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Author Topic: Politics is an immoral dead-end  (Read 60207 times)

Caleb

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #915 on: January 06, 2008, 09:54 PM NHFT »

I think you have had reason to try. And I think you've participated in the event that hires our oppressors.
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MaineShark

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #916 on: January 06, 2008, 09:59 PM NHFT »

I think you have had reason to try. And I think you've participated in the event that hires our oppressors.

Seems like you're having a lot of trouble actually answering a very basic questions, eh?  Is that sweat on your brow?

Joe
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ethanpooley

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #917 on: January 06, 2008, 10:38 PM NHFT »

MaineShark, that is the question that I need answered as well. I see no mechanism here. In practice, payment of taxes under duress does far more to empower our oppressors than participation in elections. And I can even be in favor of an evil dictator without wronging anyone, so long as I stop short of advocating his activities. I can say things like, "I think he is good for our country," or "I am glad that he is in office," without crossing the line to advocacy, however mistaken my opinion may be. Yet all of this is far more empowering than simply saying "better him than the next bastard" when asked for my opinion.

We're not saying that elections don't empower the state. They do. And we aren't saying that our participation isn't voluntary. It is. We are saying that some activities which have the practical effect of empowering the state are nevertheless morally permissible, because while they may have the net effect of increasing the overall amount of aggression in the world, they are not themselves aggressive acts. Insulting a bully, for example, is not an aggressive act, though it may have the net effect of making him more prone to aggression in the immediate future, to the detriment of others.
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Caleb

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #918 on: January 06, 2008, 11:11 PM NHFT »

Quote
We're not saying that elections don't empower the state. They do. And we aren't saying that our participation isn't voluntary. It is. We are saying that some activities which have the practical effect of empowering the state are nevertheless morally permissible

No. My brow is sweat free. By your own admission, elections empower the state. The election is the event at which my oppressor is hired. If there was no election, or no one showed up for the election, no one would be hired to do the jobs that oppress me. So when you participate in selecting my oppressor, you are committing an act of violence against me. The same as if I hired a thug to break your legs. You hired him. Granted, you weren't *alone* in hiring him. But you hired him nonetheless.
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ethanpooley

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #919 on: January 07, 2008, 04:44 AM NHFT »

It is not a hiring. To hire is "to engage the services of (a person) for a fee." I am not the one deciding to engage the services of any president, nor am I the one appropriating (stealing) the funds that will be paid to him. Every four years, other people announce their intention to select and engage a new president. They offer to take my preferences into account. You keep steering this back to presidential campaigns, but remember that I view the state as a criminal organization. Consider how odd your argument sounds in that context:

"The election is the event at which my oppressor [the Don] is hired."

When the criminals, who take my money to fund their activities, condescend to ask my opinion regarding their leadership, I am suddenly thrust into the position of employer? Surely that is an odd employment situation, where I have only the power to affect who is chosen, and not whether they are chosen, nor how they behave after they become my "employee".

"If there was no election, or no one showed up for the election, no one would be hired to do the jobs that oppress me."

The Don isn't hired now; he takes his position, his power, and his compensation by force. His control over me does not rely on my input. Withholding my input will not make the state disappear any more than it would make the mafia disappear.

If in the current state (not the mafia) no one showed up for the election, the Electoral College would vote anyway, or else the House would select the president and the Senate the vice-president. But there is rather a trick to what you suggest - if no one showed up for the election, then presumably no one is paying any attention to the bidding of the state and it could not enforce its laws or take our money. Since the Electoral votes would be an election, they don't fit in your scenario either. So all you are saying is that if everyone would abandon the state, the state would not oppress you. An obvious truth, but not an argument.

My gripe is that you treat all voters the same when they are not. Actions are neither moral nor immoral in and of themselves; intention must be taken into account. The traditional example in philosophy is the distinction between an act and an act-type:

Quote
Two men are target shooting at a run range. Behind their targets are bound men. One of the shooters knows this, but the other does not. Both carry out the same action of discharging-a-firearm, but their act-types are very different. One is act-type murder and the other is merely act-type target-shooting.

