Author Topic: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?  (Read 896 times)

Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« on: March 15, 2021, 09:31:19 PM »
Is democracy better than despotism?

How can we say unless one thing is right and the other is wrong? Don't all our political ideas contain a grain of moral thinking? Maybe not!

What do you think?

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2021, 11:19:07 PM »
It is important in a discussion like this to define terms.  We (US) do not live, nor ever lived in a democracy.  We live in a sort of Republic with elected representatives making the decisions for us.  Here is one good way to put it:

"Key Takeaways: Republic vs. Democracy
Republics and democracies both provide a political system in which citizens are represented by elected officials who are sworn to protect their interests.
In a pure democracy, laws are made directly by the voting majority leaving the rights of the minority largely unprotected.
In a republic, laws are made by representatives chosen by the people and must comply with a constitution that specifically protects the rights of the minority from the will of the majority.
The United States, while basically a republic, is best described as a “representative democracy.” 
In a republic, an official set of fundamental laws, like the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, prohibits the government from limiting or taking away certain “inalienable” rights of the people, even if that government was freely chosen by a majority of the people. In a pure democracy, the voting majority has almost limitless power over the minority.


The United States, like most modern nations, is neither a pure republic nor a pure democracy. Instead, it is a hybrid democratic republic.

The main difference between a democracy and a republic is the extent to which the people control the process of making laws under each form of government."

In my view, a govt formed from a well written constitution, is the way to go.  (I know, what is a 'well written constitution'?)

Despotism.  What is that. Here is one definition:

"The English dictionary defines despotism as "the rule of a despot; the exercise of absolute authority." The root despot comes from the Greek word despotes, which means "master" or "one with power." The term has been used to describe many rulers and governments throughout history."  Is that good or bad?  Can't tell without the details.  Some despots (usually called a benevolent ruler) are good for the people.  Most haven't been.  And some were mixed; some elements of rule bad others good. 

Rather than hoping for a benevolent ruler, I'd prefer a constitutional republic--as long as all are forced to follow the established rules and laws.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Online Shiranu

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2021, 11:32:50 PM »
Quote
Is democracy better than despotism?

We would first need a definition of "better" before we could answer that question. What exactly do you mean by better, or perhaps more accurately by what criteria are we defining better and worse to be?
“The great appear great to us only because we are on our knees. LET US ARISE!” - "The Rebel", Texas' Premier Socialist Newspaper, 1892

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2021, 11:40:28 PM »
Is democracy better than despotism?

A wise, beneficent ruler might result in better consequences for all involved than democracy but the problem is the path to power selects for narcissism and sociopathy. I can imagine a future AI making decisions that resulted in more equitable outcomes than the results of a popular vote. I, for one, welcome our AI overlords.

Online drunkenshoe

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2021, 04:34:36 AM »
Yes, we can.


Is democracy better than despotism?

Yes.

Quote
How can we say unless one thing is right and the other is wrong? Don't all our political ideas contain a grain of moral thinking? Maybe not!

What do you think?

Basic human rights - the Law - Social contract. You don't harm, abuse, kill people knowingly, you don't violate their rights, you obey the law. If you break any rules of that triangle, you face different levels of sanctions, social or lawful. 

The point of democracy is a constant push for providing standards for as many people as possible, without any exceptions. However, standards are not only just provided by the state, its organs and its institutions, but also members of a given society.

Other than that, people can have any kind of ideas about 'rights or wrongs'. As long as that system is established and sustained, the individual ideas of 'right and wrong', 'morality' and 'ethics' in any context are only the subject of philosophical discourse. If they want to discuss about right or wrong, they can take a philosophy course, join a group.

Which brings up the question of what are those standards. While it looks like an awfully messy and complicated subject, it is really not. The most important base is the rules and laws, opportunities must work equally for everybody. That's pretty much it. Basic standards.

If people with capital and wealth, with different physical traits, genders, sexual orientation, ethnic background are treated completely different ways than some other in that triangle -which is what has been happening everywhere around the world- then there will be corruption  and conflict, most importantly crime in every scale. I'm not talking about some fairy tale understanding of 'justice'. Justice is again, a standard.

Democracy is NOT freedom; 'I can do, get whatever I want'. Democracy is NOT 'so many fancy civil rights and rights to do whatever you want'. That's monarchy-oligarchy...fascism in the end. Because only a group of people can do or have whatever they want in a society. That's the basic math. Doesn't matter how many people live in what size of a place. Doesn't matter, if there are two people living in somewhere. A man called Daniel Defoe have illustrated that brilliantly, 300 years ago.

