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You know, there are other christians on this forum - a fact Eras conveniently kept ignoring, convinced he's the only with "traditional" morals. I 'm no christian but on the subject of homosexuality I 'm probably standing more or less where you are; I 've said so too.

I recently came back and in one of my first posts since I advised Eras to look up the posts from another christian from long ago. A comparison between the two summarises the problem as I see it. Back then things would get pretty heated up between him and Dante and Dragoon Knight. The difference is that he presented his arguments and responded to flames in kind; there were no underlying attempts to "befriend" Dante. With Eras, the pattern is as follows: a provocative post in apparent foolishness, followed by meek appeals to all be friends and move forward. Over and over again. What you call a "nice guy" and "salesman", I call slimy. It's not just a matter of taste however, as that kind of behavior was wrecking the board. I do not approve of Dante and Dragoon's behavior either and said so as well; but at the very least, they seem to be aware of what they were doing.

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[colour=#005FFF]Curt, for someone who claims to be different from Eras, you certainly sound a lot like him, both in your tone of posting and your views. Hell, some of what you type could easily be mistaken for his own special brand of posting.

Prove me wrong. Go into detail about what you think about Eras' posting and our responses, since you've "read it all". Give us something substansive to go on that will help us distinguish you from someone who (for all intents and purposes) looks like Eras posting under a different username.

As for what this forum is? It's a place where opinions are respected when they aren't just unsubstantiated, barely-concealed hate and intolerance. Your views can be left, right, center, up, down, diagonal; anything, so long as you can back them up. If you can't, expect to be called out on them. If your views are controversial, then expect to take some flak over them. The only time you're going to be "flamed" is if you start acting (more) like Eras. If you end up on someone's "sh!t list", it'll be of your own doing.[/colour]

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There are conservatives on this board (though I use the term very broadly). Indeed, Wolf is somewhat more right wing than I am and considerably more right wing than Edric.

I am curious though, why if you don't want to "draw it out," "dwell on it," you continue to post at all. That's not a veiled criticism either, it's a genuine question. If you're not interested in the discussion, why discuss? Further, what exactly do you mean by terms like "moral liberal?" As Wolf has said already, the word 'liberal' has multiple definitions. And why use 'moral' as criticism?

...Anyway. To answer your question, the forum has no official political bias (it would be rather ridiculous if it did). You seem to have rather missed my point about the whole Fenceposts thing ("gay murder?" is that a thing now? And... what exactly is there to question?), so allow me to quote an earlier post of Wolf's for you:

You can have opinions, even ones that I think are offensive, and if you defend them well, I will disagree with you and may even tell you that I think those opinions are damaging to humans on Earth, but I will respect you and your right to them. (Like how I feel about Edric and communism). If you defend them badly, or not at all, and even though you might think they are defended, then I will not respect you, and, pursuant to everything I've said above, I will try to have you sanctioned. This isn't 'Nam, there are rules.

Please, read this carefully, because it answers your question: we do not censor opinions, we censor behaviour.

eras spewed the most hateful bile he could for months and he was allowed to. Partly through lax moderation, but mostly because we believe in free speech here. My immolation of his posts was borne not of disagreement, but disgust. He cannot argue, he cannot research, he cannot debate, he cannot think. How am I supposed to engage in reasonable debate when the enemy is incapable? Notice in the last few posts, people were attempting, through truly awe-inspiring patience, to engage with eras and show him how his behaviour could be improved. Nobody was saying "change your mind," they were saying "change how you act."

Having said that, asking questions isn't the best way to get to know the atmosphere around here. Best way would be to jump in and experience it. So, if you're interested in PRP on this forum at all (if not, I'm not sure why you'd want to keep posting here), start a thread about something, put forward a hypothesis, and we'll contribute. Unless it's boring, in which case we probably won't.

And if you are eras posting under another name... Well, we'll find out rather quickly.

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Took me the btter part of a week. So, the specific quote you posted, is one that I question myself about gay murder, but I also question the gay porn industry.

Curt: Which is worse? The murder of homosexual people, or the production of pornography that caters to homosexuals? I ask because there is a right answer to this question and it has nothing to do with one's "point of view" or political leanings. Murder is, in a general sense, the worst crime that societies prosecute. No religion sanctions them (not as a general matter, in any case). Murder combined with prejudicial animus, be it racism, sexism, homophobia, or something else, is further regarded as being far worse in... pretty much all of the countries you would want to go to or be welcome in. Pornography, on the other hand, can only be at worst ... distasteful, or perhaps degrading. There is a vast gulf between the moral weight of these two concepts. If you think they are equivalent or even near-equivalent (as I may infer from your latest post)... well, then I think you're probably not going to be worth conversing with, to put it lightly. Better do some explaining.