Similarly, at the ballot box some of us are merely engaging in act-type indicating-preference-of-evils. Others are engaging in act-type loot-pillage-and-burn-by-proxy. They want the candidates to engage in immoral behavior on their behalf. We do not. You have no way of reliably determining the difference, but that does not mean that there is no difference.

You recognize only two significant classes of men: non-participating anarchists like yourself, and everyone else. You assert that if the world were entirely populated by people like yourself there would be no oppression, and I agree. Conversely you assert that if anyone from the other class is in the world, they will by their participation in the state bring oppression into the world. I agree that this could be the result, but deny that it must be the result.

I do so by making a distinction that you have not. I suggest that there are actually three classes of men: non-participating anarchists like yourself, contingently-participating anarchists like myself, and everyone else. If there are any from the last class in the world they will indeed bring oppression into the world, but if there were only people like myself and yourself you would find that we brought about no oppression. If tomorrow morning the world was suddenly populated only by people like myself, we would cease to have any need for government and it would cease to exist naturally. We would present no obstacle to the people of your class. In such universal-identity experiments I assert that we are just as good as you.

This is significant because of mixed-class scenarios, where the third class is present and peace is never possible. Your only gripe against my class is that we are obstacles to universal peace, but we are only obstacles so long as the third class is present, and when the third class is present they make universal peace impossible all by themselves. Therefore my class presents no practical obstacle to universal peace. In no scenario are we denying you something that you would otherwise enjoy. The third class brings all of the evil.

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MaineShark

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #920 on: January 07, 2008, 08:00 AM NHFT »

Quote
We're not saying that elections don't empower the state. They do. And we aren't saying that our participation isn't voluntary. It is. We are saying that some activities which have the practical effect of empowering the state are nevertheless morally permissible
No. My brow is sweat free. By your own admission, elections empower the state. The election is the event at which my oppressor is hired. If there was no election, or no one showed up for the election, no one would be hired to do the jobs that oppress me. So when you participate in selecting my oppressor, you are committing an act of violence against me. The same as if I hired a thug to break your legs. You hired him. Granted, you weren't *alone* in hiring him. But you hired him nonetheless.

Are you suggesting that, prior to the advent of democracy, there was no oppression?  Kings and emperors were nice folks who ran bake sales to fund their castles and never hurt a single hair on anyone's head?

As has been demonstrated before in this thread, when no one shows up to an election, the government just doesn't vanish... the incumbents retain power.  It's happened, in the actual real world, and that was the actual real result.  The government didn't just evaporate.

So, again, by what mechanism can you link voting to the continued existence of the aggressive State?

To the best of my knowledge, no one has actually demonstrated a causal link between the two.  Statism was alive and well before democracy.  Ergo, voting did not create Statism.  The removal of democracy from an already-extant Statist government does not cause it to collapse (eg, a coup to install a dictator, or simply no one bothering to vote).  Ergo, voting does not maintain Statism.

Joe
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Vitruvian

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #921 on: January 07, 2008, 11:01 AM NHFT »

Quote from: MaineShark
Are you suggesting that, prior to the advent of democracy, there was no oppression?

No one is suggesting that.  Democracy is but the most recent iteration of statism, whose legitimacy goes unquestioned by the vast majority of people.  What Caleb is suggesting, and what I and others have suggested previously, is that voting is one source of the State's power, as an expression of .  The average person, whether he votes or not, sees millions of his fellow citizens running off to the polls, to cast their "preferences," on days like tomorrow and his mind remains enslaved, crushed under the weight of those millions of votes.
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MaineShark

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #922 on: January 07, 2008, 11:21 AM NHFT »

Quote from: MaineShark
Are you suggesting that, prior to the advent of democracy, there was no oppression?
No one is suggesting that.  Democracy is but the most recent iteration of statism, whose legitimacy goes unquestioned by the vast majority of people.  What Caleb is suggesting, and what I and others have suggested previously, is that voting is one source of the State's power, as an expression of .  The average person, whether he votes or not, sees millions of his fellow citizens running off to the polls, to cast their "preferences," on days like tomorrow and his mind remains enslaved, crushed under the weight of those millions of votes.

