Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pirate Party follow-up—and a question for discussion

My post criticising the Pirate Party caused one of the most lively debates on The Kitchen for a long time—if not ever. It's clearly a subject that people feel strongly about—myself included—so I thought that it was worth a follow-up.

The Retort

One of the main reactions to my post came from cabalamat—the Campaigns Officer of the Pirate Party UK—in which he rather dishonestly decided to equate my personal view with the Libertarian Party policy on this matter.
Pirate Party UK is more libertarian than the Libertarian Party UK, at least on some policy issues, if this post by the Libertarian Party’s leader Chris Mounsey is to be believed.

This is, of course, nonsense: as leader of the Libertarian Party, I do not make policy. Our policies are formulated by the membership of the party—not announced by me as diktats.

This is, of course, something that cabalamat should have known or guessed at—before I pointed it out to him—since he admits that his party works in a similar way.
It’s my personal view; I’m not the leader of PPUK, so I’m not entitled to make _ex cathedra_ announcements on party policy. Nor for that matter is our leader Andrew Robinson; PPUK policies are decided democratically by the membership.

Quite. As it happens, Libertarian Party policy on IP, copyrights and patents has not yet been properly formulated—although it has been the subject of heated discussion on the members' forum. But more of that later.

Another argument that cabalamat put forward was that..
recognising that preventing non-commercial file sharing is in practice unenforceable (except at excessive cost to liberty and wealth), and it is therefore de facto legal

This is an argument that I reject absolutely. Let us put it another way: let us use the conviction rate for reported rapes...
The government estimates that as many as 95% of rapes are never reported to the police at all. Of the rapes that were reported from 2007 to 2008, only 6.5% resulted in a conviction, compared with 34% of criminal cases in general.

Now, we all know that there are certain problems with these statistics but, nonetheless, rape convictions are low.

I think that, from the evidence presented above, we can recognise that preventing rapes is in practice unenforceable (except at excessive cost to liberty and wealth), and it is therefore de facto legal.

Anyone on board with that argument? Anyone?

Bueller?

If something is wrong in principle, then it should not be made de facto legal simply because it is difficult to enforce. Yes, we as a society can decide to what extent we are willing to curtail personal freedom in order to enforce said laws—in the case of personal file-sharing, I would say "not much"—but that does not mean that we should just give up and legalise that activity.

I'd also like to highlight a comment by Graeme Lambert, a supporter of and desirous of being a PPC for the Pirate Party, which is, I think, spectacularly disingenuous.
The Pirate Party do not want to abolish copyright as we want creative artists to receive their fair share.

Well, who could argue with that? We all want that—what we are arguing about is how best to deliver it.
If I buy a CD/DVD, rip it to my computer, create a torrent, upload it to The Pirate Bay, send the link to a few friends and let them download it; that is non-commercial file-sharing.

I am aware of what non-commercial file-sharing is. And we have all made cassettes and CDs for friends. This is, of course, technically illegal, but it has never been worth the expense of pursuing—which is one reason why I maintain that copyright infringement should be a civil crime. With such small scale sharing, it isn't worth the music companies pursuing—if, however, they pass the costs onto the state (the taxpayer) through criminal enforcement, then it becomes possible to clamp down even on this kind of activity.

But this is not, in any case, relevant to what we are discussing—or even what Graeme is discussing. Pirate Bay was not the equivalent of making a mix tape for a couple of your mates—it was a vast commercial operation based on the widespread distribution of music, films and other copyrighted material to anyone who wanted to join the site.

And the point was that Pirate Bay made money out of this: the uploaders didn't, and nor did the downloaders (although they saved money by not having to pay for the material); Pirate Bay did. They provided a facility through which people could obtain copyrighted material, and funded both site and salary costs through membership fees and adverts.

Which is why they were prosecuted. Although they held no files, they provided the means to distribute material illegally—a bit like a criminal "fence".
If I buy a CD/DVD, rip it to my computer, burn it onto another disc and then sell that disc to other people, obviously without giving a percentage of it to the copyright holders, that is commercial file-sharing which should by punished to the full extent of the law as that DOES take money away from the rights holders.

If people can get material for free, then most of the time they will (apart from people like me, who have principles). As such, providing material that should be paid for for free does deprive the artists of revenue.

Yes, I know that not everyone would have bought said material, so not every download is depriving the artist of money. But a good proportion will be.

And let's look at the system of Pirate Bay: were people making money out of it? Yes, the people who ran Pirate Bay were. Would so many thousands of people have signed up to Pirate Bay had the site not hosted such commercially desirable material? I severely doubt it. So, I think that one can argue that Pirate Bay were making money directly out of providing access to copyrighted material—it could be argued, therefore, that Pirate Bay was commercial file-sharing.
Me sharing the media with a couple of friends does not deprive the creative artists of their money, it in fact boosts the chances of them receiving more money through completely free advertising.

Which is why thousands of successful writers, musicians and creative artists have come out in enthusiastic support of the Pirate Party, eh? Oh, wait: they haven't.

Besides, can you prove any of this? Sure, sometimes, artist might get a boost from your "free advertising". On the other hand, your friends might have heard the songs on the radio, and bought them because of that. You cannot prove that your sharing of that music was the only way in which your friends would have heard it.

In any case, if you are only distributing the music to your friends, then why not make a CD and give it to them physically? Or even zip up the MP3s and put it on a private server for their own personal download?

Putting that material on a public forum for anyone to download is not the same, is it now?

Quiet apart from anything else, even if you give the artist free advertising, it's going to mean fuck all if your friends just download all the music for free from the fucking Pirate Bay, eh?
I know some bands who have relatively small fan bases compared to big name bands who will give away a few songs to be shared – this is what I would personally encourage amongst all creative artists.

Yes, fine. Plenty of artists give away some of their music—my brother is one such—but that is their choice.

It is their music and it is for them to choose whether they give it away for free: if you, Graeme, upload it to Pirate Bay, then you are taking that choice away from the artist.

In other words, you are imposing your morals on someone else—and depriving them of a living into the bargain.
The current plan amongst the Pirate Party for copyright reform is not to abolish it but simply to shorten it. The lengths discussed are 5 years or 10 years plus the option to extend for a further 5 years.

Yes, yes: all of these things can be discussed. But if the Pirate Party recognises the need for copyright, then it should also recognise that it should be up to the rights-holder—and not the Pirate Party—what the terms of the rights are.
I personally like the idea put forward by a member in that in order for the copyright to be extended for that 5 years, the copyright holder would have to pay a percentage, say 5%, of the profit made during that first 5/10 years.

To whom? The government? Or Noddy and Big Ears? The Pirate Party? Who the hell reaps this largesse for doing precisely fuck all?
If the media is selling well, that wouldn’t be a problem for the holders, but if it’s not selling, then it would simply be made freely available to the public domain as the copyright would be expired.

Well, fair enough: and this is what currently happens. Only—and I think that most people would agree—the copyright periods are way too long.

Question for discussion

The question is simply this: does Intellectual Property exist?

Put aside any notion of current copyright or patent law: just ignore it for the moment. Most of us agree that these things—which are only constructs of law—need some kind of reform; but if there is no such thing as Intellectual Property, then there is no justification for copyright or patents anyway.