Furthermore, isn't "economic left/moral right" basically... well, a form of socialism fused with cultural traditionalism, for example, nationalism? I think... I think I've heard of that before. It sounds awfully familiar. Oh well. Let me just say that I generally define my own beliefs is "economic right" and "social left" (you might refer to it as "Libertarian") therefore, I do believe that you and I are polar opposites! By the way, notice I didn't use the word "moral" because I'm fairly certain that morality is both subjective and individually determined. Social policy, on the other hand--though it may relate to morality--is not. It's actually a good metaphor for this entire conversation, actually. Let's say that I say that all people should marry before they have sexual relations. That's a statement. If I state further that I believe this because it's "morally right" ... well, that's bullshit! Who cares? Who cares what I think is morally right? It's totally subjective and, as an explanation, it also does nothing to explain the statement. This is what Eras did constantly. If you're smart, it's very annoying. On the other hand, if I say that it reduces the spread of venereal diseases that are dangerous, and it helps to guarantee that children are born and raised in environments that can support them... well, that's a rational debate that we can have! Because, then someone else might say: but, you see, effectively forcing people to marry so they may engage in sexual relations--which is a human need--merely produces unhappy marriages, abusive homes, and, because of the aforementioned reasons, does nothing to stop infidelity, thereby failing to reduce the spread of venereal diseases! We can actually evaluate the probable outcomes, the costs, the legality, etc. of the policy being discussed! It becomes more objective. Of course, it only works if you can think.

I hope you found that helpful. Of course, that's assuming you're just an average dude who found himself on this forum for whatever bizarre reason. On the other hand, if you are just Eras' new handle... well, I mean, I'm laughing, but it really is very, very sad.

*EDIT: What the hell is wrong with me? Why does it have to be "gay murder" and "gay porn"? That's ridiculous. No. Is murder worse than porn? At all? By a little? By a lot? The fact that we even fixated on this issue being "novel" for a second just because it was associated with homosexuality is ridiculous.

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All of you guys here have created some great posts. It sucks to see the fighting, though I understand how and why it happens. Even though it is never this simple, I hope that whoever is involved in this can try and cool down a bit. There should be no need for banishments or snarky comments. From my experience, when I have flipped out and got snippy towards others, it led to all sorts of goofy drama, and after a few months you will look back at it and say to yourself: "Damn! This was a bunch of petty baloney!" I hope it all gets figured out because if any of you guys were to leave, it would make this site much less colorful and fun.

Regards: Titus

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haha!

...ah... Speaking of remembering goofy things said in the past. I looked at some of the corny crap i've said and all I can do is laugh at myself. When I was a teenager, I sure said some stupid and conceited things. :-) As a matter of fact, I dont think that has changed much. haha

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Re Dante May 12th post:

I visit and lurk, mostly when waiting for buses. I have no time or desire to participate in anything else. 4 months ago my fiance was in an accident where she was not expected to live, or if she did live, was not expected to keep her leg(s). She managed to do both but is still hospitalized with no discharge date. Up until now I have only told specific people on this board that this incident occured (mostly those who knew her personally and others I used to talk to quite often) as I did not (and still do not) want to read/listen/deal with false sentimentality.

So that's my excuse for not being around. I have other priorities and, in general, don't give a crap about what is going on around here right now.

Plus, I'm getting married and Gob still hasn't sent me my hat!

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Thanks to Wolf, I see an opportunity to start an actual debate in this thread. It will be off-topic, but that's fine. This thread could use a concrete example of a debate to go with all the abstract guidelines being proposed.

Furthermore, isn't "economic left/moral right" basically... well, a form of socialism fused with cultural traditionalism, for example, nationalism? I think... I think I've heard of that before. It sounds awfully familiar. Oh well.

How very clever. But your veiled implication is utterly dishonest and absurd. Unfortunately, I cannot explain why you are wrong without breaking the gentleman's rule that you so skillfully avoided breaking, so let's just drop the matter.

I will, however, say this as a general statement: "economic left" is not the same thing as socialism (the former is a MUCH broader category than the latter), and traditionalism is absolutely not the same thing as nationalism (they may even be opposed; I give the Austrian Empire as evidence).

By the way, notice I didn't use the word "moral" because I'm fairly certain that morality is both subjective and individually determined. Social policy, on the other hand--though it may relate to morality--is not. It's actually a good metaphor for this entire conversation, actually. Let's say that I say that all people should marry before they have sexual relations. That's a statement. If I state further that I believe this because it's "morally right" ... well, that's bullshit! Who cares? Who cares what I think is morally right? It's totally subjective and, as an explanation, it also does nothing to explain the statement.

Yes it does, actually. The reason why anyone supports any policy is because they believe it to be good, according to some definition of what is good - in other words, according to some moral code. It is impossible to avoid bringing your morality into politics. Every time you say that a law is good, or that the consequences of a law are good - in fact, any time you say that anything is good - you are making a statement based on (your) morality.

Some moral codes are based on consequences, and some are not. A person with non-consequentialist morality may believe that a certain law is good in and of itself, regardless of the consequences. I disagree with that view, but it is a view that many people hold. You should dismiss it as being wrong, but not as being stupid. If you want to fight it, then defend consequentialism, instead of being shocked and appalled that not everyone is a consequentialist yet.

On the other hand, if I say that it reduces the spread of venereal diseases that are dangerous, and it helps to guarantee that children are born and raised in environments that can support them... well, that's a rational debate that we can have! Because, then someone else might say: but, you see, effectively forcing people to marry so they may engage in sexual relations--which is a human need--merely produces unhappy marriages, abusive homes, and, because of the aforementioned reasons, does nothing to stop infidelity, thereby failing to reduce the spread of venereal diseases! We can actually evaluate the probable outcomes, the costs, the legality, etc. of the policy being discussed! It becomes more objective. Of course, it only works if you can think.

Outcomes! Consequences! See what you did there? You took it for granted that a policy should be judged according to your moral standards, which are obviously a form of consequentialism. You took it for granted that we should judge X by evaluating its consequences.

