T Nation

F@ck You

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

You disagree with my premise, therefore think I have stated a contradiction. I submit that you don’t understand the difference.

Liberals create big governments. Big governments like to exert power. Such exertion often leads to conflict with other governments, especially as time goes on and the big government attracts human ‘rats’ to it. Liberals cause wars.

Wars are certainly atrocities (and therefore liba are scum) but then again war is very natural. We love war. We’ve had about 4400 wars in recorded history. But to continue to have major wars would end us. Therefore, like letting your children out to play, we have to have regional wars, to prevent major wars from building up.

[/quote]

First, whether or not I agree with your premise–that the US is the most moral nation ever–is irrelevant. As for whether or not you stated a contradiction, I said “the apparent hypocrisy”. The point was that there is an apparent or seeming paradox or hypocrisy–I never said contradiction, there is a difference–between your extolling of American moral virtue and your defense of war. One can easily read it as you are on the one hand praising America but on the other hand trying to defend in a perverse way all of her recent wars. It’s like saying, “YES! I am virtuous, just don’t mind the bad things I’m doing…”.

In any case your attack on and1bball4mk was misplaced, since his point was clearly about your own apparent hypocrisy, not the moral status of liberals. Further your rebuttal of me is equally as confused, because whether or not liberals start wars isn’t the issue either. If either or these points really are the issue you were trying–but failed to–get across, then you should clarify that. Further attacking people without clarifying your intent isn’t exactly good communication.

A reasonable response to me and and1bball4mk would be to explain your original comments–to explain that you weren’t trying to praise American moral virtue on the one hand while making perverse excuses for her wars of aggression on the other. Your response though further attacking liberals misses the point–indeed it is you who are getting caught up on your own premise of whether or not conservative individualistic ideals are really the better.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
orion wrote:

Something is of value if it maintains or enhances Man as a rational being. None of those 3 (and war) does anything of the sort. illicit drugs are to stop thinking using chemicals, prostitution is to stop thinking using sluts, and gambling is to stop thinking using mindless greed (to obtain the unearned through sheer luck).

Not only are you a party pooper, but also your claim that value somehow must " maintain(s) or enhance (s) Man as a rational being" is highly questionable in his subjectivity.

I think hat Miss Rand would have accepted that we pursue highly irrational goals in a rational way, and that that is what makes us “rational” animals, not the claimed “rationality” of our genetic programming.

Yeah, I guess I am a party pooper. Somehow, drinking low doses of protoplasmic poisons and then having mindless sex with an inebriated slut never appealed to me.

Pursuing an irrational goal purposely, knowing that one part of your goal conflicts with another part of your goal, is insane. I’m thinking of someone, for ex, who wants to be a world class rock climber and who also wants to do delicate surgery for a living. Rock climbing can really mess up your hands, so one shouldn’t pursue both. I’m sure there are some who do and they might be lucky enough to avoid hand injuries, but you see my point.

[/quote]

So you see that you cannot really say anything about the rationality of someone before you know what his goals are?

[quote]stokedporcupine8 wrote:
Headhunter wrote:

You disagree with my premise, therefore think I have stated a contradiction. I submit that you don’t understand the difference.

Liberals create big governments. Big governments like to exert power. Such exertion often leads to conflict with other governments, especially as time goes on and the big government attracts human ‘rats’ to it. Liberals cause wars.

Wars are certainly atrocities (and therefore liba are scum) but then again war is very natural. We love war. We’ve had about 4400 wars in recorded history. But to continue to have major wars would end us. Therefore, like letting your children out to play, we have to have regional wars, to prevent major wars from building up.

First, whether or not I agree with your premise–that the US is the most moral nation ever–is irrelevant. As for whether or not you stated a contradiction, I said “the apparent hypocrisy”. The point was that there is an apparent or seeming paradox or hypocrisy–I never said contradiction, there is a difference–between your extolling of American moral virtue and your defense of war. One can easily read it as you are on the one hand praising America but on the other hand trying to defend in a perverse way all of her recent wars. It’s like saying, “YES! I am virtuous, just don’t mind the bad things I’m doing…”.