I am not responsible for others' delusional fantasies.

What you and Caleb have both suggested is that voting actually causes the oppression inherent in Statism.

Without a causal link, there certainly can be no moral link.

Joe
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John Edward Mercier

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #923 on: January 07, 2008, 12:48 PM NHFT »

I have a question. Wouldn't a non-participating anarchist need to absolve themselves of any statist supplied benefit?
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Caleb

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #924 on: January 07, 2008, 02:34 PM NHFT »

Election results can only be disregarded at the expense of the State giving up its pretense to Democracy. I will be the first to admit that we do not have real Democracy, only the pretense of a Democracy. But since there is the pretense, election results will be respected (until such time as they threaten the State.) I tend to think you are right: If no one showed up for elections, the State would not crumble because someone would seize power. W would probably declare a State of Emergency and we would have a dictatorship. But that would crumble their pretense to Democracy, and force your lemming brethren to face up to the actual situation. As it is now, you are participating in their contest of power and contributing to the existence of the system as actually configured, and since the election is the DIRECT CAUSATION of the individual assuming power, then you are participating in the event which has a direct cause of the oppression. You cannot argue it away by suggesting that if the election were not the direct cause there would be another direct cause. That is perhaps true, but that is not the reality you are dealing with, and in the event of a different direct cause, you would have to determine how you would respond to that reality. You must deal with reality as it is, and acknowledge that you are participating in the event that directly causes my oppression. Your "intent" is irrelevant, because there can be NO EXCUSE for oppressing me, even in self-defense, because I am not the agent of your oppression. You like to write long dissertations, Joe, but in the end, I'm not sure you're saying much more than "Nuh Uh!"

Caleb
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 02:40 PM NHFT by Caleb »
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Caleb

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #925 on: January 07, 2008, 02:39 PM NHFT »

I have a question. Wouldn't a non-participating anarchist need to absolve themselves of any statist supplied benefit?


Most try to do just that, although with the level of statist involvement in our lives, it can be a difficult job even determining all the ways that the State is attempting to provide a "benefit", and many feel, (like myself) that if the state has stolen my money to provide a certain service, then I have already paid for that service, and am entitled to use the benefit. An example would be the fact that they stole my money at the pump for roads, so I can use the roads. I may not like it, I may wish it was different, but I am not causing the oppression, merely attempting to live my life as best I can in spite of it.
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MaineShark

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #926 on: January 07, 2008, 02:50 PM NHFT »

Election results can only be disregarded at the expense of the State giving up its pretense to Democracy. I will be the first to admit that we do not have real Democracy, only the pretense of a Democracy. But since there is the pretense, election results will be respected (until such time as they threaten the State.) I tend to think you are right: If no one showed up for elections, the State would not crumble because someone would seize power. W would probably declare a State of Emergency and we would have a dictatorship. But that would crumble their pretense to Democracy, and force your lemming brethren to face up to the actual situation.

So, you've accepted that voting does not cause the State to exist.

As it is now, you are participating in their contest of power and contributing to the existence of the system as actually configured, and since the election is the DIRECT CAUSATION of the individual assuming power, then you are participating in the event which has a direct cause of the oppression. You cannot argue it away by suggesting that if the election were not the direct cause there would be another direct cause. That is perhaps true, but that is not the reality you are dealing with, and in the event of a different direct cause, you would have to determine how you would respond to that reality. You must deal with reality as it is, and acknowledge that you are participating in the event that directly causes my oppression. Your "intent" is irrelevant, because there can be NO EXCUSE for oppressing me, even in self-defense, because I am not the agent of your oppression.

How, actually, does voting cause oppression?  What actual mechanism links making a mark on a piece of paper to actual oppression?

Would there magically be less oppression if there was less voting?

