Monday, March 13, 2006

Speak Your Mind! Or, What Makes Fundamentalists Immoral?

Hello again all you faithful (ha ha) Kill The Afterlife readers! Its been a bit longer than usual since my last post because I was out of town for a friend's wedding. Anyway, let's get to some afterlife killing!

In comment #18 of my last blog post, a person by the name of Sean said:

This site is just as bad as religious fundamentalism, because you are trying to put your views into other peoples minds and judge everyone else on your own terms, when there are plenty good people who just keep their beliefs to themselves and judge their actions by it.


I have heard this argument many times, both in person and online. For example, I once argued with a girl who had a Bad Religion (the punk rock band) t-shirt on who said I was just as bad as the fundamentalists are because I'm out there evangelizing atheism and materialism in the same way that fundies are evangelizing hellfire and original sin. I thought it was rather ironic, since she was a fan of Bad Religion - a band that has dozens of songs that evangelize atheism and materialism (a bit more irreverently than my own writing does, I must say).

Commenter Sean is basically saying the same thing. Sean thinks it is immoral for me to enthusiastically promote atheistic ideas to whoever wants to read about them. And like the punk rock girl that I once argued with, Sean has a bit of irony in his position: Sean is taking advantage of the free speech that I afford my commenters so that he may promote his idea to me.
If it is immoral for me to promote my ideas through a communication medium, then isn't it also immoral for commenter Sean to promote his ideas through the same communication medium?

What happened is that Sean got confused. Honestly it's no big deal because it happens all the time, but it is important to note it and correct it when it happens. Sean, like the punk rock girl, confused the act of delivering a message with the message itself.

Both Sean and the punk rock girl were essentially arguing against free speech when they criticized my atheistic evangelizing. It makes me sick to my stomach when I hear anyone argue against free speech, even if it's to suppress ideas that I don't agree with, because idea suppression artificially and pre-emptively defeats the suppressed, while undermining and making illegitimate the suppressor.

Is it immoral to share your ideas with those who wish to listen? No. And if it was immoral, then it would also be immoral for Sean and the punk rock girl to tell me so.

Is it immoral to suppress another's attempt to share an idea? Yes. There's nothing wrong with declining to hear another's idea, but to stop them from expressing it is immoral. Why? Because suppressing anyone else's value expression is immoral, just like it is immoral for others to suppress your own value expression. I have always believed in a free marketplace of ideas, where all ideas are freely available to whoever wishes to learn about them, and those ideas are left to stand solely upon their own merits.

Here is the point: Ideas themselves may or may not be immoral, but making those ideas available to those who wish to learn about them is never immoral. Racism (an idea) is immoral, but explaining to another person what racism is (sharing the idea), is not immoral.

Similarly, fundamentalist Christianity is immoral, but explaining what fundamentalism is to someone is not immoral. Fundamentalist Christians are immoral for the ideas that they believe in and act upon, not for their willingness to share those ideas.

As an anarcho-capitalist, I want to see free competitive markets in place in all sectors of society. And a free marketplace is loaded with competing products (or ideas). Some of those products are good, and some are bad. The bad products (and the good ones as well) should never be suppressed or otherwise artificially made unavailable. And the consumers (or truth seekers) should be free to choose whatever product they want to. The morality question comes into play when a given product is chosen, not simply because that product is available to be chosen.

So what makes those fundies immoral anyway? The immorality of the worldview that they subscribe to, that's what! Is it immoral for a fundie to share his worldview with me if I ask him to? Absolutely not! In fact, it would be rude (and possibly immoral) for him NOT to! But what if I don't ask the fundie for his ideas, yet he walks down the street with them written on a posterboard (or maybe written on a blog)? Is it immoral then? Again, absolutely not! I don't have to read his posterboard and I don't have to read his blog.

Idea suppression is immoral. Idea sharing is not. Subscribing to an idea can be immoral if the idea itself is immoral. But merely encountering such an idea is not in itself immoral.

