Formal or informal Constitution

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Re: Formal or informal Constitution

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:30 am

Objectivist wrote:I think the fact that everyone has been exposed to it in school, and so few people fully understand it and what is in it...tells us everything we need to know about compulsory schooling. Forcing people to memorize things, then measuring how well they can memorize things in a standardized test really does nothing for us in the long term.


There are a lot of things about compulsory schooling that doesn't tell us; I'll just chalk this up to your usual hyperbole. That said, I agree with the punchline. By extension, I also think attacking teachers' unions on the basis of standardised testing is foolish and counterproductive.

Objectivist wrote:Why Judaism but not other religions? I only used sharia law as one example...not as the only example.


Because time was that libertarians and anti-immigrant conservatives in Europe singled out Jews as their go-to example of how destructive and subversive 'those religions' are. History has borne out how destructive such prejudices are, but some libertarians and anti-immigrant conservatives have apparently not gotten the memo. Now, they are singling out Muslims as their go-to example of how destructive and subversive 'those religions' are.

Objectivist wrote:It's my personal opinion that all religions employ coercion and psychological conditioning techniques.


And, like most of your opinions, it is completely wrong.

Most Christians, most Jews, most Muslims and most Hindus do not use brainwashing techniques on their followers. They do not sequester children from normal social interactions. They do not demand absolute obedience to their religious leaders (not even the Catholics do this, and they think that the Pope is infallible when speaking ex cathedra). They all frown on the abuse of power by clerics from a basic doctrinal standpoint, and most have institutional safeguards against it.

Objectivist wrote:Walk into a large Catholic church and just stand there and watch the crowd and participants. They chant in low voice, in sync, word for word, then kneel down, they stand up, etc. The body and blood of Christ is consumed while candles are lit everywhere. The whole thing is ritualistic. If you've never been in a Catholic church like that before and were to walk in and witness it for the first time... you would probably walk out of that place realizing that some psychological conditioning has happened with the people in there, whether it's a good or bad thing...that's a matter of opinion.


Of course 'the whole thing is ritualistic'. Duh. Most social and political activities are, up to and including sessions of Congress and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Without rituals, human civilisation could not exist.

That doesn't mean psychological conditioning happened. Why? Well, that's because psychological conditioning means something very specific - the deliberate, forced deprivation of the essential needs of normal life to convince someone of something that they could not otherwise believe.

Objectivist wrote:If people are part of the religious group voluntarily and they reject modern medicine and die...let them. It's just Darwin taking out the trash. Natural selection at work. These people didn't make it. They own their own lives, and deaths.


That doesn't sound very individualistic. Children who are forced by their parents not to get vaccinated and die as a result - who owns that decision? The child, or someone else? If someone else, how do you justify it, other than through this sort of Malthusian-Spencerite pseudo-evolutionary bullshit?

Objectivist wrote:Who cares what a religious leader's opinion is on this matter?


The adherents of that religion, for starters. And the members of the societies where that religion is a major moral influence would do so, if they were smart.

Objectivist wrote:Why is the church an authority on our tax system?


They're an authority - the authority, since the Church is the reason 'charity' is even in the English vocabulary - on charity, which is the relevant point. Man up, grow a pair, and stop derailing the discussion.

Objectivist wrote:They do not even pay taxes


In the US. Which the Pope is not.

Again, stop derailing the discussion

Objectivist wrote:and they talk about how charitable taxes are. Hypocrisy.


No more hypocritical, and probably a good deal less so, than a self-proclaimed 'Objectivist' pontificating about what counts as charity and changing the definition to suit his own bigotries, when Ayn Rand was purportedly completely against it, and against all like forms of 'altruism'.
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Re: Formal or informal Constitution

Unread postby Objectivist » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:50 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:By extension, I also think attacking teachers' unions on the basis of standardised testing is foolish and counterproductive.


Perhaps we should move this back to the American educational system thread.

