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Why is coercion bad?

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tunk Posted: Sat, Nov 12 2011 2:12 PM

So I'm reading Ethics of Liberty, and Rothbard makes a distinction between freedom of choice and power or abundance of choice. If man is stranded on a deserted island, he has a completely unrestricted freedom of choice. Unfortunately, he doesn't have much of an abundance of choice: he can either gather the material resources he needs to survive, or he can starve.

Rothbard later goes on to say that coercion is bad because it restricts your freedom of choice. But I don't see how this is true. Suppose I put a gun to Jim's head and demand he fork over his wallet. He certainly does have freedom of choice: he can give up the goods, or get shot in the face. All I've done is restrict his abundance of choice.

Am I missing something here? Why exactly is coercion bad?

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Well, Rothbard thought that coercion/aggression was bad for ethical reasons. For, ultimately, rejection of aggression does amount to an ethical decision.  That's why he ends Power and Market as follows:

At this point, the praxeologist as such retires from the scene; the citizen—the ethicist—must now choose according to the set of values or ethical principles he holds dear.

He's leaving your decision about ethics up to you.

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bbnet replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 2:38 PM

Perhaps it is bad because you have denied him his freedom to choose from the abundance of choices he once had before you applied your act of coercion?

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Malachi replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 3:03 PM
Coercion is bad because it involves the threat of aggressive violence. It is a moral judgment derived from NAP. You are correct that people can still choose to defy the aggressor. Some people consider this the superior option.
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Neodoxy replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 4:48 PM

It's not bad. This is why Rothbard's system, just as all systems of non-individualist and objective moralities, falls flat on its face

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Groucho replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 4:50 PM

tunk:

So I'm reading Ethics of Liberty, and Rothbard makes a distinction between freedom of choice and power or abundance of choice. If man is stranded on a deserted island, he has a completely unrestricted freedom of choice. Unfortunately, he doesn't have much of an abundance of choice: he can either gather the material resources he needs to survive, or he can starve.

Rothbard later goes on to say that coercion is bad because it restricts your freedom of choice. But I don't see how this is true. Suppose I put a gun to Jim's head and demand he fork over his wallet. He certainly does have freedom of choice: he can give up the goods, or get shot in the face. All I've done is restrict his abundance of choice.

Am I missing something here? Why exactly is coercion bad?

I think by "unrestricted freedom of choice" Rothbard meant that no one could interfere with the stranded man's choice of actions. However, by threatening to shoot your buddy Jim unless he gives you his wallet, you are very much interfering with his choice of actions.
 
I'm sure that, before you came along with the extortion offer, Jim had not considered "giving Tunk my wallet" and "getting shot in the face" among his preferred courses of action that day.
An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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You're an amoralist Neo. If I did not believe in morals, I would be a statist, as that could easily maximize my personal benefits. I would want to become a member of the State elite, if I wanted to simply do what was best for me.

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Neodoxy replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 5:02 PM

"You're an amoralist Neo."

Very close but not quite

"If I did not believe in morals, I would be a statist, as that could easily maximize my personal benefits. I would want to become a member of the State elite, if I wanted to simply do what was best for me"

Then that's a case where you might want to ask yourself what kind of person you are, not who I am. From what you have said you might want to ask yourself if you do not want to question your ultimate aims. 

However, the point is that you have not defended the thesis of why coersion is bad.

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Then that's a case where you might want to ask yourself what kind of person you are, not who I am.

If you are implying that it would be bad for me to be a statist, then you are implying morality. If you think it is OK for me to be a statist, then you are being consistent with your amoral beliefs.

You know what, I'm going to murder someone right now. brb.

However, the point is that you have not defended the thesis of why coersion is bad.

It just is. Axiomatic.

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Neodoxy replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 5:32 PM

 

"If you are implying that it would be bad for me to be a statist, then you are implying morality. If you think it is OK for me to be a statist, then you are being consistent with your amoral beliefs."