Commenter Sean and the punk rock girl are both subscribing to an immoral concept: idea suppression. I, on the other hand, am subscribing to a very moral concept: free speech. If atheism is to win the battle of the minds, it cannot do so (and must not do so) on the basis of the suppression of ideas. Instead, it must win the battle based on the merits of its ideas.

And now I will leave you all with a quote from Noam Chomsky: "If you're in favor of free speech, then you're in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise. Otherwise, you're not in favor of free speech."

23 comments:

BlackSun said...

I don't agree with Noam Chomsky much. But he's dead right in the quote you cited.

This along with the oft-cited quote from Voltaire, that may not be actually Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Freedom of speech is non-negotiable. That being said, I do think there are appropriate and inappropriate forums.

For example, on several occasions recently in L.A., I've encountered raving lunatics in the street. One guy stood right outside the courthouse in Van Nuys and ranted and raved about the Iraq war. I went inside and did my business. When I came out hours later, he was still there. He wouldn't shut up, and he verbally accosted anyone who came close enough to make eye contact. He was not so much engaging in free speech as direct verbal assault. Cops were standing all over the place and did nothing. The man obviously came to the federal building precisely because he knew he had a captive audience.

Another man did the same thing spouting bible quotes and verbally assaulting people down at 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. I witnessed hundreds of people that day being offended and disgusted.

There have to be some limits on free expression. If these lunatics are allowed to do what they do in public, people should also be allowed to sit out there naked on any given street corner and jerk off.

The two are morally equivalent in my opinion.

Aaron Kinney said...

LOL interesting take, Blacksun.

Yes Im not a huge Chomsky fan, but I do like that quote. Volaire's quote you provided is a good one too.

If you get verbally assaulted, it isnt a pleasant experience. But it doesnt really hurt you, just annoy you. In those cases, you can always verbally assault them back, or you can leave the area and tell the property owner that theres a nutjob on his turf.

If the lunatic follows you around, well then its stalking, and maybe you should punch him in the face or get a security professionals attention.

I actually bet that the 3rd street guy was amusing on some level. I would like to have seen him and to have antagonized him. Maybe ask him some funny questions about god or accuse him of being the devil! ;)

3rd street promenade is full of homeless drug addicts and crazies. Its so gross.

sean said...

so aaron, you agree with noam chomsky yet you are a self proclaimed 'anarcho-capitalist!', i think i remember a chomsky quote in which he says that if 'anarcho-capitalism' were ever to come into practice it would create the worst tyrany the world had ever experienced, but perhaps you just don't agree with him on that

Aaron Kinney said...

I dont agree with Chomsky on everything. In fact, I only agree with him like 25% of the time. But the man is very intelligent and has a lot of useful things to say that we should pay attention to.

The quote I provided is one of those things.

And Ive actually not read anything by Chomsky in regards to anarcho-capitalism, so I dont know what to tell you about what he said regarding it.

However, off the top of my head, I can ask the obvious question: how can an-cap create the worlds worst tyranny when, by definition, no coercive governments would exist?

vjack said...

The argument is absurd, and your response worked for me. Believing something and standing up for your belief is praiseworthy if and only if your belief happens to be accurate. An overwhelming body of evidence supports a naturalistic worldview. This doesn't mean that supernatural entities can't exist, but it does mean that the only defensible belief is that they do not exist. Big difference between atheism/secular humanism and faith in supernatural entities.

ty said...

Aaron
Are looking for a job? my comnpany is always after high end, well spoken agressive, i mean assertive, folks for a whole range of positions, we're global, with a variety of opportunities. www.valspar.com click on careers. there are only a few posted externally today but a bunch more posted internally.

UberKuh said...

We do need an atheist career management service.

Aaron Kinney said...

Ty, as a matter of fact, I am about to graduate from DeVry with a BS in Computer Information Systems (graduating this June) and I will need to find a better paying job to pay for my student loans. So I will check you guys out definitely!

Is there some way I can get in contact with you through a medium OTHER than my blog comments section to discuss this further? :)

Aaron Kinney said...

Vjack,

Im glad you agree with me for the most part. I would like to take a slight issue with something that you said:

Believing something and standing up for your belief is praiseworthy if and only if your belief happens to be accurate.