WeiWenDi wrote:History has borne out how destructive such prejudices are, but some libertarians and anti-immigrant conservatives have apparently not gotten the memo. Now, they are singling out Muslims as their go-to example of how destructive and subversive 'those religions' are.


I understand religion and I've spent many hours in churches of many kinds. One of the nastiest arguments I've ever seen in my life was between a Catholic and a Baptist. It's always funny to me when religions clash...especially the Christians. They way they think of each other and of other religions is much more aggressive than anything I have ever endorsed. I see the value that religion plays in society, because of how people are in general. People behave differently when they think someone is watching. Fear keeps human beings decent and honest. I'll let this guy say something that pretty much sums it up for me...

Image

Objectivist wrote:It's my personal opinion that all religions employ coercion and psychological conditioning techniques.


WeiWenDi wrote:And, like most of your opinions, it is completely wrong.

Most Christians, most Jews, most Muslims and most Hindus do not use brainwashing techniques on their followers. They do not sequester children from normal social interactions.


I would beg to differ. A lot of religious people do restrict how often their children can do things and go places. Look at the Amish, for example, or other forms of religious groups. There are religious groups all over America that isolate their children from society. It happens all over the world.

As for brainwashing... how does a child learn to believe in god and learn about Jesus, for example? It does not happen naturally. Someone has to tell the child about it. The key function of brainwashing is persuasion. It's impossible for someone to believe something without having been persuaded first. Stories and discussions shape opinions and beliefs. It's easy to change someone's opinion. It's hard to change their beliefs. Opinion always comes before belief though, in all aspects of life.

Would you say the people of Jonestown were brainwashed? What about the manson family?

WeiWenDi wrote:They do not demand absolute obedience to their religious leaders


Which religion does not demand obedience to god or a higher power?

WeiWenDi wrote:psychological conditioning means something very specific - the deliberate, forced deprivation of the essential needs of normal life to convince someone of something that they could not otherwise believe.


Here is the definition...
A process of behavior modification in which a subject is encouraged to behave in a desired manner through positive or negative reinforcement, so that the subject comes to associate the pleasure or displeasure of the reinforcement with the behavior


It's all about associating pleasure with heaven and displeasure with hell. Deprivation is not required for psychological conditioning...but I guess it would depend on what you are being depraved of.

WeiWenDi wrote:Children who are forced by their parents not to get vaccinated and die as a result - who owns that decision? The child, or someone else? If someone else, how do you justify it


The parents own the decision, rightfully. You can't justify the death of a child regardless of how it happens. There are children who die because of vaccinations as well. Do you blame the government that forced those vaccinations for what happened?

Objectivist wrote:(They do not pay taxes) Why is the church an authority on our tax system?


WeiWenDi wrote:They're an authority - the authority, since the Church is the reason 'charity' is even in the English vocabulary - on charity, which is the relevant point.


If I want to give a poor man some money to help him, the church has no bearing on that decision. I'm not doing it because of a church. People gave to each other long before Jesus Christ existed...long before man was able to read and write. The concept of giving to people can only be achieved if it is voluntary. If it is forced from the hands of one person to give to another, it is not charity, it is not giving...it is taking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charity_(practice)
The practice of charity means the voluntary giving of help to those in need who are not related to the giver


(Google dictionary)
The voluntary giving of help, typically money, to those in need


Charity cannot truly exist if the person gains from giving it. Much like the word sacrifice, charity gets blended far too often in conversations when the term does not truly apply.

WeiWenDi wrote:No more hypocritical, and probably a good deal less so, than a self-proclaimed 'Objectivist' pontificating about what counts as charity and changing the definition to suit his own bigotries, when Ayn Rand was purportedly completely against it, and against all like forms of 'altruism'.


Ayn explained this quite well and I agree with her. The act of altruism teaches people to be dependent, to not think for themselves, to not have self esteem. To not have to achieve. She was right.