I happen to agree with you, but you are wrong to imply that all other rational people also agree with you on this. In fact, they don't. Kant would strongly object, for example.

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Great post, Edric! I'm not very interested in discussing this kind of philosophy right now, but it's like a breath of fresh air after so long a time when the word "philosophy" in the board title verged on the brink of becoming a pure formality.

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How very clever. But your veiled implication is utterly dishonest and absurd. Unfortunately, I cannot explain why you are wrong without breaking the gentleman's rule that you so skillfully avoided breaking, so let's just drop the matter.

Godwin's Law is still in effect, so, naturally, I couldn't do it straight-out. To be honest, I really was trying to be flip as opposed to accusing him of adherence to National Socialism specifically. However, I think you're being a little unfair. It was absurd, yes, but then again it was meant to be. Was it dishonest? It could certainly have been wrong, since I actually have no idea what he believes (he hasn't been completely clear), but, there is a growing trend of economic leftism infused with social rightism in America lately, and though it isn't nearly as extreme... well, it never starts out that way, does it? Oh, and don't be patronizing, it wasn't even that clever.

I will, however, say this as a general statement: "economic left" is not the same thing as socialism (the former is a MUCH broader category than the latter), and traditionalism is absolutely not the same thing as nationalism (they may even be opposed; I give the Austrian Empire as evidence).

No, you're right on both counts. The trend toward the economic left isn't so much the product of a socialist movement as it is the product of increased tolerance for government internventionism in the economy (this has also created a backlash movement, obviously, you may have heard of it). Socialism implies, to my mind, some notion of enforcing economic equity through policy. That has nothing to do with the phenomenon I think we're seeing in the US. However, if you want to get back to my flippant point above, that was also true of them. Believe me, though you're right (it was mean), that point was actually a lot more subtle than you gave it credit for.

Yes it does, actually. The reason why anyone supports any policy is because they believe it to be good, according to some definition of what is good - in other words, according to some moral code. It is impossible to avoid bringing your morality into politics. Every time you say that a law is good, or that the consequences of a law are good - in fact, any time you say that anything is good - you are making a statement based on (your) morality.

Wait a second. This is nonsense. "Some definition of good" in other words is "some moral code?" I don't think that all qualifications of "goodness" necessarily implicate the making of a moral value judgment, as this statement implies. Some of the examples that leap to my mind, at least, are decidedly amoral.

Outcomes! Consequences! See what you did there? You took it for granted that a policy should be judged according to your moral standards, which are obviously a form of consequentialism. You took it for granted that we should judge X by evaluating its consequences.

Consequentialism is a moral standard? I don't understand what you mean by that. I certainly did take it for granted, because I think that's the best way we can have any meaningful discussion of issues for their merits. Is that also a moral judgment? I don't think so. Perhaps in the philosphical abstract, sure, but I have no schooling in that area and I've frankly never seen the value in it. I'll just have to take your word for it. However, I do want to state that I think this is very unfair of you, because, essentially, you are calling me out for making a moral value judgment (which I can only take you at your word for) while necessarily making one of your own to do it. That feels very much to me like talking out of both sides of one's mouth.

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Godwin's Law is still in effect, so, naturally, I couldn't do it straight-out. To be honest, I really was trying to be flip as opposed to accusing him of adherence to National Socialism specifically. However, I think you're being a little unfair. It was absurd, yes, but then again it was meant to be. [...] Oh, and don't be patronizing, it wasn't even that clever.

Yes, I was being unfair and patronizing, but that's because I hate accusations of guilt-by-association. A person's ideas should be criticized on their own merits, not because they seem to you to be vaguely similar to something else that is widely reviled.

In addition - as you should know - "National Socialism" was socialist in precisely the same way that the Holy Roman Empire was Roman (or holy, or an empire). Which is to say, not at all. That is one reason why your implication was absurd.

If you were looking for a true example of an "economic left/moral right" ideology that is widely reviled, you should have picked Stalinism instead. Stalinism was indeed economically left-wing. However, here we come upon the second reason why your implication was wrong: being in the same quarter of the political spectrum as Stalin does not make you Stalin, just like being in the "economic right/moral right" quarter does not make you Pinochet. Any category so big as to include a quarter of all possible political views is inevitably going to include some horrible people alongside a number of good and decent ones. The "economic left/moral right" quarter, for example, happens to include both Stalin and Mother Teresa.

And there is also a third and final reason why you were wrong: the whole idea that the political spectrum can be neatly divided into four quarters along "economic" and "moral" axes is fundamentally mistaken. What is "economic left", for example? State intervention in the economy? But that is a method, not a goal. People using this method can pursue all sorts of different goals. Some of those goals can be mutually exclusive, or even direct opposites of each other. For instance, one may use the state to (1) redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, or (2) crush trade unions, guarantee high business profits, and imprison any worker who complains. One may use the state to break monopolies or enforce monopolies. The ideologies that advocate using state intervention for opposite goals are obviously enemies of each other, and it is ridiculous to place them all in the same category. It is even more ridiculous to name that category "economic left", when the defining feature of the "left" has always been the pursuit of equality, not its attitude towards the state. The left includes anarcho-communism, after all.

