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Reward Points:745
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10 most recent arguments.

First off, "innocent until proven guilty" is a concept appropriate for judges and juries, not voters. You don't need proof beyond a reasonable doubt to punish your children, leave a cheating spouse, fire an employee, or deny your vote. There is a much lower threshold that need to be met for these than to send someone to prison. I am pretty sure if I went digging through your posts on Hillary I would find that you understand this very well.

nobodyknows(745) Clarified
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I mean changing society's norms to reflect a more rational morality. For example, we may reflect that homosexuality does not have harmful externalities and that our moral indignation against this behavior does not have a rational justification. Moral leaders can then set out to undermine the norms, rights, virtues, taboos, etc that are used to emotionally justify the persecution of gays. We shift the meaning of marriage and sex from procreation to love, and remove from the concept of love any dependence on gender. We remove the validity of religious proscriptions from the public sphere. We shift the ordering of values to place free expression above conformity. The result is hopefully a more rational morality that is still viewed as legitimate.

Notice that in this process we are always using the language of traditional morality in effecting change. We don't design new morals, we change existing morality slowly and continuously from the inside, emphasizing the good parts, suppressing the bad. We treat morality as something organic. This is why I like the word "domestication" to refer to this process.

I don't believe the reality of anything referred to by names like "right" or the like. I just have doubts regarding our ability to publicly design and implement a new morality.

I'm not sure I understand your point. My point is that a common mistake made in metaphysics is mixing descriptions of reality with explanations of our experience of that reality. Since I believe that not all of our a priori assumptions of about reality are true, we should be careful when making decisions based on them.

This is important because I think we can know that reality is not how we believe it to be. For example, some people may be afraid to walk out onto a glass bridge over a large height no matter how much they know about the tolerances of bridge. They know that it is safe, but they cannot believe it. I think it is similar with moral intuitions. We may know that a certain brain defect causes violent behavior, but no matter how well we know that fact, if one such person hurts us or someone we care about, it will be almost impossible to suppress the moral beliefs we have about the need for retributive justice. However, this emotion evolved to manage bad actors who are capable of changing behavior. If this is not the case, we should use our reasoning abilities to design a more appropriate response.

I dispute the premise that we are doomed to the Malthusian Trap unless we restrict family size. Fertility has dropped dramatically in the past half century, especially in the most developed nations. In fact, in 2010 about 48 percent of the world population had an average total fertility of less than 2.1 children per woman.The replacement rate is approximately 2.1 children per woman. Less than that means a shrinking population.

I think what you need to argue is that the population that we will level off with exceeds the carrying capacity of earth.

You are mixing two different things, a description of reality and the subjective experience of that reality. Determinism is incompatible with our subjective experience of the world. We seem to be hard wired to believe that we have a free will and that people make choices that deserve moral approbation or punishment. However, our intuitive certainty of free will does not make it true of the external world.

As a description of the external world, determinism seems to be more logically coherent. It seems to me free will does not add anything to the description of reality. It is only posited to help justify our intuitive experience of the world.

Morality does not seem to be a fundamental part of our description of reality. At best it can seen as laws of rational behavior between interdependent individuals with competing objectives. But that is not what you are talking about. You want a real meaning behind "moral desert" and "justice". These ideas do not have a place in a materialistic description of reality. However, they are fundamental to our experience of reality. When you are acting in the capacity of a social scientist describing human behavior, you should not need to use the subjective language of "justice" or "rights" or other words like them. In all other cases, as a person living in and experiencing a social reality, our intuitive moral categories are fundamental to how we think and cooperate.

It is important to realize that these categories are not entirely real and should not be followed off cliffs. We must not be dogmatic in our adherence to them. An exploration into the aforementioned "laws of rational behavior between interdependent individuals with competing objectives" can help us domesticate the content of our moral thinking: the rights people have, the ranking of virtues, the extent of personal responsibility, etc.

I just wanted to add that FromWithin's first statement is also wrong in the assumption that we are not getting smarter, see Flynn Effect. Note that I am not implying that this is caused by evolution or even has a genetic basis. Just pointing out a particularly egregious example of ignorance.

Supporting Evidence: Flynn Effect (

While I don't believe that liberal democracy is the end of history, I don't think fascism is either. Let's go through your principles.

Nationalism - I believe that liberal democracy does a poor job instilling and utilizing a spirit of community. However, nationalism is not the answer. We have moral obligations to the communities we live in but a nation is not that community. The truth is that the concept of a nation is usually not rooted in anything real. In America, there are at least two conflicting national identities: one in the coasts and the other in the rest, in Canada at least two: the French and the English, Spain at least two, UK at least three. Nationalism usually just takes the form of the ruling party's concept of national identity. Now, If you say that there are groups of people out there that share some level of culture and history and the borders of nation states should roughly coincide with these groups I would agree with you. Similar people have similar interest and problems and it is more efficient if they deal with those themselves. But the idea of a "national identity" is not necessary. This is just a malicious meme that depends on scapegoating out-groups and general xenophobia. What is important is shared interests, not blood and soil.

Militarism - I am assuming this means an increase in the willingness to use military force from post-Cold War levels in US/Europe. This I disagree with. I really don't see how going back to pre-WWII levels of conflict in the civilized world is beneficial. I don't think we need perennial war over colonies or borders.

Command economy - This is ambiguous, so I am not sure if I disagree. It looks like you are advocating for protectionism, which I don't care for. It gets in the way of efficiency. I guess it makes sense for strategic resources if you are a militaristic country always on the brink of war but I disagree with the need for militarism.

Capitalism mixed with socialism - This is also ambiguous and could be used to describe most economies, so I am not sure if I disagree.

Authoritarianism - I really don't see much evidence in history that authoritarianism is good in the long run. Maybe you could make an argument that authoritarianism is good for quickly modernizing a state but that is only a temporary period.

Preservation of culture - This is a goal I care about as much as I care about the preservation of my genes. Which is not at all. If your view culture as a set of memes, as I do, the comparison is apt. Forgive my anthropomorphism, but you could say we are survival machines built by our genes and memes use our imitation and learning abilities to do the same for themselves. I think it is a viral and malicious idea to identify yourself with these patterns of information.

Individualism mixed with collectivism (so basically the middle ground between communism and ancap) - Ambiguous, but I would agree that we could mix more collectivism into our current societies.

Corporatism - I agree. This is something that countries like contemporary Germany does very well and we could learn from them.

It looks like we agree on the need for an increase in collectivism and solidarity but disagree on the need to bring with that the primitive xenophobic memes associated with in-group/out-group dynamics.

My ontology does not include a theistic God. I really have a hard time seeing why one should believe these theistic doctrine. It seems more based on tradition than reason.

There will always be only two parties, that is the natural equilibrium of the winner-take-all system. A third party will always only be a temporary aberration. What you can hope for is that Libertarian Party replaces the Republican Party, that would inject a freshness into our politics that is desperately needed.

Well eugenics is not a new idea, the Nazis tried it, though not long enough for it to have any noticeable effects. The Spartans practiced a form of eugenics that selected for the most athletic. They would leave babies with defects out to die and encouraged families to let the best warriors in the community impregnate their wives.

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Gender: Male
Marital Status: Single
Political Party: Libertarian
Country: United States
Religion: Atheist
Education: In College

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