Democracy is about self awareness of putting a limit to everything, it is about knowing that 'freedom' is either for all, or for none when it comes to the autonomy and continuity of that system. It's a system for adults. Not for billions of snot crying, tantrum throwing brats like us... "But I waant all thaaat, I haaate all the otheeers".
« Last Edit: March 16, 2021, 04:42:09 AM by drunkenshoe »
"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari

Offline aitm

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2021, 08:58:34 AM »
With the right leader despotism could be much better. Finding the right leader? Not much of a chance.
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Offline SGOS

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2021, 09:17:04 AM »
There is no end to the shit humans believe.

Online drunkenshoe

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2021, 09:47:38 AM »
With the right leader despotism could be much better. Finding the right leader? Not much of a chance.

Let's say you found one. He/she is going to be someone, something completely different when holds power. The right leader doesn't exist. It's like children dreaming of the perfect parents in a way. There are no perfect parents. Child needs to grow up and take care of himself.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2021, 09:49:17 AM by drunkenshoe »
"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2021, 04:29:55 PM »
We would first need a definition of "better" before we could answer that question. What exactly do you mean by better, or perhaps more accurately by what criteria are we defining better and worse to be?

Right. So "better" could mean (for purposes of this conversation) what kind of society you think is just or preferable without regards to mere efficiency.

To avoid circular reasoning by injecting the word just (or justice) into the premises, let me ask you: Do you think having a society where civil liberties are respected is better than a society who (on an efficiency level) is equal to it, but has no civil liberties? Can "civil liberties in our your society" be anything other than an ethical concern? What about not wanting racism in society? (Or a society based on racism?) Is this not wholly a moral concern?

I have my own views on this, but I didn't ask the question in order to push my own position. I think it's a matter worth discussing. I did need to clarify what "good" meant... and the definition I'm giving is "ideal for you (the answerer of the question) in any way except efficiency."

Another way to go about answering the question is to ask yourself what political views you hold, and then remove all moral and ethical propositions from them. Is whatever you are left over with is sufficient for a worthwhile or sufficient political schema? (Meaning "sufficient to you" or maybe "sufficient for a rational person"... not "potentially sufficient for anybody.")

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2021, 12:02:15 AM »
I think "Right" and "Wrong" are only human conceptions and don't exist by themselves.

Online drunkenshoe

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2021, 06:10:22 AM »
Right. So "better" could mean (for purposes of this conversation) what kind of society you think is just or preferable without regards to mere efficiency.

What do you mean by efficiency? Certainly, you can provide some sort of 'efficieny' by slavery or oppression of certain groups and classes. Honestly, it feels like you have some sort of slavery in mind as you are arguing about some hypothetical system without "civil liberties". If you remove people's basic, legal rights and use them to provide efficiency in a society, that system is called slavery. In practical terms, building that system would require mass violance of every kind commited by some authority in a given land which is the definitiion of genocide. It's really not an 'efficient' system interestingly enough.

But then you can't remove all kinds of 'ethics' and 'universal morality', and point which people are to lose or not to lose the 'civil liberties' for 'efficiency', can you? Unless you want to toss a coin? Or you just simply assume that the current traditional system of white supremacy is the basic ground to go which is based on 'religious ethics' to begin with: that non-white groups are 'inferior'; they are bad for 'efficiency' and so that they are created to serve the 'superior' white men. So it is based on some morality. Good old, religious morality. They have come up with a 'secular' version of it some time ago. But the original source is religous ethics.

Yeah...When you just think, you removed what you think should be removed because it is some sort of an invented nonsense from your point of view, you end up where you started. Doesn't look sufficient for a rational person.

Quote
To avoid circular reasoning by injecting the word just (or justice) into the premises, let me ask you: Do you think having a society where civil liberties are respected is better than a society who (on an efficiency level) is equal to it, but has no civil liberties?

What's that circular reasoning? Justice is just a standard. It's not some sort of an alien, supernatural substance floating around you need to jump and down in air to get it or lose it. It's not a word in some new age term called 'Soical Justice Warrior'. It's the sum of all lawful, social; organic relationships in a society.

The religious understanding of 'justice' is based on righteousness, some set of religious norms...etc. Like fascism.

The secular understanding of justice is about creating equal standards and opportunities for as many people as possible in a society, not because humanism, social justice...whatever the fuck kids are bitching about today, but because you need those standards for a society to function as a whole. Religous norms do not work. They have never worked.

Quote
Can "civil liberties in our your society" be anything other than an ethical concern? What about not wanting racism in society? (Or a society based on racism?) Is this not wholly a moral concern?