In any case your attack on and1bball4mk was misplaced, since his point was clearly about your own apparent hypocrisy, not the moral status of liberals. Further your rebuttal of me is equally as confused, because whether or not liberals start wars isn’t the issue either. If either or these points really are the issue you were trying–but failed to–get across, then you should clarify that. Further attacking people without clarifying your intent isn’t exactly good communication.

A reasonable response to me and and1bball4mk would be to explain your original comments–to explain that you weren’t trying to praise American moral virtue on the one hand while making perverse excuses for her wars of aggression on the other. Your response though further attacking liberals misses the point–indeed it is you who are getting caught up on your own premise of whether or not conservative individualistic ideals are really the better.
[/quote]

You regard war as immoral, while I regard it as a natural phenomenon. Asking humans to not fight is like asking sparrows to not fly. ENCOURAGING war is, however, immoral. And liberals do that by creating big monolithic governments…and that’s why libs are evil.

I thought I was very clear above. My humble apologies if I lacked clarity.

[quote]orion wrote:
Headhunter wrote:
orion wrote:

Something is of value if it maintains or enhances Man as a rational being. None of those 3 (and war) does anything of the sort. illicit drugs are to stop thinking using chemicals, prostitution is to stop thinking using sluts, and gambling is to stop thinking using mindless greed (to obtain the unearned through sheer luck).

Not only are you a party pooper, but also your claim that value somehow must " maintain(s) or enhance (s) Man as a rational being" is highly questionable in his subjectivity.

I think hat Miss Rand would have accepted that we pursue highly irrational goals in a rational way, and that that is what makes us “rational” animals, not the claimed “rationality” of our genetic programming.

Yeah, I guess I am a party pooper. Somehow, drinking low doses of protoplasmic poisons and then having mindless sex with an inebriated slut never appealed to me.

Pursuing an irrational goal purposely, knowing that one part of your goal conflicts with another part of your goal, is insane. I’m thinking of someone, for ex, who wants to be a world class rock climber and who also wants to do delicate surgery for a living. Rock climbing can really mess up your hands, so one shouldn’t pursue both. I’m sure there are some who do and they might be lucky enough to avoid hand injuries, but you see my point.

So you see that you cannot really say anything about the rationality of someone before you know what his goals are?

[/quote]

If a man is rational, he should try to reason out if his goal and the process of attaining that goal is reasonable (contain no contradictions).

This is what shocks us about Obama, btw. For ex, he wants to cure the economic maladies of building a debt-based society, by going further into debt. Since this is irrational, it fires up conspiracy theorists: “He must intentionally be trying to destroy us!!” But in all probability, he (Obama) is simply insane (i.e. he’s a liberal).

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

Look at how children on a playground surround two kids fighting, cheering them on. I’m sure most everyone here can think of someone in their past that they would LOVE having down on the ground and just pounding the living shit out of them with a baseball bat.[/quote]

I chuckle a little every time I see phrases like ‘Don’t teach hate’ or ‘Hate is a learned behavior’. It just shows me that those people haven’t been around the human brain as it develops. Kids bite all the time so they don’t have to share. I’m pretty sure they didn’t learn biting and ‘mine’ from their parents. My oldest understands calm down and patience and says his ‘please’ and 'thank you’s, but you can still see a change in his comfort level when his brother gets near ‘his’ toys.

The only problem with protracted and/or perpetual war is loss of focus, which is why war should be decisively executed or not at all.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
This is what shocks us about Obama, btw. For ex, he wants to cure the economic maladies of building a debt-based society, by going further into debt. Since this is irrational, it fires up conspiracy theorists: “He must intentionally be trying to destroy us!!” But in all probability, he (Obama) is simply insane (i.e. he’s a liberal).