Now Vjack, this is what I warned about. Believing in something, and standing up for your beleifs, are two different and distinct things.

For example: I have more respect for the Christian that professes their beliefs openly and freely than I do for the Christian that refuse to profess and defend their beliefs.

Isnt it logical to expect EVERYONE to stand up for their beleifs and be willing to express them regardless of what they are?

Isnt it absurd to expect someone to somehow keep quiet about their beliefs just because they may be wrong? To that person, he/she is not wrong.

Here are the distinct components:

1) Use your perception to the best of your ability to (hopefully) arrive at the most correct conclusion/beleif.

2) Stand up for your beliefs, whatever they are.

I judge these two things seperately.

To me, it is vital for all beliefs to be openly and honestly available for dissection and evaluation. This is how we get ideas to stand up on their own merits (think free market).

Only if both the right and wrong beliefs are openly available for honest evaluation do we have any hope of choosing the correct one for the correct reasons.

Silencing those beliefs that are wrong, is in fact, wrong to do. It removes the possibility of botht he wrong belief and its competitor from being selected by consumers based on their own merits.

Lets try a soda analogy. Lets say Coke is the best tasting and best priced, and that Pepsi tastes like shit and costs more. Should the Pepsi be banned from the market? NO!!! It should still be available for consumption/evaluation, and should only dissapear from the market through natural consumer demand forces. Only then can you say that the Coke survived cause it was better and the pepsi dissapeared because it sucked. If you forcibly and coercively remove the pepsi, you can never honestly say that the Coke was better based on evaluation of both products now, can you?

Vjack, youre a good atheist buddy and I like you, so I mean this respectfully: You need to understand that if you dont think people who are wrong should be allowed to express their incorrect views, then you subscribe to coercive force and you subscribe to an immoral principle.

UberKuh said...

Aaron wrote:
"Ty, as a matter of fact, I am about to graduate from DeVry with a BS in Computer Information Systems..."

What programming languages, if any, did you have to learn to graduate? C, Perl, Java? I'm guessing one of these, listed in the order of probability. Congrats on getting that BS, btw. BS is what it is, you know that, right? Hehe.

ty said...

I believe we have a web design position open at our corporate headquarters in Minneaoplis. Best follow-up is; check to see if its posted on our web site, if not call the main # on the site and ask for the HR Dept. They should be able to direct you from there. We also have operations in both Wheeling and Kankakee (I think DeVry is in Chicagoland?) You could call those facilities directly.

sean said...

in response to aaron's question about how could 'anarcho-capitalism' bring about tyranny if no governments existed. Well it would be a corporate tyranny. These days governments are for the most part nothing more than servants of huge conglomerates that control the economy, however governments do regulate the power of corporations at the barest minimum standard,so if you took government away and let these huge private companies have free reign, the result would be ugly to say the least. I'm all for abolishing government, as long as we abolish the private companies that control the government aswell

ty said...

Do any of you guys understand what it takes to create something of value such that someone else will pay you for it? Literally start with dirt and with creativity, knowledge, and drive convert it into something of value like steel, food, clothing, computers etc? Reading this stuff is entertaining, but you'll all need to step it up a notch if you expect to cut it in a fiercly competitive global market. If you expect to compete and make a living in the arena of ideas alone, you'll need some new ones, not just a rehash of the same old same old debate that I've heard since the 60s . . . its just getting old and worn out. If you think this is all new, just listen to some pop lyrics from your parents generation. The Who was more prophetic than I thought back then, " . . . meet the new boss same as the old boss"

Aaron Kinney said...

Uber,

Yes I had to learn some languages. C, VB .NET, Perl, SQL, html/xml, etc...

BS is the shit, lemme tell you! ;-)

Sean,

in response to aaron's question about how could 'anarcho-capitalism' bring about tyranny if no governments existed. Well it would be a corporate tyranny.

How would that even be possible? First, the company in question would have to have a monopoly in the market, then it would have to prevent any other organizations from popping up to compete, and then it would have to force EVERYONE to only use its product.

