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Spider AL

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Everything posted by Spider AL

  1. Sigh. No Nancy, Stalinism is totally unrelated to the simple idea that there is a moral way to behave... and there are immoral ways to behave. Once again, your post is one big reactionary non-sequitur. Needless to say, I will not address any further nonsense implying that my viewpoint is "Stalinist".
  2. We're not talking about "one set of morals", Nancy. That phrase still contains relativistic connotations. We're talking about the only set of morals. Logically arrived at morality is the only morality. It is objective morality. We may all have different ideas about complex moral questions, but that doesn't mean that we're "all right", and conversely it doesn't necessarily mean ANY of us are right. Once again, if you and I come up with a different answer to a complex moral question, it doesn't mean that "both our answers are valid". It means one or BOTH of us is wrong. Plain and simple.
  3. Jmac: Of course I believe that such things as slavery and illegal international aggression are immoral, because an unbroken chain of logical reasoning leads me to believe that they are immoral. Morality is defined by reason and logic. I don't think you understood the point I was trying to make, Jmac. Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough. I'm not "trying to get you to argue for" anything. I am pointing out that just because a group of people (be it a minority or an entire culture... or the whole world) believes something to be moral... doesn't make it moral. If two people have different ideas about the most moral course of action in a given situation... one or both of them are wrong. That is the point. That morality is not "whatever we feel like" at the time, it is an abstract that we either perceive correctly... or fail to perceive correctly. You may sit there and state that this is an "ass way of thinking", but once again... you have no good reasons to make such statements, you have not CITED any such reasons and frankly you will never find such reasons, in my estimation. Windu: Emotions are merely contributing factors within the larger issue of bias, Windu. Therefore this has already been addressed. No, there is either sense... that is: that which makes sense, that which is logical... or nonsense. That which is not logical. They are absolutes. There is no issue of relativism when it comes to the question of whether someone is "making sense". Of course. As an objectivist, I automatically have to accept the possibility that I will never attain the state of perceiving absolute truth. And furthermore, I must accept the certainty that I will never KNOW to an absolute degree whether I have attained such a state or not, even if I have in fact attained it. But that doesn't signify anything. The fact that we are fallible human organisms doesn't mean that there is no objective truth. It merely means that we may be incapable of perceiving it. Okay, I'll address your hypothetical as best I can. First to even out the question a little, let's assume that the two people (your lover and the stranger) are of the same age and apparent physical health. Let's discard your options that involve jumping off after them, as suicide would serve no useful purpose, moral or otherwise. Next let's suggest that it's morally necessary to save at least one of them, as letting them both die would merely be shirking one's moral responsibility to help if possible. Next let's point out that making a judgement based on one's personal affections for one of the falling individuals is immoral. It's perfectly human and understandable, but personal bias should be disregarded, ideally. So we have come to the conclusion that- morally speaking- one must save one of the individuals. It is therefore morally necessary to make a dispassionate choice as to which person to save. Since we know nothing about the stranger, it's hard to weigh the impact of his/her death against the death of one's lover. Perhaps if the stranger was a family man supporting several children and one's lover was childless it would be more moral to save the stranger. But this set of factors would have to be established before such a judgement could be made. In a situation where nothing is known about the stranger, it would be impossible to weigh their life against the life of one's lover... therefore to save either would be equally moral. As noted before, objective morality is MOTIVATED by empathy, not DEFINED by empathy. Logic defines the correct- most moral- course of action in each situation. Not empathy. Alien civilisations ARE irrelevant Windu, not least because you have no evidence to suggest the existence of such civilisations... but also because we are discussing a very human and very terrestrial issue, the issue of morality.
  4. windu6: You're back! I can say without fear of contradiction from any quarter: The place most definitely wasn't the same without you. As for your contentions that morality cannot be objective because people have personal bias, it's nonsense. Numbers remain objective even when mathematicians get their sums wrong, and morality remains objective even when nobody in the whole world has perceived the correct, moral course of action to take in a certain circumstance. Morality is a dry equation. To each moral question, there is a "right" answer (an optimally moral answer) and there are infinite "wrong" answers. (Less moral courses of action.) It doesn't matter whether people choose the right answer or not. The answer remains out in the aether, an abstract truth that may be attainable to those with the necessary reasoning power to see it, and the necessary empathy to want to see it. As for your persistent references to alien life forms and artificial intelligences... They're all irrelevant and laughable. No offence. jmac7142: Slavery was (and is currently, I might add) considered perfectly acceptable in many cultures throughout history. All those cultures got their moral sums wrong. The fact that they believed it to be acceptable does not make it moral. Likewise in our own culture and our own time, there are those who believe invading a sovereign nation without just cause is moral. They are wrong. Their belief affects the moral equation not a jot. In short, you'd struggle to provide a reason why objective moralism is an "ass way of thinking" as you put it... But it's your right to hold such an unsupported belief I suppose.