Do I believe it's a terrible thing to help people? Of course not. I help people all of the time...voluntarily. I do not push for laws that will raise taxes on people I know and then make myself feel better about it all under the disguise of "Charity". Taxation is far from charity...and I have no time to listen to a church's position on taxation, considering the fact that they do not pay taxes.
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Re: Formal or informal Constitution

Unread postby Strategist » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:57 am

QUESTION FOR WEI WENDI: (yes, I admit I've been a bit lazy about responding to his stuff, but doing this in the meantime)

Do you consider there to be a rational case for what you are saying if it turns out no religion is true? Admittedly that's a big if, but if it applies it greatly weakens your argument as it means the entire state is based on a lie (and a lie that, if it is indeed a lie, is likely to fall apart in time).
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Re: Formal or informal Constitution

Unread postby agga » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:25 am

i get more out of reading you guys debate than from participating. just wanted to raise my hand with a comment, re:

WeiWenDi wrote:Certainly, Pope Benedict XVI thinks that the welfare state requires review and believes it ought to be more participatory, but he regards it as charity...

Objectivist wrote:Why is the church an authority on our tax system?


They're an authority - the authority, since the Church is the reason 'charity' is even in the English vocabulary - on charity, which is the relevant point.


the state which by many centuries preceded the 'Church' in rome also collected taxes, and redistributed some part of these in the form of the grain dole, public housing, etc. i doubt that many romans considered the state to be acting with benevolence in doing this - everything was always for the benefit of the city. it was with the transition to - surprise, surprise - the despotic christian emperors, the idea of the state as a benevolent master really started to take hold. no more republican pretense; virtue flows from the emperor! the 'Church' codified it, that's their contribution. they didn't invent or discover benevolence, they defined it post hoc. before the Church, things were much as they are now, but without as many extra layers of theological obfuscation.

i don't disagree with you, wwd, that it can be a good thing to have some authority collect taxes and redistribute these- i.e. that altruism is virtuous, and that to enforce it is prosocial - but i read these debates, and when you bring up all these religious arguments - with what i read implicitly as some form of "The State is the Hand of God" - you're just *driving* me into objectivist's corner. i want you to know that. :?
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Re: Formal or informal Constitution

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:07 pm

Objectivist wrote:They way they think of each other and of other religions is much more aggressive than anything I have ever endorsed.


To put it politely, that is a claim not evidenced by your behaviour on this forum. Ever.

Just sayin'.

Objectivist wrote:I'll let this guy say something that pretty much sums it up for me...


Penn Jillette? Really? He doesn't even believe in the trustworthiness of climatologists; why the hell should I trust a damn thing he has to say about priests?

When it comes to doubt, always be sceptical of the sceptics first; they are the last people who will tell you their agendas.

Objectivist wrote:I would beg to differ. A lot of religious people do restrict how often their children can do things and go places. Look at the Amish, for example, or other forms of religious groups.


Speaking as a former Mennonite, I'm flattered that you think so highly of the influence of the Radical Reformation in religious culture, but you will note that I referred to most Christians.

And even then, the Amish are not as restrictive upon their children as you claim. The choice to join or leave the Amish community is made at adulthood, after the Rumspringa, a period where Amish adolescents are encouraged to participate in regular society outside the Amish community. It's precisely to avoid brainwashing and sequestration that they have this custom.

Objectivist wrote:Would you say the people of Jonestown were brainwashed? What about the manson family?


Absolutely they were.

What they do is qualitatively different from what the overwhelming majority of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Confucians and Daoists do, however, and you know it. Bringing up these perverse and pernicious little sects which do deliberate psychological harm to their members only serves to reinforce my point that this is not normal behaviour amongst religious people, who invariably roundly condemn such practices.

Objectivist wrote:Which religion does not demand obedience to god or a higher power?


I note that you elided my qualifier 'absolute', which makes your rhetorical question utterly meaningless in the context of this debate.

Objectivist wrote:If I want to give a poor man some money to help him, the church has no bearing on that decision. I'm not doing it because of a church. People gave to each other long before Jesus Christ existed...long before man was able to read and write. The concept of giving to people can only be achieved if it is voluntary.


