Formal or informal Constitution

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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Strategist » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:54 am

I just wonder at what point the public would demand the impeachment for breaking the Constitution. Where is the line they draw?


The public are ignorant on the Constitution- due to their sheer lack of understanding they don't know how it is supposed to be interpreted. This is partially the fault of sucessive Presidents.

Depends on the two people involved. Why would I give total moral leeway to anyone?


By 'total moral leeway' I mean that you would consider there to be nothing wrong with breaking the law made by a dictator, as to you he isn't legitimate. It might be wrong for some other reason, but not that one.

Nope. Not unless the 40% agreed to give up it's sovereignty to one gigantic world organization in the first place and the new law isn't a policy that is going to violate the rights of the minority.


That doesn't make sense. You've admitted that there is no moral justification for nations. You've also claimed that a majority have the right to bind a minority. Therefore, a majority of the entire world have the right to bind a minority of the entire world.

How nice to be insulted by a man who has only known me, in any shape or form, for few months and where we have hardly had much philosophical debate.

Of course my principles and views will clash at times. An honest government minister will admit their duties sometimes clash. Such is life.


A proper philosopher justifies his principles one way or another, rather than having them exist simply because. Given how many principles you have, I doubt you can justify all of them.

Clashes may happen, but they are NOT good things, and as a matter of course should not be accepted in philosophical debate. A clash of ideas infers that you haven't worked out your theory properly- this is true of most people, but if the contradiction cannot be solved it is enough to refute the ideas in question.

Because I would rather not live in times were we massacred and expelled people who were not us? Because we have seen where that leads, we still see where that leads and it is not a good place. I also suspect it would be illegal under the Human Rights Act. If the majority elect a government whose policy is to expel Catholics, Jews, Muslims, those with glasses, those they deem foreign, anyone with more then five toes, they will change of ignore said rules. The majority will have forced their will so it is still possible to override protections against the mob.


So you are assuming, without justification, that massacres and expulsions are bad things? That's not proper philosophy by a long shot- if you're going to make a claim like that, particularly one to override one of your earlier claims, you have to justify it by philosophical argument.

As I have said before, if you have judges using a Constitution that forbids such things to strike down such measures, combined with a military and civil service enforcing it, even a 90% majority of the nation would not prevail. Theoretically it might prevail through subverting the judges or civil service, but if somehow the judges, civil service and military remain loyal there is no issue.

He would have the right to govern, he has the legitimacy required. The people chose but there would likely be a point where the question of the monarchy's legitimacy comes up again during the next 1,000 years.


My point is that if the people agree to a Constitution that restricts their legitimacy in any way, then unless you're treating them like children (which you seem not to do) then you must accept that they have accepted restrictions on their own sovereignty. This gives legitimacy to the Constitution, which is sovereign instead of the People.

We have a system of representative democracy, if people want to change it to one where each and every measure gets put to a referendum then they should camapign for it, enter the political process and so on.


That is a very difficult process. For practical purposes, most people can't campaign. Not only do they lack the intelligence (just about every President is an Ivy League graduate, we should remember, and Congressmen tend to have IQs of 120 or so at least), but even if they have it they lack the skills (most people don't know how to be politicans), and the resources to run (they have to support their families, after all).

You have argued that, if I understand correctly, a measure that is legally unconstitutional is acceptable if it has the support of the people. But if one can ignore the rules for that reason, why not ignore the rules and go to referendums as a more legitimate system? You can't have it both ways.

I can't speak about those countries. Over here, we do get the complaining. Oh the complaining. Not the bi-partisan bit.

Complaints by people who don't vote for change (a new voting system? Nah. Devolved powers? Only if your Scottish, London plus one or two cities or Welsh otherwise screw it and even then, in with apathy.) or look beyond the main three parties. Who somehow think Ken Clark and Liam Fox are the same (let alone Liam Fox and Dennis Skinners). If they want things to change, they can vote for it. There are plenty of political parties, they can seek to run themselves if enough friends and can afford to lose a bit of cash (there is an issue there, I agree) and if enough people who complained actually did something, things would change. When a chance for a constitutional or more democratic change comes along, use it rather then the usual apathy.


Let me put this plainly. Although you must be reasonably intelligent in order to even memorise Three Kingdoms properly, an ordinary person is too stupid to run for office and win.

Those few non-ordinary people come across a bind. The two political parties in most systems tend to broadly represent Left Wing and Right Wing trends, and thus compete over Centrist voters. Therefore, by becoming more Centrist they win votes (as their own supporters will vote for them anyway). This creates pressure forcing the other party to be more Centrist, leading to complaints everywhere that the two Parties (there are almost always two without proportional representation) are practically the same.

Yeah, I am uneasy about that. It can mean human rights gets protected, it can mean injustice gets protected.


Shouldn't you be calling the system illegitimate then?

Eh. I believe in democracy but not total democracy, I believe a government gains legitimacy by whether is is fairly elected and seeking election within the allowed time-frame. I certainly don't believe in giving freedom to the majority to destroy other humans.


Philosophically speaking, how can you justify the limitations on democracy? Say I were arguing for total democracy and actually believed in it. You would have to appeal to pragmatic considerations (unjust policies and so on). But then you would have to do something you haven't- make philosophical arguments for why these unjustices are so bad that the People should be restrained despite your own arguments for Democracy given earlier.

So the British government is illegitimate because it hasn't written down a constitution?


Britain, like the United States, once did have a formal Constitution of sorts. When William of Orange usurped the throne, Parliament made a deal with him by which he could govern- he then conceded of his own free will Parliament's right to raises taxes. I would advocate returning to the Royal-Parliamentarian balance of that time.

Is there any need for you to be insulting?

I still don't get where you going to get these men saints to insert in the darkest times? If the attitudes are right, then tyranny will not happen, I have said that before I believe. Attitude is more important to democratic survival then a piece of paper. The problem is, I don't think those attitudes would survive into apocalypse land.

Now if we were forming a new nation, I would agree writing a constitution seems a very good starting point. I would go a difference route to you and my hope would be that one day, the Constitution would just be a piece of history. That it won't be needed anymore, that the government I left behind would be able to run and adapt to events. Still, I'm impressed by how much you have thought things through.


As I have already said, it is true that it is difficult to get all three elements. But in my view only the civil service, the military, and the judges have to be worried about- the attitudes of everybody else don't matter in terms of making sure the government acts righteously. If you wish to criticise my means for getting them to work with my system, I would request you go into more detail.

