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October 06, 2006

Comments

SUZANNE

That's not moral relativism.

Moral relativism is the belief that there are NO fixed univeral moral laws.

Wanting to be consulted has nothing to do with moral relativism.

In fact, it's part of Catholic Tradition that a government should seek the input of the people. That's a fixed universal moral law.


skdadl

Well, claiming that there are no principles and structures necessary to democracy apart from voting (tyranny of the majority) is certainly relativist.

I enjoyed that exercise, Mandos. You picked up on something in Suzanne's writing that I noticed as well: you call it a focus on "her moral desire"; I think I would call it egocentricity. "Input from me ... what I want" -- I hear the sound of a child stomping its li'l foot.

Gosh. When I was in Sunday school, we were certainly taught a little more personal restraint than that. We called it "humility."

Mandos

"In fact, it's part of Catholic Tradition that a government should seek the input of the people. That's a fixed universal moral law."

Everyone says this. The Chinese government says it too.

...

The problem is that you expect (from your own words) the government to *act* on your moral desire because it is your moral desire. That implies---at best---a weak moral relativism.

SUZANNE

The problem is that you expect (from your own words) the government to *act* on your moral desire because it is your moral desire. That implies---at best---a weak moral relativism.

No it doesn't. That's absolutely ridiculous. Moral relativism, once again, is the belief there are no fixed universal moral laws. My desire has nothing to do with the existence or non-existence of whether there is fix universal moral law. If I desire, or not desire, has positively NOTHING to do with the issue of moral relativism.

Mandos

Moral relativism, once again, is the belief there are no fixed universal moral laws.

As a side note, I have to note that, were this truly the correct definition, it would be a useless term, as it's impossible to find people who believe that.

Nevertheless, the POINT is that not that *your* beliefs are relativist, it's that you *expect* the *government* to follow relativist principle in dealing with the public, which is tantamount to the same thing.

lrC

Your post is a logorrhea of fallacies.

First:

>In a nutshell, the primary argument that is used against SWC is that it doesn't fund entities that work to counteract its influence and mandate.

That's not the primary objection; the primary objection is that SWC is designed to play favourites at public expense. The same objection applies to nearly everything undertaken by government which is aimed at levelling outcomes rather than opportunities, which is why you hear and read the same lines of discussion over every other similar program. The worthiness of the goals of SWC isn't at issue, just the favouritism and the inappropriateness of using the public purse to pursue it.

Further, while some people might (incorrectly) make the particular argument as you wrote it, in general it's a mischaracterization: most of what I've read recently consisting of people objecting to the fact the _government_ doesn't provide near-universal funding to others, not that _SWC_ doesn't fund others.

Second:

Moral relativism is just the doctrine that there is no preferred moral frame of reference, or, IOW, that there are no absolute moral principles or rules. In that, Suzanne is correct. What you cited from Suzanne is just an expression of consent-seeking (as in consent of the governed), not relativism. Get your definitions straight.

Third:

>wing of libertarianism that holds that the ability of the rich to dispose of their wealth/power is the highest form of liberty.

That's a pretty weak straw man. Respect of freedoms isn't a "wing", it's the core of libertarianism; rights of property aren't the highest of the inherent liberties (property is lesser than life and all inherent freedoms of conscience); and, freedoms aren't restricted to "the rich": all freedoms extend equally. You're wrong 3 times in one sentence. Well done.

A person's motivations for exercising freedoms are irrelevant. Whether a person is materialistic or generous is as irrelevant as whether he's Jewish or Muslim.

>It is frequently associated with invocations to the economic axis of the Vienna Circle and their associates and descendents.

Guilt by association? You're writing schoolboy fallacies.

>one has to admit that one finds the moral and epistemological relativism in this statement to be quite striking.

There's nothing striking about it. Everyone's measure of his own good is subjective by definition. You just babbled without any sense of the proper meaning of the concepts and words you used.

Two things you need to do:
1) Understand the proper definitions of the concepts about which you want to write.
2) Understand how to argue rationally and recognize fallacies when you write them.

Mandos

"Further, while some people might (incorrectly) make the particular argument as you wrote it, in general it's a mischaracterization: most of what I've read recently consisting of people objecting to the fact the _government_ doesn't provide near-universal funding to others, not that _SWC_ doesn't fund others."