Sorry, but this is a genetic fallacy.

What we mean by 'charity' now continues to be informed by the meaning and context it has been given by the axial religions, primarily (in the English-speaking world) Christianity. And it has always been the teaching of the Christian Church, from the Early Church Fathers up through the Christian Platonists, German mystics, Aquinas, to the present day with the likes of Rerum Novarum and Caritas in Veritate, that the true measure of charity is not the mental state or the 'honour' of the giver, but in the effects it has on the virtue of the giver and the dignity of the recipient.

It is true that someone who does not give voluntarily is not being virtuous, and the argument could be made that taxation robs them of the ability to exercise that virtue. However, as Thomas Aquinas said, the most important consideration is that goods held in superabundance are treated as though they are common; the virtue of the person who has in superabundance is not the primary consideration, and the mental state and 'honour' of that person, (whether or not they are giving 'voluntarily', in other words) does not enter the equation at all.

TL;DR version: My right of dominion over what I have but do not use, does not override the right of another person to use what I have, with my consent or not, in order to survive.

This is the mindset of the virtue of charity, both historically and in current practice.

And the authority of Aquinas automatically overrides Wikipedia.

Objectivist wrote:Ayn explained this quite well and I agree with her. The act of altruism teaches people to be dependent, to not think for themselves, to not have self esteem. To not have to achieve. She was right.

Do I believe it's a terrible thing to help people? Of course not.


Your stated beliefs contradict each other.

1.) 'Altruism' and 'helping people' are informal synonyms for the same social phenomenon.
2.) A phenomenon cannot have opposing ethical value attached to it: in any given situation, either the phenomenon is 'good', or it is 'not good'; it cannot be both simultaneously. A can never be identical with not-A.
_________________________________________________________________
3.) Either altruism is a good thing, or it is not a good thing.
4.) Ayn Rand said altruism is not a good thing.
5.) [supposition]
She was right.

_________________________________________________________________
6.) Altruism is not a good thing. CONTRADICTS WITH:
Do I believe it's a terrible thing to help people? Of course not.


Objectivist wrote:Taxation is far from charity...and I have no time to listen to a church's position on taxation, considering the fact that they do not pay taxes.


Depending on how it is done, taxation can either be charitable, or it can be uncharitable. Taxation is merely a vehicle for distributing revenue through the state; Pope Benedict XVI gave an example of a model of taxation under which taxpayers have more control over what projects their tax dollars contribute to. Even by your warped definition, taxation can be a form of charity.

Strategist wrote:Do you consider there to be a rational case for what you are saying if it turns out no religion is true? Admittedly that's a big if, but if it applies it greatly weakens your argument as it means the entire state is based on a lie (and a lie that, if it is indeed a lie, is likely to fall apart in time).


There seems to be a logic problem with the question itself - once you begin asking what is 'true' or not, you are already engaging in religious thinking, which is ultimately the assignment of value to the universe in ways which make it comprehensible in a human social context. Religions all ultimately ask what is true about the human condition, and build systems of value based on their narrative conceptions of truth. This isn't to relativise or postmodernise religion, by the way, it's simply how humans behave - we all tell stories about 'why are we here?', and religions grow out of those stories. How valid a religion is depends on how compelling and true you find the story undergirding it.

Therefore, 'no religion is true' is as much a contradiction as 'this statement is false': it is impossible to assent to the entire set of assumptions implicit in the statement simultaneously. If you believe that 'no religion is true', you are assenting to a positive statement on the human condition which is the potential basis of a religion, which by its very founding tenet would have to regard itself as false.

agga wrote:the state which by many centuries preceded the 'Church' in rome also collected taxes, and redistributed some part of these in the form of the grain dole, public housing, etc. i doubt that many romans considered the state to be acting with benevolence in doing this - everything was always for the benefit of the city. it was with the transition to - surprise, surprise - the despotic christian emperors, the idea of the state as a benevolent master really started to take hold. no more republican pretense; virtue flows from the emperor! the 'Church' codified it, that's their contribution. they didn't invent or discover benevolence, they defined it post hoc. before the Church, things were much as they are now, but without as many extra layers of theological obfuscation.