If Intellectual Property does exist, then we need to discuss how the state might protect it. This is not a dastardly libertarian arguing for more state interference: as a minarchist libertarian, I believe that the state has a role to play in protecting property rights through law and, if they exist, naturally the state should thus protect Intellectual Property rights through law.

Can one assert ownership of the product of one's mind? For an example that is close to home for any blogger, I have come across several sites who were scraping the feeds from The Kitchen; they were posting my writing in full and without attribution or permission; those sites existed, through adverts, to make money from my writing.

If you don't believe in Intellectual Property, then you will say that I should have no recourse or justification to stop this; if you do believe in Intellectual Property, then you will approve my actions of asking them to cease and desist.

So, please, give your opinion in the comments; as I said, do not discuss copyright or patent law (discussion of these may follow depending on the outcome of The Question)—please concentrate only on the issue of whether or not Intellectual Property, as a concept, actually exists or not.

UPDATE: a couple of points of clarification, as raised by comments so far.
  1. This is not about supporting eeevil corporations; this is about an individual's right to their property.

  2. I gave, as an example, whether or not I "own" the writing on this blog (other than my other contributors efforts, of course).

  3. If I own the writing, then it should be—as with my other property—protected in law.

Having talked this through with the wife, there is another aspect to this, which you might care to consider. If I make a wooden rocking horse, for sale, I will calculate the time and material that I put into it, and a profit, and that is what I will sell it for. I cannot sell that rocking horse again so, when you buy it, you will bear the full cost of my making of that horse, and the profit that I expect to gain.

Now, let us look at some (reasonable) costs of producing, professionally, just one copy of an album:
  1. Studio time: £10,000

  2. Producer's fee: £5,000

  3. Mastering: £3,000

  4. CD printing: £10

  5. Design: £5,000

  6. Sleeve printing: £500

  7. Wages for four piece band (median wage): £100,000

  8. Sundries: £5,000

  9. Total Cost: £128,510

  10. Reasonable profit (100%): 128,510

  11. Total Return needed: £257,020

So, the rocking horse model obviously does not happen with a CD—otherwise, that CD would cost you over £250,000. The business models are completely different. In effect, the vendor is taking the total cost, looking at what the market will bear, and slicing that cost into a certain number of units—only one of which you possess.

If you want to own the whole object, then you should be paying the whole £257,020, not a tenner. No?

UPDATE 2: the wife has concluded that intellectual property does not exist and that is why we have copyright (reproduced, with permission, here).

60 comments:

Morus said...

Dear Devil,

This is my problem with the LPUK in general, but you've given an example case to get me started.

I don't 'believe' in Intellectual Property at all. I don't believe in 'property' as some sort of natural value at all. I'm afraid I don't believe in 'rights' as any sort of naturally-ocurring thing at all either - it's not that I don't value the protection of 'my rights', but I'm forced to concede that those rights are artificial and constructed by society.

The legal positivists have it - society/government creates rights, including those to property and to intellectual property, for its own sake. They contribute to the best ordering and the most efficient distribution of goods. They are only good functionally: for the benefit they deliver to human society generally.

I'd argue that's still largely true for regular property (and you would know), but it is in question for IP (at least according to the Free Culture crowd with whom I'm inclined to agree).

Intellectual Property doesn't to my mind have a firm enough foundation to justify its continued existence. The question isn't whether or not to keep it, the question is with what we should replace it to continue to encourage innovation.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Morus,

"I'm afraid I don't believe in 'rights' as any sort of naturally-ocurring thing at all either - it's not that I don't value the protection of 'my rights', but I'm forced to concede that those rights are artificial and constructed by society."

I think that freedom is a natural right, Morus: control is the societal construct.

"The question isn't whether or not to keep it, the question is with what we should replace it to continue to encourage innovation."

And this is precisely what I do not want people to discuss: this isn't about how we encourage innovation at all.

This is about personal rights—as all libertarianism is.

Libertarians recognise that you have a right to your life, liberty and property—that is how things are in libertarianism.

This right derives from curtailing the actions of others, and oneself; that one may do anything provided that you do not initiate force or fraud against someone else's life, liberty or property.

There are reasons why this has grown up naturally in every human society but just accept it as axiomatic for the present.

Within this framework of property, does Intellectual Property exist?

For if it does, then I have a right to that property and may treat it in any way I wish. As such, protecting my IP is about personal freedom—and, as such, is entirely libertarian.

DK

Anonymous said...

Clearly the only solution is to set up cameras in everyone's home and monitor them 24 hours a day. After all, if you're not downloading files, you have nothing to hide - and if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

One day, in the distant future, perhaps we'll get a libertarian grouping in this country that actually is libertarian instead of being warmed-over Randite corporatists. But if and when that day comes, DK won't be in that party; he'll be off in the "L"PUK fellating random corporations.

Julian said...

If I own a book, I can copy it and sell the copy. If it's Dickens, it's legal. If it's JK Rowling, it isn't. I could, in fact, burn both books entirely legally, or read them to my children.

The primary right in this context is a right of property - we can do what we like with what we own. That's what it means to own something.

However, most people believe that if everyone is allowed to copy and sell anything they like, others will not create literature, works of art, music etc. We therefore, as a society, agree to forego parts of our right of property so that we can benefit from the work of those who create. We tell them, by our copyright laws, that we will allow them exclusive rights to make money from their work for a number of years. After that time, everyone's property right is reassertable.

This is what the US Constitution says:

"Congress shall have power . . . To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."

This passage accurately reflects the truth about this right. A society grants an exclusive right to a creator for the benefit of the society, not for the benefit of the creator.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Anon,

Fucking hellski—why is this so fucking difficult? I even gave you an example of IP breach that did not involve some big corporation.

Look, under libertarian thought, I have a right to my property, OK?

If there is such a thing as intellectual property then it should be protected under law just as my other property is.

This is a personal fucking freedom issue: not one of corporatism.

Do me the fucking favour of thinking about this properly, rather than indulging in knee-jerk, pusillanimous "I'm more libertarian than yeeeeow" insults—not least because it makes you look like a stupid cunt.

DK

Devil's Kitchen said...

Julian,

"The primary right in this context is a right of property - we can do what we like with what we own. That's what it means to own something."

OK, so who "owns" the writing on this blog?

It is hosted by Google, so the database is on their servers. Do they own the words because they possess the text in their database?

You read it, and you could print it all out at your expense. Would you own the writing—or simply a reproduction of it?

Would the fact that you own a reproduction of this blog give you the right to sell your print-outs to a publisher, and take any proceeds from it?

DK

Devil's Kitchen said...

P.S. Julian,

"A society grants an exclusive right to a creator for the benefit of the society, not for the benefit of the creator."

That is not a libertarian way of approaching the subject—although it is a pragmatic one.

But libertarians should not subsume the rights of the individual to the perceived benefit of society.

What I am interested in is the individual's right to their work. Can an individual own something that is the product of their intellect?

To bring it back to my above comment, do I own the content of this blog? Indeed, can I own the content of this blog?

If the answer is "yes", then it is my property and, under libertarian philosophy, entirely mine to dispose of as I wish.

Further, society has a duty to uphold my right to my property through the law—as it would a physical object.

Do you see?

DK

sconzey said...

Dear Mr Kitchen,

IP is a fascinating beast. Just as an aside: I've come into a lot of new music thanks to illegal file-sharing, artists who have later recieved large sums of money from me. I've also downloaded a lot of stuff I have no intention of buying, simply because it's not *that* good.