As to why a formal constitution is needed, the alternative is that judges rule based on moral feelings. Complete cultural stasis is impossible by any means I know of- therefore the rules will change over time. This creates injustice (people don't know the rules they're meant to be following as they're being made up on the spot), and will gradually lead into a moral system so different from what we have today that we would find it repugnant. This is the problem with the sort of Constitution you advocate.

The alternative is a system where you maintain the idea that the moral duty of a judge is to interpret the Constitution as it stands no matter what their own feelings, and of the Civil Service and Military that they don't have to obey unconstitutional orders but do have to follow their Constitutional duties. The Army and the Civil Service already have ideas very similiar to this, and ones which have endured over time- the key, therefore, is to change the attitudes of judges. Once that problem has been solved once and for all, the Constitution can endure most challenges.

An apocalyptic scenario would be harder, so provisions must be made to ensure the Civil Service and Military are loyal as well. But you only need those three groups to remain loyal- the rest are unnecessary.

Depends if we mean sovereign like our current Queen, when she has extremely limited powers but is head of state, or who is actually in charge. If the second, the King you describe is mostly just a head of state, a puppet. Quite how he got himself into the situation and why the monarch doesn't abdicate or seek to get around it, I don't know.


Philosophial hypotheticals tend to be used to prove points more than for plausibility. In this case, King People is a metaphor for the situation of the ordinary people of the modern democratic world- however nominally they are sovereign for practical purposes they are in no way in control of modern so-called democracies.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:13 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:Those are some interesting concepts but I was asking (as my high school history is fading farther and farther away) is the Magna Carta and other documents where your government draws its authority to govern? Is it he Monarch, and if so where does its authority derive from? I just find it hard to conceive, not in a historical way, but in todays context that power to rule just manifests itself as a historical fact.


On paper, the Prime Minister's power derives from the monarch but on the understanding it is always the election winner and heaven help the monarchy if they choose otherwise. There is no doubt a bunch of legal stuff but as far as most people are concerned, it is the system that we have for some time, with the odd change, and there doesn't seem to be much clamour to change it. That is all there is to it

Strategist wrote:By 'total moral leeway' I mean that you would consider there to be nothing wrong with breaking the law made by a dictator, as to you he isn't legitimate. It might be wrong for some other reason, but not that one.


If it is a good fair law, why would I want people to break it?

Strategist wrote:That doesn't make sense. You've admitted that there is no moral justification for nations. You've also claimed that a majority have the right to bind a minority. Therefore, a majority of the entire world have the right to bind a minority of the entire world.


I think it makes sense.

1) Sure. However nations exist and it would take generations at least to change the mindset. So we deal with the world as it is: there are nation states, that isn't going to change in my life time.

2) I think I have said plenty of times about the need to protect the minority from the majority.

3) Seems like your trying to take the idea to the extreme.

Strategist wrote:A proper philosopher justifies his principles one way or another, rather than having them exist simply because. Given how many principles you have, I doubt you can justify all of them.


I'm not a philosopher, let alone a proper one. As whether I can justify them *shrugs*, I'm content with them and that I can at least make a case to those I feel it matters to.

Strategist wrote:Clashes may happen, but they are NOT good things, and as a matter of course should not be accepted in philosophical debate. A clash of ideas infers that you haven't worked out your theory properly- this is true of most people, but if the contradiction cannot be solved it is enough to refute the ideas in question.


We are in a philosophical debate? I don't recall agreeing to one?

Why aren't clashes a good thing? Going to the logical extreme or being ideological to the point where practicality doesn't come into, where nothing will temper you is a good thing? Life is full of clashes. Simply by doing something, you are likely to have a clash with something else. Which is more important, quality of the final product, doing it within time allowed or finical stability? Or does one try to balance all three?

I'm happy if our judges temper justice with compassion. I would be delighted if my team's football manager would be less idealogical and be more practical as we might actually win something or at least stop our decline.

So you are assuming, without justification, that massacres and expulsions are bad things? That's not proper philosophy by a long shot- if you're going to make a claim like that, particularly one to override one of your earlier claims, you have to justify it by philosophical argument.


I do wonder why you decided I am a proper philosopher or was going for a philosophical debate.

Simply put: Why would I want people to suffer? Why would I wish for cruelty to be inflicted on people? I would think it would be better to embrace new people. England has thrived through immigration and the help of foreigners, in my view, so why would I think it a good thing for England to reverse back to a place of intolerance?

As I have said before, if you have judges using a Constitution that forbids such things to strike down such measures, combined with a military and civil service enforcing it, even a 90% majority of the nation would not prevail. Theoretically it might prevail through subverting the judges or civil service, but if somehow the judges, civil service and military remain loyal there is no issue.


I think where we seem to disagree is I think no democratic system will survive el apolcypto. You system, a constitutional system, one without a constitutional. You think your system has a chance, or at the least the best chance.

My point is that if the people agree to a Constitution that restricts their legitimacy in any way, then unless you're treating them like children (which you seem not to do) then you must accept that they have accepted restrictions on their own sovereignty. This gives legitimacy to the Constitution, which is sovereign instead of the People.


Up to the point the people want their power back then yes, the Constitution would be legitimate.

That is a very difficult process. For practical purposes, most people can't campaign. Not only do they lack the intelligence (just about every President is an Ivy League graduate, we should remember, and Congressmen tend to have IQs of 120 or so at least), but even if they have it they lack the skills (most people don't know how to be politicans), and the resources to run (they have to support their families, after all).

You have argued that, if I understand correctly, a measure that is legally unconstitutional is acceptable if it has the support of the people. But if one can ignore the rules for that reason, why not ignore the rules and go to referendums as a more legitimate system? You can't have it both ways.


America's system is too expensive, I agree with that. To an extent, cost is a problem here as well but plenty of people seem able to camapign for Lewisham hospital or to try to block HS2. Voting for systems that would have opened up politics or changed the two party system would have cost petrol money and that's it. Add a computer+internet service for looking at alternative parties and petrol (if not postal voting or walking to poll station) and simply voting for change doesn't seem that expensive.

Sure, referendums would be a more legitimate system. Likely drain the finances as they are quite expensive to do and soon get political apathy when you get one so regularly so wouldn't particularly recommend it.

Let me put this plainly. Although you must be reasonably intelligent in order to even memorise Three Kingdoms properly, an ordinary person is too stupid to run for office and win.


If that is the case, maybe they should look for more intelligent people or stop whining about the system when they keep failing to vote or encourage political reform?