The word "OK" is a little up to interpretation here. So I looked up the word and most of the definitions revolved around something being acceptable. No, I do not think it is acceptable that you kill someone. There need be no moral standard to declare whether an action is acceptable.  

 

"You know what, I'm going to murder someone right now. brb."

I don't know what exactly you're going for but that doesn't seem to be a very mature acting style

 

"It just is. Axiomatic."

That's not an argument. Why is it axiomatic? According to that logic I could simply claim that subjectivism is axiomatic and it could be fine. Indeed I would argue that praxeology itself implies that morality is subjective. Mises seemed to be much more accepting of this conclusion than Rothbard was for fairly obvious reasons. 

 

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No, I do not think it is acceptable that you kill someone.

Oh, so you think it is wrong for me to kill someone? I personally think it will maximize my utility, so...

I don't know what exactly you're going for but that doesn't seem to be a very mature acting style

It is not very mature to not accept that morality is absolute.

Morality is subjective.

Because I am sure you have researched the definitions of "objective" and "subjective" in the OED and really know what they mean? I can explain this to you if you want. In short, "objectivity" does not imply "universality": saying that morality is objective is not saying that there is one true morality (which I also believe). I think Rothbardian ethics are both objective and universally true, but the two words I have used mean very different things.

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Neodoxy replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 6:04 PM

 

"Oh, so you think it is wrong for me to kill someone?"

I personally believe that it is wrong, yes. In MY MIND, it is wrong, I disagree with it, I would probably kill you to prevent murder, but that does not make it wrong. You are still not addressing the actual issue, whether I believe something is wrong or not, whether I want something or not does not mean that it is the case. I WANT objective moraltiy to exist but it doesn't. I was in the same situation you are, I haven't fought so hard to defend a false concept since I lost my faith (not a jab at believers). There's a reason why you have to rely upon words like "axiomatic" and state that "it just is" because there is no way to define morality without reference to subjective values.

The fact is that if killing someone maximizes your utility, then by your judgement, you should do it. 

 

"It is not very mature to not accept that morality is absolute"

Why not? By everything that you've actually put forth for an argument in favor of objective morality I could just as easily argue that it's not matue that god created the world. Indeed absolute morality is quite a childish concept. Imagine if someone told you that there were rules that you must follow and cannot break under any situation which you cannot choose what rules these are and that besides these rules you could do anything that you wanted but the reason that these things existed was axiomatic and not based upon actual human preference. You might consider that a little childish. 

Objective morality is a concept that only makes sense if you're born into a society where it is a presuppositon 

"Because I am sure you have researched the definitions of "objective" and "subjective" in the OED and really know what they mean?"

It's been a while but yes I have. It was very important to me when I was attempting to justify my moralism. 

"I can explain this to you if you want. In short, "objectivity" does not imply "universality": saying that morality is objective is not saying that there is one true morality (which I also believe)."

Correct, although they are used in conjunction with one another so often that most people (including myself) find it conveniant to shove them in the same boat. I would also like to throw out there that I believe both are equally fallacious concepts.

"I think Rothbardian ethics are both objective and universally true."

Why? Can you give me an actual reason why? 

I'm not trying to be impolite, but I would like an actual reason as to why you believe any one of these things.

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There's a reason why you have to rely upon words like "axiomatic" and state that "it just is" because there is no way to define morality without reference to subjective values.

Why would aggression be wrong if not for the fact that aggression is wrong? The "axiomatic" and "it just is" are merely my semantics for expressing the truth that A=A.

To me it just seems like you are anti-simplicity.

Imagine if someone told you that there were rules that you must follow and cannot break under any situation which you cannot choose what rules these are and that besides these rules you could do anything that you wanted but the reason that these things existed was axiomatic and not based upon actual human preference. You might consider that a little childish.

No, I'd instantly accept those rules if they were Non-Aggression, and as a principled man, I would instantly reject any "rules" that were Aggressive.

Correct, although they are used in conjunction with one another so often that most people (including myself) find it conveniant to shove them in the same boat.

Why would you do that when discussing with someone who actually understands the difference between the two?