It may surprise you (or not) that I have no problem with the overall slant of this reading, but there are a couple of clarifications to make.

1.) Even The Republic and the Nicomachean Ethics took as axiomatic the idea that the state exists to serve not only itself, but the 'common good'. There was a 'benevolent' aspect to the classical / pagan concept of the ideal polis.

2.) The Christianisation of the Roman Emperors had an effect, certainly, but it is not the one you're thinking of. The project of the City of God was not to provide an apologia for the exercise of imperial power, but to radicalise (and therefore subvert) the very virtues the saeculum (then conceived of not as a 'space', even an institutional 'space', but a finite space of time wherein princes and emperors were given the responsibility to enact justice) was laying claim to. 'Virtue' as conceived of by Augustine could now be exercised not only by 'citizens' (which is to say, Greek and Roman men of property), but by anyone, and the Christian (who was not to be distinguished by gender, nation or class) was thereby commanded to adopt a dual citizenship, both to the saeculum and to the eternal (but pilgrim) City of God.

3.) The Emperor still has a legitimate role under the Christian conception as the enforcer of justice, but that role is conditional, in keeping with the radical turn of Christian virtue. The Emperor is subservient to and answerable to the same God who extends citizenship to all of the Emperor's subjects, not just Greek and Roman men of property.

agga wrote:i don't disagree with you, wwd, that it can be a good thing to have some authority collect taxes and redistribute these- i.e. that altruism is virtuous, and that to enforce it is prosocial


Not exactly sure what 'prosocial' is supposed to mean in this case, but sure, thanks...

agga wrote:but i read these debates, and when you bring up all these religious arguments - with what i read implicitly as some form of "The State is the Hand of God" - you're just *driving* me into objectivist's corner. i want you to know that. :?


I've said it before and I'll say it again.

I am only responsible for what I write. I am not responsible for you misreading what I write.

(Likewise, you are responsible for what you write - not to get into the whole imbecilic 'Greens are Stalinists' argument again, but you have a tendency of late to be rather slippery about not meaning what you say and not saying what you mean, which I'll just say I find rather irritating, and leave it at that.)

My position is this. The state is and should be an organ and an institution for enforcing justice. Full stop. No 'G' word involved thus far.

Where the 'G' word does get involved is in my reading of the Enlightenment project, which has been to systematically draw cordons which forbid any public expression of religion or any dialogue in which religion plays a role in deciding what the political-philosophical content of justice is, and erect in its place a narrow, atomising doctrine of 'self-interest' which flattens society and deifies either 'the state', 'the market' or both, in place of the banished gods of the body politic.

So when I say the state should be subservient to a theistic conception of justice, it is precisely to prevent turning the state into a god, or turning the marketplace into a god. (Though I will say that dealing with the idolatrous Visible Hand of the State, which still to some degree understands its role in society, is often easier than dealing with the equally-idolatrous Invisible Hand of the Market, which certainly has gone much too far toward making a god out of itself, complete with devoted fundamentalist cultists like the Cato Institute, high priests like Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, and charismatic Führer like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.)
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Re: Formal or informal Constitution

Unread postby Objectivist » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:32 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:To put it politely, that is a claim not evidenced by your behaviour on this forum.


Ask a typical Christian parent how he or she would feel if their own daughter or son were to fall in love with a muslim. Such hateful reactions have nothing to do with god. I may be aggressive in the battlefield of ideas...but I do not believe in using physical force to get what I want. I can't say the same of religious fundamentalists.

WeiWenDi wrote:Penn Jillette?


I thought the picture said exactly what I wanted to say. Religious people are religious because they are afraid. They believe that without their religion, the world would be a horrible place where murderers and rapists would run wild. I agree with Penn's comments, that it's quite a self damning thing to say that without the fear of god, people would do such things. People already do such things, even people who believe in god. In some cases, they do it specifically because they believe in god.