Those few non-ordinary people come across a bind. The two political parties in most systems tend to broadly represent Left Wing and Right Wing trends, and thus compete over Centrist voters. Therefore, by becoming more Centrist they win votes (as their own supporters will vote for them anyway). This creates pressure forcing the other party to be more Centrist, leading to complaints everywhere that the two Parties (there are almost always two without proportional representation) are practically the same.


and maybe if those complaining voted for, say, UKIP, Greens, the Loony Party or even give the Lib Dems the majority, it might send a signal at the very least. Or move it away from 2/3 party politics. Or vote for independent mayors. Or vote for political reform when the chance comes.

Britain, like the United States, once did have a formal Constitution of sorts. When William of Orange usurped the throne, Parliament made a deal with him by which he could govern- he then conceded of his own free will Parliament's right to raises taxes. I would advocate returning to the Royal-Parliamentarian balance of that time.


Out of curiosity, why go back to that agreement?

As I have already said, it is true that it is difficult to get all three elements. But in my view only the civil service, the military, and the judges have to be worried about- the attitudes of everybody else don't matter in terms of making sure the government acts righteously. If you wish to criticise my means for getting them to work with my system, I would request you go into more detail.


Making it a criminal offence for the judge to wander off the strict limits? Giving judges no freedom at all to act if parts of the constitution have fallen out of date, has become used for abuse or turn out to be a problem? Blocking parliament from adapting, from changing, as required by events and time. Allowing murder for disagreeing with a judge?

I would suggest looking at a way on the state governor appointing judge thing to try and limit the damage of political appointing of judges. I mean I can see what your attempting with that rule but I do worry about poltical bias when a politician picks a judge.

As to why a formal constitution is needed, the alternative is that judges rule based on moral feelings. Complete cultural stasis is impossible by any means I know of- therefore the rules will change over time. This creates injustice (people don't know the rules they're meant to be following as they're being made up on the spot), and will gradually lead into a moral system so different from what we have today that we would find it repugnant. This is the problem with the sort of Constitution you advocate.


There may be issues with the ECH but people seem to manage to know the rules they are supposed to follow day by day and companies tend to manage it. I don't see the ECH protecting human rights across Europe as injustice.

I don't have a problem with rules and morals changing. Ours has changed over time and it will change again over the next 100 years. It may prove that my views were wrong and highly damaging, so they moved away to a better philosophy. Or maybe closer to my own. Or they go a darker place that, as you say, I will hate. Or in a world I simply won't understand so can't comprehend their philosophies/morality/way of life. Best we should do is try to influence things by making our time, and teachings if you like, an example that will encourage future generations to build upon what we did or said.

Philosophial hypotheticals tend to be used to prove points more than for plausibility. In this case, King People is a metaphor for the situation of the ordinary people of the modern democratic world- however nominally they are sovereign for practical purposes they are in no way in control of modern so-called democracies.


Yeah, I had got the comparison. Only you didn't include "and the King sacrificed opportunities to improve his situation and could look for a third or fourth chancellor" so I didn't think it quite worked.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Strategist » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:04 am

If it is a good fair law, why would I want people to break it?


Because the government has no more right to make it than a vigilante has to point a gun to somebody's head and make them act a certain way?

You could argue based on a Just Lawist theory- that there are inherent rules about what is right and wrong and that anybody has the right to use force to make them happen. However, such a theory falls apart as you would be obliged to justify everything you claim is inherently right morally.

1) Sure. However nations exist and it would take generations at least to change the mindset. So we deal with the world as it is: there are nation states, that isn't going to change in my life time.


Just because something IS does not mean it has any moral legitimacy whatsoever.

2) I think I have said plenty of times about the need to protect the minority from the majority.


How can you justify that within a democratic morality?

3) Seems like your trying to take the idea to the extreme.


I'm trying to follow ideas to their logical conclusion, whatever that may be.

I'm not a philosopher, let alone a proper one. As whether I can justify them *shrugs*, I'm content with them and that I can at least make a case to those I feel it matters to.

We are in a philosophical debate? I don't recall agreeing to one?


An argument about morality or about who has the right to rule is inherently a philosophical one. Even if you aren't a philosopher, you should act like one for something like this.

Why aren't clashes a good thing? Going to the logical extreme or being ideological to the point where practicality doesn't come into, where nothing will temper you is a good thing? Life is full of clashes. Simply by doing something, you are likely to have a clash with something else. Which is more important, quality of the final product, doing it within time allowed or finical stability? Or does one try to balance all three?

I'm happy if our judges temper justice with compassion. I would be delighted if my team's football manager would be less idealogical and be more practical as we might actually win something or at least stop our decline.


Clashes are a bad thing because they prove a person's morality is internally inconsistent.

As for 'practicality', in practice it consists of a series of philosophical claims about what is important. These tend to include not challenging things if it doesn't look like you can suceed (e.g. don't challenge this genocide as we'll get killed trying), the survival of the group at all costs (e.g. if we don't slaughter these innocents our nation will be annexed. We have no choice), and not taking moral arguments to their logical conclusions (e.g. Revolutionary France, where despite rhethoric of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity that we all know the poor were disenfranchised as 'passive citizens').

Philosophy is not the same as running a buisness. Clahses can occur in running a buisness or other similiar things- they don't occur with one's moral arguments if one's philosophy is self-consistent.

I do wonder why you decided I am a proper philosopher or was going for a philosophical debate.

Simply put: Why would I want people to suffer? Why would I wish for cruelty to be inflicted on people? I would think it would be better to embrace new people. England has thrived through immigration and the help of foreigners, in my view, so why would I think it a good thing for England to reverse back to a place of intolerance?


See earlier.

You have already said that as a principle that the majority have the right to make laws binding on the minority. You can't just arbitarily restrict that because you don't like the results. If you think government can be restricted just because the result is unjust, that is not Democratism but Just Lawism and requires justifications for every single thing you consider just.

I think where we seem to disagree is I think no democratic system will survive el apolcypto. You system, a constitutional system, one without a constitutional. You think your system has a chance, or at the least the best chance.


Since you've gotten my ideas right, I'll take on trust that your ideas are as you say.

Up to the point the people want their power back then yes, the Constitution would be legitimate.


1- Why do you think the people have the right to take back rights they have freely ceded?
2- If this is the case, surely Gun Control is illegitimate because the United States Constitution is legitimate?