If that happened, then I contend it wouldnt be an anarchy anymore, but a "government" just like the one we have now.

But in a market anarchy, it would be MUCH harder almost to the point of impossibility for this tyrannical corporation to come about. But, in the world we live in today, these tyrannies you speak of already exist, and they easily exist thanks to the absurd notion of statist democracy/tyranny of the majority voting.

These days governments are for the most part nothing more than servants of huge conglomerates that control the economy,

You have it exactly backwards. The correct sentence is: "these days corporations are for the most part nothing more than servants of huge governments that control the economy..."

however governments do regulate the power of corporations at the barest minimum standard,

No they do not. You are confused. Natural market forces regulate the power of corporations. Governments artificially manipulate the power of corporations to levels that it shouldnt be at (either too much or too little power) depending on the governments goals of the moment. In addition, the government is a parasite sucking the blood out of these corporations that actually produce, and respond to consumer demand.

so if you took government away and let these huge private companies have free reign, the result would be ugly to say the least.

Sean, look at the world today. Governments have free reign, and the results are ugly. Actually ugly isnt the proper word for it. Now if these governments were abolished, and companies instead provided government services in a competitive market, the results would be promising to say the least. The incentives in a private market are superior to those in a forced monopoly, period.

I'm all for abolishing government, as long as we abolish the private companies that control the government aswell

Private companies do not control the government. Only government officials control the government. Private companies are held hostage by the government just like you and me, and we are all looted for our money and restricted from our freedoms at the muzzle of a gun held by a government agent.

Sean, do you or do you not believe that a free competitive market is the best way to provide goods and services?

sean said...

well , this is obviously where we disagree, you seem to want to keep all the luxuries and material wealth of our modern western consumer societies but do away with government. the 'goods and services' you refer to is mostly just shit that people are brainwashed into believing they need or want, if any sort of real anarchy were ever to come about we would probably live without many if not most of the useless products that we are told we need these days. i also think you are just plain wrong about the balance of power between governments and corporations. any good political commentator will tell you that the demands of private companies are what drives most government policy because they hold the economy together and keep it 'competitive' therefore ensuring the government and the businessmen their positions of power. You say private companies are held hostage by governments as if you almost feel sympathy for the rich elite that not only exploits workers, steals resources, fucks over the third world and destroys the environment, but also create diseases which they then manufacture drugs for to suppress the symptoms. if you abolish government without abolishing the mega rich corporations then they will be free to own and patent evrything that they haven't already, from crops to medicines to water to human genes. Oh yeah, and the 'natural force' that you said regulates the corporations, i think it's called 'greed'. Also what is 'consumer demand' really?, i think if people were asked what they want without being coerced by advertising and 'free enterpise' most people would just want everybody to have the reasonable means of survival and wellbeing, food, water and shelter, which due to the wonders of the 'free market' most of the world's people do not have adequate access to. if you go to www.infoshop.org and search 'anarcho-capitalism' you will find many debates about why it has nothing to do with anarchy or anarchism and why if it ever came about it would be a worse disaster than what we have today.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hey Sean, hows it going?

You said:

the 'goods and services' you refer to is mostly just shit that people are brainwashed into believing they need or want, if any sort of real anarchy were ever to come about we would probably live without many if not most of the useless products that we are told we need these days.

That is incorrect. People were not brainwashed into needing food, clothing, housing, entertainment,transportation, etc... Tehy really do need those things Sean. Once again you are confusing your entities here.

What, in fact, people WERE brainwashed into, is the need for a monopolistic governmental force to keep everyone in line. Just like most people are brainwashed into believing that a God is necessary.

It seems like you are projecting the vulnerabilities and problems with your statist worldview onto my pro-individual anarchist worldview.

i also think you are just plain wrong about the balance of power between governments and corporations.

Of course you do. You were brainwashed ;)

any good political commentator will tell you that the demands of private companies are what drives most government policy because they hold the economy together and keep it 'competitive' therefore ensuring the government and the businessmen their positions of power.

