Now I know we've been punked.
Our interlocutor is really Ashton Kutcher.
"...it means that one makes a sincere attempt to understand the other's argument."
Economike, I have shown my respect for your argument by addressing all of your claims, and focusing on claims and arguments rather than personal attack. Thank you for finally responding to some my actual arguments. I'd like to give you every opportunity to clarify your claims.
What you have previously said includes:
"The libertarian vision is a radical one, an appeal to the ideal. Ideological libertarianism - in distinction to consequential libertarianism - is anti-historical."
This is not the first time you have maintained there are two main schools of libertarian thought. I agree -- there are two main schools of libertarian thought. Everyone seems to agree... here is Wikipedia's entry on it.
Now you have clearly identified "ideological libertarians" as those who are not consequentialist. That makes it equally clear you are referring to the same distinction that the Wikipedia link documents (and so many other sources). It is the same way I learned it in studying philosophy.
Is it correct to identify non-consequentialist libertarians as "ideological libertarians". Sure... I admit it is not an inherently derogatory term, just deragoty as you have used it. According to Google, the phrase does not occur very often but when it does the terms "natural law" or "natural rights" are very frequently used in tandem.
Bottom line, when you identify "ideological libertarians" as non-consequentialists, you indicate that this isn't merely your personal distinction but rather a very specific and well-understood philosophical concept. This leaves no doubt that "ideological libertarians" and "natural rights libertarians" refer to the same thing.
Now, you have since clarified your qualm with natural rights libertarians (I will continue to use the more common term) twice.
A. "Not exactly. The 'crime' (if you choose to call it so) is the belief that an ideal system of principles alone is sufficiently comprehensive to instruct any and all politicians how to vote in particular cases."
This is actually a misstatement of natural rights doctrine, which is precisely the doctrine that a priori we can know that certain votes are wrong, on the ground that certain things are always wrong. The distinction is that you seem to suggest natural rights provides an a priori claim of whether or not to vote for something, but at best the philosophy can only tell you when to reject a measure. It is not a huge distinction, so I'll call it close enough.
You are fairly explicit in your rejection of such a priori reasoning. But let's be clear, that is exactly the argument that many the founding fathers embraced and it is exactly what they referred to by natural rights. I would be happy to document this with their quotes and tie it to the philosophical tradition they studied.
B. "I had made the simple point that judging the qualifications of Paul Ryan (or any politician) against an ideological ideal which no politician ever meets was an implicit claim of omniscience. That is to say, the ideologue always knows the right way to vote. "
The interesting thing is that it is not I who have harped on ideology. You seem to be the one obsessed with that. Most of my claims about Ryan have been about specific bad decisions that Ryan made, and I have argued those points from specifics. Most of the ideological statements I have made are in response to your own claims about libertarians.
I am also not holding Romney and Ryan up to a nonexistent ideology. I am holding him up to Ron Paul, who, by the way, does not seem to have violated any of my principles. But I am not claiming he is perfect. I will note that in a poll conducted by Pulse Opinion Research last week, he received a 58% favorable / 36% unfavorable view against Romney's 50% favorable, 45% unfavorable. An ideological candidate who could never have won?
Admittedly, I did criticize Ryan's ideology in one respect, in pointing out that the video I linked is a nearly perfect way to capture the antithesis of the natural rights perspective. Other than that I haven't been insisting on some universal knowledge due to ideology. You are the one who has implied claims to special knowledge. The truth is invisible, like water in a fishbowl, and you can see it but I can't. For some reason you can't make it explicit, because of zenlike mastery that only you possess -- at least that is what the metahpor suggests about the nature of truth.
What I have tried to argue is that bank bailouts are a bad idea.
I have made other pragmatic points that don't really fit the mantle of ideology that you'd like to place on me. For instance, I just mentioned that the difference between the Ryan and Obama budgets is only $300 billion, a tiny percentage of either budget, and both far exceed revenues. You have made the case elsewhere that without immediate fiscal restraint our economy is in danger of collapse. Should perhaps their new campaign slogan be "Romney/Ryan - at least 14 more weeks until collapse!"?
Happy to pick up discussion on any of this if you wish...
(1)This is either a misunderstanding or a mis-characterization of my argument; can I rehash it more clearly for you?
(2)I agree and made this case above.
(3)I retract this, see above. But you have been pretty derogatory towards natural rights libertarianism, whereas I haven't been derogatory to consequentialism.
(4)I would be happy to defend this proposition.
(5)No, I don't think the fact that our founders believed in natural rights caused you to denigrate anyone.
Economike, in your shoes I wouldn't want to argue with me either. But since you referred to your earlier claims as "argument", I take it you are back to admitting there is debate occurring here. I find rhetoric to be a waste of everyone's time, but I find sincere debate to be refreshing. So thanks for addressing some of the points I raised head on! It is completely up to you if you would like to debate further. Considering that your subsequent post re: mainemom's quotation is back to mockery and rhetoric rather than any attempt to sincerely describe that issue, I doubt that you do.