America's system is too expensive, I agree with that. To an extent, cost is a problem here as well but plenty of people seem able to camapign for Lewisham hospital or to try to block HS2. Voting for systems that would have opened up politics or changed the two party system would have cost petrol money and that's it. Add a computer+internet service for looking at alternative parties and petrol (if not postal voting or walking to poll station) and simply voting for change doesn't seem that expensive.

Sure, referendums would be a more legitimate system. Likely drain the finances as they are quite expensive to do and soon get political apathy when you get one so regularly so wouldn't particularly recommend it.


Campaigning on a local issue is much easier than running for Congress- and even then the leaders would not be ordinary people but people with above-average intelligence. Laziness is a factor too to an extent- come to think of it, we're only really disagreeing on the extent of each.

Back when I supported democracy (an embarassing time for me- but hey, I was 14!), I thought up a system whereby referendums happened on the Internet. In countries where that's not practical, you could have town halls have mandatory attendance every Sunday or something. There are great savings to buying in bulk, in this case because the infrastructure is maintained permanently to support regular referenda.

If that is the case, maybe they should look for more intelligent people or stop whining about the system when they keep failing to vote or encourage political reform?


Most people are too stupid to realise they're stupid. I'm not sure why they don't consider actually running for Congress- mabe some sort of doublethink. I'm justifying their decisions yes, but not in relation to their actual thought processes.

and maybe if those complaining voted for, say, UKIP, Greens, the Loony Party or even give the Lib Dems the majority, it might send a signal at the very least. Or move it away from 2/3 party politics. Or vote for independent mayors. Or vote for political reform when the chance comes.


Let's try and look at things, not from the perspective of The People, but of an individual voter.

A voter doesn't know much about alternate parties. He may be cynical about the two major parties, but from his perspective one or the other is going to win and there is nothing that he can do about it. Relative to the massive population, he is aware that his vote is statistically insignificant. In order to make any difference at all, he puts it behind a major party.

This creates a feedback loop, as voters don't coordinate.

Out of curiosity, why go back to that agreement?


My view is that if an entity keeps powers in terms of the formal law, even if they have de facto lost them, they have not truely lost their legal right to wield them. William of Orange, if I remember correctly, was the last time the Monarch made a clear deal with Parliament delinating the rights and responsibilities of the parties concerned.

Making it a criminal offence for the judge to wander off the strict limits? Giving judges no freedom at all to act if parts of the constitution have fallen out of date, has become used for abuse or turn out to be a problem? Blocking parliament from adapting, from changing, as required by events and time. Allowing murder for disagreeing with a judge?

I would suggest looking at a way on the state governor appointing judge thing to try and limit the damage of political appointing of judges. I mean I can see what your attempting with that rule but I do worry about poltical bias when a politician picks a judge.


Murder with disagreeing with a judge makes sense- with a completely literal Constitution interpreted with strictness comparable to an autistic, there should be no controversy whatsoever. If there IS controversy, it probably means the judge has made a mistake or gone off the rails.

The alternative, as I said, is a nominal Constitution which in practice is worth less than the paper it's written on. You may as well not write a Constitution at all and declare that Parliament can do what it likes.

A politician picking a judge is a problem, but in this case I'm taking advantage of it. State governers will have bias towards state's rights, after all- it probably won't result in the best of judges but it will guarentee the essential parts of a federal system remain intact.

There may be issues with the ECH but people seem to manage to know the rules they are supposed to follow day by day and companies tend to manage it. I don't see the ECH protecting human rights across Europe as injustice.


I wasn't really thinking of the ECH in this case.

What I was thinking of is that there are several 'landmark cases' per generation in general, particularly ones where companies are forced to pay money to a person in compensation for something that wasn't a civil offence when they did it. I was also thinking of the fact that ocassionally people are convicted of CRIMINAL offences for unconstitutional crimes (such as the Australian case where a woman pleaded the unconstitutionality and was right, but ended up going to jail, or the American case where it was ruled the government could ban guns) when it was perfectly reasonable for them to act how they did.

I don't have a problem with rules and morals changing. Ours has changed over time and it will change again over the next 100 years. It may prove that my views were wrong and highly damaging, so they moved away to a better philosophy. Or maybe closer to my own. Or they go a darker place that, as you say, I will hate. Or in a world I simply won't understand so can't comprehend their philosophies/morality/way of life. Best we should do is try to influence things by making our time, and teachings if you like, an example that will encourage future generations to build upon what we did or said.


You seem to have the implicit assumption that there is some sort of objective Good that can be moved towards or away from. But if that objective Good exists, it can be justified philosophically AND put into a Constitution. In addition, any such Good system will probably be undermined pretty quickly as the country drifts away from it again.

Yeah, I had got the comparison. Only you didn't include "and the King sacrificed opportunities to improve his situation and could look for a third or fourth chancellor" so I didn't think it quite worked.


I think this is already clarified earlier.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:18 pm

Strategist wrote:
Because the government has no more right to make it than a vigilante has to point a gun to somebody's head and make them act a certain way?


Why not concentrate on disobeying the bad ones or breaking a law that would send a signal/symbolism then seeking to break good laws that will better the country?

Just because something IS does not mean it has any moral legitimacy whatsoever.


So? I can't make nations end and the mentality of humanity change with a snap of my fingers (actually, can't finger snap so it would still be a problem), any proposal I would make has to account for reality. The reality is we have nation states and that won't change in my lifetime I suspect.

How can you justify that within a democratic morality?


In similar way British governments do so and the ECH does?

I'm trying to follow ideas to their logical conclusion, whatever that may be.


Or your stretching it as far as possible, to the point where it seems a little silly. We have all exaggerated someone's points to silliness :wink:

An argument about morality or about who has the right to rule is inherently a philosophical one. Even if you aren't a philosopher, you should act like one for something like this.


Is it in the forum rules? It hasn't been this forum's etiquette before so why should I? I have discussions about morals in this forum without it turned into a philosophical debate so I'll stick to that. If you want to talk philosophy or even theology, there might other members who would be more inclined.

Clashes are a bad thing because they prove a person's morality is internally inconsistent.


To me, not allowing contradictions would make me unable to deal with the world as is and risks make me unthinking, I think it is important I reassess my morals every now and again.

As for 'practicality', in practice it consists of a series of philosophical claims about what is important. These tend to include not challenging things if it doesn't look like you can suceed (e.g. don't challenge this genocide as we'll get killed trying), the survival of the group at all costs (e.g. if we don't slaughter these innocents our nation will be annexed. We have no choice), and not taking moral arguments to their logical conclusions (e.g. Revolutionary France, where despite rhethoric of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity that we all know the poor were disenfranchised as 'passive citizens').