  5. Ahh Nancy, if you genuinely can't see the difference between the situation in Europe in '44, in which heavily armed and still highly dangerous Nazi forces illegally occupied several other sovereign nations in Europe and were committing atrocities the scale of which had never been seen before in the history of the world,... and Iraq in 2003, a crippled, impoverished nation which the US government declared was no danger to ANYONE as early as 2001... If you can't see the stark differences between these two invasions that render them incomparable, then my goodness, how are we supposed to have a meaningful debate? Answer: we can't.
  6. That's a question that's irrelevant to the issue of Iraq, as the two scenarios are not comparable. You may as well ask me "Is cabbage murder?" and I would answer that as readily as I will answer this... i.e: not at all.
  7. Not really an exception to the rule, Nancy. The ruleset must be set up to ACCOMMODATE individual variations in order to be optimally moral. Like our self-defence laws. We are allowed under the law to defend ourselves, and if it's necessary to kill someone who is attacking you with lethal force, it is legally justifiable to do so. This is not an "exception to the anti murder law" so much as it is a recognised special circumstance that warrants its own rule.
  8. When you come up with questions that I haven't answered seventeen times, you will get a new response. Until then... sorry, but it's not worth my effort to go around in any more circles with you- no matter how diverting- as I have in the past.
  9. All torture, all genocide, all terrorism. Whether committed by us or by someone else. That's morality. It's one standard for everyone. If they do it, it's wrong. If we do it it is also wrong. One presumes that under the ideal legal system, there would be at LEAST the same amount of consideration for individual circumstances as there is now. Is there some point you're trying to make?
  10. You mean "implication". No, such a thing wasn't implied in my statements. You have inferred something that was not there in the text. Your problem, not mine. I will not respond to further misunderstandings on your part concerning the word "butcher". It's nothing personal, I just don't have the time to keep repeating myself anymore.
  11. Absolutely correct. That is why... for instance... I oppose US/UK torture, US/UK sponsored genocide and US/UK atrocities worldwide. It's basic morality. Well Nancy, how do you try to "fix" the fact that a lot of people commit CRIMES? You penalise them and take measures to prevent further crimes. It'd be the same with morality, and ideally, the law SHOULD be pure morality. The fact that the law is currently flawed means that campaigning is necessary to improve the legal system and our lexicon of laws. That's all.
  12. Hahaha... "the terrible collateral damage of a war that shouldn't have happened was caused by American forces" is the nice, friendly, pro-invasion way of putting it. How I put it is: Before the 2003 invasion, a blind mongoose could have told you that such an invasion would result in massive civilian casualties. The US government knew it. But they invaded anyway, because it was in their political interests to do so. They knew those civilians would die, but they went ahead anyway. That's murder. In ANYONE'S book, it's murder. So do I feel uncomfortable about using words like "butcher"? No. Hundreds of thousands of people dead? Shot, bombed and starved? That's butchery. And as stated before, no further evidence is required. We DID invade, we DID kill hundreds of thousands of civilians both directly and indirectly. It happened, our governments are responsible... end of line.
  13. "Forcing" others to conform to a moral standard? Well that would depend, wouldn't it Nancy. Laws already "force" people to conform to a societal standard, in a way. I personally wouldn't have a problem "forcing" an axe-murderer to stop his immoral behaviour. What specific example were you thinking of when it comes to "forcing" others to behave morally?
  14. Didn't a moderator say that to you, not so long ago? How odd. I stated: "What I'm not in favour of is using that military force to butcher innocent Iraqis for no reason other than political gain for our ruling classes." which you'll note is different to what you just typed. And I was referring to- among other atrocities- our invasion of Iraq in 2003, which caused untold DIRECT Iraqi civilian casualties... and of course indirectly has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands more. I presume you don't dispute that these things happened? How emotional. As implied above, unless your contention is that our illegal and immoral invasion did NOT cause massive civilian deaths... it is already proven.