Was it dishonest? It could certainly have been wrong, since I actually have no idea what he believes (he hasn't been completely clear), but, there is a growing trend of economic leftism infused with social rightism in America lately, and though it isn't nearly as extreme... well, it never starts out that way, does it?

Actually, yes. Yes it does. Every single radical or "extreme" movement I can think of - regardless of ideology - started out that way, and loudly proclaimed its intentions to the world. I cannot name a single political party or movement that started out moderate and became more extreme with time. In fact, it is always the other way around. There are countless movements that started out radical and ended up embracing the status quo. Look no further than the party founded by Friedrich Engels.

Also, what trend of "economic leftism" in America are you talking about? I don't see one. Not an organized one, anyway. There is one in opinion polls, yes, but so far no organization has grown out of that.

Wait a second. This is nonsense. "Some definition of good" in other words is "some moral code?" I don't think that all qualifications of "goodness" necessarily implicate the making of a moral value judgment, as this statement implies. Some of the examples that leap to my mind, at least, are decidedly amoral.

Sure, you can say that a computer is a "good computer," and that's an example of using the word "good" in an amoral way. But there are no such examples when it comes to policy. Whenever you say that a policy or law or political action is "good," that always implies a moral value judgment. This is because your opinion on the goodness of a policy depends on your vision of a good society. And that's always a moral vision.

If you don't believe me, give examples of qualifications of "goodness" applied to politics, and I will tell you the moral assumptions behind each of them.

For instance, your earlier talk about preventing the spread of venereal diseases was based on the moral doctrine of utilitarianism. Which is a type of consequentialism.

Consequentialism is a moral standard? I don't understand what you mean by that. I certainly did take it for granted, because I think that's the best way we can have any meaningful discussion of issues for their merits. Is that also a moral judgment? I don't think so. Perhaps in the philosphical abstract, sure, but I have no schooling in that area and I've frankly never seen the value in it. I'll just have to take your word for it. However, I do want to state that I think this is very unfair of you, because, essentially, you are calling me out for making a moral value judgment (which I can only take you at your word for) while necessarily making one of your own to do it. That feels very much to me like talking out of both sides of one's mouth.

I have no qualms about making moral value judgments. I believe morality is objective and absolute. I believe that utilitarianism is correct, and those who disagree with it are wrong. My point is that you seem to have embraced the same view as me, but you don't realize it.

Have you read my old sticky thread about morality? I think it does a good job of explaining different views on good and evil. I'm not a philosopher by any means, so it's all very simplistic, but it's a reasonable summary of ethical systems as I understand them:

http://forum.dune2k.com/index.php?/topic/17060-an-introduction-to-good-and-evil/

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Yes, I was being unfair and patronizing, but that's because I hate accusations of guilt-by-association. A person's ideas should be criticized on their own merits, not because they seem to you to be vaguely similar to something else that is widely reviled.

While I agree that a person's ideas should be criticized on their own merits, I think that association happens to be one of those merits. If a certain political ideology has, historically, been frequently abused, then I think that's evidence that it's more open to abuse than others.

And there is also a third and final reason why you were wrong: the whole idea that the political spectrum can be neatly divided into four quarters along "economic" and "moral" axes is fundamentally mistaken. What is "economic left", for example? State intervention in the economy? But that is a method, not a goal. People using this method can pursue all sorts of different goals. Some of those goals can be mutually exclusive, or even direct opposites of each other. For instance, one may use the state to (1) redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, or (2) crush trade unions, guarantee high business profits, and imprison any worker who complains. One may use the state to break monopolies or enforce monopolies. The ideologies that advocate using state intervention for opposite goals are obviously enemies of each other, and it is ridiculous to place them all in the same category. It is even more ridiculous to name that category "economic left", when the defining feature of the "left" has always been the pursuit of equality, not its attitude towards the state. The left includes anarcho-communism, after all.

I didn't start the conversation about economic left/moral right. That would be Curt. I think it's absurd, too, only, I chose to attack both the idea and his stance on it. In fact, I made just this point about a week ago in just this thread.

Actually, yes. Yes it does. Every single radical or "extreme" movement I can think of - regardless of ideology - started out that way, and loudly proclaimed its intentions to the world. I cannot name a single political party or movement that started out moderate and became more extreme with time. In fact, it is always the other way around. There are countless movements that started out radical and ended up embracing the status quo. Look no further than the party founded by Friedrich Engels.

I think you were just sloppy here, as oppposed to openly dishonest, but nevertheless you equivocate between "radical or extreme movement" and any "political party or movement." At first you talked about how every "radical" movement starts out as radical (a tautaology you tried hard to make seem wasn't), and then you go on to say how that's evidence that "every" (you actually said "every") "political party or movement" starts out extreme. That's... just plain wrong. Illogical. You may not be able to think of examples, but that's because I don't think the paradigm you operate under permits it. The limited field of "radical" ideologies does not implicate all historical political movements or ideologies. Period. Do you want to stick by the assertion that all political movements begin more radical than they end?

Sure, you can say that a computer is a "good computer," and that's an example of using the word "good" in an amoral way. But there are no such examples when it comes to policy. Whenever you say that a policy or law or political action is "good," that always implies a moral value judgment. This is because your opinion on the goodness of a policy depends on your vision of a good society. And that's always a moral vision.