Yes I agree with you here, but this is besides the point; it is irrelevant. What I said before still stands. The truth is that corporations are at the mercy of the "gun to your head" government.

Look Sean, the gov knows that it needs a healthy host with which to suck blood (money) from. But the gov is the entity with the guns, the gov is the entity that makes the rules, not the corporations. So just because the gov makes some laws that benefit corporations doesnt mean IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER that the corporations control the government. Period. The only extent that the corporations have control over government is when corporate agents are simultaneously government agents, and even then it still boils down to the government controlling the corporations, not the other way around.

Sean, do you work for a corporation? I work for an insurance company. We get audited every 3 years by the gov. We get fined and regulated by the gov. Every year they change the rules on what we can and cannot do. Every year they present new hoops for us to jump through. Every year they take a big fat wet bite out of our pocketbook. They ROB from us. I am an auditor, so I see thsi stuff firsthand.

Does my company audit the government? No. Does my company tell the government which laws to make? No. Does my company charge the government for taxes? No. Does my company threaten to shut the government down if it doesnt abide by its "rules"? No.

If you saw firsthand the interactions between gov and business like I do, then you would understand exactly what I was talking about.

Even companies that use lobbyists to get favors STILL Are being controlled by the government. Why? Those favors dont come free, thats why! Bribes are expensive Sean! Even if a company gets a law made in its favor due to influence on lawmakers, the company STILL LOST because it had to pay money out the asshole for that favor!

Without a government, there would be no favors. the corrupt relationship between business and government would cease to exist. No corporation would be able to get unfair favors or unfair punishment from a coercive monopolistic governing force. Do you understand?

You say private companies are held hostage by governments as if you almost feel sympathy for the rich elite that not only exploits workers, steals resources, fucks over the third world and destroys the environment, but also create diseases which they then manufacture drugs for to suppress the symptoms.

I feel sympathy for EVERYONE both rich and poor, that gets robbed by the government. I feel sympathy for ANY victim.

And it is in fact governments that steal resources and destroy the environment, not corporations. You dont understand what incentives are Im afraid. Do you know, for example, who is the #1 biggest tree planter and forest replenisher in the world? Take a wild guess! The answer may shock you ;)

And heres another example: who is the #1 biggest investor in clean energy vehicles? take a wild guess!!!

if you abolish government without abolishing the mega rich corporations then they will be free to own and patent evrything that they haven't already, from crops to medicines to water to human genes.

And it will be much better with competing entities in a free market doing this than any monopolistic government... do you agree or not?

Oh yeah, and the 'natural force' that you said regulates the corporations, i think it's called 'greed'.

No, its called the invisible market hand of capitalism. Ever hear of Adam Smith and his book "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations"? If not, then I suggest you wikipedia it or something before coming back to this topic.

And do you know what "greed" even is? The government has more of it than any other entity!!!! Companies have greed, but they are happy competing with other companies for their customer base. But the government doesnt allow any competition. The government is so "greedy" as you put it, that it forces out its competitors with guns and bombs! But a corporation only forces out its competitors with superior products that its customers willingly pay for.

Also what is 'consumer demand' really?, i think if people were asked what they want without being coerced by advertising and 'free enterpise' most people would just want everybody to have the reasonable means of survival and wellbeing, food, water and shelter, which due to the wonders of the 'free market' most of the world's people do not have adequate access to.

Lame pointless statement here. What are you trying to say?

Ill tell you what consumer demand is Sean. Consumer demand is the only thing in society that legitimizes entities that vie to provide services or goods with others. Fair and free consumer demand. Governments do not acknowledge consumer demand, Sean. Corporations do.

Corporatiosn are legitimate, and governments are not. Thats what consumer demand means. It means that you have no argument to support the existence of a government Sean.

if you go to www.infoshop.org and search 'anarcho-capitalism' you will find many debates about why it has nothing to do with anarchy or anarchism and why if it ever came about it would be a worse disaster than what we have today.

LOL yes Ive prowled anarchy boards before. But I dont care about infoshop. I care about talking to YOU about this. So im only gonna involve myself with the little debate between you and I here.