  15. Rather than "criticising atheism", Nancy, it sounds like you're criticising a specific atheist. Regardless, I personally have never seen an atheist act in the way you describe, so I can't comment.
  16. The standard is easy to define, through a basic application of logic. Go and read through that thread again, it's all explained in great depth by several people. Just as in mathematics, simple logic allows one to examine all variables in the moral equation and extrapolate from them a ruleset by which moral behaviour can be quantified.
  17. ... It's good to be back. Why would I have to prove such a thing, Nancy?
  18. There is a difference between criticising religious belief, and stating that people don't have a RIGHT to believe, Nancy. That's one distinction you've never seemed to grasp in the past. Please try now.
  19. Hebraic scholars have debated this issue, and many have concluded that the idolatry that the hebrew god so disliked was not in fact merely the worship OF an object, but also the worship of another deity (or himself) THROUGH an object. If one accepts this as biblical law, then any and all graven images, photographs, paintings or any other physical objects qualify as idols and should be banned from being the focus of worship, full stop. But hey, lest we forget... religious texts are all confused nonsense anyway. Debating the meaning of religious texts is like debating the meaning of an Abba song.
  20. Your "problems" with objective morality were all addressed in the earlier thread entitled "Moral Relativism". In short, your contentions make no sense. Just because something is regarded as moral in one culture and immoral in another means nothing, except that at least ONE of those cultures has gotten it wrong. Like numbers, objective morality is an abstract objective standard, it remains static whether people perceive it correctly or not.
  21. That's quite correct, Tot. That, in fact, was exactly what I intended to say, it is all I NEED to say, and I have backed it up with plenty of logical evidence, historical examples, etcetera. Dictators have been deposed by their own people in the past, this has WORKED in the past, there is no reason to believe it would NOT have worked in Iraq, had the Iraqi people not been starved and bombed into impotence by the US and UK. End of story. Hah! attempts to shift the burden of proof aren't acceptable, Tot. You're supporting an immoral and illegal act of international aggression (the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq) that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, and the lives of thousands of our own troops. YOU are the one who has to demonstrate that less damaging means were SO unlikely to have worked that they weren't worth trying, in order to support your frankly weak position. Those who advocate extreme violence in preference to other methods ALWAYS carry the burden of proof. Well that's just nonsense, Tot. Since we DID invade Iraq after battering its people into submission over the course of decades, we will never know with total certainty whether Saddam WOULD have been overthrown by his people. But it's certainly probable. After all, our sanctions were a major factor in strengthening his regime. And as stated above, you and your ilk carry the burden of proof, if you wish to defend an illegal and immoral invasion of a sovereign nation. In short, my position on this matter is: "If one really wanted to depose Saddam and his regime, there were options available that would have been FAR less damaging to the Iraqi people than the US/UK invasion was. These options could well have worked, but were not explored in any meaningful way." And your position seems to consist largely of: "We DID invade Iraq... so your ideas are pure fantasy only useful in a fantasy world therefore you lose!" And frankly... what you're saying boils down to illogical nonsense. Eh? Tot, are we discussing the same "Iraq" here? As far as I'm aware, sanctions were imposed in 1990, before the start of the Gulf War. Besides, for some significant period of time after the first Gulf war, the US was still actively supporting Saddam's regime, and foiling attempts to overthrow him. So even if your contention weren't based on a lack of knowledge of the topic (which it apparently was) it would still be erroneous. For example, at the peace conference following cessation of hostilities in 1991, the coalition granted Saddam's regime the right to use attack helicopters within his own borders, without fear of US interference. These helicopters were subsequently used by Saddam's lot to massacre the Shi'ite uprising in the south of the country, resulting in thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of fatalities. There's also the matter of the US blocking plans by rebel Iraqi generals to overthrow Saddam. The BBC reported the fact that in early 1991 these rebels requested US permission to launch attacks on Saddam's regime using captured Iraqi weaponry. They were- of course- refused any such permission, and- at least at Nasriyeh- were in fact disarmed by US forces. I rather think that's QED on this point. What is irrelevant exactly, the point that the US government has a quite astonishing record of squashing popular freedom-fighting movements worldwide through the past fifty years? Come now Tot, don't slide into total denial. Well actually communism hasn't been tried by any major states, any more than democracy has. However, your