This is actually a good point. However, right though you may be, this doesn't address the point I made regarding morality, which was that arguments that purport to conform to a moral worldview alone are not sufficient to support a point. Remember my example? Saying that X is good policy because it's moral is useless to me. Saying that X is good policy because it has Y consequences is not. When I attacked "moral" arguments I was doing something very lawlyerly and was talking quite literally about that narrow class of arguments that proceed from the assertion of morality alone. If you want me to admit that I'm a utilitarian and a consequentialist, that's fine, but (truth be told) [whispers] I think we all are. I was just skipping some steps. In short, you misunderstood my original meaning, but that's okay, I wasn't very precise about it.

I have no qualms about making moral value judgments. I believe morality is objective and absolute. I believe that utilitarianism is correct, and those who disagree with it are wrong. My point is that you seem to have embraced the same view as me, but you don't realize it.

I mean, that's a little unfair of you, since you made it clear in your last post, I certainly must have realized it by then, right? And this isn't the first time we've covered this ground, so, give me some credit. However, if you're going to say that morality is "objective and absolute" well... that's interesting. What do you do when someone has a different moral view than you, and proceeds to support different policies based on that worldview? Besides tell them they're wrong, of course?

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I think intensity has some to do with belief systems at hand. My intensity on some issues is strong, but on others not so strong. A great deal of Republicans are almost solely focused on little or no government interference in monetary matters. Wanting low taxes, with almost no government subsidies of critical industries. To other Republicans, they may agree with the notion, in principal, but may not want to affect policy or even debate the matter. To such a degree they may not want to even "get involved" in changing policy, or even discussing the matter.

Which leads me to a discussion on social issues, or where the religious "like to play". Some of us feel that it is our God motivated right or desire to speak up on certain issues on the social spectrum, but not on others. Obviously in a society that values "privacy" above almost all other rights, things can get a bit tricky. And then, once again, we all differ on the intensity that we approach each issue. As far as morality goes, I think that the word "morality" is quite different than the word "social" when describing how some people relate to the issues that affect people's privacy, especially sexual privacy.

I have now started reading backwards into the past into many of the posts of the last decade, and I know that I am starting to venture into ground in which 'flaming', a newbie's observation, may begin. This forum has had its' pattern of behavior for so long, that there is not much tolerance for those who speak in the realm of privacy. For such a topic such as "privacy" that is debated endlessly by the US's Court system, there is much rancor about the issue on this forum when it occurs.

I am not sure if I should start a new thread about this issue, but one way in which people can look at "social left" or "moral left" is privacy ends when a new life begins. So I can stay out of your bedroom when it comes to whom you have sex with, but if you conceive a child, then let it live. There was a great article in Playboy or Rolling Stone magazine a few years back talking about new Republicans. One of the adherents of this belief was the creator of "South Park" TV show. In some ways, I am a South Park Republican, but I do like the phrase Mother Theresa Democrat, better.

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So I can stay out of your bedroom when it comes to whom you have sex with, but if you conceive a child, then let it live.

Well that statement could have it's own thread (abortion thread was around a while ago) and discussed. But probably everything that needs to be said on the topic has been said and I doubt anyones opinions would be changed.

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While I agree that a person's ideas should be criticized on their own merits, I think that association happens to be one of those merits. If a certain political ideology has, historically, been frequently abused, then I think that's evidence that it's more open to abuse than others.

I disagree. There are many reasons why an ideology may be more abused than others through no fault of its own. Just to give one simple example, the more supporters an ideology has, the more likely it is that some of those supporters will abuse it - regardless of its content. The only ideologies with a perfectly "clean" history are those that have very few adherents and have never been in power.

I didn't start the conversation about economic left/moral right. That would be Curt. I think it's absurd, too, only, I chose to attack both the idea and his stance on it. In fact, I made just this point about a week ago in just this thread.

Ok, fair enough. I'm glad we agree on this.

I think you were just sloppy here, as oppposed to openly dishonest, but nevertheless you equivocate between "radical or extreme movement" and any "political party or movement." At first you talked about how every "radical" movement starts out as radical (a tautaology you tried hard to make seem wasn't), and then you go on to say how that's evidence that "every" (you actually said "every") "political party or movement" starts out extreme. That's... just plain wrong. Illogical. You may not be able to think of examples, but that's because I don't think the paradigm you operate under permits it. The limited field of "radical" ideologies does not implicate all historical political movements or ideologies. Period. Do you want to stick by the assertion that all political movements begin more radical than they end?

But Wolf... I made no such assertion. Please go back and read the paragraph you quoted. What I said was: "There are countless movements that started out radical and ended up embracing the status quo." Countless doesn't mean all. Also, when I said that every "radical" movement starts out as radical, I meant that every movement which is radical at some point in its existence is a movement that started out radical.

Here, let me rephrase my argument to avoid confusion: If a given political movement is radical or "extreme" at any time during its existence, that time always includes the beginning of the movement. In other words, there are [a] movements that start out radical and continue to be radical, movements that start out moderate and continue to be moderate, and [c] movements that start out radical and eventually become moderate. But there are no movements that start out moderate and eventually become radical. If change in "radical-ness" occurs at all, it can only occur in one direction.