WeiWenDi wrote:Speaking as a former Mennonite, I'm flattered that you think so highly of the influence of the Radical Reformation in religious culture, but you will note that I referred to most Christians.


Refer to my previous comment. Which Christian family do you know that openly supports their own children's ideas to date outside of their religion? Religions are more discriminatory than any other area or thought process in the world. After all, if you don't believe in MY religion, you're going to hell.

WeiWenDi wrote:What they do is qualitatively different from what the overwhelming majority of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Confucians and Daoists do, however, and you know it. Bringing up these perverse and pernicious little sects which do deliberate psychological harm to their members only serves to reinforce my point that this is not normal behaviour amongst religious people, who invariably roundly condemn such practices.


Right. Thousands of years of history filled with murder, wars and genocide in the name of religion, and mind control has nothing to do with it.

WeiWenDi wrote:It is true that someone who does not give voluntarily is not being virtuous, and the argument could be made that taxation robs them of the ability to exercise that virtue.


You see...you're confusing the concept of giving and taking. Taxation is taking. It's impossible to be generous with something that does not belong to you. If I steal from my neighbor to give to my friend, I'm not being generous.

WeiWenDi wrote:My right of dominion over what I have but do not use, does not override the right of another person to use what I have, with my consent or not, in order to survive.


If you do not own what belongs to you, then you have to right to property or privacy, which quickly translates into no freedom (or slavery).

WeiWenDi wrote:Your stated beliefs contradict each other.


There is a difference between believing charity is wrong and believing taxation as charity is wrong. I believe in charity when it is voluntary.

WeiWenDi wrote:Depending on how it is done, taxation can either be charitable, or it can be uncharitable. Taxation is merely a vehicle for distributing revenue through the state; Pope Benedict XVI gave an example of a model of taxation under which taxpayers have more control over what projects their tax dollars contribute to. Even by your warped definition, taxation can be a form of charity.


Again, it is impossible to be charitable with something that does not belong to you. I do not care what a so called proclaimed "holier man than myself" once said or wrote. The church is not an authority on taxation.
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Re: Formal or informal Constitution

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:09 am

Objectivist wrote:Ask a typical Christian parent how he or she would feel if their own daughter or son were to fall in love with a muslim. Such hateful reactions have nothing to do with god. I may be aggressive in the battlefield of ideas...but I do not believe in using physical force to get what I want. I can't say the same of religious fundamentalists.


My parents are Christians, and they had no objections to my dating non-Christians.

My wife was an atheist - a Communist Party member - when I married her. And her parents (incredibly nice people though they are) wouldn't allow her to marry a Muslim.

Looking at the rhetoric certain European and American atheists use against Muslims, they can be every bit as hateful as Christians can. And it is my general impression that the new atheists and Christian fundamentalists are in many respects the same - not least in how they define God.

Objectivist wrote:Religious people are religious because they are afraid.


That doesn't describe the vast majority of religious people, who neither rape nor murder nor steal not because they are made to be afraid of doing so by their religious leaders, but because they are good people who find encouragement in their faith. And I am speaking of Christians, Muslims and Jews within my acquaintance.

90% of Muslims worldwide condemn terrorism and suicide bombings. An overwhelming majority of Christians, and nearly all Christian authorities worldwide, condemned the war in Iraq. Most Jews worldwide might support Israel, but they condemn the persecution of the Palestinians. Saying these people think the way they think because of fear, is a gross canard, that isn't made any more true just because a two-bit stage magician who mouths off on public affairs happens to repeat it.

Objectivist wrote:Which Christian family do you know that openly supports their own children's ideas to date outside of their religion?


Mine.

Next question.

Objectivist wrote:Thousands of years of history filled with murder, wars and genocide in the name of religion, and mind control has nothing to do with it.


Yet another gross canard.