comment is totally irrelevant, because my earlier statement is frankly uncontestable. I stated: "But what are you trying to say, that oppressive occupying regimes can be overthrown from within by revolutionary violence? Of course they can. They can also be overthrown by non-violent methods. So which should we be encouraging, funding and striving for? Which is more conducive to peace and the preservation of life... and which is more moral? The latter, of course." And of course non-violent methods have been tried. And they have succeeded. And of course they're more moral. And more peaceful... Childish and mildly profane nonsense Tot, I've never made incorrect inferences regarding your posts. Sadly the reverse is not true. Ah, the usual pattern: You accuse others (wrongly) of inferring things from your posts that they shouldn't... and then leap forward and completely misrepresent your opposition, putting words in their mouths and waving straw men around like there's no tomorrow. I have NEVER asserted that "SH would have easily been removed from power through peaceful means". Who said anything about "easy"? Where did you get this nonsense from? Find a quotation that supports it. Go on. The fact remains that the US/UK supported Saddam throughout his most grevious atrocities, and by this support, contributed greatly to his longevity as a brutal dictator. The removal of this support would have meant a massive reduction in Saddam's capabilities. We take responsibility for our actions, and the actions of the US and UK helped to create and maintain a violent, brutal war criminal in the seat of power in Iraq. All I have to do is prove that it can work, Tot. And history shows that it can. As for you "having to prove a negative", Nobody's asking you to. All you have to do to support your incredibly weak position (that our actions in Iraq were justified) is provide some reasons why you think alternative means (peaceful or not) should not have been tried FIRST. Many people in the Middle East are oppressed by their amoral governments/rulers. Some of whom also have US support. But what's your point? How does any of that relate to the fact that the US/UK supported a brutal dictator in Iraq for decades, before trashing the innocent populace of that nation? Answer: It doesn't. Tish and posh, it's DEMONSTRABLE that at several points in the past few decades, Saddam relied on US/UK support in order that he might commit his atrocities in quelling rebellion. A couple of examples have been cited above. Plus, Tot... history is full of courageous people who are willing to stand up to intimidation rather than fold, and there are still many. Just because protest is difficult doesn't mean people aren't doing it. And there have always been revolutionary organisations even in the harshest conditions. So I don't think your contention holds water. Once again... Who has said anything of this sort? Have you been reading the same thread that I have? I certainly haven't seen anyone say "peaceful activism will ALWAYS WORK IN THE END RAAAH!!11" or anything close to it. Please provide a quote. Well since I'm still unable to decipher your earlier statement: "Still, the rub is that any "peaceful" organization would be given that kind of latitude required for your "non-violent" solution to take hold in thuggish dictatorships", it's hard to say whether you addressed it or not. It doesn't make any kind of sense to me. Please rephrase and repost. Childish... Ah, well since I don't "think they're great places", I must not be deluded. I am however aware that they're better places than the neo-cons make them out to be, just as I'm aware that Castro and Chavez aren't the fire-breathing monsters that the neo-cons make them out to be. I think pretty much all the thinly veiled slights in this paragraph have been addressed before. As for "taking my word" that conditions in Cuba are some of the best in the region (despite characteristic economic terrorism on the part of the US government), you don't have to take my word for it. Just read some independent studies. As of last year, Cuba's economic growth was apparently the highest in Latin America. In terms of healthcare, visits to the doctor and hospital care are free and of a high medical standard, the majority of prescription drugs are affordable to most Cubans, public contentment is reasonable, Castro's regime is still quite well regarded,... literacy runs at about 99% (which, truth be told is probably better than the functional literacy level in my own country) and the Cuban literacy program has been adopted by many other countries. The last I heard in about 2001, university education was state-funded, i.e: free. What more can be said? Is Cuba perfect? No. Would I rather live there than in the UK? No. The Cuban press cannot be defined as "a free press" and poverty is high. Certain imported drugs are too expensive for Cubans to afford with any regularity. But for myself I might go on holiday to Cuba. It's not an oppressive hell-hole. But then, I never thought it was. We just don't get the same level of anti-Cuba rhetoric in the UK as you do in the US. Heh. In a move typical of those who support our illegal invasion of Iraq, you attempt to equate those who desire peace and justice with appeasers and cowards. It doesn't wash, Tot. People are more than the caricatured extremes you seem to wish to divide the world up into. It is not a case of being either a "cowardly peacenik" or a bloodthirsty