Why do you pick two extreme examples?

Philosophy is not the same as running a buisness. Clahses can occur in running a buisness or other similiar things- they don't occur with one's moral arguments if one's philosophy is self-consistent.


Life is full of clashes. Business, love, government, sport, games, clashes exist. Maybe philosophy is different but I'm not a philosopher and have little interest in it so I can't comment on whether your statement is true or not.

You have already said that as a principle that the majority have the right to make laws binding on the minority. You can't just arbitarily restrict that because you don't like the results. If you think government can be restricted just because the result is unjust, that is not Democratism but Just Lawism and requires justifications for every single thing you consider just.


I have also said governments should be obliged to protect the minority. Don't know why you keep wanting to ignore that bit. You can call the need to combine the wish of the majority with protection of the minorities whatever you wish

1- Why do you think the people have the right to take back rights they have freely ceded?
2- If this is the case, surely Gun Control is illegitimate because the United States Constitution is legitimate?


1) Because they want it back and so the old system no longer has legitimacy?
2) As long as the people reject gun control and insist on the Constitution has a holy writ then probably is illegitimate. Doesn't mean gun control advocates shouldn't continue to try or it shouldn't be open for discussion.

Back when I supported democracy (an embarassing time for me- but hey, I was 14!), I thought up a system whereby referendums happened on the Internet. In countries where that's not practical, you could have town halls have mandatory attendance every Sunday or something. There are great savings to buying in bulk, in this case because the infrastructure is maintained permanently to support regular referenda.


Online would be a good way at a glance, but means government will have to ensure everyone has sufficient broadband and then see how secure it can be made so will have to wait.

Let's try and look at things, not from the perspective of The People, but of an individual voter.

A voter doesn't know much about alternate parties. He may be cynical about the two major parties, but from his perspective one or the other is going to win and there is nothing that he can do about it. Relative to the massive population, he is aware that his vote is statistically insignificant. In order to make any difference at all, he puts it behind a major party.


They can use the internet for research. He could look at all those whining and argue they should vote for one that they agree with. He could vote for changes that either rejected by him or treated with apathy.

Yes, it does lead to a feedback loop as you say.

Murder with disagreeing with a judge makes sense- with a completely literal Constitution interpreted with strictness comparable to an autistic, there should be no controversy whatsoever. If there IS controversy, it probably means the judge has made a mistake or gone off the rails.


The Catholic Church can't seem to update it's translated bibles without controversy so think controversy is bound to come. At which point, people needlessly die for having alternative views.

The alternative, as I said, is a nominal Constitution which in practice is worth less than the paper it's written on. You may as well not write a Constitution at all and declare that Parliament can do what it likes.


Again, trying to push the angle to extremes. Why not leave things open to change? Your constitution's value will be however much people/the three systems value it.

A politician picking a judge is a problem, but in this case I'm taking advantage of it. State governers will have bias towards state's rights, after all- it probably won't result in the best of judges but it will guarentee the essential parts of a federal system remain intact.


Might it not lead to governor's having to fight judges who are biased against them?

What I was thinking of is that there are several 'landmark cases' per generation in general, particularly ones where companies are forced to pay money to a person in compensation for something that wasn't a civil offence when they did it. I was also thinking of the fact that ocassionally people are convicted of CRIMINAL offences for unconstitutional crimes (such as the Australian case where a woman pleaded the unconstitutionality and was right, but ended up going to jail, or the American case where it was ruled the government could ban guns) when it was perfectly reasonable for them to act how they did.


I can't speak for the two cases as I know nothing of them. Retrospective punishments are generally not a good idea, though there is room to smack those who are simply abusing the lack of law to cause harm.

You seem to have the implicit assumption that there is some sort of objective Good that can be moved towards or away from. But if that objective Good exists, it can be justified philosophically AND put into a Constitution. In addition, any such Good system will probably be undermined pretty quickly as the country drifts away from it again.


What I see is the objective Good may not turn out to be wrong and people will go the other way, they might turn out to be right.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Strategist » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:09 am

Let me make an analogy for you. Back in the French Revolution, it was argued that 'All men are created equal'. Despite this, at first a division was made between 'active citizens', who could actually vote, and 'passive citizens', who could not, based on income. If you argued that this was a contradiction to the idea of equality, they could accuse you of taking things to the logical extreme.

You're clearly smart enough to see the analogy here, so I don't need to clarify.

Why not concentrate on disobeying the bad ones or breaking a law that would send a signal/symbolism then seeking to break good laws that will better the country?


This seems quite clearly Just Lawist- the idea that a law should not be judged on whether a person has the right to make it, but on whether the law makes people act closer to the Good.

But it does beg the question- is it morally right to compel somebody to do the morally right thing in all instances? Since there is only one morally best course of action, doesn't that reduce people to slavery?

So? I can't make nations end and the mentality of humanity change with a snap of my fingers (actually, can't finger snap so it would still be a problem), any proposal I would make has to account for reality. The reality is we have nation states and that won't change in my lifetime I suspect.


I'll use another analogy here to try and illustrate my point.

Say, hypothetically, that in some future time (since it's clearly implausible now), the world is divided into nation-states but technology has advanced greatly and the Third World, Middle East etc is modernised. On some crucial issue an international referendum is held, encompassing some but not all of the world's nations. Despite that, the majority of the world's adults vote in the affirmative for some sort of measure. The nations that participated have the military force to enforce it. Would you say it was binding on those nations which did not vote?

If you argue that it is binding, then you agree with me. If you argue that it isn't binding, you have no rational basis for your claim.

You can't appeal to the laws of the nations concerned as you've already said that Constitutions can be ignored.

If you argue that it doesn't matter because it's not practical, I can point out that there have been many genocides throughout history. If you were living at the time you might conclude it was not practical to stop them- but that doesn't mean you would conclude they were morally right.

In similar way British governments do so and the ECH does?


I don't know them very well, but I get the impression they don't have any reasonable justifications.

Or your stretching it as far as possible, to the point where it seems a little silly. We have all exaggerated someone's points to silliness


In general a logical extreme is when a person's words are interpreted in a way that makes sense but is not the correct interpretation because it is not what they meant. For example, 'Do not drive on the right hand of the road' being used to forbid right hand turns.

Just to clear- are you claiming that you don't actually mean the things you say, and that by taking your claims at face value I am misinterpreting you?