So far Sean you have given me nothing to support your contention that a state is required for a functional society. Sean, are you familiar with the burden of proof and how it relates to god and atheism? Well, the burden of proof also applies to anarchy and a state. And so far, you have not presented any argument that supports the existence of a government. In fact, all your arguments were either actually in support of an unregulated free market, or they were irrelevant.

sean said...

i know you don't want this to be a political blog so this will be my last post whether you reply or not sine we are obviously not going to reach a consensus. As an anarchist, i in no way have a statist world view, i want to see the dismantling of government, but also the dismantling of most other heirarchical power structures such as corporations, private property, schools, army and police, because they are all part of the same oppressing froce that denies self rule, self sufficiency and sustainable life, needless to say capitalism is at the centre of it all(although, it is not the be all and end all). You said you work for an insurance company, hmmm, i wonder why you support private business?. I don't know why you think i think the state is needed for society, i don't, but i think that you can't just take away only the government and leave intact all the other institutions that control our lives. consumer demand is a manufufactured thing, we don't get what we want, we just want what we get. Governments and corporations go had in hand, they play off each other to protect their priviledge. You said that it's the government who have the guns, well obviously, but it's arms corporations that provide the guns for the government, to use in wars that further benefit the corporations and keep the flow of false needs going steady. You also make some ridiculous claim that corporatins help to replant forests!, well who chopped the trees down to make paper or create fields for cattle and soya in the first place?,answer corporations. anyway replanting does not heal the damage already done once trees are chopped down, because trees produce methane, so the only answer is to stop logging in the first place. capitalism needs to keep axpanding an exploiting in order to survive and that just can't happen because the earth cannot sustain a neverending thirst for resources, given that the planet's natural resources are already dwindling and we are on the brink of ecological catastrophe. we need to put the whole techno-indutrial framework that capitalism supports into question, and i personally want to see it either severely reduced in it's magnitude or dismantled altogether. In a way i hope your little scenario of benevolent corporations competing freely without government comes true, so that you could see where it would lead us, because the flow of supply and demand cannot last at the current pace it's at, the earth can simply not take it, and you would soon see an overclass of the ultrarich that is even worse than the one we have today.

ty said...

BS it may be, but if you want to compete at a global level you need to be in the game. I don't know if your a student or work for an insurance company, doesn't matter, don't care both are local, domestic and protected. The world is functioning well beyond this level of discussion.

Sean, you need to spend time in a third world country to be able apply your ideas in practce, they don't hold. The global economy, and its taxing on the environment is sustainable, in spite of what you hear. The only red flag is depleting water tables from over irrigation in impoverished arrid countries . Thats an engineering issue. Start a company and solve it, to your profit, and the local people's benefit, and stop complaining. If you want save the world get in the game, and make some saves.

Aaron, I'm intrigued by only a couple things, first; you seem to be the leader of this merry band, thats what we look for, and second; you've argued morality from an anarchistic perspective, you pull off the ultimate oxymoron and get away with it :) thats also what we need. btw your skill sets whether programing or selling or whatever aren't the first thing we look for, we don't especially care, we create jobs that don't exist for the right person, its do you have "it" or not, skills can be taught, the rest is already in you, and can't be taught.

So do you want to play in the game or cheer from the stands? Hope we hear from you.

Delta said...

I of course agree with essentially everything that Sean says (sorry that the calvary is so late here ;) ).

AK, I think it's strange that you like to talk so much about the burden of truth and then yet you rest your entire worldview on the concept of a free market and an "invisible hand". I don't expect you to prove that a free market could exist, but I would appreciate it if you could make some sort of argument as to how it would be plausible for one to exist in real life.