Why? Can you give me an actual reason why?

Objective Morality: A Syllogism

As objects of perception, all abstract theories are objective.
Morals are abstract theories.
Therefore, morality is objective.

Universal Morality: An Axiom

Every man has a right to his own, from which is derived that no man may aggress upon another or his property.

 

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Bert replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 6:41 PM

Rothbard later goes on to say that coercion is bad because it restricts your freedom of choice. But I don't see how this is true. Suppose I put a gun to Jim's head and demand he fork over his wallet. He certainly does have freedom of choice: he can give up the goods, or get shot in the face. All I've done is restrict his abundance of choice.

On a whole, he doesn't have much freedom of anything now does he?

Let's put yourself in the scenario.  I have a gun to your head and tell you to hand over everything you currently have on your, or you're dead.  Being dead isn't much of a choice, it's the end of your life, that leaves you with only one default choice, hand over whatever you have.  This will happen over and over again til you choose death if the cycle repeats uninterrupted.

If I did not believe in morals, I would be a statist, as that could easily maximize my personal benefits.

If you didn't believe in morals you'd be a nihilist, maximizing your "uneasiness" or own prefered goals or "happiness" or stimulation of what you desire, being a Statist is only second to what you are trying to achieve.

It is not very mature to not accept that morality is absolute.

Why?

I think Rothbardian ethics are both objective and universally true, but the two words I have used mean very different things.

Why?

Both of those statements are subjective on behalf that it's your belief, therfore not objectively or universally true.  Why are they not?  Because have people here now disagreeing with their own views and sets of morality that cannot be proven as hard factual evidence.

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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Bert replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 6:44 PM

Objective Morality: A Syllogism

As objects of perception, all abstract theories are objective.*
Morals are abstract theories.
Therefore, morality is objective.

Universal Morality: An Axiom

Every man has a right to his own, from which is derived that no man may aggress upon another or his property.***

*My initial response is, "LOLWUT?".  Do we have to define objective and subjective now?

***Does every man agree with above statement in all circumstances?  I come across people every day who say and believes things that counter that statement.

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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*My initial response is, "LOLWUT?". Do we have to define objective and subjective now?

I am defining objective as by the Oxford English Dictionary.

Opposed to subjective in the modern sense: That is or belongs to what is presented to consciousness, as opposed to the consciousness itself; that is the object of perception or thought, as distinct from the perceiving or thinking subject; hence, that is, or has the character of being, a ‘thing’ external to the mind; real.

There you go.

I come across people every day who say and believes things that counter that statement.

They're wrong. Simply because morality is universal does not mean that people cannot physically violate it. People can aggress, but aggressing is universally immoral.

Simply because A=A does not mean that people cannot physically claim that A=B. (If A=B, then B=A, and hence it is stil true that A=A).

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^Please see the edit to the above post. =)

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Bert replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 6:55 PM

How we perceive things is subjective, whether or not whatever is external is objective, because it's all about the individual's relation and perception of said "thing" in question.

Still, I'm not proven otherwise.  Answer the two "Why?" questions and provide a response as why someone is wrong for not agreeing with Rothbard's view of aggression.

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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Bert replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 6:57 PM

There are people who believe the needs of the many outweigh the few, regardless if they fall into the majority or minority if the proposed action is beneficial to the group as a whole.  Therfore, they believe what we call aggression is "good" because the majority benefits regardless if the minority does not want to involve itself in it and is forced by law to do so.

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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Answer the two "Why?" questions and provide a response as why someone is wrong for not agreeing with Rothbard's view of aggression.

I gave you a syllogism and an axiom as proof. =)

To simplify things further, the syllogism boils down to "abstract theories external to the Mind exist," and the axiom boils down to A=A.

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tunk replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 7:04 PM

Ok, let me put it this way. "Aggression" is the initiation of the use of physical force against someone. "Coercion" is only the threat of aggression.