Is it in the forum rules? It hasn't been this forum's etiquette before so why should I? I have discussions about morals in this forum without it turned into a philosophical debate so I'll stick to that. If you want to talk philosophy or even theology, there might other members who would be more inclined.


Ethics(in the traditional sense) is a part of philosophy- therefore an ethical argument must be philosophical. An attempt at a non-philosophical debate on ethics would simply turn into two people asserting contrary posistions without arguments to back them up, which is silliness.

To me, not allowing contradictions would make me unable to deal with the world as is and risks make me unthinking, I think it is important I reassess my morals every now and again.


Do you mean because you would have a moral system that could not be achieved? One could concievably make concessions in the sense of 'This cannot be achieved, therefore although it is Good I will not attempt it/This cannot be stopped, so although it is Bad I will not try to prevent it.' without changing your moral system to stop thinking of them that way.

Why do you pick two extreme examples?


I'm picking extreme examples because they tend to the clearest examples- non-extreme arguments have a lot more ambiguity. I'm trying to show you the results of a world where practicality is used in moral arguments taken to their logical conclusion.

You may argue that this is taking things to a logical extreme, but a moral system is not like a set of human commands- there isn't a person you're trying to interpret here. If you're going to argue for practicality within limits, you're going to have justify those limits without simply appealing to "It's the vibe" or other emotional arguments. (Unless you're going to make an 'Emotional Morality'- basically whatever a person feels is morally right is morally right. That has problems all of its own)

Life is full of clashes. Business, love, government, sport, games, clashes exist. Maybe philosophy is different but I'm not a philosopher and have little interest in it so I can't comment on whether your statement is true or not.


I'm trying to clarify to you why this is a silly response, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that somebody would say something like that.

I'll note for now that philosophy is not the only exception- a clash in law is evidence of government incompetence, for example.

I have also said governments should be obliged to protect the minority. Don't know why you keep wanting to ignore that bit. You can call the need to combine the wish of the majority with protection of the minorities whatever you wish


Because I was trying to guess your First Principle, and my best guess was that it was democracy's sovereign rights. You haven't justified governments being obliged to protect the minority. In general, the philosophers I know of start off with a First Principle and proceed from there.

Your moral system is about as logical as the muddled-up stupidities of Chinese "sages", which I don't need to clarify as you know plenty about them. On practicality they were inferior to others of their time- on theory their arguments don't make any sense.

1) Because they want it back and so the old system no longer has legitimacy?
2) As long as the people reject gun control and insist on the Constitution has a holy writ then probably is illegitimate. Doesn't mean gun control advocates shouldn't continue to try or it shouldn't be open for discussion.


1- But why should 'the people' have the right to take it back? If they've ceded it away, it's like giving away property- it doesn't go to your heirs, it goes to the heirs of the person you gave it to. I justify this because most sovereign reigmes in history haven't had an implicit 'The people can overthrow me if they want to' clause.
2- This is consistent with your above posistion, so I won't attack this point directly.

Online would be a good way at a glance, but means government will have to ensure everyone has sufficient broadband and then see how secure it can be made so will have to wait.


I put down an alternative if it couldn't be done. I recommend you check the relevant paragraph again.

They can use the internet for research. He could look at all those whining and argue they should vote for one that they agree with. He could vote for changes that either rejected by him or treated with apathy.

Yes, it does lead to a feedback loop as you say.


Don't really have anything more to say here, as we agree on the existence of the 'feedback loop' making it very hard for a voter to change things.

The Catholic Church can't seem to update it's translated bibles without controversy so think controversy is bound to come. At which point, people needlessly die for having alternative views.


The zone of controversy is very narrow here. Assuming rigourous drafting, a strict literal interpretation of words, and heavy use of definitions (practically for every word of the restraint clauses, just to be safe), they could perhaps be narrowed down to one every fifty years or so.

When they did come about, it would simply be a linguistic matter- if we'd forgotten to define the word legal dictionaries from the time we wrote the Constitution could be consulted. As the best professional drafters of the day would be working on the Constitutiton and as we would be attempting to catch out every single ambiguity, however small, then assuming the drafters were loyal to the cause we could narrow down the number of cases where consulting a dictionary wouldn't solve the controversy down to something in the zone of once every two and a half centuries or more.

As for those cases where a literal definition is ambigious, then one could solve the problem once and for all by having it that purely when the Constitution's literal meaning contains an ambiguity that cannot be settled by consulting legal dictionaries intent can be used. This would get things to the point where ambiguity would not be possible.

Again, trying to push the angle to extremes. Why not leave things open to change? Your constitution's value will be however much people/the three systems value it.


Just to be clear- the Three Systems were in my view appointed Defenders of the Constitution, not sovereigns in their own right. The difference was between knights and lords- they are NOT the people who would I would first go to if I were trying to govern a country well.

To clarify- how could you possibly make a Constitution more than a scrap of paper if, in practice, people can change it whenever they like? A system founded by somebody with views like yours (since your intent would probably come through clearly in historical documents) would make this even worse.

Let me put this hypothetical to you. Say you make a Constitution which lays out that Parliament can do whatever it likes unless the judges strike it down as 'Unconstitutional' (which is the effective balance an 'informal Constitution' has)- Parliament can have conventions on what it does, but none of them are binding. The result would be a popular outcry- nobody would accept such a system!

Might it not lead to governor's having to fight judges who are biased against them?


Maybe, but said governors would far more often than not appoint State's Rights candidates (they aren't idiots after all- they've gotten to the post of Governor in their career). This would ensure the Federal Government could not interfere with said rights.

I can't speak for the two cases as I know nothing of them. Retrospective punishments are generally not a good idea, though there is room to smack those who are simply abusing the lack of law to cause harm.


Drifting law has in fact led to retrospective punishments- not in terms of direct criminal prosecution, but in temrs of people suing for something than isn't a civil offence and recieving compensation anyway.

As for 'smacking' people, how can you possibly justify it? There was no rule, after all.

What I see is the objective Good may not turn out to be wrong and people will go the other way, they might turn out to be right.


What? I think you made a typo in this sentence...
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:32 am

What? I think you made a typo in this sentence...


My bad. Strike out the first not.

Sorry Strategist, I'm walking away from this one, I just looked at your post yesterday and found myself sighing. Quite simply, I'm not having fun doing this and I suspect this will go in an never ending circle, taking up time I could use for something else I would enjoy. You want to discuss philosophy and that's fine, I wish you luck in finding someone who shares your love of philosophy on this forum.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:36 am

Strategist wrote:But it does beg the question- is it morally right to compel somebody to do the morally right thing in all instances? Since there is only one morally best course of action, doesn't that reduce people to slavery?