Now, you have since clarified your qualm with natural rights libertarians ...
Holy Toledo! Not only have I not had any "qualm with natural rights libertarians" I never even used the term until you decided I had some problem with it.
You singlehandedly (and tendentiously) reason that by "ideological libertarian" I must have meant "natural rights libertarian" and, having established that "you [economike] have since clarified your qualms with natural rights libertarians" you proceed as though I have conceded a point I have explicitly denied.
Three Pipe Problem, you are one strange piece of work. I accused you of distorting what I wrote and you proceed to ...... drum roll ..... insist on distorting what I write.
Economike, in your shoes I wouldn't want to argue with me either.
As it happens, I don't want to argue with you, but not for the reason your grandiosity suggests to you.
Mike, you used a very technical term... consequentialist libertarian. You had some very rough things to say about libertarians who were not consequentialists and you can now face the, er, consequences.
Scholarship seems to be very important to you. When the entire body of literature points to the fact that we have specific names for libertarians who are not consequentialists, and that's the very thing you criticized, your counter-argument amounts to playing around with the definitions of words. You are welcome to substitute the term "ideological libertarians" in my above post, as I have sufficiently demonstrated that given the technical terminology you invoked, it would mean the same.
We don't have to be left wondering... the type of a a priori basis you have pretty thoroughly renounced is the basis for natural rights. So whether you explicitly used that term is irrelevant. I do regret that you keep making such technical philosophical claims, as resolving them bores the heck out of many, I think. I'd rather keep a thread, however tenuous on Ryan and discuss an issue of pragmatic relevance. On the whole, your posts seem very loosely related to that, and more related to your personal dislike for me and other ideological libertarians. However, if you need me to connect the dots as far as how your several-times rejection of a priori reasoning (although you did not use the exact term) is inconsistent with the natural rights philosophy that the founders embraced, I think can do that successfully. I think it will be understood by many that it's a sideshow put on by someone who likes to shift debate into the arcane and has been gunning for me ever since it didn't work for you the first time.
By the way, where did you "explicitly" deny that you take exception with natural rights philosophy? I see only previous claims that my argument did not effectively show you criticized it, which is the point I have since further addressed. Would you be willing to embrace natural rights philosophy now? Is that a "no"? I see...
Economike, in your shoes I wouldn't want to argue with me either.
I apologize for saying that. It just seems you are faring so badly in your defense of Ryan... perhaps I am being overly optimistic to think any reader will agree. However, the statement may be less sarcastic than you think -- you obviously are not enjoying yourself. My claims about Ryan, and my efforts to counter the smears against ideological libertarians that you started within this thread, seem to infuriate you, yet you don't seem to want to muster the energy. It's fine if you feel that way, but perhaps you shouldn't take half measures. Either debate me or ignore me, but I don't see making rhetorical claims about how horrible I and everyone like me is being worth your time or mine. Most of the points from my previous post remain unchecked, should you decide to keep going
Dear President Obama - conservatives don't make deals with Chicago bullies. Thanks anyway.
Romney campaign doesn't bite on Obama tax return offer
Published August 17, 2012
... response ...from ...Romney ...after Obama's ....offer...to refrain from criticizing ...Romney's transparency if he ... release(s) five ... years of returns.
"Thanks for the note. It is clear that President Obama wants... to talk about ...Romney's tax returns instead of ... putting Americans back to work, fixing the economy and reining in spending," ... "If Governor Romney's tax returns are the core message ...there will be ample time for President Obama to discuss them over the next 81 days."
No thanks - ask Holder for lapdog services if needed.
As I mentioned previously, I think Paul Ryan is a very good pick by Romney for VP. I think the biggest "black mark" on his conservative resume, is not the complaints of the libertarain purists: his voting for TARP, the Iraq War, the auto bail-out, the Medicare Drug expansion, No Child Left Behind, etc. These were not prudent limited government positions one would expect from a "conservative", but they were not the worst of his judgments.
His biggest mistake was his youthful flirtation with the "philosophy" (ideology) of Ayn Rand. As Maine Mom has noted Rand's pseudo-philosophy, "Objectivism" (warmed over Freidrich Nietzsche leavened with some borrowed Isabel Patterson and Rose Lane) goes ill with Catholic teaching and prinicples, particularly the Christian virtue of Charity. She said:
"For Rand, the Bishops' error began with their irrational belief in the Supernatural. For me, a Catholic, the Bishops' error begins with their insistence that government force, or force period, is a proper mechanism for implementing their view of Christ's teaching. I suppose Paul Ryan would think so, too." One would suppose if one understood that Rand hated Christianity.