Yes, it means a lot more than that. No, the second is not a moral concern, but a main concern in building of a functional society in average. Maybe for the individual, it is a moral concern.  And the last question sounds more like an information about you than a question. It tells that you are highly likely a white, heterosexual male. It's interesting isn't it. Aagain, doesn't matter how much you try to 'reduce' or carry it to some so called higher concept in your mind, politically correct it to discuss... you end up where you started.

Quote
I have my own views on this, but I didn't ask the question in order to push my own position. I think it's a matter worth discussing. I did need to clarify what "good" meant... and the definition I'm giving is "ideal for you (the answerer of the question) in any way except efficiency."


Well, you are far more transparent than you think. What's the next stop? Rationality of 'Biological determination'? Since we are so politically correct, lol.

Quote
Another way to go about answering the question is to ask yourself what political views you hold, and then remove all moral and ethical propositions from them. Is whatever you are left over with is sufficient for a worthwhile or sufficient political schema? (Meaning "sufficient to you" or maybe "sufficient for a rational person"... not "potentially sufficient for anybody.")

But you can't remove it, can you? Because you wouldn't see/imagine yourself or your own identity group without "civil liberties". Noone would. For discussion purposes or not?

If you think democracy is some sort of generosity bestowed to some groups by another as some fancy morality that looks shiq on some countries, you'll witness an interesting future. 

« Last Edit: March 18, 2021, 06:20:46 AM by drunkenshoe »
"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2021, 07:14:48 PM »
What do you mean by efficiency? Certainly, you can provide some sort of 'efficieny' by slavery or oppression of certain groups and classes. Honestly, it feels like you have some sort of slavery in mind as you are arguing about some hypothetical system without "civil liberties". If you remove people's basic, legal rights and use them to provide efficiency in a society, that system is called slavery. In practical terms, building that system would require mass violance of every kind commited by some authority in a given land which is the definitiion of genocide. It's really not an 'efficient' system interestingly enough.

I excluded efficiency because I was asked to clarify what I meant by "good." It was a fair question. But if I said, "whatever leads to justice" or something like that-- which is kinda what I wanted to say-- it would lead to circular reasoning. Because justice has to do with morality.

You seem to think I have some kind of political agenda. I don't. I am asking a question about objective morality and its relation to justice to spark debate. If I had given my views at the outset, I'd have risked the debate becoming "do you agree or disagree with MY view." I didn't want that. I wanted an open discussion wherein everybody expresses their opinions and we discuss the ideas that come up.

Let's focus on slavery for a minute. Is slavery wrong? I think most of us agree that it is. Is it just a matter of opinion then? Some of us, like myself, want to say that slavery is wrong... and that's not just my opinion... you can use REASONING to get there. (Not some airy fairy "out there" moral realism... but a view based on logic and reason alone.)

You call justice "the sum of all lawful, social; organic relationships in a society." That's looking at things using the sociological paradigm. Even many people who use such a paradigm to conduct research in the field don't imagine that their paradigm settles the issue of what justice is once and for all.

So back to slavery. Was slavery okay for the Romans to practice? It worked FINE for the Romans. It made their empire rich. The sum total of social and lawful relationships in society hadn't allowed abolitionism to take hold of the Roman consciousness. That's a fact.

But it doesn't make it right that people were beaten at whim and made to work in fields all day. It doesn't make it right that women were sold into a lifetime of sexual servitude. I think we can all agree that's wrong. But then we must ask... wrong by what metric? Personal opinion? The metric of reducing violence? (Then what makes VIOLENCE wrong? And why do we want to reduce it?) Societal custom? Then, when customs change then right actions change? It is difficult for us to accept that slavery may become "right" again some day.

 

What's your opinion on the moral status of slavery? I think slavery is morally wrong (in an objective sense). It was wrong in ancient Rome, it was wrong in the colonial period, and it's wrong today. I assume you also don't like slavery, but I want to hear YOUR reasoning as to what's wrong with it. If you want to reiterate that slavery is violence, then tell me what's wrong with violence.

Look man. I don't need to make you share my beliefs on the matter. I wanna have a discussion. Lets engage in one. If you disagree with me-- FINE. I want to discuss WHY you disagree. Not "force" you to agree with me. I know my position has weaknesses. I'm fine with that. Like I said before, I didn't set out to make this about my position... rather an open discussion/debate about the issue. You down for that?

I think "Right" and "Wrong" are only human conceptions and don't exist by themselves.

Plenty of things are human conceptions and have no existence by themselves, but are nonetheless real in some sense. Look at math. I argue that morality is real in the sense that math is real. If we were to blink every living thing out of existence, moral concern would disappear. But so would math.