War is caused by human nature, and human desire to acquire land, money and power. According to historians Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod, only 7% of human history's wars have had a religious justification, accounting for only 2% of the total number of human deaths caused by war. The rest are conflicts caused by land or resources or trade.

If the fact that war has been waged over something is reason enough to discard it, there is a far, far greater argument against capitalism there than against religion.

Objectivist wrote:If I steal from my neighbor to give to my friend, I'm not being generous.


It depends on whether or not you or your neighbour have in superabundance. If you don't have in superabundance, generosity is not giving your neighbour that which you need to use to survive - generosity is taking from someone who does have in superabundance and giving it to the person in need.

If you do have in superabundance, taking from someone who does not and giving it to the needy is not generosity. In common parlance, that is called philanthropy, but it is not generous.

Objectivist wrote:If you do not own what belongs to you, then you have to right to property or privacy, which quickly translates into no freedom (or slavery).


Slippery slope fallacy.

That aside, it's a complete misreading of my argument. I never claimed that what I own doesn't belong to me. The difference between my view and yours, rightly stated, is that I believe that ownership, belonging and property rights (all essentially descriptions of the same thing) are based on their use. What you don't use to live might belong to you, but it should be treated as though it were held in common.

Objectivist wrote:There is a difference between believing charity is wrong and believing taxation as charity is wrong.


That may be, but that was not the argument you made.

You said Ayn Rand was right when she said that altruism is wrong. And then you went on to say that charity (a form of altruism) is permissible.

Either you are misreading Rand, or you are cognitively dissonant.

Objectivist wrote:Again, it is impossible to be charitable with something that does not belong to you.


Wait, are you actually saying that the money you give in taxes 'does not belong to you'? Hold on, let me get a screencap of this.

I know what you mean, of course. But the fact that you would make such an uncharacteristic argument merely reflects that you don't read other people's arguments either carefully or charitably, and eventually come off looking like a buffoon.

Objectivist wrote:I do not care what a so called proclaimed "holier man than myself" once said or wrote. The church is not an authority on taxation.


They are an authority on charity, possibly the authority. Which is the relevant point.
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Re: Formal or informal Constitution

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:36 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:
Objectivist wrote:Ask a typical Christian parent how he or she would feel if their own daughter or son were to fall in love with a muslim. Such hateful reactions have nothing to do with god. I may be aggressive in the battlefield of ideas...but I do not believe in using physical force to get what I want. I can't say the same of religious fundamentalists.


My parents are Christians, and they had no objections to my dating non-Christians.

My wife was an atheist - a Communist Party member - when I married her. And her parents (incredibly nice people though they are) wouldn't allow her to marry a Muslim.


Just in case you are gonna try and call this the exception to the rule my parents were perfectly supportive of me when I started dating a Jewish girl and then letter with an atheist girl and a Muslim girl. I've now come to the conclusion that I will only date within my faith but that isn't because my parents forced me to that point of view or chased of previous girlfriends. If at some point I have children then yes I would prefer it if they dated Christians but I’m not gonna stand in their way in any shape or form if they chose not to.
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Re: Formal or informal Constitution

Unread postby Objectivist » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:37 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:My parents are Christians, and they had no objections to my dating non-Christians.


I'm sure they were enthusiastic about the idea.

EDITED TO REMOVE THE RUDE COMMENT I MADE. Full apologies.

WeiWenDi wrote:My wife was an atheist - a Communist Party member - when I married her.


Didn't Paul tell us to not be mismated with apistos?

Come out from them
and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?se ... ersion=NIV

14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever

WeiWenDi wrote:That doesn't describe the vast majority of religious people, who neither rape nor murder nor steal not because they are made to be afraid of doing so by their religious leaders, but because they are good people who find encouragement in their faith.


We were truly raised in completely different worlds, perhaps. Well over the vast majority of people who I know which are religious, will openly tell you that if religion did not exist on this planet, more people will steal, kill and rape, that the potential wrath of god is what keeps human beings honest and good.

