This is an excellent video that demonstrates some of the big differences between libertarians and conservatives.
Even though I am not a fan of Ann Coulter, I do think she represents the conservative position rather accurately – or, perhaps that is why I am not a fan of Ann Coulter…
What would you do?
C0nc0rdance is a scientist who often appears on The Magic Sandwich Show, which I sometimes watch. And while I do not agree with all the views expressed on that show, I do like the level and manner at which the discussion occurs.
So, when C0nc0rdance put out a video on the topic of the 2nd Amendment and the whole gun control issue, I expected a well thought out, well supported position.
Having heard C0nc0rdance’s views on individual vs. collective rights, I also expected that his conclusion will not be the same as mine.
I was not disappointed – on either count.
I was, however, surprised how long into the video I agreed with each and every word he said. His conclusion and mine hinge on one very important distinction in how we perceive ‘rights’….
It is my core belief that the only way for a society to function is to recognize the inalienable rights of each and every individual within that society. The very concept of ‘collective rights’ is anathema to our civilization, where all rights derive from the individual. It is therefore not possible for any group to have different rights than those the individuals within that group have….because if it did, then those individuals within these privileged groups would have greater rights than other individuals in society and we would no longer have equality before the law.
In other words, in order to ensure that each citizen is treated equally by the courts and the law, we are limited to only legally recognizing individual rights. This makes any argument based on ‘group rights’ invalid.
Despite this insurmountable difference of opinion in individual vs. collective rights which makes C0nc0rdance arrive at a different conclusion than I, I think his argument is very good and well worth listening to.
Here is some debunking of dualist’s ‘load of dingo’s kidneys’ – much more eloquently than I could have done!
This is a long and painful conversation during which Thunderf00t attempts to explain the philosophical concept that made Socrates famous: I know that I know nothing!
Thunderf00t then goes to present his 3 basal accumptions on which he has built his model of reality – and attempts to explain this to Mr. Hovind.
Eric Hovind fails to understand the concept altogether – and gets stuck on it.
OK – this is a very contentious topic. Please, read my disclaimer first:
In this post, I do not wish to debate the morality of abortion or if it ought to be legal or illegal and anything else related to abortion itself. Let’s leave that for a later post focused specifically on that topic.
This post is about the inconsistencies in the ‘principled positions’ presently proposed (held) by many people who consider themselves as part of the ‘religious right’ and/or (because they do differ at times, but not always) ‘social conservatives’.
No, I am not taking the position that they are correct or incorrect, right or wrong. I am simply stating that they are inconsistent in their reasoning. As in, ‘if A, then you cannot logically argue for B; if B, then you cannot logically argue for A’!
Now that I have presented the disclaimer at such great length, let me present the two positions, as I understand them to be argued by the aforementioned factions within the conservative movement.
A person’s a person, no matter how small – or within a womb he/she is. Since the genetic material is set at conception, from zygote on, this is defined as a human being with full human rights and freedoms. Abortion is immoral and should be illegal because by intentionally killing this entity, one is killing a human being and thus violating his/her civil liberties.
In other words, ‘Position A’ holds that killing a fetus is murder because civil liberties and full human rights kick in at conception. The right of the child to his/her civil liberties is inviolable, regardless of what the parents’ views are.
Parents have a right to raise their child as they wish, without interference from the government.
In other words, parents should have the right to exclude information from their child’s education which they don’t like or agree with, they may discipline their child in any way they see fit, and so on. They could even subject them to plastic surgery for the hell of it, if they wanted to…
Please, don’t get me wrong – I do not know where the proper balance between the civil liberties of the child versus the civil liberties of the parents lies!
All I am saying is that if you think that the government has the right to interfere in in parental decisions from the very beginning – before the child is even born, it is logically inconsistent to then claim that the government has no right to interfere from that point on, whether it is sex ed in school or teaching children from a very young age that there are multiple religious beliefs (as well as disbeliefs).
After all, we do know from multiple, well documented studies that most children who receive religious indoctrination from their earliest childhood can never fully shake the effects of this early brainwashing. We also understand quite well how this works and that early childhood religious indoctrination actually changes the physiology of a child’s brain.
This clearly interferes not just with the civil liberty of freedom of religion, it actually interferes with the right to bodily integrity: the same right which is being violated by abortion if one were to extend civil liberties to the point of conception.
It seems to me that if one is arguing from a principled position, one can either argue that the parents have the exclusive right to make decision on behalf of their children or that children have their own civil liberties which nobody, not even the parent, can violate.
Both positions make very valid points. But, they are irreconcillable with each other because each stems from a set of principles which abrogates the other.
Either the civil libertis of the child – especially the right to bodily integrity – start at conception, as argued in ‘Position 1′: if this is so, the parents do not have the right to violate this bodily integrity, ever. Not to circumcize their children (of either sex), nor to corporally punish them, nor to rewire their brain through early childhood religious indoctrination!
Or the parents, as guardians, have the right to treat their children as they wish, as expressed in ‘Position 2′: they may subject them to non-medically necessary surgical procedures (religiously motivated or otherwise), they may spank them, they may deny them education and they may alter the natural structure of the brain through childhood religious indoctrination.
The problem comes in when the ‘religious right’/'social conservatives’ attempt to take both positions at once: abortion is murder and government must step in to stop it – and the government has no right to ban childhood circumcision, ban corporal punishment and to over-ride the parent’s interference with healthy brain development and education….
Again, I am not passing judgment on either set of principles.
All I am saying is that people need to choose one set of principles and stick with it, or they will not only open themselves to justified ridicule, they will continue to taint the ‘c’onservative movement as a whole.
When you went to grade school, were you taught that ‘it is impossible to divide by zero’? Or, that ‘we do not divide by zero’, as Vi Hart claims in the video she was taught?
I only ask because where I went to grade school (the other side of the iron curtain), we were taught from the very beginning that anything divided by zero = infinity….
Interesting video. Personally, the argument I find most convincing is the demonstration of equivalence because there is no number which is greater than 0.9999repeating and 1.0.
OK, now for a bit of philosoraptoring…
What does the term ‘=’ mean: is ‘equal to’ actually mean ‘the same’? Or does it mean ‘equivalent’…
Or, indeed, does ‘the same as’ mean ‘the same’?
Would you get into a Star Trek type replicator-transporter?
This is an excellent little talk – as most TED talks are!
I came across Michael Sandel just a few weeks ago, when my loving spouse began listening to his Philosophy lectures on ‘Justice’ on YouTube. We both liked the lectures so much, we routed them to our TV and watched the whole series over the holidays – with frequent pauses to discuss the points he was making.
This is also the very first introduction I have ever had to formal philosophy: all my previous exposure was just by thinking about things and talking with others about it. So, in this way, it was to a great degree filling some holes in the historic context of how these ideas evolved through the society.
It also demonstrated to my satisfaction that, at least according to the labels on ideas in this course, I may indeed be a bit of a libertarian…