Simply put, no.

Ethicists make distinctions between two different types of actions and their moral worth:

a.) Obligatory - these actions are required for someone to be considered a morally good actor. If someone is drowning and you have the means to save them, and you fail to provide those means in time to save the drowning person, you have behaved immorally on account of the nature of your inaction.

a.) Supererogatory - these actions are not required for someone to be considered morally good, but are generally seen as praiseworthy if they are undertaken. Holding the door open for the person behind you is a good example: good etiquette and possibly morally praiseworthy, but it can be excused if not performed.

Supererogatory actions are further subdivided according to their significance by some ethicists.

The point is, that even if there is a single set of standards for moral action, the applications of that standard across the entire array of human experience would be varied enough that it could accommodate a wide range of human behaviours and allow for a significant degree of human freedom. One needn't take recourse either to ethical absolutism or to total subjectivism and ethical anarchy.

How does this relate to the gun control question, though?

Strategist wrote:Just to clear- are you claiming that you don't actually mean the things you say, and that by taking your claims at face value I am misinterpreting you?


[puts on Han Solo-style swagger]

Kid, I've been on this forum for nearly five years now. And let me tell you, there are indeed some SoSZers who will insist on caricaturing you and your views, whilst denying they say things that they did in fact say.

Dong Zhou is emphatically not one of them.

He may have a legitimate disagreement with you, but he does afford full logical charity to your arguments, usually.

Strategist wrote:I'm picking extreme examples because they tend to the clearest examples- non-extreme arguments have a lot more ambiguity. I'm trying to show you the results of a world where practicality is used in moral arguments taken to their logical conclusion.


Philosophy is my BA, so I can understand what you are attempting to do here. The entire point of taking these stances to logical extremes, within a philosophical framework, is to interrogate the presuppositions of the person holding those stances, not to insist on a doctrinaire interpretation of them.

But argument to instinct is valid in many cases, because it can show you the limitations of a given ethical system. Most people would have serious problems with blowing up the fat man in the cave to free the five children stuck behind him, even though a thoroughly consistent act-utilitarian would insist that doing so is morally obligatory. Likewise, Kant's insistence that even a crazed axe-murderer should be told the truth at all times regardless of the consequences to the public is uncomfortable to a lot of people, and with good reason: for most people, both rules and consequences carry a certain degree of ethical weight. That is a valid ethical position, though for obvious reasons a lot more difficult to parse by the methods left to us by the likes of Kant and Bentham.

Strategist wrote:Because I was trying to guess your First Principle, and my best guess was that it was democracy's sovereign rights. You haven't justified governments being obliged to protect the minority. In general, the philosophers I know of start off with a First Principle and proceed from there.

Your moral system is about as logical as the muddled-up stupidities of Chinese "sages", which I don't need to clarify as you know plenty about them. On practicality they were inferior to others of their time- on theory their arguments don't make any sense.


Now that last bit strikes me as a bit unfair. Chinese philosophers and literati managed to craft a political system which lasted a good two thousand five hundred years - and for most of that time, their civilisation was practically unmatched anywhere else in the world. It strikes me that the burden of proof for their impracticality falls rather squarely on your shoulders.

As for your first part, though I can sympathise with the need to interrogate someone's moral axioms on a subject like this, it isn't particularly good form to dismiss them as 'muddled-up stupidities' when it is merely the case that the ethical reasoning proceeding from those axioms hasn't been explored fully. (I've been guilty of calling people 'stupid' or all but myself, by the way, and on similar grounds, believe me.)

Strategist wrote:Just to be clear- the Three Systems were in my view appointed Defenders of the Constitution, not sovereigns in their own right. The difference was between knights and lords- they are NOT the people who would I would first go to if I were trying to govern a country well.


Do you mean the division of legislative, executive and judicial powers? If that is the case, they do a good deal more than merely defending the Constitution - they carry out their functions as described by the Constitution as well. The Constitution gives both the legislative and the executive branches of the federal government specific sets of enumerated duties and powers, which they are then free to use as they see fit, provided they do not breach the powers of the other branches.

And, if we're being technical, the judicial branch has no explicitly defined role under the Constitution. It wasn't until the ruling of Marbury v. Madison that it basically gave itself the power of Constitutional review of legislation.

Strategist wrote:To clarify- how could you possibly make a Constitution more than a scrap of paper if, in practice, people can change it whenever they like? A system founded by somebody with views like yours (since your intent would probably come through clearly in historical documents) would make this even worse.

Let me put this hypothetical to you. Say you make a Constitution which lays out that Parliament can do whatever it likes unless the judges strike it down as 'Unconstitutional' (which is the effective balance an 'informal Constitution' has)- Parliament can have conventions on what it does, but none of them are binding. The result would be a popular outcry- nobody would accept such a system!


To be honest, I actually would rather have such a system than the one in which I currently live. And why? That, I can tell you in one word:



Just having a Constitution with an enumerated separation of powers is not enough. And merely enshrining it in a place of public and popular worship is not enough. You like to cite Revolutionary France - it did both things: the separation of powers was written in the Declaration of 1789, and it was placed upon a revolutionary pedestal to be the object of common devotion and worship. And yet it failed miserably, because the people who drafted it did not respect the traditional institutional bases upon which that Declaration drew.

Likewise, for all the War of American Independence drew upon these notions, they very notably failed to respect the property rights or human rights of those who dissented politically. The Tories were treated with massive abuse, subject to torture and murder, and all of their properties confiscated (to this day, the families of the United Empire Loyalists have never been compensated for the theft of their lands); this is to say nothing of the blacks or the American Indians who either supported Britain for obvious reasons, or merely happened to be in the way of the 'enlightened' revolutionaries.

The reason was, of course, that they failed to respect tradition and the notion of reciprocal responsibility (including that to past generations), and focussed instead on a very narrow category of 'rights'.
Some more blood, Chekov. The needle won't hurt, Chekov. Take off your shirt, Chekov. Roll over, Chekov. Breathe deeply, Chekov. Blood sample, Chekov! Marrow sample, Chekov! Skin sample, Chekov! If I live long enough... I'm going to run out of samples.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Strategist » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:59 am

I'll take DZ as having conceded with condescention.

Simply put, no.