She called religion "mysticism" and criticized it for promoting "altruism", mindless selflessness. However, Altruism is really her description of the creed of absolute selflessness without a belief in God. Neither Catholics nor communists had that as an ideal. Christians hold to the idea of Charity (Love of Neighbor...up to a point) and the communists ideal was a classless society run by a vanguard elite.
Rand's ideal in her ideology was captured in the title of one of her books, "The Virtue of Selfishness" [without God}. Her novels were pedantic and second rate and her behavior in her personal life, including numerous marital infidelities, was dreadful. When she once demanded that economic historian, Murray Rothbard, a non-practicing Jew, and his devout Christian wife, Joey, denounce Jesus Christ, Murray and Joey told her to drop dead and left her inner circle of a fanatical followers because they believed she was rude and crazy. Apparently, Alan Greenspan stayed.
Fortunately, Paul Ryan pulled back from this awful view of life. Ryan's own Bishop in the Diocese of Madison (WI) recently praised him for his formation of Catholic conscience in a written column in the Catholic Herald without politically endorsing his every political policy:
"Thus, it is not up to me or any bishop or priest to approve of Congressman Ryan’s specific budget prescription to address the best means we spoke of. Where intrinsic evils are not involved, specific policy choices and political strategies are the province of Catholic lay mission. But, as I’ve said, Vice Presidential Candidate Ryan is aware of Catholic Social Teaching and is very careful to fashion and form his conclusions in accord with the principles mentioned above. Of that I have no doubt. (I mention this matter in obedience to Church Law regarding one’s right to a good reputation.)" See the whole thing: http://www.madisoncatholicherald.org/bishopscolumns/3366-bishop-column.html
This does not absolve Ryan from bad political judgment (TARP, Iraq War , auto bail-out) or his previous association with bad ideas. But these are to be human, not immoral or stupid. Ryan is still smart, energetic, and tough. The Ayn Rand indiscretion of his youth was like my own and probably many others on this website. I forgive him that and wish him well in his new position of power and responsibility. I hope and pray practicing Catholics will listen to his arguments before making a hasty judgment on his policies based upon MSM propaganda and vote their conscience with the better angels of their nature.
Well said, Jeffersonian.
I'm not sure that is Ryan's biggest issue, and I could definitely muster a number of positive things to say about Rand, but I don't deny the criticisms you make. She actually had the sort of attitude that Economike attributes to me.
In particular, her art book is just a low point in Western philosophy. Her high point was Capitalism the Unknown Ideal, and I think Greenspan's former writings in it are worth looking at.
So, on the subject of Ryan, a Ron Paul fan apparently preemptively bought this - http://romneyryan.com. I can feel the outrage about to spew forth! But surely Ayn Rand, at least, would approve of his auctioning off the domain to the highest bidder.
Mitt Romney donators
Goldman Sachs $636,080
JPMorgan Chase & Co $502,874
Morgan Stanley $476,300
Bank of America $465,850
Credit Suisse Group $421,310
Three Pipe Problem -
I used to think of "natural rights" this way -
In 1789 the French Revolution encouraged in Britain a political movement, exemplified by the writings of Thomas Paine, to reform Britain with a system of "natural rights" similar to the new French system.
For thinkers like Paine, the "rights of man" arise from force of reason; that is, rights consist of what reason tells us they "ought to be." In Paine's view, rights do not inhere to particular men in particular situations, but rather identical rights are the natural possession of all men in all places. The French Revolution sought to reconstruct French society according to this abstract ideal of "natural rights." The result, as everyone knows, was a bloody struggle for political power ending with a "strong-man" form of rule.
- but since I wrote this I have seen Hayek use the term "natural rights" in the sense that "rights" arise from usage and precedent, a result of emergent order. This happens to be the Burkean view of rights as well, but Burke used the term "natural rights" in its opposite radical meaning. For me, then "natural rights" is ambiguous; its use must be qualified.
It's not a given, then, that the architects of the American constitution were animated by the idea of "natural rights" as a modern libertarian understands the term. The founders - even Jefferson - were not ideologists and did not know the word, which came into use following the French Revolution.
I'd say that the "founders" they were at least as much influenced by the English legal tradition and by Humean skepticism as by a theory of "natural rights." Granted that Jefferson inserted the phrase about "all men" possessing "inalienable rights" the colonists were asserting their accustomed English rights during their dispute with parliament.
The U. S. Constitution, as I understand it, is not the result of the abstract reasoning power of its framers. Rather, it is the reasonable result of traditions and usages long enjoyed and understood; that is to say, particular rights inhering in particular persons.
The Constitution applies only to those within its jurisdiction. Perhaps others in other jurisdictions may be said to enjoy "natural rights" but such rights are unrelated to Constitional rights. The two are not equivalent.