Let's use a concrete example.  I'm going to go to the polls tomorrow and mark "Ron Paul" on a piece of paper.  Whom, exactly, will be harmed by that act?

You like to write long dissertations, Joe, but in the end, I'm not sure you're saying much more than "Nuh Uh!"

I am just saying "nuh uh," because you aren't making any actual argument.  You're just skipping around the issue.

Joe
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Caleb

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #927 on: January 07, 2008, 02:58 PM NHFT »

I'll try to make this really simple, so you don't get lost in tangents, Joe. Your argument looks something like this.

"A causes C. But if A didn't cause C, then B would cause C. So since C is going to happen anyway, it's ok for me to be part of A." 

I'm saying you can't be part of A or B or D or any other letter of the alphabet that might cause C.

Or sometimes it seems like you are flirting with two different arguments. Sometimes it seems like you are conceding that A is the cause of C and sometimes it seems like you are denying that A causes C altogether. "What is the mechanism?"  Don't be so thick. Do you want me to spell out the mechanism? Ok, I'll bite. Once. I'm not going to let this turn into a long debate.

Mechanism of action:  You enter the polls, along with other people. Each votes for his preferred thug. These votes are tabulated, the winner is certified by the secretary of state (usually) and proceeds to take office at a predetermined date in the future. The details may vary, but this is the ultimate mechanism by which your vote turns into someone taking office.

How will your vote for Ron Paul harm anyone? Probably won't, because he doesn't have a chance in hell. Had you voted for Guinta, you would have been directly responsible for Guinta's actions. And if Ron Paul wins, you will be responsible for whatever oppression he causes, which may, in fact, be substantial to persons of undocumented status from certain countries to our south. And if your defense is resting in the fact that your vote for Ron Paul is so meaningless because he has no chance of winning, then what is the point of voting in the first place?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 03:00 PM NHFT by Caleb »
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MaineShark

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #928 on: January 07, 2008, 03:11 PM NHFT »

I'll try to make this really simple, so you don't get lost in tangents, Joe. Your argument looks something like this.

"A causes C. But if A didn't cause C, then B would cause C. So since C is going to happen anyway, it's ok for me to be part of A." 

I'm saying you can't be part of A or B or D or any other letter of the alphabet that might cause C.

Or sometimes it seems like you are flirting with two different arguments. Sometimes it seems like you are conceding that A is the cause of C and sometimes it seems like you are denying that A causes C altogether. "What is the mechanism?"  Don't be so thick. Do you want me to spell out the mechanism? Ok, I'll bite. Once. I'm not going to let this turn into a long debate.

Mechanism of action:  You enter the polls, along with other people. Each votes for his preferred thug. These votes are tabulated, the winner is certified by the secretary of state (usually) and proceeds to take office at a predetermined date in the future. The details may vary, but this is the ultimate mechanism by which your vote turns into someone taking office.

But, again, someone will take office even if I don't vote.  Clearly, my vote didn't cause that.

Your argument here is basically akin to telling someone with terminal cancer who is going to die in a week that he shouldn't have unprotected sex with a stranger, because he might get AIDS and that could kill him a couple decades hence.

AIDS might be bad for him, in a world where he didn't have cancer.  But in the actual world, where he does have cancer, something which might kill him in a couple decades is not of concern to him, because it will not actually cause his death... his death will be caused by that terminal cancer, much sooner.  He won't even feel a negative result from the infection, that soon.

Voting is not causal of oppression, per se, unless it acts to increase oppression.  Voting that maintains the status quo or decreases the level of oppression is simply not causal of oppression.

Joe
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MaineShark

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Re: Politics is an immoral dead-end
« Reply #929 on: January 07, 2008, 03:23 PM NHFT »

Just to add a bit more...

Caleb, I'm assuming that you've accepted the notion that simply stating an opinion that "Politician X is less evil than Politician Y" does not constitute aggression.  Correct?

Your argument, instead, is that voting is somehow something more than simply stating one's opinion, right?

Joe
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