer to the objection about interpersonal comparisons. But for the purposes of this paper I shall simply assume that some acceptable way of making interpersonal comparisons is possible"

Ha Ha Ha!!! He just "assumes" that it is possible??????? This is far worse than hilarious. It's what you call ludicrous. And THIS drivel is the ethical theory that you find the most sensible???? Oh man! That guy even tells you why his theory is garbage and you still find it good?

You really made my day and gave me a tummy-ache like I have never got just laughing my you-know-what off.

ROFLMFAO

Bala said...

LK,

Here's the source, in case you think I am misquoting Brad Hooker.

http://tinyurl.com/6ab4l3d

LK said...

You are quoting from Brad Hooker, "Rule-Consequentialism," Mind 99.393 (1990): 67-77, an article I am perfectly familar with.

"One of the most popular objections to utilitarianism is that interpersonal comparisons of utility are impossible. I assume any plausible version of rule-consequentialism will have a utilitarian component, .... "

You don't quote p. 68, note 6:

"As consequentialists have long pointed out, it had better be, if we are to be able to conform even with a common-sense duty of beneficence, such as W. D. Ross's (on which see Ross, The Right and the Good, Oxford, Clarendon Press, I930, ch. 2). For a recent defence of interpersonal comparisons of utility, see J. Griffin, Well-being: Its Meaning, Measurement and Moral Importance, Oxford, Clarendon Press, I986, Part Two."

Therefore he does not just "assume" it is possible, as he provides a reference to J. Griffin, Well-being: Its Meaning, Measurement and Moral Importance, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1986, which offers a defense of exactly how it is possible.

Your "Ah Ha!" moment fals flat on its face.

Agian, the result of selective quotation, and failing to read properly.

David said...

Well I feel 42.63% for knowing that interpersonal utility comparisons are possible.

David said...

Well I feel 42.63% for knowing that interpersonal utility comparisons are possible.

Well I feel 42.63% better for knowing that interpersonal utility comparisons are possible.

And now I feel 22.138% worse. Of coruse, you might have measured me at 36.91. It depends on your snapshot in time.

Bala said...

"Your "Ah Ha!" moment fals flat on its face."

Whatever told you THAT was my "Ah Ha!" moment? You got it completely wrong. The real "Ah Ha!" moment was this

"Now consider the theory that an act is morally right if and only if it is called for by the set of desires and dispositions the having of which by everyone would result in at least as good consequences judged impartially as any other."

IMO, no paper you cite can provide justification for making utility comparison across people given that utility is subjective and ordinal. Stop hiding behind the Griffin paper and present its (non-)argument yourself. I have already done you a favour by searching and reading up on that nonsense called rule-consequentialism. I have no more time for additional nonsense. Once you present it, I am sure it wouldn;t take me more than a minute to tear it apart as well just as I tore apart the Brad Hooker thesis on rule-(in)consequentialism.

David,

Thanks for the laughs. This guy is (deliberately acting) too obtuse to understand that simple but important point you are making.

David said...

Bala,

That was by far the nerdiest joke I've ever told in my life. It's a sigh of relief that someone appreciated it.

And I'm very happy that person was you. I've long been a fan.

Mike Cheel said...

I think Dan's problem is he is mistaking the US for a free country.

Unfortunately almost everything needs government sanction in order to do it.

Bala said...

David,

Thanks for the nice words. As you rightly said, a few words of appreciation go a long way towards restoring one's balance :)