 

Suppose Joe is faced with a machine with 3 buttons on it, A, B, and C. If Pete comes along, grabs Joe's hand, applying enough force to make him push C, this is a clear case of aggression (i.e. initiation of the use of physical force) and his rights have been violated. Joe was deprived of the ability to freely choose.
 
But if Pete instead puts a gun to Joe's head and demands he choose C, all that has changed are the options with which Joe is faced. He can still take his pick of whatever button he likes. If that button is not C, he will simply get plugged. Joe is still free to choose his fate.
 
What I'm hearing is that coercion is bad because it changes the options with which you are faced to a set of options that would not otherwise prevail. But literally everything does this. I mean, hurricanes also do this. Should we outlaw hurricanes?
 
I guess one response is just to say that, if aggression is wrong (assuming Rothbard's arguments hold), then obviously aggression should not even be threatened. And I guess that solves the problem, but it isn't as satisfactory as I would like.

 

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Malachi replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 7:08 PM
if aggression is wrong (assuming Rothbard's arguments hold), then obviously aggression should not even be threatened. And I guess that solves the problem, but it isn't as satisfactory as I would like.
I would like to help relieve your mental unease, just tell me what is unsatisfactory to you about saying "aggression is wrong therefore threatening aggression is also wrong"
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Neodoxy replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 7:14 PM

 

"Why would aggression be wrong if not for the fact that aggression is wrong? The "axiomatic" and "it just is" are merely my semantics for expressing the truth that A=A."

A must equal A. Man cannot imagine a world in which this is not the case. Does this mean that we can express everything as an axiom? No, that's ridiculous and that's exactly what you're doing. With this line of reasoning we can argue anything. Morality doesn't exist. That's axiomatic. Fun logic isn't it? What you have is not a reason it's an excuse. until you tell me why this is not the case then I have to treat you the same why I would treat someone who claimed that water running up hill was axiomatic.
 

"To me it just seems like you are anti-simplicity."

Socialism is axiomatically the best economic system

Altruism is axiomatically the true system of objective morality

Kings are axiomatically appointed by gods. 

Do you disagree with these things? I can't back them up, but it seems to me that if you disagree with them and you demand an explanation then you're anti simplicity.

 

"No, I'd instantly accept those rules if they were Non-Aggression, and as a principled man, I would instantly reject any "rules" that were Aggressive."

Why? All of them are just as sensible.

 

"Why would you do that when discussing with someone who actually understands the difference between the two?"

They're used in the same context and equally fallacious for similar reasons.

"As objects of perception, all abstract theories are objective."

False premise. simply because something is percievable does not mean that it is not affected by human emotions or feelings. Quite the contrary. Furthermore it would seem that, depending upon one's logic, describing abstract theories as objects of perception would appear contradictory. 

"Morals are abstract theories."

The concept of morality inherently implies that morality is subjective.

 

"Every man has a right to his own, from which is derived that no man may aggress upon another or his property."

Why not? In "For a New Liberty" Rothbard backed up this assertion with a reducto ad absurdum to other types of morality. He did not claim that it was an axiom in and of itself. Rothbard's entire problem arose from the incorrect idea that morality must actually exist. That's the entire problem, it doesn't. Morality is a subjective concept based off of personal value judgements. Claiming that this actually has some "objective" or "universal" bearing upon the external world is just ridiculous.

 

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Groucho replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 7:24 PM

Tunk,

In the second example, the "choice" of getting plugged for pushing button A or B was introduced by Pete. Pete is forcing that choice in by his aggression.

Aggression and coersion are actions chosen by individuals. Hurricanes are not.

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Until you tell me why this is not the case then I have to treat you the same why I would treat someone who claimed that water running up hill was axiomatic.

Water runs downhill. That's true because it's true, just like the Non-Aggression Axiom. You're the guy who thinks water may or may not run up hill.

Socialism is axiomatically the best economic system

That's false because non-aggression is true.

Altruism is axiomatically the true system of objective morality

Kings are axiomatically appointed by gods.

Those are just personal preferences, presuming that we are talking about a Voluntary King, in which I do actually believe.  Now if the King was head of a State, then that would be universally wrong, going against the NAA.