[/quote]

Either possibility is scarey, but I guess I’ll take someone deliberately trying to destroy the free market and personal liberties over an insane man who believes his good intentions are above anyone elses opinion or values.

At least someone deliberately trying to destroy our economy can be flushed sooner than later.

[quote]lucasa wrote:
I’m pretty sure they didn’t learn biting and ‘mine’ from their parents.[/quote]

No, but every toddler learns that biting hurts when they clamp down on your index finger as you try and take little bits out of their mouths. They always learn. That’s all they are capable of doing at that age.

But I agree that they do not need to be taught “mine”. All little people instinctively understand the notion of property rights, especially when it comes to their toys.

This notion is soon squashed when they become indoctrinated by the collectivist dogmas of the public school system.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

But I agree that they do not need to be taught “mine”. All little people instinctively understand the notion of property rights, especially when it comes to their toys.

[/quote]

I don’t even understand “property rights”.

Reading all sorts of abstract intentions into small children is a stupid thing. Children are far from capable of understanding notions of “property rights”. What they understand is that someone else has something they want, and that words like ‘mine’ are imperatives that are appropriate for such a desire. To say they they want the thing because they understand property rights and to say that their utterance of ‘mine’ carries that intention is just to be wrong.

[quote]stokedporcupine8 wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

But I agree that they do not need to be taught “mine”. All little people instinctively understand the notion of property rights, especially when it comes to their toys.

I don’t even understand “property rights”.

Reading all sorts of abstract intentions into small children is a stupid thing. Children are far from capable of understanding notions of “property rights”. What they understand is that someone else has something they want, and that words like ‘mine’ are imperatives that are appropriate for such a desire. To say they they want the thing because they understand property rights and to say that their utterance of ‘mine’ carries that intention is just to be wrong. [/quote]

I disagree.

In the end we are born with instincts about what is right and wrong. The idea of “property rights” might be an intellectualization, but our whole brain is only as large as it is to make us highly political animals which make sure that we get what we perceive as ours.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
You regard war as immoral, while I regard it as a natural phenomenon. Asking humans to not fight is like asking sparrows to not fly.
[/quote]

Chimps and and ants go to war, no?!

[quote]orion wrote:
stokedporcupine8 wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

But I agree that they do not need to be taught “mine”. All little people instinctively understand the notion of property rights, especially when it comes to their toys.

I don’t even understand “property rights”.

Reading all sorts of abstract intentions into small children is a stupid thing. Children are far from capable of understanding notions of “property rights”. What they understand is that someone else has something they want, and that words like ‘mine’ are imperatives that are appropriate for such a desire. To say they they want the thing because they understand property rights and to say that their utterance of ‘mine’ carries that intention is just to be wrong.

I disagree.

In the end we are born with instincts about what is right and wrong. The idea of “property rights” might be an intellectualization, but our whole brain is only as large as it is to make us highly political animals which make sure that we get what we perceive as ours.
[/quote]

Sure, we are born with instincts. One of those instincts is probably related in some way with the sort of possessive behavior seen in young children. No argument there. Nevertheless those sorts of instincts are a far, far cry from the sort of developed understanding of “property rights” that LIFTICVS apparently claimed small children have.

My real beef was with what I saw as the implication of LIFTICVS’s comment–that ideas of “property rights” are so natural and instinctual that even small children possess them. While we are “highly political animals” and we “make sure that we get what we perceive as ours”, this is no different then any other social animal, like dogs or chimps. (Just to note, our brain surely isn’t “as big as it is” just for this reason, since most of the brain’s mass is dedicated to things like visual processing.) This sort of social behavior, however natural or instinctual it may be, is no more necessarily connected to our modern ideas of property rights then a dog or chimps are.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

You regard war as immoral, while I regard it as a natural phenomenon. Asking humans to not fight is like asking sparrows to not fly. ENCOURAGING war is, however, immoral. And liberals do that by creating big monolithic governments…and that’s why libs are evil.

I thought I was very clear above. My humble apologies if I lacked clarity.