This is actually a good point. However, right though you may be, this doesn't address the point I made regarding morality, which was that arguments that purport to conform to a moral worldview alone are not sufficient to support a point. Remember my example? Saying that X is good policy because it's moral is useless to me. Saying that X is good policy because it has Y consequences is not. When I attacked "moral" arguments I was doing something very lawlyerly and was talking quite literally about that narrow class of arguments that proceed from the assertion of morality alone. If you want me to admit that I'm a utilitarian and a consequentialist, that's fine, but (truth be told) [whispers] I think we all are. I was just skipping some steps. In short, you misunderstood my original meaning, but that's okay, I wasn't very precise about it.

Hehe, I also think that most people are at least partially utilitarian deep down. Very few who consider themselves non-utilitarian would actually be willing to cause great suffering when their principles demand it.

My first intention was not to get you to admit that you're a utilitarian, but to get you to admit that it may be unfair to judge all other people's arguments by utilitarian standards. Saying that X is good policy because it's moral may well be perfectly adequate for someone who believes in some form of deontological ethics. They may be wrong, but they are not necessarily stupid or breaking the rules of logical debate.

And it's not just ultra-religious people who do this. You are familiar with the way Randians argue, yes?

I mean, that's a little unfair of you, since you made it clear in your last post, I certainly must have realized it by then, right? And this isn't the first time we've covered this ground, so, give me some credit. However, if you're going to say that morality is "objective and absolute" well... that's interesting. What do you do when someone has a different moral view than you, and proceeds to support different policies based on that worldview? Besides tell them they're wrong, of course?

That's a very difficult question, and I often struggled with it myself. In most cases, I try to appeal to their inner utilitarian. I explain to them how the policies supported by their moral views will lead to human suffering, and hope to sway them that way. If this doesn't work, I try to find internal contradictions within their moral views, to persuade them to give up those views. If that doesn't work either, I just give up and tell them they're wrong.

It is possible to construct an internally consistent set of non-utilitarian moral views and stick by those views no matter where they lead. Very few people do this (Randians try, but fail the consistency test). However, those few who succeed at it are completely invulnerable to any argument I can make.

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So, I don't really have much to say at this junction, other than I really enjoy this form of philosophical discussion. I feel like I'm learning something, like both participants are intelligent and knowledgeable, and that they have a sense of respect for one another.

These last few posts are why I return to PRP.

Now, one little thing: I realize the term "radical" is frequently used as a synonym for "extremist", but I just wanted to make sure that everyone here knows that that is a misuse of the term. "Radical" implies "going to the root, or origin," which, I would argue that Stalin was not a radical Communist, bin Laden was not a radical Muslim, etc. They were people who were members of x party, but their behavior was not based on that party line, certainly not on the philosophical underpinnings of that party line. For example, I am a radical behaviorist, which means that I believe that, at its core, all behavior is caused by the external, physical environment. However, if I were to blow up churches, police stations, or cognitivist labs (places that assert the cause of behavior (at least sometimes) as internal), I would not be acting as a radical behaviorist, I would be acting as a madman.

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At first you said:

Actually, yes. Yes it does. Every single radical or "extreme" movement I can think of - regardless of ideology - started out that way, and loudly proclaimed its intentions to the world. I cannot name a single political party or movement that started out moderate and became more extreme with time. In fact, it is always the other way around. There are countless movements that started out radical and ended up embracing the status quo. Look no further than the party founded by Friedrich Engels.

And then you said:

But Wolf... I made no such assertion. Please go back and read the paragraph you quoted. What I said was: "There are countless movements that started out radical and ended up embracing the status quo." Countless doesn't mean all. Also, when I said that every "radical" movement starts out as radical, I meant that every movement which is radical at some point in its existence is a movement that started out radical.

I read your statement very closely the first time through. My opinion hasn't changed on a re-read. I believe "all" was implicit in the statement "I cannot name a single political party or movement that started out moderate and became more extreme with time" and I believe that was consistent with the statement "... it is always the other way around." That is why I singled out that paragraph for criticism. I still disagree and I disagree even more with the clarification:

Also, when I said that every "radical" movement starts out as radical, I meant that every movement which is radical at some point in its existence is a movement that started out radical.
Let me parse this: [every movement] [that is radical at some point] in its history [is a movement that started out radical]. Every movement. That is radical at some point. Is a movement that began as a radical one. Can this be appropriately rephrased as "any movement that was ever radical began radical?" I think that's fair. Can this possibly be true? It seems incredible; I think it's far too sweeping. The Nazis began as a radical movement of sorts, yes, but they were mainly a veterans' association in the beginning and even then, the Holocaust was something that had to be rammed down the Interior Ministiry's throats (who still believed that the Reich Chancellory was holding steadfast to a policy of emigration, not extinction) at Wannsee in '42. I suppose the Republicans began as a party with some radical elements in the 1860s--the abolitionists, the Free Soilers, etc.--but they rapidly "mainstreamed." I suppose these examples could fit with your vision. But then how would you describe Britain's Conservatives, who became something of an extremist party themselves under Thatcher? Or, in the case of parties that see dramatic shifts in stance and ideology, what about the American Republicans following the geographic shift of the 1950s and '60s? They were extremely mainstream then and now we're seeing very radical elements embodied in the Tea Party. And that's not even the first time the party undergoes such a transformation. Do they "begin" in 1860 as a group of Northern liberals or do they begin in 1960 as a group of Southern conservatives? No. The evolution of political dynamics within any party is far too complex and involves far too many variables not related to political policy or radicalism to make such a sweeping statement. Every party is different, and there is absolutely no guarantee that a party that begins as a radical one will stay radical, or that a party that begins as a bastion of conservatism will not at some point turn to radicalism itself. I think Lord J's point about Islam is well-taken here: I can only imagine that the hardline Shari'a supporters are, and were for the longest time, such bastions of stability. Now, of course, there are many radical elements. I suppose you could argue that Islam began itself as a radical political ideology, but if this is the case, then I cannot think of any political movement that isn't "radical" simply by virtue of existing. Are the Federalists a radical party? How about the anti-Federalists? And then there's the trouble inherent in defining the term "radical"--radical to what? The Whigs (if you think the Whigs "started out" as radical, than skip to the last sentence of this paragraph) eventually help to form the Confederacy--is this a "radical" move or not? It strains credibility, in my view, to stick with the idea as you've phrased it. You may even be right, as I've said, in a very narrow sense, but it is so narrow that I think it renders the debate virtually meaningless.
Hehe, I also think that most people are at least partially utilitarian deep down. Very few who consider themselves non-utilitarian would actually be willing to cause great suffering when their principles demand it.