What I'm arguing is, like math, morality isn't a matter of opinion. You can get it wrong. Not that it has some kind of supernatural existence or anything.

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2021, 07:58:58 PM »
[quote author=Vulcan link=topic=14234.msg1298606#msg1298606 date=1616109288

What I'm arguing is, like math, morality isn't a matter of opinion. You can get it wrong. Not that it has some kind of supernatural existence or anything.
[/quote]
Interesting discussion.  I must disagree--morality and ethics are a matter of opinion within whatever society one is discussing.  There is no objective morality.  The correct or moral way to act within any society is determined by what is accepted by most.  There is no 'higher authority' to help us determine what morality is.  That is why I think the best govt. is a constitutional republic.  The problem with that is that while the laws and rules of conduct are spelled out, they must be enforced and enforced equally on all members of a society. 
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2021, 10:50:58 PM »
The following is what I posted in another thread:

I don't subscribe to moral relativism-- one can see in shades of gray without denying black and white exist. Morals were not handed down by a higher being, they evolved up biologically and socially. Because we are mammals and social creatures, because we have speech and can communicate complex ideas, ways of interacting have evolved that are beneficial to our survival. The more complicated the behaviors and personal interactions the more they become open to interpretation, yet morals are not completely open to an individual's whims because we share the same physiology and because individuals don't exist in isolation, we both compete and cooperate. Humans have their own morality, octopuses have their own morality, ants have their own morality. Betraying one's family or close group is considered immoral because we are humans. Octopuses, who don't share our physiology and don't live social groups, have no such moral compunction. For us, when an action is truly immoral it isn't anti-God, it isn't immoral on a cosmic scale, it is at its core anti-human.

There are three acts of faith that I concede: 1) Life is worth living, 2) humanity is worth preserving, and 3) suffering matters.

From This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom by Martin Hägglund:

The most fundamental form of secular faith is the faith that life is worth living, which is intrinsic to all forms of care. In caring about our own lives and the lives of others, we necessarily believe that life is worth living. This is a matter of faith because we cannot prove that life is worth living despite all the suffering it entails. That life is worth living cannot be demonstrated through a logical deduction or rational calculation. Rather, the faith that life is worth living sustains us even when our lives seem to be unbearable or intolerable. Moreover, it is because we believe that life is worth living that our lives can appear as unbearable or intolerable in the first place. If we did not believe that life is worth living, we could not experience our lives either as fulfilling or as unbearable, since we would be indifferent to the quality of our lives and unmoved by anything that happens. ...

Acts such as slavery, rape, and murder are wrong, they have always been and will always be wrong, because they are anti-human, meaning they are destructive to empathetic, social primates who care about our lives as individuals, the continued existence of humanity, our own suffering, and the suffering of others. Humans continue to evolve. We don't always know which actions will result in good outcomes and sometimes when we know something will result in bad outcomes we do it anyway, but I believe there is good (humanity thrives) and bad (decimation).
« Last Edit: March 19, 2021, 05:58:21 AM by GSOgymrat »

Online drunkenshoe

Re: Without Moral Objectivism, Can we form Political Beliefs?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2021, 10:51:30 AM »
Vulcan, it doesn't matter if you have a political agenda or not. What you offer is not an original idea or something interesting worth discussing. It's the oldest bullshit in the book. Call it 'efficiency', for the 'good' of the state, country...etc. We can find many other words for it. Roman Empire is a horrible example. The bit with women is touching, I guess you read my post in the limbaugh thread, lol. Yeah I'm a woman. But if you think men and boys weren't sold as sex slaves back then or not sold as sex slaves now, you don't only lack historical perspective, you lack general information about the world you live. Which fits your identity by the way.  (Just that kind of design in your post is nine yards of red flags to me.)

Anyway, you avoided my main point. I told you my reasoning. You have avoided that too. Standards.

You have already made a moral decision at your part with what you offer. As I said before, unless you offered a coin toss or imagined yourself 'oh yeah, I'd do good without civil liberties and basic rights, cool!' which you didn't. And then your decision is based on 'nonwhite group's lives are disposable, their rights can be removed, because they are inferior to me and to my group'. Concious or unconscious... AND this is a moral decision. So your point is invalid. You can't remove it with what you offer. You build on another one.

If you are able to offer or entertain this idea, you are a white, heterosexual male. This is as simple as this. There is no other identity group that would offer or even think of a system like this that would be better in some way. It's not some interesting idea. You are just racist. Or you are not even aware that your point is racist. But that's the picture with what you offer when you remove the usual political correctness.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2021, 11:13:54 AM by drunkenshoe »
"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari