Your Political Philosophy is Wrong - Change My Mind

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  • JusticeWept
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    Almost everyone, myself included, is terrible at political thought and moral thought. There are so many conflicting considerations on so many issues that while there is a right answer as to what we ought to do, we clearly don't stop and reflect enough. Take abortion, for example. Do you know when morally significant life begins? Can you honestly say that you have worked through all the ethical knots of abortion and really, truly know that it is permissible or impermissible?

    So this is your chance to prove yourself. Here's your mission, should you choose to accept it:
    Explain yourself.

    The question is purposefully broad. You could equate politics with your whole worldview, or define it another way. Either way, I'll question you.
  • coal
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    I'm a libertarian socialist hawk. Go.
  • Smithereens
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    I'm centrist apathetic. Change my mind.
  • Greyparrot
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    Skeptical Minarchist. Change my mind.

  • Analgesic.Spectre
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    --> @JusticeWept
    Morality, as far as I can see, is just the emotions of people. I don't think there is a whole lot of thinking to do about emotions, in this regard, whereas political thought has the capacity to be far more empirical. In light of this, I'll refer to political thought alone.

    There is great deal of veracity to your claim, yet I think it falters slightly. Yes, the average, hell even the above average person, does do political philosophy a disservice with heuristic views, but at the same time people need identity, in order to function.

    I believe that there are individuals who recognise the shortcoming of heuristics, yet are bound by time constraints. The time required to evaluate permutations in possible paths, for any issue, is staggering. Given enough thought, I think it becomes readily obvious that one cannot become an expert on all political topics, let alone a handful. Add to that a full-time job, children, wife/husband, friends etc, and there isn't a chance in hell.

    So, we defer to expert opinion, and make leaps in faith in trusting them. This, in turn, weakens our political position, because our position is not reached by our own thoughts/processes, but rather faith, to varying degrees, in others.

    Therefore, it is not necessarily that the vast majority of us are poor at political, but that the majority simply do not have the time necessary to reach worthwhile conclusions, and thus resort to heuristics/appeals to authority.

    As to my political philosophy being wrong, I'm yet to incur the rigidity of self-ascribed identity politics :)
  • TheDredPriateRoberts
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    Mostly Libertarian, capitalist, nothing else really makes logical sense but them again most people follow........
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdHTMLiUAZ8
  • JusticeWept
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    --> @coal @Greyparrot @Smithereens @TheDredPriateRoberts
    The OP was evidently misleading. What I meant by "your political philosophy" was not your political philosophy but your political philosophy. I hope you'll forgive me, because I think that question is far more interesting. Labels are useful descriptively, but there's problems with them:
    1) One label encompasses a broad range of views. What is libertarian? Is all that entails following the non-aggression principle? If so, what do you take the consequences of the NAP to be? How does that inform your views on abortion? Is taxation theft? There are many questions we could ask, and different libertarians would take different positions on them. And what does centrist mean? I assume that it's not that you believe abortion is wrong 50%. Minarchism is more strictly defined, but even that can lead to different consequences, depending on how you define aggression, for instance.
    2) Labels are reductionist. I mean, that's what they're designed to be. That's good for their purposes, but says nothing about why you believe what you do. I'm a liberal (not "classical", Rawlsian). But how did I arrive at which positions, and how do my beliefs inform each other?
    3) Attacking a label leaves one wide open to strawman accusations: "Other libertarians might believe x, but don't!"

    So, I hope you'll do me the kindness of fleshing your ideas out a little, being a little more specific about what you personally believe the role of government is, for instance, and why you believe what you do. What do you think makes your stance right?
  • TheDredPriateRoberts
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    --> @JusticeWept
    specifics would require a specific question or topic, otherwise it would require way too much writing, if there's a specif issue like gun control or something that's easier to address.  My philosophy is issue dependent.
  • RationalMadman
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    I'm a social democrat of a cynical kind (not humanist kind) I want the best for all as it's the most sustainable outcome and am merciless to the disruptive minority.
  • JusticeWept
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    --> @Analgesic.Spectre
    Morality, as far as I can see, is just the emotions of people. I don't think there is a whole lot of thinking to do about emotions, in this regard, whereas political thought has the capacity to be far more empirical. In light of this, I'll refer to political thought alone.
    I think a reasonable definition of morality is, "the answer to the question, 'what ought I (not) do?'". It's a functional definition, as our morality allows us to make value judgments about how we should act in any given situation. Morality and emotions are intertwined, sure. If you think something is wrong, you're likely to feel disgust when someone does it. But I don't think that makes morality bunk. If you've ever seen a video that was just gross--say, a video in which someone has a very snotty sneeze--you probably felt grossed out. But you wouldn't say that video was immoral. Whatever is immoral is immoral for a reason. There are lots of documentaries out there about the sins of our farming industry, for instance. An omnivore may see such a documentary and feel repulsed, and decide that slaughterhouses are immoral. But if you ask that person why they feel that way, they wouldn't say that slaughterhouses are immoral because repulsive. They would instead invoke, say, the right of animals not to suffer gratuitously. Did they change their mind because of emotions? Yes, to an extent.

    But their reasoning is independent of that.

    I used to argue with family members who opposed same-sex marriage. Some indeed were so petty as to want it banned because it was "gross". But all offered the additional justification of "marriage is between a man and a woman something something Bible". And if you've ever taken part in a thought experiment as a group, say the trolley problem, you'll find that there are moral questions which don't have much to do with emotions, as some people dutifully cross the room to let the five die because of their belief in the categorical imperative not to use someone as a means to an end. Could you argue that these more abstract decisions flow from concrete emotional ones? Sure. 

    Even if you do that, though, morality has an objective answer because of what it is. If morality is the question "what ought I (not) do?", some answer is correct, even if the answer is, "nothing in particular". And whatever is right, there is a reason for its correctness.




    tl;dr emotions and morality are connected but separate

    That aside, I take issue with your assertion that political thought is more "empirical". What do you mean by that?

    Yes, the average, hell even the above average person, does do political philosophy a disservice with heuristic views, but at the same time people need identity, in order to function.I believe that there are individuals who recognise the shortcoming of heuristics, yet are bound by time constraints. The time required to evaluate permutations in possible paths, for any issue, is staggering. Given enough thought, I think it becomes readily obvious that one cannot become an expert on all political topics, let alone a handful. Add to that a full-time job, children, wife/husband, friends etc, and there isn't a chance in hell. So, we defer to expert opinion, and make leaps in faith in trusting them. This, in turn, weakens our political position, because our position is not reached by our own thoughts/processes, but rather faith, to varying degrees, in others.Therefore, it is not necessarily that the vast majority of us are poor at political, but that the majority simply do not have the time necessary to reach worthwhile conclusions, and thus resort to heuristics/appeals to authority.
    Philosophical issues are so complex that even a lifetime of thought probably won't "solve" even one thing. I agree with you there. But that's not what I think makes people bad at political philosophy. I don't think deferring to experts is bad, either, although many people have poor understandings of what constitutes an "expert". Where people go wrong, IMO, is in their unwillingness to think responsibly, to admit not only that the other side is possibly right in some respects, but also that, in the face of the vast amount of information on Earth alone, there are bound to be some beliefs you and I hold, even dearly, that are wrong. Conviction in your philosophical beliefs is perfectly fine; that's what a belief is, as you can't believe something you hold no conviction in. But, being unwilling to entertain a differing view is (in most cases) counterproductive and makes you worse at thinking. Thinking mostly about the crowds who say "liberals/conservatives are out to destroy America" or "vaccines gave my child autism and you can't tell me otherwise it's all a big corporate conspiracy", for instance.


    tl;dr people are bad at political philosophy because they aren't cautious and self-questioning enough

    "Identity" is an abstract concept, so please elaborate. 
    As to my political philosophy being wrong, I'm yet to incur the rigidity of self-ascribed identity politics :)
    What is the role of government in a society?
  • JusticeWept
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    --> @TheDredPriateRoberts
    My philosophy is issue dependent.
    That's fair; I think most people decide things in some way similar to that. When I'm thinking, I tend to compare my views on a given philosophical issue to my views on a related one.

    How about this one, then: What is the role of government in a society? Why should they have that role?
  • JusticeWept
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    --> @RationalMadman
    I'm a social democrat of a cynical kind (not humanist kind) I want the best for all as it's the most sustainable outcome and am merciless to the disruptive minority.
    What do you mean by "cynical"? What constitutes "the best", and why is it sustainable? What is a "disruptive minority" and what do you mean by "merciless"? That sounds extremely sinister.
  • Swagnarok
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    Hard Paleoconservatism, including racial elements. Change my mind.
  • JusticeWept
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    --> @Swagnarok
    What do you mean by "hard" paleoconservatism? What is that opposed to? What "racial elements"? What constitutes a "race"? What sort of consequences would your views have for the US, one of the most (wonderfully, IMO) pluralistic societies to ever exist?

    And, what is the role of government in society? Why?

  • TheDredPriateRoberts
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    --> @JusticeWept
    when it comes to the government's role I do subscribe to the libertarian view in that it should be kept as minimal as possible and only for what is actually needed.  It's no longer a safety net that it should be, the role has gotten too big and intrusive.
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @JusticeWept
    Being sinister doesn't mean wrong. Why is my theory wrong? I'm waiting.