That's not the test that the primary complainants---who are not generally libertarians as such, I might add---have applied, but we may be reading a different subsample of complainants.

"In that, Suzanne is correct. What you cited from Suzanne is just an expression of consent-seeking (as in consent of the governed), not relativism. Get your definitions straight."

Sorry, I don't recognize this distinction in the case of SUZANNE. SUZANNE is not merely consent-seeking, she is complaining that her policy desires are not acted on, with little reference to the objective content of the policy, for whatever reason.

"freedoms aren't restricted to "the rich": all freedoms extend equally."

Sleeping under bridges, dude.

"Guilt by association? You're writing schoolboy fallacies."

No, I'm trying to characterize this social phenomenon for my intended audience, the great left-wing echo chamber.

"There's nothing striking about it. Everyone's measure of his own good is subjective by definition."

Except that I consider this to be entirely besides the point, which is the whole heart of the disagreement over how to define freedom.

lrC

>Sleeping under bridges, dude.

Another irrelevant fallacy.

>No, I'm trying to characterize this social phenomenon for my intended audience, the great left-wing echo chamber.

You're failing, except to mislead the uninformed, the gullible, the incurious, and so forth. When you argue fallaciously, it's the equivalent of saying nothing useful. You might as well be singing the "Alphabet Song" backwards. The left-wing echo chamber used to try to make itself out to be the "reality-based community" and "people of reason". I guess you've given up and are just taking the religious approach - here's the book, people; this is what we believe.

>Except that I consider this to be entirely besides the point, which is the whole heart of the disagreement over how to define freedom.

When you make up your own definitions and ignore the ones you find convenient, you can define anything you please. Children call it "make believe". That's your world - enjoy it.

Mandos

"Another irrelevant fallacy."

It's a substantive critique. It's practically the Gödel sentence of your entire moral formalism. However, you are invested in declaring inconvenient observations to be "irrelevant fantasies". That is up to you. It's your...subjective good, I guess.

"When you make up your own definitions and ignore the ones you find convenient, you can define anything you please."

Refusal to address the issue, I'm-rubber-you're-glue-ism, etc.

lrC

No, it's just a celebrated example of an appeal to ridicule fallacy.

>Refusal to address the issue

I'm not refusing to address the issue. You're making stuff up and I'm pointing that out. In that sense, I'm addressing the issue of your fallacious reasoning. Are there any other examples of logical nullities you'd like to write?

Mandos

"No, it's just a celebrated example of an appeal to ridicule fallacy."

The ridicule only works because of what it's pointing out.

For the rest, I don't even know what you're talking about now. Are you nitpicking on my "defining freedom" thing? Fine. It was a shorthand I shouldn't have used. I should have said,

"...heart of the disagreement on how to achieve freedom"

or whatever. I don't suppose it's going to matter to you.

lrC

>The ridicule only works because of what it's pointing out.

It doesn't "work", unless your goal is just to indulge in a moment of smug satisfaction. It proves or disproves nothing. People are equally at liberty to fail. *shrug* So what?

Mandos

The point is, people aren't.

Josh Gould

Concerning IrC's relativism:

Canada's political commitments are just statements of the preferences of what some people deem to be useful and good.

In other words, Canada's political commitments, whatever they may be, are not based on any sort of rational argument or empirical evidence, but are mere "preferences" of no particular significance or validity. That sure sounds like relativism to me.

Craig

It isn't clear to me how rationalism defeats relativism. As everyone who has taken sociology one hundred knows, as the process of rationalization unfolds, so too does nihilism. In other words, rationality reveals that there is no rational basis to any value over any other. Indeed, your appeal to "rationality" is, ultimately, an appeal to technological means to resolve non-technological questions.

Mandos

I think he was invoking "rational" in a loose kind of everyday way.

Craig

All the same, values aren't particularly ammenable to rational consideration; indeed, rationality undercuts them - if you are convinced of your values rationally (as though this were possible in the first case), you can just as easily be unconvinced of your values rationally. This is the height of relativism. Indeed, historically - both radicals and arch-conservatives alike - have associated rationality with relativism.

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