My first intention was not to get you to admit that you're a utilitarian, but to get you to admit that it may be unfair to judge all other people's arguments by utilitarian standards. Saying that X is good policy because it's moral may well be perfectly adequate for someone who believes in some form of deontological ethics. They may be wrong, but they are not necessarily stupid or breaking the rules of logical debate.

And it's not just ultra-religious people who do this. You are familiar with the way Randians argue, yes?

Fruitless? Yes. Unfair? I'm not so sure. If, as I've indicated and as you've acknowledged, all people are utilitarians "deep down," then isn't it actually unfair of them to try to hide behind an ideological shield that doesn't really exist? In any case, I have to assume the existence of an alternate morality (and even then, this issue is so complex that I cannot envision a scenario where there is absolutely no overlap between my moral view and a hypothetical other), and give it the presumption of internal consistency and "rightness" in its own sense. Is it noble of me to do this? Absolutely. Is it unfair of me not to? I think that's much more unclear; furthermore, I can actually quantify the amount by which it is unfair based on the amount of overlap between utilitarianism and... whatever it is. Deontological whatsit? I suppose this question is really answered by the following:

However, those few who succeed at it are completely invulnerable to any argument I can make.

Who are these people, and where are they kept?

Also, Randians are "ultra-religious" in their own way.

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CurtOne, I may be misunderstanding your point here, but social policy isn't a case of equal exchange. "We'll give you gay rights if you give us a ban on abortion." That may be the way that some (most? All?) politicians try to work, but it isn't going to satisfy 'society.' It's also inherently unfair, in that it equates situations which are unrelated (there is no logical connection between gay marriage and abortion), a non-sequiter or sorts.

And yes, I use the term 'social policy' because unlike Edric I don't believe in objective morality. A moral judgement is worth only as much as a personal opinion, while a societal judgement is worth, in real terms, somewhat more. They are different things, yes, but to be "moral" is a much foggier concept.

You've also got a lot of stuff going on about intensity and privacy, which while relevant, isn't coming across particularly well. You're using a lot of words but not saying very much, which rather prompts me to ask, what exactly is the point you were trying to make? Further, "not much tolerance for those who speak in the realm of privacy" ? What does that mean?

I also feel I should draw your attention to another issue: point dropping. Now Wolf has made a few good posts about that in this thread (because eras was guilty of the same thing), to the end that if someone directs a point to you, and you do not address it, debate breaks down. Insofar as I am interested in what you have to say (for now), if we are going to debate at all it has to involve some exchange of perspectives on whatever a subject might be. If you drop the subject, there can't be a debate. There can't be an exchange, or an answer.

With that in mind, several points have been made to you which you have not answered, which I will summarise below. Because I'm nice like that.

> (Dragoon) Go into detail about what you think about Eras' posting and our responses, since you've "read it all".

> (Me) I am curious though, why if you don't want to "draw it out," "dwell on it," you continue to post at all. That's not a veiled criticism either, it's a genuine question. If you're not interested in the discussion, why discuss?

> (Me) Further, what exactly do you mean by terms like "moral liberal?"

> (Me) And why use 'moral' as a criticism?

> (Me) "gay murder?" is that a thing now? And... what exactly is there to question [about it]?

> (Wolf) Which is worse? The murder of homosexual people, or the production of pornography that caters to homosexuals? I ask because there is a right answer to this question and it has nothing to do with one's "point of view" or political leanings. ... Better do some explaining.

> Actually, Wolf's entire post there was basically directed at you, even though Edric replied to it.

Oh, I just noticed Wolf's edit of his earlier post. To address that point, Wolf: we didn't fixate on the issue just because it was "gay murder" and "gay porn," eras did. This discussion arose from his post, even if it did go via Fanfiction, and thus carries some baggage which we never got around to removing. Such as the omitted fact that the victim in the article was straight. And while I completely agree that murder and porn are entirely unrelated (see my first paragraph above)... usually, and that the distinction between "porn" and "gay porn" is nill in terms of morality, I would argue that the distinction was warranted for three reasons.

1. The specificity would expose a double standard, if one exists. While we know it's ridiculous to go "gay porn is disgusting, but hetero porn is just normal, dude," others may be working on just such an assumption. Likewise murder.

2. It exposed exactly the point you were making.

3. It determines whether an argument is the product of normal beliefs (murder is bad, yo) or bigotry, and thus determines our response. I respond to bigots with much less respect than to others. You may have noticed.