As to IP in general: I'm with Pratchett's Death in that "THERE IS NO JUSTICE; JUST YOU" -- property rights don't "exist" as such -- certainly no more than the number zero exists, but are a convenient axiom from which we can derive efficient distributed resource allocation algorithms.

On a philosophical level, the Lockean description of property is that un-owned material goods become your property when you mix your labour with them. Certainly thinking is laborious. More so when inventing -- working through iterations of a project, each more successful than the last. The question is then what is the previously unowned matter with which one has mixed one's labour? It's a good question.

Much of IP law can be adequately re-created as pure contract law: "By purchasing this album and reading the data upon this disc you signal your agreement to this contract: etc. etc. etc." In that way it really doesn't matter whether IP is "real" or not.

Likewise, your website. The little circle-C is a type of contract: "by loading this website you agree not to actively redistribute or profit from it without my express permission"

Patents are an interesting one. Could someone place a caveat at the head of a paper explaining their new method for achieving X? Would such a contract be more or less valid than the patent for the same thing?

David D. Friedman in "The Machinery of Freedom" talks about competing overlapping legal jurisdictions implementing slightly different legal codes. Through market competition, the optimum universal legal code is found. I think IP and patent law is an excellent candidate for such and optimisation procedure.

Sincerely,

sconzey

ChrisM said...

"It is hosted by Google, so the database is on their servers. Do they own the words because they possess the text in their database?
You read it, and you could print it all out at your expense. Would you own the writing—or simply a reproduction of it?
Would the fact that you own a reproduction of this blog give you the right to sell your print-outs to a publisher, and take any proceeds from it?"

The fact that IP poses some of these sort of conundrums is why I don't see that it can be treated the same way that "property" can. Property just does not pose these sort of problems. I watch this thread with interest because the benefits of having protection for intellectual work seem fairly convincing to me - and if I can get a philosophical justification for them, so much the better. I have no problem with some of the protections of intellectual work on a pragmatic level. However - reluctantly - I am struggling to ground this in property rights.

The Filthy Smoker said...

DK,

You own your writing on this blog and, yes, intellectual property is a sound concept. The argument that it is only a social construct is bollocks. Property itself is a social construct, which is not shared by all societies. Both material property and intellectual property are products of civilised society. The internet gypsies fail to understand this, either through personal greed or lack of imagination.

sconzey said...

Addenum: The problem with IP as compared to other forms of property stems from the fact that normal property is both rivalrous and excludable. Theft both allows you to gain the property, and deprives the originator of it.

IP is economically a public good -- non-rivalrous and non-excludable. My playing of a digital encoding of your song does not deprive you of the ability to sell your song to others, only the ability to sell your song to me. I have not stolen from you any concrete thing, only potential revenue (as had I not been able to download your song, I might have bought it); and what is the actual value of potential revenue? It's a good question.

Paul Lockett said...

DK: Within this framework of property, does Intellectual Property exist? For if it does, then I have a right to that property and may treat it in any way I wish. As such, protecting my IP is about personal freedom—and, as such, is entirely libertarian.

I don't see how it could be in any reasonable sense. If those things which are currently referred to as "intellectual property" were to be made to fit into the framework of property as it is generally understood, a number of changes would have to be made, such as:

-Making it perpetual.

-Removing any kind of fair use/fair dealing exceptions.

-Making it apply to any concept, no matter how basic.

Put those kind of changes into effect and the end result would be absurd.

Paul Lockett said...

The Filthy Smoker: yes, intellectual property is a sound concept. The argument that it is only a social construct is bollocks. Property itself is a social construct, which is not shared by all societies.

So:

1. Intellectual property is a valid property right.

2. Property is a social construct.

3. The argument that intellectual property is a social construct is bollocks.

Pick any two of the three and it is logically coherent, but all three together makes no sense.

The Filthy Smoker said...

Paul,

What I meant was that the concept of ALL property is a social construct. Intellectual property is not unique in this respect. Therefore, singling out IP and saying that it has been artificially constructed by society cuts no ice.

Paul Lockett said...

FS,

I tend to agree with it, when phrased like that.

I would say that material property rights are a social construct, whereas so called intellectual property rights are a state construct.

Paul Lockett said...

DK: If I make a wooden rocking horse, for sale, I will calculate the time and material that I put into it, and a profit, and that is what I will sell it for. I cannot sell that rocking horse again so, when you buy it, you will bear the full cost of my making of that horse, and the profit that I expect to gain.

Now, let us look at some (reasonable) costs of producing, professionally, just one copy of an album...So, the rocking horse model obviously does not happen with a CD—otherwise, that CD would cost you over £250,000. The business models are completely different. In effect, the vendor is taking the total cost, looking at what the market will bear, and slicing that cost into a certain number of units—only one of which you possess.

If you want to own the whole object, then you should be paying the whole £257,020, not a tenner. No?


No. You should pay whatever you are prepared to pay and if the producer isn't able to, or isn't prepared to, provide the good at that price, he shouldn't produce it. As a consumer in a free market, the idea that there is an amount I "should" be paying has no place; all that matters is what I'm willing to pay.

I think that freedom is a natural right, Morus: control is the societal construct.

This is where property as a natural right runs in to problems, because property rights are rights which enable you to restrict the liberty of others. That's not to say there isn't value in them, but often when people talk about "liberty and property" it's similar to the way others talk about "freedom and democracy." There's an assumption that they are somehow automatically self-supporting, when in reality there is a trade-off.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Paul,

"No. You should pay whatever you are prepared to pay and if the producer isn't able to, or isn't prepared to, provide the good at that price, he shouldn't produce it. As a consumer in a free market, the idea that there is an amount I "should" be paying has no place; all that matters is what I'm willing to pay."

Sure. So if no one pays for the creations, people won't produce them.

But what a record company will do is to estimate how much the market will bear for a CD (about a tenner right now) and then work out the potential demand (just as most other businesses will do, in fact).

The point with the rocking horse is that it cannot be split into smaller cheaper pieces and still be a rocking horse: a recording can be split into smaller cheaper pieces, e.g. individual CDs, and the huge cost of production recouped in that way.

DK

Paul Lockett said...

DK,

Even I accept what you say, my natural response is, so what?

In terms of showing that "intellectual property" is a valid property right, it does nothing. Somebody looking at the those points might conclude that, without some form of copyright, creativity might be seriously reduced, which would not serve the "greater good," but that is purely a pragmatic utilitarian argument and your own comment earlier was that libertarians should not subsume the rights of the individual to the perceived benefit of society.

bella gerens said...

In terms of showing that "intellectual property" is a valid property right, it does nothing. Somebody looking at the those points might conclude that, without some form of copyright, creativity might be seriously reduced, which would not serve the "greater good,"

I don't think anybody's really talking about the greater good here. If creativity is reduced, so what? The 'greater good' does not trump natural rights, etc.

However, this is no reason to deny the possibility that creativity will be reduced if we cease to recognise intellectual property. If that is the price of protecting our physical property rights, so be it. But we're all smart people here. Can we not think of a way to have both?

This is where copyright as contract law comes in. If people will voluntarily accept temporary restrictions in the use of their physical property, why should we discourage or prohibit this? Then the role of the state in all of this is reduced to simply arbitrating alleged breaches of contract.

BenS said...