warmonger. There are those, like myself (and most dissidents, frankly), who would happily engage in violence if it served some useful, moral purpose. Should those who engage in international aggression be punished? Of course. Would it have been a really great idea to organise assasinations of the Nazi leadership as early as 1937? I think so. Does any of this apply to the situation in Iraq? Of course it doesn't, Unlike Germany in '37/'38, Iraq was no danger to anyone, no danger to its neighbors, no danger to us. Did our sanctions and bombings do any good for the Iraqi people? No. Did our invasion of Iraq in 2003 improve the lives of the Iraqi people? No. Therefore, it's one example of aimless, self-interested violence that I'm NOT in favour of. And neither should you be. I've never misrepresented you. I wish the reverse were true. Eh? You're conflating two issues. The first issue is that our money (the public's money) was wasted on an illegal and immoral war. This is not "money spent on Iraq". It's money spent on DESTROYING Iraq, for the political gain of our rulers. I have indeed complained about this. (Not "griped", thank you very much.) The second issue is that comparitively little money has been spent by us (the aggressors) on repairing the damage we did in Iraq. I would like to see some money "thrown" at THIS problem. Is this the best you can do? I say "we're not spending enough money on repairing the damage we did in Iraq", and you respond "throwing money at a problem is no solution". Please. Suppose someone drives their car into the front of your house, and you take them to court to obtain damages. Would you be satisfied if the Judge dismissed your case on the basis that "throwing money at a problem is no solution"? We did the damage, we should pay for the repairs. And we should pay MORE than we have so far paid, and we should handle the money more intelligently and more MORALLY than we have so far. End of story. Why exactly do you think that fumbling around for examples of how money has been mis-spent helps your case at all? Here, let me give you another example of mis-directed, mis-handled money: The nine billion dollars from the Iraqi reconstruction fund lost by the American administration of said fund. So what's your point? My point is that more money has to be spent, and it has to be better handled and morally directed. Once again you expose the fact that you don't know what classical conservatism means. It's non-ideological, Tot. Classical conservatism and liberalism aren't mutually exclusive. I think the reason you're making this error is that what YOU know of as conservatism is a corrupted, state-capitalist sham, totally unrecognisable as conservatism in the classical sense. Still, the same could be said of modern "liberalism." Furthermore, I fail to see how "immorality" comes into the equation as regards this paragraph. Even if your assertion were correct (which it is not). I think you're just throwing random accusations around now. - Define a "strong military". I think we're all in favour of a well trained military force in our own nations. What I'm not in favour of is using that military force to butcher innocent Iraqis for no reason other than political gain for our ruling classes.
  22. Sigh... No Nancy, you're wrong again. The fact that you're on the internet ADVOCATING violence does not mean you're capable of committing violence with any degree of efficiency in the real world. I hope that's clear enough for you, because I'm really not going to bother repeating it or addressing ANY further nonsense of this type. ... What? Sheer, unadulterated drivel. All three examples are PERFECT examples of immoral, unjustified escalation to violence... which is exactly what you've been advocating throughout this thread.
  23. Of course it isn't. It's immorally starting a fight. It's immorally escalating a situation to the physical level. But it doesn't mean you "looked" for the person who insulted you "so you could fight them". "Going out looking for fights" is just that. It's going out... looking for someone to fight. I can't believe you've equated/conflated/confused the two. Now that we've established that you were... labouring under a rather severe misapprehension... perhaps you could try to post something relevant? Please?
  24. Are you just trolling now? You've stated that I accused you of "going looking for fights". I never stated this, and you've failed to provide a quotation in which I've stated this. Because there is no such quote. The facts remain unchanged: You've stated clearly that you would hit people for merely verbally offending you (and send them to hospital no less) and that you support others doing the same. You've spent the entire thread scrabbling around looking for reasons to justify this amoral stance and make it seem moral... and you've failed in this respect. Having failed in this respect, you've spent the past few posts: 1. declaring by fiat that you've won the debate because I was the first person to mention Hitler... except that I wasn't the first person to mention Hitler. 2. posting random quotations of mine, declaring that they prove your case (which they do not). In short,.. I really don't know what to say, Nancy. This is no way to debate a topic logically.
  25. ... Neither of those quotes say anything about you "going out looking for fights", Nancy. Produce a quote where I have said this. Go on.
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