(4. It reminds us that eras wasn't actually talking about pornography at all, he was talking about "rampant gay porno" in "society," whatever that means)

Moving on. Can I think of a movement that starts moderate and becomes more extreme? Arguable, since the terms aren't very well defined. One could argue that the suffragettes became more extreme, developing from a political pressure group into a semi-militant campaign practicing property damage, bombing, hunger strikes and debatably suicide. One could even look at Islam, with a modern tendancy towards extremism which was much less pronounced forty years ago. Could Lenin be considered a more extreme version of Marx? (That's not a rhetorical question, it's been years since I looked at the issue and all I really remember is that their ideologies did not entirely overlap)

I considered using the word 'radical' there, but on reflection, I'm inclined to think that the current administratior of Iran is straying a little from Saladin's legacy. Yes, Lord J, point taken. ;)

These people? Well, internally consistant moral arguments are fairly rare things anyway. I would argue that those which withstand scrutiny have the same problems as all other moral systems (we can discuss those elsewhere if you want), they just acknowledge and incorporate them. Inconsistancy only matters if consistancy is a desired principle; if the system acknowledges inconsistancy as a facet of itself then practically any action is consistant with the system. Ironic but true, though one could question just how much such a system of morality could be called a system.

My point being that inconsistancy and adaptability are closely related and that either offer a better alternative to assumption.

Forgive me for picking out parts of an argument, but I'm reluctant to insert myself into the debate too much, you're doing so well together.

...I'm beginning to think that my replies may be too wordy.

The acknowledgement was appreciated Mahdi, as was its intent.

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I am sorry to jump in here so late in the discussion, and if I am off the current discussion. I just wanted to say that I never once felt that my beliefs and voicing my beliefs caused me to be looked at or spoken to in any particular way here by most of the long time regulars (esp. Dante and Wolf), despite being the only person here who believes what I believe. I was never attacked by these people, no nicknames were created for me, disagreement never crossed into any of the places that other posters, who have attributed it to their beliefs, found themselves in. I have tried logging in a few times over the months (finally remembered it today), but for the most part have been uninterested. And that was not because of intolerance on the part of most of the regulars here, it is because of the degeneration of the quality of discussion at the hands of only a few. It is because there is no point arguing with a know-it-all who does little other than spam the forum with Greek news (in Greek), pseudo-science, and baseless linguistic fabrications, on which there is no basis for discussion. There is a mold here, or a trend, and it is that the easier it is for one to be offensive to others, the easier that person seems to be offended by others. Except when they become offended they become a surrounded victim.

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Dante, I think my point on "intensity" is the gravitas or importance that one places upon one's particular beliefs. On the issue of abortion (or anti-abortion) rights, for example, the whole vast spectrum of intensity or perhaps, committment, can range from person to person. An anti-abortion conviction can range from having the view that "I would never have one, or would absolutely hope my spouse or significant other would not have one" all the way to being an active member or leader of a Right to Life group, actively trying to make the procedure illegal. As well as the millions of people who are in between those two views.

As far as the privacy debate goes, my point is that in the USA the 14th Amendment is used in an ever-expanding way to encompass behaviors that are "couched" in the phrase "privacy" Obviously, the first that comes to mind would be the afore-mentioned "abortion rights".

I apologize as this is my first weeks of posting so I am concerned about treading on people's feelings. I know that there are a myriad of opinions in the forum, and I am attempting to leave relevant, honest postings, without stepping on toes or damaging feelings. I may not be successful, but I will make the attempt. I know that this may come across as issue-dropping, but I am going it alone in a forum where just a few weeks ago I expected to have the guidance of a friend. Of course, it was upon my own insistence that EO "cool it" and focus on something else for a while, so I find myself unable to ask him for assistance, yet still interested in contributing my POV.

Dragoon and yourself have some good points about EO. I do not believe in behaving the way EO does in getting points across. Nor do I really ever believe that I am going to change minds to such a degree. So, I simply put forth my arguments in the best possible light, with the most amount of backing possible, in the short amount of time I'm given every day. I have a "blue collar" job, and my time is limited. I do not have his income or educational backround, so in a way I feel that I am walking into a discussion that is taking place between two or three academics, from what I have read. I cannot defend the way that he posted last summer, and I am not going to attempt to try. He became very personal, very fast, and you responded in a way that most people would, probably even myself. I would like to believe that I would not get into such bad name calling, but I have never been tested as you were.

Gay muder is a horrible thing, and very bad and detestable. The taking of a human life is horrible, straight or gay. All pornography is bad, and is an industry that exploits men and women. Gay, straight, and in between.

The standards here are very high, perhaps too high. They are so high, that they are almost unwelcome. I feel an almost unwelcome attitude that one feels when one is a "working man" thrust back into the college system for industry wide re-training. That is a term that is popular in Michigan right before one gets laid off from a job. It's very difficult here to gain a foothold. I asked one of my friends to "check" this place out, and he is afraid to join, or even come back. I wonder if it is a common event.

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I'm here, finally, took some time. This is where I wanted to start, as my friend told me and asked me to, him being ErasO. We work together, in the business pits of the upper Midwest US. Glad to be here. Where do the people who believe in taxing the $hit out of the rich & keeping gov spending low go to post how they feel?

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