As for religion, the only sensible belief is agnosticism, as proposed by Thomas Huxley, so gods may or may not have appointed the Voluntary King.

He did not claim that it was an axiom in and of itself.

Ha, yes he did, he claimed that Non-Aggression was an Axiom, hence Non-Aggression Axiom. He may have used ancillary evidence to prove this point, but he would certainly agree with me that non-aggression is in and of itself axiomatic.

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Neodoxy replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 11:07 PM

"Water runs downhill. That's true because it's true, just like the Non-Aggression Axiom. You're the guy who thinks water may or may not run up hill."

No. You're the person closing your eyes and shouting that it's running uphill and claiming that's an axiom.

 

"That's false because non-aggression is true."

Lol

"Those are just personal preferences"

That's what morality is.

"Now if the King was head of a State, then that would be universally wrong"

Why? Oh, I bet I can predict the answer to this: deus ex machina the non-agression principle (oh wait principle is something that can be attacked...) axiom

"As for religion, the only sensible belief is agnosticism, as proposed by Thomas Huxley"

No. The christian god is an axiom.

"He may have used ancillary evidence to prove this point, but he would certainly agree with me that non-aggression is in and of itself axiomatic."

An axiom, by definition, should not need to be proven.

Make an actual argument please.

 

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No. You're the person closing your eyes and shouting that it's running uphill and claiming that's an axiom.

No, I am closing my eyes and shouting that it is running downhill, and believing that anyone who even *thinks* that it might be running uphill is an idiot.

Lol

For the record I was presuming you were talking about State socialism.

No. The christian god is an axiom.

No, it's axiomatic that men should not pretend to know that which cannot be known (at least for now). That is agnosticism.

An axiom, by definition, should not need to be proven.

It does not need to be proven, but that does not mean ancillary evidence cannot be provided. You're right, though, that I should not have used the word prove. Revision: "He may have used ancillary evidence to illuminate this point."

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Neodoxy replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 11:31 PM

"I am closing my eyes and shouting"

I'm glad we can agree on this much

"that it is running downhill"

No, you're not because morality is subjective

"and believing that anyone who even *thinks* that it might be running uphill is an idiot."

I think the idiot is the person who doesn't bother to open his eyes and  stop shouting/cowering behind his axioms and calms down and has a reasonable discussion about the way that the water is flowing.

"For the record I was presuming you were talking about "

My statement still stands

 

"No, it's axiomatic that men should not pretend to know that which cannot be known (at least for now). That is agnosticism"

False. The love of the almighty god as spoken by the lord savior Jesus christ is an axiom. I will now repeat over and over that this is true, but remember, those who believe anything else for any other set of reasons are the idiots.

"It does not need to be proven, but that does not mean ancillary evidence cannot be provided."

Why would you rely on assumption when evidence can be provided? That's against reason itself. 

"You're right, though, that I should not have used the word prove. Revision: 'He may have used ancillary evidence to illuminate this point'"

Fair enough, an understandable verbal slip up.

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Also, if you could provide any literature recommendations on your nihilistic point of view, I would be quite interested indeed. Even if I disagree.

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Neodoxy replied on Sat, Nov 12 2011 11:48 PM

Whilst I have slight grudges against all of these writers the best in this instance are definitly 

Nietzsche (best of the whole lot but the most difficult reading by far and the most important part of his writings are in the midst of less important and now semi-obsolete works)

Stirner (A good source when critiquing other moralities but still falls into the trap of "might makes right" and assuming that just because something is, that this actually breaks the is-ought gap)

Mises (Praxeology when taken to its logical extent results in subjectivity of morality. A lot of Mises' chapters in both theory and history and human action can be inserted straight into any argument about moral judgements)

 

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No, you're not because morality is subjective

It is objective; I already proved this in an easy-to-comprehend syllogism. Even if non-aggressive morality is not universal (which I am at least willing to ponder), then moral codes are still objective. A moral code that says "killing people is the ultimate aim in life" is still objective, even though it is also universally wrong.

I think the idiot is the person who doesn't bother to open his eyes and stop shouting/cowering behind his axioms and calms down and has a reasonable discussion about the way that the water is flowing.

Water is running downhill because it is axiomatically true that water runs downhill in the natural world. Why is that true? Because it is running downhill. Can you give me an actual reason why? It's running downhill.

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Thanks for the suggestions Neo. =) I'll make sure to get to some of those books and tell you what I think.

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Neodoxy replied on Sun, Nov 13 2011 12:00 AM

"I already proved this in an easy-to-comprehend syllogism."

Which I critiqued

"A moral code that says "killing people is the ultimate aim in life" is still objective, even though it is also universally wrong."

No because a statement of right and wrong is a value judgement, it is a statement of quality of good and bad and therefore it is subjective and based upon the feelings and emotions of the observer. Nothing on this earth can break the is-ought gap. You can argue that it is still wrong according to said morality, but then it is irrelavent, a side note without value and "right" and "wrong" become empty words with no meaning. 

"Water is running downhill because it is axiomatically true that water runs downhill in the natural world."

No it's not. That's not how science works. No one can know a prori anything about the natural world without making assumptions. If you had never seen the external world then could you say with any certainty that water would flow downhill? No, no you could not. Therefore it is something proven by experience, it is not an axiom. Your method of doing things would destroy science as we know it and would be laughed if critically looked at by others.

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It is a statement of quality of good and bad and therefore it is subjective and based upon the feelings and emotions of the observer.

Ha, no, it is the abstract object of your perception (on your computer screen) and therefore objective.

As Agalloch, a friend of mine on UK Libertarian Forum, said:

Objectivity is the default position for any theory. Interestingly, people tend to think of Objective meaning Physical, and Subjective meaning Abstract. Infact, it's almost 99% of the time, the other way around.. The Physical tends towards the Subjective, because we experience the Physical world Subjectively (though the world itself is of course Objective). The Abstract is by default, Objective. Come up with any Abstract theory, regardless of it's application to reality, and communicate it to another. I'm willing to bet anything they'll reduce the same results as you from the axioms of that theory. Have them eat the same food as you, and chances are likely you'll both derive (mildly, the actual chemical reactions are Objective after all) different sensations, and definetly different enjoyment about many foods.

So the Objectivity of the theory is not important. It's focused on because so many causes - mostly the Statist one - need Morality to be Subjective (an invalid opening proposition). So create any theory of morality, and it will be Objective. The problem then is Validating it's axioms against human action, Universal laws (if two people can't do two things at once, and your theory validates statements saying they can, then your theory is invalid, for example) and the common understanding of Good as contrasted with Evil - Which generally encompasses basic tenants like choice, and the ability for everyone to be validated good. A theory that required some people's action to be invalidate or categorised negatively is clearly false, for example.

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Neodoxy replied on Sun, Nov 13 2011 12:12 AM

 

"Thanks for the suggestions Neo. =) I'll make sure to get to some of those books and tell you what I think."

No problem. If you want any help surrounding those books then I'd be happy to provide it. I'd start with the first few sections of Theory and History (you should read the whole book anyway, but the first sections are the ones relevant to the conversation) then read the brunt of Stirner. Nietzsche is criptic and hard to pick out so an abridgement or a book simplifying his philosophy might actually be better.
 

 

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Neodoxy replied on Sun, Nov 13 2011 12:27 AM

"I'm willing to bet anything they'll reduce the same results as you from the axioms of that theory."

This is disproved empirically a thousand times over. Furthermore even if they did come to the same conclusions then not even this would not even constitute something being objective. True objectivity is beyond human capabilities, and finally moral issues are the things which people disagree on the most.

"So the Objectivity of the theory is not important."

Yes it is.

 "So create any theory of morality, and it will be Objective."

No, see my statement that you quoted.

"The problem then is Validating it's axioms against human action"

Something that no non-subjectivist moral standard can do.

"Universal laws (if two people can't do two things at once, and your theory validates statements saying they can, then your theory is invalid, for example) and the common understanding of Good as contrasted with Evil - Which generally encompasses basic tenants like choice, and the ability for everyone to be validated good. A theory that required some people's action to be invalidate or categorised negatively is clearly false, for example."

Molyneuxvian logic that falls apart as soon as we apply it consistently or bother to split up the theory.

For instance: I think that it's a good thing that I drink at a certian time 

Aha! So you think that it's good for all men to drink at that time!

No, I think that it's good when I drink at that time.

Expressing a value system need not apply to all men. It can still be objective according to the way you're using it. Despite what some libertarians like to believe titles, persons, instances matter. The statement that "when one person is starving it is acceptable for him to steal food from others" is both universal and objective.

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The statement that "when one person is starving it is acceptable for him to steal food from others" is both universal and objective.

What? Stealing is always wrong in any scenario...People (including myself) should rather die than commit aggression.

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Neodoxy replied on Sun, Nov 13 2011 1:07 AM

Dammit RD, don't be that guy who makes me look up a list of logical fallacies.

 

"What? Stealing is always wrong in any scenario..."

Begging the question This is something that you've been doing the entire time, however it is more true to say that you never proved the premise itself.

"People (including myself) should rather die than commit aggression."

Begging the question: Implicit, you still have never once said why this is the case that people should avoid agression, it's simply based on the fact its an axiom

Appeal to belief Simply because many people do believe this, it does not mean that it is the case. Even if they did this fallacy would still apply

Appeal to common practice Same as above.
Appeal to popularity Same as above.
Red Herring My statement still applies, the above ethic is universal and objective in the way you're using objective which is to deal with application instead of motivation which is the opposite of the way I employ the term.

 

 

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Clayton replied on Sun, Nov 13 2011 1:57 AM

@OP: First of all, I don't agree with Rothbard's views on this - I don't think we need to resort to moral opinions to resolve interpersonal conflicts... we simply need a free market in arbitration and the production of security. Speculation about the metaphysical categories of "right" and "wrong" is not tied to its property consequences, this is why it is not useful in settling real disputes. The issue of personal moral progress and enlightenment is a separate, unrelated topic.

Second, your illustration is flawed - a man holding a gun to another man is committing armed assault, unjustified detention and possibly kidnapping. Those, in themselves, are torts with property consequences - armed assault is unilateral imposition of risk onto an individual's body, unjustified detention and kidnapping impede the detained individual from acting (property rights are legally significant precisely because they are a necessary component of action).

Mises resolves this problem in Human Action by noting that murder or robbery are actually examples of "autistic exchange", that is, exchanging one set of circumstances for another set of circumstances without the expectation of participation by anyone else.

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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Begging the question: Implicit, you still have never once said why this is the case that people should avoid agression, it's simply based on the fact its an axiom.

Right, if you accept non-aggression as an axiom, you will see that my logic is sound. Obviously your stance is that you do not consider it axiomatic, which I disagree with. Again, the NAA is a singular truism, so "circular reasoning" does not apply. A=A, so my guitar=guitar. Since the identity axiom is true, the above reasoning is not circular. The same applies to all my statements on morality, since they all stem from an axiom. You are asking me to prove an axiom, which is extremely difficult, if not impossible. The whole point of an axiom is being a self-evidently true statement. It's really hard to explain why A=A, but A does equal A. The identity axiom is a fact, the non-aggression axiom is a fact, and it does not seem like I should have to prove either.

Appeal to belief Simply because many people do believe this, it does not mean that it is the case. Even if they did this fallacy would still apply

As an individualist, I don't really care what anyone thinks besides myself, save for Rothbard. I did reference Agalloch, whom I largely agree with, but I was merely providing another reference for my case.

The above ethic is universal and objective in the way you're using objective which is to deal with application instead of motivation which is the opposite of the way I employ the term.

I agree that your statement on stealing is objective. But it is not universal, seeing that it violates the NAA.

 

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