I'm copywriting a series of notes. You guys can pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Hey,

Good comments DK, however a little bit Utilitarian at times. Keep in mind, that depriving the artist of money isn't the moral issue. The artist is well within their rights to give away their work free, even on pirate bay.

However, if you take the work, and would never have payed for it anyway, that doesn't mean you simply haven't deprived the artist of money. The issues are not practical or anecdotal; they are ethical. If you listen to a work, which you know you have not contracted the artist for (by direct or indirect means) then you force that artist to commit intellectual work on your behalf, simplistic slavery.

By the way, I know LPUK is a fan of Stefan Molyneux, have you read his book Universal Preferable Behaviour? It's a fantastic work, that argues for the Universality of ethical principles, so we can finally move beyond this idea that morals are subjective, or that stories are required to prove morality, when all you need is a simple understanding of what morality is. I highly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

BenS: Why would we want to pay for it? The point is, that you still have the choice to not purchase the labours of the artist, and if you do want to have their work, you have no moral right to claim you already own it (unless you can prove slavery moral of course!)

Also, don't use "copyright" as a verb. That silly idea comes from this absurd addiction to lumping the moral idea of copyright along with the government policy of patent. You don't need to "copyright" something, copyright is your right to ownership of your own works. That is, your right to contract them out without people immediately depriving you of that right to contract. Copyright isn't "applied" by default, copyright is because we're not a collective mind that immediately shares thoughts, it can't be anything but applied to works of the mind.

Anonymous said...

@The Filthy Smoker: What society doesn't have property rights? Property rights do of course include collective property rights, where a society would prevent outsiders from taking their collective food.

Without property rights, we starve, so clearly that's not a consistant starting point.

Andy said...

I don't want to wade into the core of your debate, but I would like to point out the falsity of your analogy between rape and copyright infringement.

If 95% of $CRIME goes unsolved, then as you rightly say, that does not make it legal, nor should it.

However, if 95% of $CRIME goes unsolved and 95% of the society in which it is committed are committing it, then there is certainly a case that the people (whose country it is) don't see it as a crime.

95% of the people are not committing rape. They don't, because (presumably) they think it is wrong. If 95% of the people are infringing copyright, they (presumably) don't think it is wrong.

It's their country, why don't they get to say what is right or wrong?

Anonymous said...

@Andy: Seriously? Seriously?? No, seriously??? Let's ignore for a second the arbitary borders that define these "countries" where you want the 5% moral people to be raped (I mean, have the works of their mind taken) by the othre 95%, and just move to Saudi Arabia where Marriage and Legalised Rape are the same thing.

Morality is not subjective!

Slavery was not ok, slavery of the mind is not ok simply because the 95% intellectually unproductive want to force the 5% intellectually productive to produce works on their behalf.

Andy said...

@Anon:

Of course morality is subjective. What else is there? Find me the morality meter and tell me what the units of morality are, then we can talk about morality being absolute.

Am I advocating rape? No of course I'm not, and to distort my argument as such is disingenuous.

If we allow a country self-governance, then the only source of its moral code is its people. The arbitrary borders might be arbitrary but they are real. Our legal system ends at the borders -- what other countries do is their business. If your moral code does not allow that, then you must campaign to have us invade every other country on the planet, because morality is absolute.

Your argument that because those 5% of people know better than the 95% is exactly the argument that every dictatorship and totalitarian government that has ever existed uses. Ours included.

Slavery is indeed immoral, by my 21th century western moral code. The fact that slavery existed in the past, and that the vast majority of people were involved in it proves that they (note again for the hard of thinking: not I) didn't think so - morality is not absolute.

The imposition of the moral code of the few on the many is never justified. You can pull out all the horrific examples you want, but if I follow your logic, then I must supersede what I think is right or wrong to the will of the few who are in power.

Paul Lockett said...

Bella: This is where copyright as contract law comes in. If people will voluntarily accept temporary restrictions in the use of their physical property, why should we discourage or prohibit this? Then the role of the state in all of this is reduced to simply arbitrating alleged breaches of contract.

I have no particular problem with the use of contract law in that context and no wish to prohibit it. If somebody were to suggest that the right way forward would be to abolish copyright and leave it to people to achieve their own protection through contract, I'd have no objection to that in principle.

The quibble I have is with the idea that copyright is nothing more than what could be achieved through contract law, when in reality, it goes much further than contract ever could. As per previous examples:

If I were to copy a song from a radio broadcast and re-distribure it, there would be no breach of contract on anybody's part, yet under copyright law, it is actionable.

If I were to redistribute a song without having acquired it under a contract, there would be no scope to take action against me personally under contract law, yet under copyright law, it is actionable.

If one person were to acquire a song under contract and then redistribute it, only that person would be liable to action under contract law, whereas under copyright law, every subsequent redistributer is liable. I think that's significant for two reasons; firstly, because there's a limited amount of money you can obtain from one person and secondly, because it means that once something is generally circulating, under contract law, there is little you can do about it.

In any case, once something becomes more widely circulated, even with permission, the scope to take action under contract law because of a breach would tend towards zero; you might find somebody redistributing a song, but if that person didn't acquire it under a contract and you can't work out exactly who broke the contract and started the chain which resulted in that person having the song, there's not really a great deal you can do.

The contract law approach is a similar approach to trade secret law, but applied to something which isn't in any meaningful sense, secret. It doesn't have anything like the strength or scope of copyright.

Anonymous said...

@Andy: So sometimes Murder, Rape, Genocide and Violence are moral? If you think not, then you obviously realise it is just our understanding that is limited, not ethics.

You may wish to read the book Universally Preferable Behaviour, by Stefan Molyneux (which I have already mentioned in this comments page). Probably the greatest philosopher since Ayn Rand, it is the first book of recent years to attempt to define morality, and I believe it does it quite aptly.

It of course begins with the first principles, and tests itself against our intuative sense of morality, and the Universality of Violence as Immoral, and is a framework from which we can end silly ideas like "Majority opinion is morality", which is of course why you beleive Slavery was ok in the 18th century, before Britain ended it across most of the World.

It isn't disingenuous of me to say you support rape. What is disingenuous, is for you to claim that Morality is both subjective, and that there are no-go areas which are "obviously" immoral. Either there are Objective ethics, and evil can be evil, or you believe a society where all but 1 woman thinks rape is ok, are moral to constantly rape that woman. Make up your mind please?

Democracy is not a source or morality, both Slavery and Fascism were supported by democratic systems. Liberty is the only moral position.

Seriously though, Slavery used to be moral? Did you even process those words... SLAVERY WAS NEVER MORAL. People fought slavery before it was the majority position. The things done to slaves before it was made illegal, were IMMORAL. You're sick.

I don't know what fantasy world you were in during your last statement, but as I tend towards anarchism, I don't believe anyones opinion affects morality; infact I stated, it's not objective, so I definetly don't believe a Majoirty or Minority decide. Morality is fact, we all know Slavery is wrong ALWAYS, genocide is wrong ALWAYS, rape is wrong ALWAYS.

Andy said...

@Anon:

Good grief. Obviously I wasn't very clear (despite me saying that for the hard of thinking I didn't think slavery was okay. Or rape, or murder, or whatever else you want to throw in the mix).

Your entire argument is based on assuming your supposition, and is therefore committing the logical error of circular reasoning. The thing we are arguing about is whether there is any such thing as absolute morality. You can't then use your supposition as if it were fact. Let me take one of your examples:

SLAVERY WAS NEVER MORAL.