[/quote]

Ah, You’re going to have to do a lot more to convince that the “naturalness” of war somehow makes it acceptable. I think war is acceptable in certain circumstances, but I hardly think that appeal to our general disposition for aggression is a good justification of war.

If you really want to push this “natural” argument for war, the same sort of argument seems to apply to other things like rape and murder. Both of those things are “natural”–left to our instincts it seems that people would like to rape and murder. Does that mean that’s acceptable too?

[quote]stokedporcupine8 wrote:
orion wrote:
stokedporcupine8 wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

But I agree that they do not need to be taught “mine”. All little people instinctively understand the notion of property rights, especially when it comes to their toys.

I don’t even understand “property rights”.

Reading all sorts of abstract intentions into small children is a stupid thing. Children are far from capable of understanding notions of “property rights”. What they understand is that someone else has something they want, and that words like ‘mine’ are imperatives that are appropriate for such a desire. To say they they want the thing because they understand property rights and to say that their utterance of ‘mine’ carries that intention is just to be wrong.

I disagree.

In the end we are born with instincts about what is right and wrong. The idea of “property rights” might be an intellectualization, but our whole brain is only as large as it is to make us highly political animals which make sure that we get what we perceive as ours.

Sure, we are born with instincts. One of those instincts is probably related in some way with the sort of possessive behavior seen in young children. No argument there. Nevertheless those sorts of instincts are a far, far cry from the sort of developed understanding of “property rights” that LIFTICVS apparently claimed small children have.

My real beef was with what I saw as the implication of LIFTICVS’s comment–that ideas of “property rights” are so natural and instinctual that even small children possess them. While we are “highly political animals” and we “make sure that we get what we perceive as ours”, this is no different then any other social animal, like dogs or chimps. (Just to note, our brain surely isn’t “as big as it is” just for this reason, since most of the brain’s mass is dedicated to things like visual processing.) This sort of social behavior, however natural or instinctual it may be, is no more necessarily connected to our modern ideas of property rights then a dog or chimps are. [/quote]

Our brain is as big as it is because of our highly complex social life.

Nothing else explains the sheer size and cost of such a brain. There are dozened of other predators out there who hunt just as efficiently as we do, with a far less developed brain.

You can even demonstrate that completely average human beings can solve highly complex mathematical problems if you frame them as social problems.

[quote]orion wrote:

Our brain is as big as it is because of our highly complex social life.
[/quote]

I’m not a biologist, as far as I understand most of our brain’s mass is actually dedicated to either visual processing or other involuntary functions. If you rephrase your claim to something like “most of the growth of our brain over and above the average mammal’s brain is due to our highly complex social life”, then you might be correct. Nevertheless I’d still love to see some sort of reference on this, because unless your defining “social life” in such broad terms as to involve any uniquely human features like emotion, language and rational decision making I have a hard time believing this as well.

Anyway wikipedia, for what it’s worth, seems to back me up:

Sure, lots of other things could explain the size of our brains. Again I’m not biologist, but the sheer size of our brain seems to be due to sheer chance and a diet of cooked meat. That’s the story told any way. The fact that an enlarged brain leads to helpful traits is of course a necessary condition for an enlarged brain to evolve, but not a sufficient one. At some level you seem to be confusing evolutionary consequences with causes.

I’m also not sure what your comment about other predators is for. Surely NO other predators hunt with the efficiency we do, since no other predators have driven other whole species to extinction on a wold wide scale. If you’re trying to imply that our unique “social skills” are the only difference between us and other mammals that can explain the intelligence gap, this is perhaps true, but very misleading. First, as I mentioned just above, you’re confusing causes with consequences. Second, as I mentioned at the beginning, surely you’re defining “social skills” far to broadly. When you say “social skills” I think of our ability to interact with others. Things like language and rational decision making–the hallmarks of humanity–surely aren’t synonymous with social skills in this limited sense. If you call anything that helps facilitate social interaction a social skill, which is what I assume you’re thinking if you take these to be social skills, then EVERYTHING humans do–from driving a car to sleeping–is a social skill.