    Cynical: 
    1) believing that people are motivated purely by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity.
    2) concerned only with one's own interests and typically disregarding accepted standards in order to achieve them.

    Best (as adjective):
    1) of the most excellent or desirable type or quality.


    Disruptive Minority:
    the smaller number or part, especially a number or part representing less than half of the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community that is causing or tending to cause disturbance or problems which interrupts/combats freedom from disturbance; tranquillity.
  • JusticeWept
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    --> @RationalMadman
    Being sinister doesn't mean wrong. Why is my theory wrong? I'm waiting.
    You haven't given a theory. You just described the outline of your opinion, more or less. 
    But there is something already questionable. You describe yourself as a social democrat, and yet from what you say, you are extremely hostile to minority rights, typically considered a pillar of democracy. I don't know exactly what you would say is or isn't a "disturbance" or "problem", but a minority in any democratic system will cause political conflict in government. The level of that conflict varies, so perhaps you can say where you'd draw the line. But assuming your answer is strict, as you lead me to believe, how is suppression of the minority possibly democratic?

    Best (as adjective):1) of the most excellent or desirable type or quality.
    But what is "the most excellent or desirable type or quality" for everyone? What is good for people to have? 
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @JusticeWept
    Give me a better outline, you 'everyone is wrong' preaching excuse of a debater.

    There is blatantly a right theory if there is a wrong one.
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @JusticeWept
    I can explain in detail why mine is best but you will just ask 'why'.
  • JusticeWept
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    --> @TheDredPriateRoberts
    Why do you believe it should be kept as small as possible? Why not, say, as big as it can possibly get, where a small group of central planners decide every aspect of your life, every resource you consume, every person you meet, everything you learn, even who you marry?

    Obviously I don't think it should be anywhere near that big, but I'm interested in why you think it shouldn't be.
  • JusticeWept
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    --> @RationalMadman
    Give me a better outline, you 'everyone is wrong' preaching excuse of a debater.There is blatantly a right theory if there is a wrong one.
    Chill out. All I asked was how you square your believe in democracy with your disbelief in minority rights. It's not impossible to do. Majoritarian conceptions of democracy have existed; just think back to ancient times.

    When I say you only gave your opinion, that's not meant as an insult. It's just meant as a description of what you did.
    It's like if I said, "I'm a liberal of an optimistic kind, who wants the best for everyone, and who believes that pluralism is a natural, good result of a free society."
    The last half of the sentence says something more concrete, but can you rebut the first half? It's very likely you have a picture in your head of what I mean by "optimist liberal". But it's equally likely that your idea of what that means doesn't match what I mean, so you could spend five paragraphs rebutting something I didn't say. That's why I asked you questions; so that we can talk about what you actually think rather than what your outline gives as as a vague shadow of what you think.
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @JusticeWept
    I don't believe anyone has any inherent rights at all. There's no contradiction.
  • TheDredPriateRoberts
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    --> @JusticeWept
    libertarianism is about individual freedom, so my philosophy is about maximum individual freedoms (not total for obvious reasons) and that can't happen when government controls more.
  • JusticeWept
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    --> @RationalMadman
    Something I was typing before I saw your response, added here:
    It's not like I'll just say, "why?", "why?", "why?" and nothing else. The questions aren't arbitrary and designed to "fool" you. Sure, you might find yourself caught in a contradiction and some point, struggling to explain some view you hold. And then you'll very likely have to revise some view. That's not an attack on you. Anyone, myself included, would have to do that when cross-examined. Questions are far, far more dangerous than answers are to the fragile "peace" (read: absence of tension, rather than true philosophical blooming) of the mind. And that's a great thing.

    Now to your current response:
    My question to you did turn out to be useful, because very, very few people don't believe in rights but do believe in democracy. I would have totally straw-manned you had I not asked that. 

    So, let me make sure I've got your stance right: You've said that the goal of government is to maximize some "good". There are no rights; the majority, acting in their own self-interest, decides what good is and that's that. If the ancient Greek practice of ostracizing were brought back, fine. If 51% of the voters say kill the other 49%, fine. Is that accurate?

    If so, I'll argue later that does not bring about the "best for all", and if so, another scenario: According to your stance so far, if 51% of voters says murder is fine, fine. But I suspect you'd say that murder is against their self-interest. If so, how do you know? And if they do in fact act against their self-interest, is there an appropriate remedy?
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @JusticeWept
    Not if the 49% are significant enough in potency to severely harm the 51% if a war broke out, no.

    The goal is a system where no change is needed for as long as possible. This is the ultimate system always. This is achieved by informing many people of many things and letting the majority analyse what is best. At times a smarter minority is welcome to actively challenge and unite as a lesser party or band of individuals preaching against the state's views but if they begin to lie to win the debate, I support arresting them and silencing them.