Not so. Slavery was never moral using a modern moral code. You seem to be under the impression that I am saying that I think that past slavery was okay. I don't. I don't think that because I am using my own, up-to-date moral code. Just as you are.

However, those people did not think that. They manifestly did not think that, it's written into the American Constitution for fuck's sake. Those people were acting morally by their standards and immorally by ours.

So sometimes Murder, Rape, Genocide and Violence are moral?

Sigh. No I do not think that. By my moral code those things are wrong. I am, however, not arrogant enough to assume that my moral code is the absolute moral code. Since we may easily demonstrate that two people can have different moral codes, your argument that morality is absolute is provably incorrect.

There are people who believe that homosexuality is immoral. There are those that don't. Which of them is right? If you answer anything other than "who am I to say"? Then you are a totalitarian. You can pick more extreme examples (as you already have), but in all of those cases you fundamentally wish to impose your absolute view on others.

Hence my position: there is no absolute morality. Your morals are an accident of the time and place of your birth.

You have no idea what society will decide in two hundred years time as to morality or immorality. If easting toast is considered immoral in the future, then, by your "absolute morality" argument, you are immoral today. Obviously nonsense -- you can only adhere to the code of morality that you understand today. As has every other moral person throughout history.

Rape is referred to in the Bible as being acceptable (as is sodomy when performed as part of a rape). That means that those people (appalling as they were -- note I'm having to stress again, as you are determined to misunderstand me) thought it was okay. It was even written in a religious text. Again: morality is not absolute.

Obviously then, any society can't just run off any individual's moral code, there is enough variation in those that almost everything could be illegal (I'm assuming overlap between morality and legality). What then should a society do? Should it ask "what would the west do?". No, each society will come to its own position on its morality; as odious as another society might find it.

To the minor point: whether the majority should decide on morality. I don't mean by vote, we don't decide what our moral code is out of a potential set and then vote for it as a group. The morality of a society has evolved to whatever it is. Majority is the wrong word for the process. It just is.

My argument (pulling it back from issues like rape) is that if the majority of people have decided that they don't recognise copyright, that they are downloading songs from the Internet and don't consider that they are committing a moral outrage, then who are you (or I?) to tell them otherwise? If you argue that you (or anyone else) should have such a position of authority over them, then you are yearning for totalitarianism.

(Aside: you need to go and look up what disingenuous means. You will find that at no point have I supported rape or slavery and it is again disingenuous of you to suggest that it is so).

Anonymous said...

@Andy: "Slavery is indeed immoral, by my 21th century western moral code."

Contradicting yourself isn't clarity so I didn't read beyond you stating otherwise in this last post. Perhaps you should taken a lesson in basic logic and stop sucking on the teet of state thinking.

Slavery and Rape have never been ok, stop repeating that they are and then saying they are not. You've also stated on numerous occasions that democracy makes something moral, that is wrong. You also misunderstand the term immoral. Having Government invade every other country is IMMORAL, that wouldn't be a great way to bring morality you violent fool.

Andy said...

You are using your definition of "moral" to dismiss my disagreement of your definition of "moral".

One of us needs a lesson in logic, I will give you that.

Anonymous said...

@Andy: My definition or moral? Oh, ok, well I'm typing this on my definition of a computer, clearly your definition is slightly out and causing it to input incorrect strings.

There is only one morality, and it is objective. Is rape moral or not? Was it ever moral? Were people wrong to think it was ever moral? If they were right todo so, then do you support the rape of those women? If you don't, how can you say it was ever moral? There is no such thing as "moral to them", it's either evil or not. Just because people do it, doesn't make it ok. Just because lots of people who live inside the same violently enforced border as me want to steal the works of my mind, doesn't make it moral.

You are confusing people's opinions with morality. If you state something to be immoral, it doesn't matter how you label your system of morality, you believe the definition applies to other people. If it applies to other people (i.e. if you think "Hitler was evil", not "Today I think Hitler was evil, but that could change") then you understand that morality is not an opinion. So don't then compare your Unviersal moral standards to the collective opinions of the dark ages. The ethics of the time were no different, the psychology of the people was near identical, the women suffered beyond anything you can imagine, don't justify their pain with new-age rubbish.

Andy said...

@Anon:

Wow, you almost caught me with your clever reasoning there, I almost fell into the trap of confusing a tangible with an intangible. A computer is a real thing, and is independent of my "definition". A moral code is not, a moral code is entirely in the owners head.

Your moral code is not my moral code. Your constant treatment of "morality" as if it is some universally agreed upon constant is bordering on the ridiculous now (well done troll, you got me). Of course I am talking about "your definition of moral", that is what started this increasingly surreal debate. You say morality is absolute (that is your definition), I say it is not (that is my definition). You choose to keep using your definition as proof that you are correct. This is the equivalent of using your tin of red paint to prove that red is the only colour that exists.

"There is one morality" is manifestly your opinion. Morality would not exist in the absence of human beings to define that morality. You do not see animals worrying about the fact that one of them has raped another. We humans do (and should) -- but that fact demonstrates that morality is an entirely human construct.

We don't agree on that. Fine. I am happy to leave you to your opinion.

Anonymous said...

@Andy: You didn't read my post then.. I didn't compare the concepts of computer and morality, I compared the words. I showed that with the english language word = concept. It isn't the computer and morality that need to be consistant, it is the language. The point is morality=morality. If you have some different "morality", then that is not morality. As I've said, you should read Universally Preferable Behaviour, perhaps after some basic works of Socrates, and stop assuming you know the answer without reasoning from first principles.

My moral code is non-existant, there is only morality. If you honestly belive what you are saying, then I don't know how you haven't had an stroke; imagien all the people locked up and killed for moral acts, based upon some other persons arbitary moral code.

Who said Morality was agreed upon? I had to use a cleche, but there are flat earthers, there are creationists and there are AIDS-deniers. None of these things make the earth flat, evolution non-existant or cause HIV to stop causing AIDS, morality is objective; as a stated before, you're confusing them with opinion. I admit, this is beyond surreal, you've know completely advocated rape and slavery while consistantly saying you're against them, it's amazing that your brain is able to continue to function.

I don't care what your definition of morality is, as I've said, you simply use the wrong definition of computer; that doesn't make a computer a fallacy, only your definition. Morality as absolute is not my definition, it's a philosophical imperative which your constant anti-salvery and anti-rape comments prove to be true. Unless you're ready to admit you think millions of women deserved to be raped? I continue to keep using your assertions as proof that you need to reason this from first principles. It is equivelant to showing you that you are holding a tin of red paint and saying that it is only my opinion that it is always red.

There is one morality is manifestly human nature - I dare you, I Literally dare you to publicly announce your support of rape, and say it's ok because it's your opinion; i will pay for you to be broadcast around the country. I agree, morality is a collective human and abstract biological concept, but so is evil. Morality simply defines that which is evil... it can be Universal and constant without being tangible. I never said it was an animal concept either, stop making things up. I agree, it is a consistant human construct.

Again, you've stated facts at the end that do not contradict your assertions; I know for a fact that you haven't reasoned this from first principles and are simply repeating post modern gibberish. Correct, it is my opinion that this is correct, but that doesn't stop it being correct, because I actually thought it through, and reasoned from first pricniples.

So read some Plato on Socrates, Read some Ayn Rand, and Read stefan Molyneux's Universally Prefered Behaviour. Built up that understanding of the Socratic Method, Objectivism, and finally that Rape is NEVER ok.

ChrisM said...

Anon, where can I - independently of you - verify what is and what is not moral. I don't mean some uncontroversial examples such as murder and rape. I want to know what source I can go to to get an exhaustive list of what is and what is not moral. Given that morality is objective, you will be able to tell me when I can find this. I mean surely you are not going to say that what you say is moral is an objective fact about the universe.

Anonymous said...

@ChrisM: I don't understand your cop out. What form of evil isn't uncontroversial? I understand that some people use the term for silly things like prostitution, but the reason you are in the Libertarian party is because you understand that this is not subjective, but wrong.

If you wish to verify (and I can't believe I have to explain this to you - and explain it for the fourth time) then you have to reason it from philosophical first principles. If you take the axioms - that the world is here, that evil isn't some arbitary opinion (or morality is useless and you should stop pretending murder and rape are a special category, when there is no special category), and that the definition must be consistant.

Obviously there is no list of good and evil things, however, there is a methedology by which you can verify actions and there morality. It's physical existence in phiosophy is inconsequential, because aside from religion, social support for child abuse and the cycle of violence; people already act morally. You haven't murdered or raped me during this conversation, you're sickened by the ideas, so stop pretending there is some magically angle from which these things are ok.

Now, I REPEAT, and I apologise but I can't see why you can't have simply seen this the first three times I said it, but Stefan Molyneux has written a book reasoning ethics from first principles. It's called "Universally Preferable Behaviour", it takes quite a few readings to take in and understand that most of your objections are well answered within it, but it's a world changing book, so of course it will take time for people to put down the idea that sometimes rape is ok.

Why do I keep saying rape and murder? Because of course this is morality, based upon the idea of evil, there is no lighter set of immoral acts like gambling or religious rules. If you think these are no-go areas, then you are already on the right track to understanding that morality is objective, and that these things are never ok.

Please stop making assumptions about the world based upon you lack of a list of moral actions, our understanding does not shape the world. You know these things are immoral, so pelase stop justifying it; and saying morality is subjective is justificataion.

Now, I repeat once again (and this was in the post just above the one you made, you might wish to learn to read before screaming that your views have been questioned) but Morality is not a fact of the Universe. It is a human biological construct. Based upon our understanding of good and evil in social interactions. This does not make it subjective. This simply means it applies to humans.

UPB is free from Stefans website (I know LPUK is a fan and links to many of his videos, he's an amazing philosopher and the Anarchistic heir of Ayn Rand. The website is freedomainradio.com. Either check out the book, or just reason from first principles yourself before you make comment.

ChrisM said...

"If you wish to verify (and I can't believe I have to explain this to you - and explain it for the fourth time) then you have to reason it from philosophical first principles. If you take the axioms - that the world is here, that evil isn't some arbitary opinion (or morality is useless and you should stop pretending murder and rape are a special category, when there is no special category), and that the definition must be consistant."

Hold on, which is it? Do we reason morality from first principles, or is it axiomatic? It can't be both.



"Now, I REPEAT, and I apologise but I can't see why you can't have simply seen this the first three times I said it, but Stefan Molyneux has written a book reasoning ethics from first principles. It's called "Universally Preferable Behaviour", it takes quite a few readings to take in and understand that most of your objections are well answered within it, but it's a world changing book, so of course it will take time for people to put down the idea that sometimes rape is ok."

So what Stefan Molyneux says is moral is what defines morality? What about before this guy wrote the book? What was the source of morality then?


"Why do I keep saying rape and murder? Because of course this is morality, based upon the idea of evil, there is no lighter set of immoral acts like gambling or religious rules. If you think these are no-go areas, then you are already on the right track to understanding that morality is objective, and that these things are never ok."

It strikes me that what you are in fact trying to assert is:
Because murder and rape are wrong, so is copying someone elses work.

". It is a human biological construct. Based upon our understanding of good and evil in social interactions."

Another contradiction. In the first sentance you claim it as a human biological construct. Clearly it isn't a biological construct, it is not made of flesh and bone is it? I guess you just meant it is a human construct. Then in the next sentance you talk about good and evil as if they are objective facts about the universe.


"Please stop making assumptions about the world based upon you lack of a list of moral actions, our understanding does not shape the world. You know these things are immoral, so pelase stop justifying it; and saying morality is subjective is justificataion."

I am not "saying" most of the things you are claiming I am saying. Given you confuse reasoning with axioms perhaps you should steer clear of trying to infer anything from what I do or do not say and just deal with what actually was said.

Andy said...

@Anon:

Your logic is not sound. You have now resorted to appealing to authority a number of times. You have also resorted to a "no true scotsman" attack on ChrisM. I have already pointed out your use of circular reasoning.

You keep talking about first principles and axioms.

Please state these axioms from which I may derive an absolute moral code.

If you are not willing to state these axioms, then I believe further discussion is fruitless.

ChrisM said...

"Please state these axioms from which I may derive an absolute moral code."

I suspect that the moral code IS the set of axioms a person has about how to treat others. Conveniently, nearly all of us agree on nearly all of these axioms. (Even most murders, rapists and thieves don't beleive that what they are doing is moral).

I don't feel the need for the injunction not to steal, rape or murder to have any philosophical basis. They are axioms to me. Unlike Anon, I am quite content with that. For Anon however, it seems you have informed him/her that Santa does not exist.

Andy said...

@ChrisM:

I suspect that the moral code IS the set of axioms a person has about how to treat others. Conveniently, nearly all of us agree on nearly all of these axioms. (Even most murders, rapists and thieves don't beleive that what they are doing is moral).

Quite so. I am perfectly happy with that definition. Since the word axiom inherently means "that which I assume to be true, but is not proven, for purposes of the following line of reasoning..."

There is then of course the possibility (which you bring up), that people might have a moral code which they then break -- knowingly. The point I have been trying to make to @Anon is that those people are distinct from those whose moral code would allow murder, rape and torture, and so would look at you with incomprehension when you told them that what they had done was wrong.

Examples are easy to find: both sides in a war are made up of people who (presumably) believe they are behaving morally. If there was such a thing as absolute morality, that could not be so.

Devil's Kitchen said...

For what it's worth, my moral code is the non-aggression axiom—"you shall not initiate force or fraud against someone's life liberty or property."

I do accept that it is an axiom though.

DK

P.S. I also make every effort not to be a cunt.

ChrisM said...

You beat me to it DK. It occurred to me after posting that all of my moral axioms could really be subsumed under "you shall not initiate force or fraud against someone's life liberty or property."

Not being a cunt is an even more succinct code of course.

ChrisM said...

"Examples are easy to find: both sides in a war are made up of people who (presumably) believe they are behaving morally. If there was such a thing as absolute morality, that could not be so"

That is only the case where I can't decide which side is in the right. For wars where I think one side is right, that side is behaving morally, and the other side is behaving immorally.

Anonymous said...

@Andy: Learn to read. I stated three axioms in the post above your own (basically that we exist, that a term that isn't consistant refers to a meaningless concept and that if it isn't Universal, or advocation of action is in itself evil. Please learn to read. It is already clear that discussion is fruitless when I have declared these axioms, and pointed to a book full of them and reasoning.

I haven't appealed to any authority, but I was directly asked for a list of moral actions, and pointed to a book that reasons from first principles. Just because you can't be bothered to read and reason (a free book... costs you nothing to try to learn) doesn't mean I am appealing to authority. Grow up.

@DK: Note that even axioms must be reasoned. What you state is not an axiom, I advice you go and think about the actual axioms of the world and reason to these points. However, even axioms must be reasoned, so don't think that the fact you pull them out of a hat makes them subjective. It just means you're not interested in reasoning about it and should probably stop commenting on the ethical reasoning. If you believe that your NAP principel was pulled out of a hat (that there is no reasoning in your Libertarian arguments - which I agree with having actually reasoned) then how are you not fundementally evil for advocating action based upon what you think are beliefs only correct to you personally? If your moral code applies to a single other human being, then immediately you admit you think it isn't subjective. Subjective is not equal to opinion. Just because people have different opinions about morality doesn't make you wrong - because you're NAP principle is right!

ChrisM: No, a moral code is not a set of axioms. Please go look up the term axiom. Also, murder is always immoral. War is never just. I am not refering to self defense here, but to War, between factions funded by stealing money from people. By definition, no side is moral, and there is no such thing as a War between peoples without government involvement.

ChrisM said...

Restating your logical fallacies using a different set of words does not make them any less fallacious.

The fact that you think an axiom can be reasoned is enough to exclude you from any sensible discussion involving following a logical argument. By definition axioms cannot be reasoned. If they could, they would not be axioms; they would be logical statements that would either be true or false (or occasionally undecidable) based on a set of premises which themselves may either be axioms, or other logically derived statements.

"No, a moral code is not a set of axioms... Also, murder is always immoral. War is never just."

The second 2 assertions - whether true or not - in no way automatically mean the first assertion is wrong. Indeed they tend to support it as you are asserting two statements that look suspiciously like axioms. At best you have a non-sequiteur.

" there is no such thing as a War between peoples without government involvement"

This is quite the most ridiculous thing you have yet said; no mean feat. Governments are probably not much more than 10 000 years old. People have been fighting other people en mass since before they were even what we would today recognise as human. Governments are historic, war is prehistoric.

Paul Lockett said...

DK: For what it's worth, my moral code is the non-aggression axiom—"you shall not initiate force or fraud against someone's life liberty or property."

The problem we have is that the NAP still leaves the sticky issue of defining what constitutes rightful property.

I tend to think the work of David Gauthier gets closest to what morality is - a set of limitations on our behaviour which no reasonable person would refuse to be restricted by, given that everybody else agrees to be restricted in the same way.

Or to put it another way, morality is mutual restraint for mutual benefit.

ChrisM said...

" If your moral code applies to a single other human being, then immediately you admit you think it isn't subjective. Subjective is not equal to opinion. "

NAP doesn't have to be based on anything other than that is the minimum set of rights which is is possible for everyone to enjoy at once.

Andy said...

@ChrisM:

That is only the case where I can't decide which side is in the right. For wars where I think one side is right, that side is behaving morally, and the other side is behaving immorally.

I go back to my original point: you are perfectly entitled to decry one side as immoral. In fact, that puts you in the same boat as 50% of those involved in the war.

My point is that those involved in the war will all see their own actions as moral, using their own code. That is their reason for going to war. Both sides think they are right to fight.

From this we know that the moral code of one side does not equal the moral code of the other side. Hence (I realise I am banging a drum that is utterly worn out in this discussion), morality is subjective.

To try and return to the topic: the war under discussion here is between those who believe that copyright infringement is not immoral and those that think the reverse. Your own caveat applies of course: those who think it's wrong but do it anyway are in the latter group.

If a society reached the point where 100% of the people where in the former group, then it would be reasonable to require that the law be updated. The selection of particular threshold is a detail, we can assume it would be somewhere between 50% and 100%, but I would find it hard to accept that such a threshold does not exist.

ChrisM said...

Andy, I agree entirely, I said it very much tongue in cheek.

As for you threshold idea, I like that, and would pitch it at somewhere between 80 and 95% I think. This would filter out the nutters and psychopaths but also prevents the moral majority from being able top veto too much. I suspect this would mean that murder, rape, theft, assault (NAP in fact) would remain verboten, but not much else.

ChrisM said...

@Andy, whilst Anon might not agree with you, most of the world's legal systems do. Hence different treatment of mad people, young children, and others deemed incompetent to make moral judgements.

Andy said...

@ChrisM:

Andy, I agree entirely, I said it very much tongue in cheek.

Apologies. My humour detector has been battered a bit in this thread :-) I hope then that I did not appear patronising.

whilst Anon might not agree with you, most of the world's legal systems do. Hence different treatment of mad people, young children, and others deemed incompetent to make moral judgements.

This is an excellent point. I wish I had thought of that myself. This is particularly interesting as it introduces the idea of (as I shall call it) second order morality: what morality should we use when judging the morality of another?

It reminds me of a conversation I once had where I opined "Everything anybody does is done, fundamentally, out of pride", and was told "I don't. My particular skill is that I don't mind looking like an idiot", "You seem quite proud of that", I replied. :-)

Anonymous said...

@ChrisM: I'm gobsmacked... you've never taken even a basic course in philosophy or logic have you? Jesus, not even an elementary course in mathematics could possibly have occured in your life time. Of course axioms have to be justified. They don't have to be reasoned.

Philosophy for Beginners: If I write a story about superman, in which he cannot fly, then it is not a story about superman. I cannot PROVE the axiom that he can fly, but I must JUSTIFY it. So when we discuss Morality, we cannot PROVE that reality is existant, but we must JUSTIFY it. It's a basic area of philosophy called metaphysics, grab a book. We Justify it using logic (that is we reason it). We justify it, because it is necessary for the interactions discussed, for reality to be real. It doesn't mean we can prove it; infact we don't need to, because superman isn't real, but it'd still be objectively wrong to state he can't fly. In the same way it is objectively wrong to say people can jump a billion metres in reality, even if you can't "prove" this reality.

So yes, you philisophical illiterate, of course axioms have to be proven. At best, you can't even spell non sequitur, so you definetly not recieve recognition for any comment on philosophy.

You confuse fighting and War so much here that I don't even understand your point... needless to say, you haven't prove war is just, I apologise for simplifying the form of War you were refering to with the term War, that was incorrect. But netherless, Murder is wrong outside of self defense. Collectivist Government Warfare is never just. Just look at WW2, caused entirely by WW1, American's involvement (and the possibility of it because of the Fed) and the treaties that caused German economic depression. The other comments on War are off topic gibberish. Again, you all confuse OPINION, with SUBJECTIVITY. You prove that you know morality is OBJECTIVE by stating that at least one side must be unjust.

@Paul Lockett: Difficulty has nothing todo with truth. Property is of course a complex issue, but that doesn't suddenly make theft ok. No one here thinks theft is ok, even for other people (if you don't understand that statement, you all need to actual check the definition of subjectivity, which still doesn't mean opinion), hence you all realise deep down that morality is objective, even if your understanding of what and why is limited.

@ChrisM: I'm sorry, did you just justtify morality with reference to legal systems. I have a cure for your madness, repeat this 10 times, breathe deep and then learn basic philosophy. Are you ready? Repeat : "reichstag fire decree" 10 times. Then, "Government has nothing todo with morality".