If I lead anyone by the hand and phrase problems in ways they understanding while guiding them through they’ll do well. These sorts of experiments aren’t new… you can find them in Plato’s Meno. This all is highly uninteresting, and I’m not really sure why it matters. Surely you’re not suggesting that re-conceptualizing mathematics as a set of social problems would further our understanding of mathematics?

[quote]stokedporcupine8 wrote:

orion wrote:

Our brain is as big as it is because of our highly complex social life.

I’m not a biologist, as far as I understand most of our brain’s mass is actually dedicated to either visual processing or other involuntary functions. If you rephrase your claim to something like “most of the growth of our brain over and above the average mammal’s brain is due to our highly complex social life”, then you might be correct. Nevertheless I’d still love to see some sort of reference on this, because unless your defining “social life” in such broad terms as to involve any uniquely human features like emotion, language and rational decision making I have a hard time believing this as well.

Anyway wikipedia, for what it’s worth, seems to back me up:

Nothing else explains the sheer size and cost of such a brain. There are dozened of other predators out there who hunt just as efficiently as we do, with a far less developed brain.

Sure, lots of other things could explain the size of our brains. Again I’m not biologist, but the sheer size of our brain seems to be due to sheer chance and a diet of cooked meat. That’s the story told any way. The fact that an enlarged brain leads to helpful traits is of course a necessary condition for an enlarged brain to evolve, but not a sufficient one. At some level you seem to be confusing evolutionary consequences with causes.

I’m also not sure what your comment about other predators is for. Surely NO other predators hunt with the efficiency we do, since no other predators have driven other whole species to extinction on a wold wide scale. If you’re trying to imply that our unique “social skills” are the only difference between us and other mammals that can explain the intelligence gap, this is perhaps true, but very misleading. First, as I mentioned just above, you’re confusing causes with consequences. Second, as I mentioned at the beginning, surely you’re defining “social skills” far to broadly. When you say “social skills” I think of our ability to interact with others. Things like language and rational decision making–the hallmarks of humanity–surely aren’t synonymous with social skills in this limited sense. If you call anything that helps facilitate social interaction a social skill, which is what I assume you’re thinking if you take these to be social skills, then EVERYTHING humans do–from driving a car to sleeping–is a social skill.

You can even demonstrate that completely average human beings can solve highly complex mathematical problems if you frame them as social problems.

If I lead anyone by the hand and phrase problems in ways they understanding while guiding them through they’ll do well. These sorts of experiences aren’t new… you can find them in Plato’s Meno. This all is highly uninteresting, and I’m not really sure why it matters. Surely you’re not suggesting that re-conceptualizing mathematics as a set of social problems would further our understanding of mathematics? [/quote]

The point is that people can solve highly complex problems if you frame them as a problem that our brains have evolved to deal with.

Hypotheses regarding the selective pressures driving the threefold increase in the size of the hominid brain since Homo habilis include climatic conditions, ecological demands, and social competition. We provide a multivariate analysis that enables the simultaneous assessment of variables representing each of these potential selective forces. Data were collated for latitude, prevalence of harmful parasites, mean annual temperature, and variation in annual temperature for the location of 175 hominid crania dating from 1.9 million to 10 thousand years ago. We also included a proxy for population density and two indexes of paleoclimatic variability for the time at which each cranium was discovered. Results revealed independent contributions of population density, variation in paleoclimate, and temperature variation to the prediction of change in hominid cranial capacity (CC). Although the effects of paleoclimatic variability and temperature variation provide support for climatic hypotheses, the proxy for population density predicted more unique variance in CC than all other variables. The pattern suggests multiple pressures drove hominid brain evolution and that the core selective force was social competition.

http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2009/06/the_evolution_of_human_intelli.php

Multi-billion Dollar Mining Boom: The economics of war and empire in Afghanistan

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12486

[quote]Sloth wrote:
Headhunter wrote:
You regard war as immoral, while I regard it as a natural phenomenon. Asking humans to not fight is like asking sparrows to not fly.

