Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

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Re: Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

Unread postby Bush Leagues » Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:27 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:That's where I have to disagree with you. The medium is not irrelevant, nor is the context. If you just think about a certain sex act, no one else can see it or has to hear about it. If you write it down or draw it or film it, then other people can see it and hear about it. And of course it matters in what context the writing or drawing or filming of it is presented - if the purpose of it is to titillate arousal or provoke outrage or to make a broader point, for example.


If I write something in a journal and leave it on my bookshelf, or create graphics and save them to my hard drive, and never share these things with anyone, it can only be exposed to other people if my privacy is invaded.

WeiWenDi wrote:Well, therein lies the problem. You say below precisely that you don't want anarchy. But that's precisely what you get if you don't draw the line somewhere with regard to public morality, and assume that morality is completely private rather than the proper domain of the government. You can't have it both ways. If you don't want political or moral anarchy, then those lines regarding proper public behaviour don't always have to be ones with legal punishments attached, but they do have to be there.


I really don't understand this. It's actually relatively easy to have a peaceful society that allows individuals to have their own morality without having anarchy - in fact, for the first 150 years of the United States, that's essentially what was around. As long as you did not bring harm to others, the government would not impose morality on you. So obviously things like murder and theft would be illegal and those who broke those laws be prosecuted, but anything else that didn't negatively affect others was fair game.

Individuals could decide for themselves to either drink or not. They could smoke tobacco or not. They could use opiates or not. They could eat pork or not. They could give to charity or not. They could engage in homosexual acts or not. They could support the KKK or not. They could be Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant, Sunni, Shia, Hindu, Shinto, Buddhist, Atheist, or whatever you like without fear. And you could do all of it publically. If you went to the town square and began preaching about the evils of alcohols, or the benefits of giving to charity, or one of any number of subjects, you wouldn't face persecution from the government - and that's the big thing.

Now, this doesn't save you from the scorn of your peers. I would expect someone who was on a street corner preaching about something that obviously goes against the public sentiment (like supporting the KKK) to have their peers discourage that behavior however they could. A private business might refuse him service, other citizens might refuse to associate with him, etc; and they should have the right to. That doesn't mean he can't live in that society, or associate with others that agree with him and share his views, and that they, as a group, can assemble peacefully and discuss their views.

In fact, more often when a central power attempts to legislate morality, more often that's when we run into trouble. We can see that today - in the areas that ISIS controls, they essentially are able to execute Christians at-will. Yes, they are a terrorist group, and yes their methods are extreme, but they are the central power in the regions they control. They're attempting to legislate morality, only the penalty for breaking those laws is death.

It's no coincidence that we generally consider freer nations better places to live. Consider this report by FreedomHouse.org. When you consider the map in particular, we see that the most desirable places to live in the world (The United States, Canada, western Europe, Japan, Australia) are also the most free, while the more undesirable places to live (Russia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China) are less free. Ultimately, having the central power dictate morals is to ensure that that becomes a place that minority would want to live.
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Re: Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Sun Apr 19, 2015 1:08 am

Bush Leagues wrote:If I write something in a journal and leave it on my bookshelf, or create graphics and save them to my hard drive, and never share these things with anyone, it can only be exposed to other people if my privacy is invaded.


Fair enough, but that's not what we're talking about here, right? We're talking about market behaviour in which said writings, drawings, films and what have you have been placed on the market to be sold, or placed on the Internet for public viewing and consumption to drive up ad revenues. It sounded to me from this particular British case like he wasn't being punished for thinking about it so much as contributing to a demand for similar images. That logic is pretty attenuated, but there is a distinction that needs to be drawn.

Bush Leagues wrote:I really don't understand this. It's actually relatively easy to have a peaceful society that allows individuals to have their own morality without having anarchy - in fact, for the first 150 years of the United States, that's essentially what was around.


The first 150 years of the United States? So basically from 1787 (the Grand Convention at Philadelphia; before then the States were not technically United) to 1937?

Bush Leagues wrote:As long as you did not bring harm to others, the government would not impose morality on you. So obviously things like murder and theft would be illegal and those who broke those laws be prosecuted, but anything else that didn't negatively affect others was fair game.