@Andy: you hadn't thought of ChrisM's point for the same reason he hasn't thought of many. None of you have reasoned this from first principles. There are sections in the book I mentioned dedicated to the topic of children and mentally incompetent peoples, because, well that's philosophy, and what you lot are doing is called mob delusion.

Morality is constant, we use the morality when judging others that is correct. If you agree with this statement, then all that is missing is your understanding, not your agreement... "The Nazi's were bad". Not, "I Think the Nazi's were bad, but it is equally correct to say they weren't and therefore commiting any act I believe immoral upon Nazi's who believe they did right is in itself immoral" (i.e. Subjective". I know, of course you agree with the first, because none of you are moral relativists, just Government Apologists.

DK: Is LPUK policy morally relativist? I am a payed up member... and obviously the idea that you think Rape is equally good and bad (That's the definition of subjectivity, again, Subjective does not equal opinion) makes me wonder if LPUk really is worth spending money on.

Andy said...

Andy tiptoes slowly away...

Devil's Kitchen said...

Anon,

"DK: Is LPUK policy morally relativist? I am a payed up member... and obviously the idea that you think Rape is equally good and bad (That's the definition of subjectivity, again, Subjective does not equal opinion) makes me wonder if LPUk really is worth spending money on."

No. As libertarians, we believe in the Non-Aggression Axiom—that is a fundamental of libertarianism (if not the fundamental). It is, if you like, the moral foundation of LPUK.

We tend to argue over its practical application in the real world, but no one (I hope) thinks that it is anything other than quintessential to being a libertarian.

DK

ChrisM said...

"So yes, you philisophical illiterate, of course axioms have to be proven. At best, you can't even spell non sequitur, so you definetly not recieve recognition for any comment on philosophy."

You have spelt definitely incorrectly and receive too. Do you really want to play this game. (I think you may have spelt philisophical incorrectly too, but really can't bothered to check).

Analogies are meant to make things clearer, not more obscure. What on earth is your silly superman metaphor saying. No don't bother.

This is from wikipedia but I challenge you to to find a definition anywhere that is substantially different:
"In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but considered to be either self-evident, or subject to necessary decision. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory dependent) truths."

"But netherless, Murder is wrong outside of self defense"

Nevertheless is spelt incorrectly. You have capitalised a word in the middle of the sentance. Its a silly game this isn't it. And if you kill someone in self defence then it is not murder, so it is not clear that you can murder someone in self defence.

Anonymous said...

@DK: Thanks for that. I was under the impression from your defintiive wording and excessive use of the word "cunt" that I wasn't alone in believing wrong is wrong!

@ChirsM: Your inability to comprehend is only overshadowed by your inability to read. I did not state that mass spelling mistakes were your issue, but that the spelling mistake on that incorrect attack upon me was more notable than your points. That is, the fact you spelt it wrong was far more note worthy than the fact that you were so far off the mark using the term. Obviously despite the mistake I was able to read your sentence, as you can my own, so I can only imagine you play your so-called "game" because of the intellectual defecit that is your inability to comprehend philosophy.

The Superman point was not an anaology... look up the word analogy. It was an example. There is a world of difference, and if you tried to interpret it as the first, I am not shocked you fail to comprehend. The point is, and I will try to type this as clearly as possible; "Superman can fly". This is an objective fact. It doesn't matter if he is real or not. That is an Axiom of the Superman canon, and it is justified because you are incorrect to term it a Superman story otherwise (all other things being constant, Kryptonite is not a philosophical response).

The same is true with reality. We don't prove that everything is as it is, but we must justify it. Else we are simply stating random assertions. Axioms are necessarily justified within context, they are not simply pulled out of a hat.

I could care less about Wikipedia's definition of anything; I'm pretty sure this is the same website that recently defined "public goods" with reference to "benefits"; it is a site ruled by Majority opinion and not by reasoning. However, apart from the incorrect "or demonstrated" which contradicts later points, that Wikipedia definition agrees entirely with my point, not your own; so I fail to see why you present it as if it is in your favour.

I apologise for saying "except in self defense", I was second guessing your own linguistic ignorance. Sorry. In which case, Murder, and therefore War, is always wrong.

I'm a little confused as to why your post stops here. Apparently you don't wish to actually make comment on any area which contradicts the entire basis of your argument. Did you or did you not try to reference Legal Systems as moral? Were the Nazi's wrong? These are all very simply questions which you ignore only because they prove you wrong.

ChrisM said...

You use a lot of words to say not very much. English is clearly not your first language so entertain the idea that if people don't understand want you are saying it is because you are not expressing yourself clearly.



...

- "Superman can fly". This is an objective fact.

No, it is an assertion.

"It doesn't matter if he is real or not. "
You are mixing up assertions and facts. If superman is not real, then no statement about any property of this imaginary being can be deemed a fact.

"That is an Axiom of the Superman canon, "
Axioms apply to systems of reasoning, not to stories.

"and it is justified because you are incorrect to term it a Superman story otherwise (all other things being constant, Kryptonite is not a philosophical response)."

It is not justified, superman is not a system of reasoning, it is a story. In any event it is not clear in what way you have "justified" that superman can fly. You have simply asserted it. (This still doesn't make it an axiom).


"The same is true with reality. We don't prove that everything is as it is, but we must justify it. "

You are being very vague on what you mean by "justify".

"Else we are simply stating random assertions. Axioms are necessarily justified within context, they are not simply pulled out of a hat."

Neither are they derived.


"I could care less about Wikipedia's definition of anything; I'm pretty sure this is the same website that recently defined "public goods" with reference to "benefits"; it is a site ruled by Majority opinion and not by reasoning. "

I knew you wouldn't be able to resist the poisoning of the well fallacy which is why I challenged you to find a definition anywhere which was substantially different. You declined because you know you can't because you are wrong as to what an axiom is.

"I apologise for saying "except in self defense", I was second guessing your own linguistic ignorance. Sorry. In which case, Murder, and therefore War, is always wrong."

You make enought errors in English anyway without introducing new ones onstensibly for my benefit.



"I'm a little confused as to why your post stops here. "

Because most of what you say is incomrephensible gibberish and you cram very few points into very many words.

"Apparently you don't wish to actually make comment on any area which contradicts the entire basis of your argument. Did you or did you not try to reference Legal Systems as moral? "
I did not; I pointed out that most legal systems recognised Andy's position.

"Were the Nazi's wrong? "
Yes.

"These are all very simply questions which you ignore only because they prove you wrong."
I didn't ignore them, I didn't spot them in amongst all the pointless crap your post contained.

ChrisM said...

"Your inability to comprehend is only overshadowed by your inability to read. I did not state that mass spelling mistakes were your issue, but that the spelling mistake on that incorrect attack upon me was more notable than your points. That is, the fact you spelt it wrong was far more note worthy than the fact that you were so far off the mark using the term. Obviously despite the mistake I was able to read your sentence, as you can my own, so I can only imagine you play your so-called "game" because of the intellectual defecit that is your inability to comprehend philosophy."

Oh I like this bit too. It boils down to your spelling mistakes don't count whereas mine do. Seems uncharacteristically relativistic for you.

Paul Lockett said...

Anonymous: Paul Lockett: Difficulty has nothing todo with truth. Property is of course a complex issue, but that doesn't suddenly make theft ok.

I didn't say it did. You're just being a troll.

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