Chimps and and ants go to war, no?![/quote]

Of course. In a sense, all of nature is at war. To expect humans to stop fighting is very unrealistic. That’s why it is far better to have regional wars as an outlet. Our main concern then would be to not allow the regional wars to erupt into world wars. This is one reason we built up China and will soon let it police its region (to protect their investments) – if we kept trying to hold them down, it would have led to WWIII.

[quote]stokedporcupine8 wrote:
Headhunter wrote:

You regard war as immoral, while I regard it as a natural phenomenon. Asking humans to not fight is like asking sparrows to not fly. ENCOURAGING war is, however, immoral. And liberals do that by creating big monolithic governments…and that’s why libs are evil.

I thought I was very clear above. My humble apologies if I lacked clarity.

Ah, You’re going to have to do a lot more to convince that the “naturalness” of war somehow makes it acceptable. I think war is acceptable in certain circumstances, but I hardly think that appeal to our general disposition for aggression is a good justification of war.

If you really want to push this “natural” argument for war, the same sort of argument seems to apply to other things like rape and murder. Both of those things are “natural”–left to our instincts it seems that people would like to rape and murder. Does that mean that’s acceptable too?[/quote]

Rape and murder ARE natural phenomenon. Humans have a lot of insanity within – no rational person would commit those crimes. What’s to argue or convince?

Did you read the Report from Iron Mountain? Substitutes for war are being sought after all the time. But our societies are organized, from top down, for going to war. The very idea of having a leader (president, fuhrer, chairman,…) is for the purpose of war.

I think that you grew up in a well-mannered suburb where violence was a minimum. Those are ENCLAVES. Most humans are dirty, cruel, violent beings. If there were no SWAT teams, roving gangs would love nothing better than to kill your children, rape your wife, and burn your house down, while forcing you to watch. And these are the beings you expect to judge the morality of war? The world is Darfur, Detroit, and the south Bronx.

[quote]orion wrote:

The point is that people can solve highly complex problems if you frame them as a problem that our brains have evolved to deal with.

[/quote]

Sure, but to the extent that that’s true it’s a trivial point. That’s what I was saying before. All it’s saying is that if I phrase things the right way and lead people the right way they can solve a problem that they otherwise couldn’t solve.

Perhaps specific examples would impress me more?

Sure, I never denied that various social skills were probably benefits that helped drive the evolution of the brain in certain directions. Your claims though that the human brain only evolved to function socially and hence that somehow we have all these instinctual insights into proper behavior seem way over blown.

That ultimately was my biggest complaint–not that you suggest that a social environment has helped to drive human brain evolution, but that you suggest ergo we have all these natural insights into property rights and that young children have deep seeded intuitions about social status.

On the first point I’m sticking to my story that notions of property rights are so far removed, so heavily abstract, so “intellectualized” if you will that they cannot be associated with the sort of instinctual possessiveness seen in humans. The former is as already described a sort of abstract, ultimate ethical claim while the latter is just an evolutionary trait that turned out to be helpful. Unless you somehow want to base your ethics on evolution, there is no connection.

Now on the second point that young children have some deep seeded intuitions about social status I am dubious as well. Surely the human brain is well adapted to function in a social environment and to easily acquire various social skills. It’s further clear that we probably have some instincts, such as possessiveness, that are socially oriented. Nevertheless it seems that to say we naturally understand social order or something to that effect is misplaced. Social order and our understanding of right and wrong are largely created by convention. The fact that we have some deep seeded instincts and instinctively tend towards a few social behaviors hardly means that our entire set of social skills is fixed via our biological evolution. It merely means that some are.

If I am misunderstanding you, please let me know. My above post though is responding to this:

Hence why I take you as arguing for the claim that because of our evolution, we instinctively understand both property rights and social order–“right and wrong” as you put it.