Individuals could decide for themselves to either drink or not. They could smoke tobacco or not. They could use opiates or not. They could eat pork or not. They could give to charity or not. They could engage in homosexual acts or not. They could support the KKK or not. They could be Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant, Sunni, Shia, Hindu, Shinto, Buddhist, Atheist, or whatever you like without fear. And you could do all of it publically. If you went to the town square and began preaching about the evils of alcohols, or the benefits of giving to charity, or one of any number of subjects, you wouldn't face persecution from the government - and that's the big thing.


Again, that read on history is amazingly strenuous. America before 1937 wasn't some golden paradise. It was perfectly legal to commit murder and theft on the frontier, as long as the people being murdered and pillaged weren't white. Prosecution didn't really exist out there either. They didn't call it the Wild West for nothing. Roving marauding bandits murdering people and stealing their valuables at whim; some more honourable than others - basically, the only way to stop them was for the US government to co-opt some of the less treacherous gangs and make their leaders Federal Marshals in order to keep the peace.

Also, the government very much did impose legal moral constraints on people during this period you're talking about. As a matter of fact, to use but the most obvious and egregious example, individuals couldn't decide for themselves whether or not to drink, because for thirteen years between 1920 and 1933, alcohol was illegal. And Catholics did face legal sanctions from the government precisely because they used alcohol at Mass.

But even on other issues, the American government and the state governments imposed all kinds of strictures on people's personal lives that had nothing to do with the harm principle. It was forbidden for a black man to marry a white woman at various points in history in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, California and many other states. Chinese immigrants were treated officially like pariahs in California; for a very long time, they enjoyed very few civil rights. Catholic immigration was illegal in several colonies (including Massachusetts and Virginia). Catholic civil rights were heavily curtailed in my own home state, Rhode Island, until after the Revolution was over. Even after that, Catholics did not have full civil rights to express their religious views publicly.

Bush Leagues wrote:I would expect someone who was on a street corner preaching about something that obviously goes against the public sentiment (like supporting the KKK) to have their peers discourage that behavior however they could.


The KKK was a secret society. In areas where they enjoyed high support (like the South), they could carry out their activities publicly, without any fear of reprisals. They could literally get away with murder. Lynchings were usually highly-public affairs, almost carnivals, and the authorities would do nothing to stop them. But in areas where the KKK didn't enjoy high support, its members were almost always too craven to express themselves openly. Hence the white hoods. Hence the nighttime cross-burnings on people's lawns.

Bush Leagues wrote:In fact, more often when a central power attempts to legislate morality, more often that's when we run into trouble. We can see that today - in the areas that ISIS controls, they essentially are able to execute Christians at-will. Yes, they are a terrorist group, and yes their methods are extreme, but they are the central power in the regions they control. They're attempting to legislate morality, only the penalty for breaking those laws is death.


So essentially, the choice is between a society based entirely on the Millian harm principle, or ISIS? You don't think it's possible that any sort of middle option exists? (Like the middle option most of the civilised world went by prior to the advent of modernity?)

Bush Leagues wrote:It's no coincidence that we generally consider freer nations better places to live. Consider this report by FreedomHouse.org. When you consider the map in particular, we see that the most desirable places to live in the world (The United States, Canada, western Europe, Japan, Australia) are also the most free, while the more undesirable places to live (Russia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China) are less free. Ultimately, having the central power dictate morals is to ensure that that becomes a place that minority would want to live.


First off, Freedom House? That puppet gongo set up, funded and run by the US State Department? Yeah, they're gonna be really objective when it comes to abuses of state power, aren't they? :roll:

But speak for yourself. I live in China. And I live here because it was actually cheaper and easier for my wife to have a child here, to get the proper care she needed for a complicated pregnancy, than it was in the United States. And because it's easier to get work here; there used to be fewer taxes and legal restrictions on English teachers particularly. Back during the recession, China was a more desirable place to live than the United States.

CBS News published a survey-based ranking from expat network InterNations of the most desirable places to work and live internationally, based on factors like personal happiness, ease of finding work, personal finances, cost of living and social environment. It's basically a measure of how welcoming the society is to immigrants, and how easy it is to be an immigrant there. But four of the top ten (Ecuador #1, Mexico #3, the Philippines #8, Singapore #6) were ranked as Partly Free by Freedom House; one of them (Hong Kong #10, politically a part of China) was marked as Not Free.
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