Let's say that the government by some means was abolished. There would likely involve a decent amount of violence, if not a great deal. The people coming out of this revolution would be extremely suspect of concentrated power. If the market were truly free, then these people would choose the product that gave them the best value. This would include not simply the value of the good itself, but also costs to themselves through externalities relating to the product's manufacture, the business' benefit to the community, etc. Taking these factors into account, business' that did not distribute the wealth in a fair manner, that destroyed the environment, that could sell products cheaper only by exploiting people and putting them in horrible working conditions would not survive. What would survive is the businesses that were productive and whose concern was the community. I don't think it's too big of a leap to say that these kind of economic scenario could quickly become anarcho-syndicalist (this is what Chomsky is btw, although it doesn't matter). A capitalist kind of society could only remain if these things were swept under the rug and hidden from the public eye, which would violate the general idea that in free market you have an informed consumer.

Unfortunately I'm at school at the moment and have to take a piss, so I'm gonna post this, logout, and come back =)

Delta said...

Oh yeah, that was a good one.

And I think it's pretty obvious that the businesses in the country control the government. However (and this might be how you are looking at it Ak), these powerful corporations use the government as a tool to control the smaller businesses that don't have the guns which are needed to compete with the larger businesses in the market that we have today.

Of course you do. You were brainwashed ;)

This statement invites a response. I don't think that we'll disagree on the fact that childhood propaganda in the US is both statist and capitalistic in nature, so Sean being against capitalism would not likely be from brainwashing as a child. But this brings me to my theory on how someone who cares about individuality and freedom might call themselves an anarcho-capitalist despite the contradiction inherent in the position. It might completely be without merit, or not apply to you, but I'll say it anyway. It seems to me that it can be described by following the evolution of your political beliefs. Growing up it's Republican or Democrat. You find that you are totally against religion and conservatism of that nature so you are against Republicans. You walk down the streets in this part of Cali and you see the homeless people who don't do shit and expect others to take care of them. This makes you not like the Democrats. So you choose libertarianism. However, upon reading libertarian papers, books, and blogs, it becomes apparent that all of the arguments tend to be "free market" this or "free market" that. So for lack of other alternatives (Rep and Dem are obviously bad) you eat up all this capitalistic horseshit. Anyway like I mentioned earlier, childhood in the US is full of statist and capitalistic propaganda. And the libertarian views essentially reflect the overcoming of religious propaganda but not on the more subtle statist and capitalistic propaganda. But now by the time that you realize the state isn't necessary, you are stuck with capitalism, if not for the fact that all of the arguments you're familiar with involve "free markets" of some sort (do a word count of "free market" in a typical libertarian essay and it comes up so much you'd expect them to have a shortcut on their keyboard for it). Anyhow, this is the gist of my idea. It's basically a story of you overcoming propaganda, first religious, then statist. You simply fail to connect the last dot because in the 2nd step (libertarianism) you are forced to embrace "free markets" in such a fundamentalistlic style that it stifles a critical examination of it later. And like I said, this might not apply to you at all, but I thought I'd say it.

And I'm not saying that a free market wouldn't work. I just don't think it's possible so talking about how it would work seems to be jumping the gun. Every argument you make in favor of a so-called anarcho-capitalistic society relies on this concept of a free market working (or even being possible), so I think you owe it to yourself to look into it more. Just as most of Christianity makes sense if you accept that God wrote the Bible and that he works in mysterious ways, most of anarcho-capitalism would make sense if you assumed the existence of a free market.

And Sean, I have to disagree with you on your lack of punctuation. It's absolutely horrible to look at =)

And AK, just to comment on the topic of the post, I agree with you =)

Delta said...

Damn, upon rereading the first post it should have said "burden of proof", not "truth" of course.

sean said...

thanks for the support delta, and by the way i think whoever is the moderator on this site is messing with my posts and making the punctuation all wrong because i checked that post carefully for errors before i sent it and i'm sure it was punctually perfect!

Anonymous said...

Is it okay to go back to what started all of this - freedom of speech - or have I missed something?

Anyway, going on the assumption that I haven't, missed something, that is . . .

If one supports freedom of speech, that freedom necessarily encompasses unpopular speech - popular speech needs no protection.

It might seem ludicrous to support someone's right to say things with which you disagree, however, you are also free to express yourself, and say why you disagree. That's what freedom of speech is. It's not about what's said, it's about the right to say it.