Ethicists make distinctions between two different types of actions and their moral worth:

a.) Obligatory - these actions are required for someone to be considered a morally good actor. If someone is drowning and you have the means to save them, and you fail to provide those means in time to save the drowning person, you have behaved immorally on account of the nature of your inaction.

a.) Supererogatory - these actions are not required for someone to be considered morally good, but are generally seen as praiseworthy if they are undertaken. Holding the door open for the person behind you is a good example: good etiquette and possibly morally praiseworthy, but it can be excused if not performed.

Supererogatory actions are further subdivided according to their significance by some ethicists.

The point is, that even if there is a single set of standards for moral action, the applications of that standard across the entire array of human experience would be varied enough that it could accommodate a wide range of human behaviours and allow for a significant degree of human freedom. One needn't take recourse either to ethical absolutism or to total subjectivism and ethical anarchy.

How does this relate to the gun control question, though?


I was attacking the theory I thought DZ might be following- "Just Lawism" (a construct I made up to cover what I thought DZ's implicit moral philosophy was), which does not have such a distinction.

[puts on Han Solo-style swagger]

Kid, I've been on this forum for nearly five years now. And let me tell you, there are indeed some SoSZers who will insist on caricaturing you and your views, whilst denying they say things that they did in fact say.

Dong Zhou is emphatically not one of them.

He may have a legitimate disagreement with you, but he does afford full logical charity to your arguments, usually.


He accused me of taking arguments to their 'logical extremes'- I was just trying to figure out what he meant by that.

Philosophy is my BA, so I can understand what you are attempting to do here. The entire point of taking these stances to logical extremes, within a philosophical framework, is to interrogate the presuppositions of the person holding those stances, not to insist on a doctrinaire interpretation of them.


I try to insist on the interpretation that the person using the words in fact meant- I simply have too much of a tendency to assume people mean what they say.

But argument to instinct is valid in many cases, because it can show you the limitations of a given ethical system. Most people would have serious problems with blowing up the fat man in the cave to free the five children stuck behind him, even though a thoroughly consistent act-utilitarian would insist that doing so is morally obligatory. Likewise, Kant's insistence that even a crazed axe-murderer should be told the truth at all times regardless of the consequences to the public is uncomfortable to a lot of people, and with good reason: for most people, both rules and consequences carry a certain degree of ethical weight. That is a valid ethical position, though for obvious reasons a lot more difficult to parse by the methods left to us by the likes of Kant and Bentham.


This is where I disagree with you. A theory which followed purely instinctual morality would fall against subjectivist arguments, and an actual morality of pure feeling would be myopic, inconsistent, and discriminate based on race, religion, social status etc. Given this, many examples of appeal to instinct must be considered suspect if not all.

Now that last bit strikes me as a bit unfair. Chinese philosophers and literati managed to craft a political system which lasted a good two thousand five hundred years - and for most of that time, their civilisation was practically unmatched anywhere else in the world. It strikes me that the burden of proof for their impracticality falls rather squarely on your shoulders.

As for your first part, though I can sympathise with the need to interrogate someone's moral axioms on a subject like this, it isn't particularly good form to dismiss them as 'muddled-up stupidities' when it is merely the case that the ethical reasoning proceeding from those axioms hasn't been explored fully. (I've been guilty of calling people 'stupid' or all but myself, by the way, and on similar grounds, believe me.)


Most Chinese sayings tend to have no logical connection between the first and the second thing said- the same with many passages from Sima Qian, who seems to be if anything a rather beneficial example for comparing Chinese "sages". They also were not the only force contributing to Chinese society at the time- in particular, I was thinking of those men of war who learned from experience rather than textbooks (with civil officials the distinction is harder to make due to Confucian exams).

I describe DZ's ideas as muddled-up stupidities out of frustration with him- normally I'd be more tactful, but he doesn't seem to know how to hold up an argument.

Do you mean the division of legislative, executive and judicial powers? If that is the case, they do a good deal more than merely defending the Constitution - they carry out their functions as described by the Constitution as well. The Constitution gives both the legislative and the executive branches of the federal government specific sets of enumerated duties and powers, which they are then free to use as they see fit, provided they do not breach the powers of the other branches.

And, if we're being technical, the judicial branch has no explicitly defined role under the Constitution. It wasn't until the ruling of Marbury v. Madison that it basically gave itself the power of Constitutional review of legislation.


The Three Systems was something I mentioned earlier- a system of defending the Constitution that relies on:

One: A formal written constitution
Two: Judges properly interpreting the Constitution
Three: A civil service and army (strictly this is four- I wasn't sure whether one or the other would do or not) that are loyal to the judge's rulings and willing to enforce them if the rulers go against them

Just having a Constitution with an enumerated separation of powers is not enough. And merely enshrining it in a place of public and popular worship is not enough. You like to cite Revolutionary France - it did both things: the separation of powers was written in the Declaration of 1789, and it was placed upon a revolutionary pedestal to be the object of common devotion and worship. And yet it failed miserably, because the people who drafted it did not respect the traditional institutional bases upon which that Declaration drew.

Likewise, for all the War of American Independence drew upon these notions, they very notably failed to respect the property rights or human rights of those who dissented politically. The Tories were treated with massive abuse, subject to torture and murder, and all of their properties confiscated (to this day, the families of the United Empire Loyalists have never been compensated for the theft of their lands); this is to say nothing of the blacks or the American Indians who either supported Britain for obvious reasons, or merely happened to be in the way of the 'enlightened' revolutionaries.

The reason was, of course, that they failed to respect tradition and the notion of reciprocal responsibility (including that to past generations), and focussed instead on a very narrow category of 'rights'.


Traditional institutions can be good or bad(depending on what definitions you use of them)- are you saying that 'bad' institutional traditions should be accomodated despite their harmful impact, or do you only mean taking into account the 'good' traditions?

My solution to the problem is the Three Systems mentioned above.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:31 pm

Strategist wrote:I'll take DZ as having conceded with condescention.


No, I withdrew rather then conceded. What part of it do you consider condescending?
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Strategist » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:34 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:
Strategist wrote:I'll take DZ as having conceded with condescention.


No, I withdrew rather then conceded. What part of it do you consider condescending?


The idea that you would give up on the debate without actually changing your views on the matter, implying that you're so authoritative on such matters that you can ignore arguments to the contrary.

Letting people 'withdraw' rather than concede in philosophical debates opens up a slippery slope, as people can use it to avoid admitting they've been beaten in the actual argument. Given that, it is senseless to allow for a withdrawal without concession.
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