Of course, these are the same people who give god credit for every good thing that happens in their life, and they blame satan for every bad thing that happens. It's always someone's fault, other than their own, that anything happens in life.

Objectivist wrote:Which Christian family do you know that openly supports their own children's ideas to date outside of their religion?


WeiWenDi wrote:Mine.


Well..my family didn't and of all the religious families I have known in my life over the years, I've yet to meet a set of parents who would fully approve of their own child dating outside of their religion.

I challenge you to do an experiment. Walk into a church and pass out anonymous ballots to the people and ask them to answer how they would feel if they discovered their child was intending to marry someone of another faith. Keep the results and read them back to yourself for a dose of reality.

WeiWenDi wrote:War is caused by human nature, and human desire to acquire land, money and power.


You mean "greed", right? War is caused by Satan.

Some 900 million people have died in religious wars over documented time...
http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#RelCon

How can you believe in sin, but do not believe sins defined in your religion have anything to do with things that have happened in this world?

WeiWenDi wrote:It depends on whether or not you or your neighbour have in superabundance.


So who gets to be the judge of who has too much? I think people on welfare have too much time on their hands, therefore we should steal their time and give it to other people who do not have as much time. Make them work for a living.

Obviously I'm joking...but how come communists never want things to be equal when talking about potential lovers? If I ever meet a physically attractive communist, the first thing I do is find someone who is physically unappealing and try to hook them up. When they reject the idea, I start pushing the whole "Hey, we need more equality and fairness in the world" thing. It's funny how people who want equality only seem to care about money, in the end.

WeiWenDi wrote:The difference between my view and yours, rightly stated, is that I believe that ownership, belonging and property rights (all essentially descriptions of the same thing) are based on their use. What you don't use to live might belong to you, but it should be treated as though it were held in common.


What do you mean by don't use?

If I have a retirement savings plan, I do not use it for most of my life. If I die two days before retiring, why should that money be held in common? Why can't I give my property to who I wish when I die? What you're truly saying...is that people should not be allowed to own more than others.

Why do people deserve things that do not belong to them?

More importantly, why is money the ultimate form of equality?

WeiWenDi wrote:You said Ayn Rand was right when she said that altruism is wrong. And then you went on to say that charity (a form of altruism) is permissible.


I said it was not a terrible thing to help people, voluntarily. With reference to Ayn, I was referring to the act of creating dependence as wrong. There is a key difference between a voluntary act of charity, and consistently taxing people and redistributing wealth.

After all...if you give a bum five dollars today, he'll get drunk tonight. If you give him five bucks every day, he'll get drunk all year. One kind act may have well intentions behind it, but consistent dependency and enabling is evil in it's most purest form on earth.

WeiWenDi wrote:They are an authority on charity, possibly the authority. Which is the relevant point.


When they start paying taxes in America, I'll consider their opinions on how charitable taxation is.
Last edited by Objectivist on Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:00 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Formal or informal Constitution

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:39 pm

Objectivist wrote:I'm sure they were enthusiastic about the idea and I'm even more sure you're being completely honest like a good Christian would.


I disagree with WWD alot, but most of his comments over the past 5 or so years I've been here regarding his upbringing have been fairly consistent. I see no reason to doubt his experience. While I grew up in the bible belt and a majority of parents I know would both not actively encourage dating outside their faith but also actively discourage it, I also know that it happens alot. That families move on and grow.


We were truly raised in completely different worlds, perhaps. Well over the vast majority of people who I know which are religious, will openly tell you that if religion did not exist on this planet, more people will steal, kill and rape, that the potential wrath of god is what keeps human beings honest and good.


I hear similar rhetoric everyday in my life. In fact I have my entire upbringing. However, over time I've come to doubt the sincerity of such claims. Sure, theres plenty who seriously think that and worry about the absence of religion bringing about social harms. Yet I've come to believe (for what little thats worth) most of that is just a half-hearted belief. They may say that, but in the end they're more concerned, like the rest of us, in real-world laws than anything else.

Just my small personal experience.
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