My frustration with those who claim "natural rights" as the basis of their constitutional rights is the implicit claim that "natural rights" precede constitutional rights.
Reason alone doesn't tell us what our rights are. One doesn't get to decide which laws to obey - therefore which laws are legitimate - based on a theory of natural rights. In practice, the only rights are constitutional rights, secured for the present by the past, and preserved by the present for the future. That's the Burkean notion of rights. Government isn't subject to veto based on "my free will right now" - when it works, it is an institution that preserves our rights. No government, no rights. I'm not intending to lecture you here; I assume we substantially agree.
Your objection to Paul Ryan's vote on TARP was based on Ryan's putative "moral relativism" with the implication that any politician's adherence to "inviolable" Constitutional principle should instruct him how to vote. Perhaps I read too much into your statement, but I took it to mean that regardless of his views of the necessity or urgency of the issue, he nonetheless should not have departed from principle, a departure which amounts to immorality.
But suppose that Ryan sincerely believed that TARP was essential to prevent a collapse of the financial system (an obvious disaster for his constituents). In that case, is his vote immoral? Again, perhaps I read too much into your statement, but I find the notion that strict adherence to principle - and here we must make the assumption that principle is never amiguous - is the only moral choice for a politician.
Madison signed the Second Bank of the United States into law. He ought to know - did he contravene an inviolable principle? The answer depends on when you ask him.
If you are not an ideological libertarian (and I use the adjective "ideological" exclusively and precisely) who believes that a rational system of rights obviates the moral challenges of politicians, I apologize for assuming you are a communicant of that deluded order. Depart in peace.
Wow, a second reply with earnest argument! Very cool. I will try to respond soon but I want to do some digging first.
I do want to point out now that my objection to Paul Ryan's support of TARP is not, in particular, his use of moral relativism in arguing for it. The inclusion of that was mainly a response to your own statements about ideological libertarians. Yes, I find it distasteful when someone so directly expresses the ethos of violating a principle in order to promote it. Fine when optimizing mathematical functions, not fine when it comes to rights or Constitutional limits.
No, my fundamental objection to bank bailouts is that they are economically harmful. I think that is true in general, and I think there are specifics in this case that make it particularly true. Many do not understand that the story of power, at least for the past several hundred years, is one of a struggle between politicians and financiers. A banking system where the bankers can hold the pols hostage by making inscrutable claims about the failure of the whole financial system -- and many later described it in very similar language to hostage-taking -- and then demand what may be the largest wealth transfer in history to "fix it", is one that needs to be reformed. It would be nice to see more than a few politicians with more than an inkling about finance and money and the courage to admit that the politicians have lost the last several rounds to the banks and do something about it.
In the doubles match, the score is game, set, match to Economike and mainemom. ThreePipeProblem and an unspecified partner are distant winners of the bronze medal.
And that's after awarding them extra points for mid-set demonstrations of proper serving techniques, and discussions of how balls hitting boundary lines are to be scored.
Melvin, what did you enjoy most about their victory? Was it the when Mainemom admitted that she has no idea what the right thing was when it came to TARP? Or when Economike played a game about Paul Ryan while hardly ever mentioning Ryan or making any claims about him, with only the barest of attempts to refute any of my criticism of Ryan? Or was it when Economike argued at length against my claim that his statements amount to a criticism of natural rights doctrine, and then slipped in at the last minute why he doesn't like natural rights doctrine?
Or are we perhaps playing different games?
I'm terrible with these sports metaphors. Did the "demonstrations of proper serving techniques" include mainemom's attempt to score a point by making it seem as though I uttered a sentence that I did not? Or would that have been more like a return? I confess, I don't even know how to play tennis. Perhaps the part about "boundary lines" is when they refuted my claims by calling me "radical", "fanatical", "pompous", etc. I've never found shots so close to the boundary line to be very effective, but you seem to know more about this game than I.
BTW folks, we've been discussing Ryan's favorite novel, and Jeffersonian let us know he has explicitly rejected the philosophy underlying it. Now we know Romney's.... let's pray he rejects the philosophy underlying his inspiration as well.
mainemom Fri, 08/17/2012 - #115: "ewv, I do understand the contradiction between Objectivist ethics and Catholic teaching. For Rand, the Bishops' error began with their irrational belief in the Supernatural. For me, a Catholic, the Bishops' error begins with their insistence that government force, or force period, is a proper mechanism for implementing their view of Christ's teaching. I suppose Paul Ryan would think so, too.
I don't doubt that you understand the irresolvable clash between Catholic doctrine and Ayn Rand's secular moral egoism. But the question raised here is does Paul Ryan understand it, and what is his actual position as he jockeys to avoid controversy he doesn't want during an election campaign, threatening us all in his backtracking subservience to moral intimidation from religious collectivists undermining American individualist values?
Paul Ryan extolled Ayn Rand's moral basis for capitalism and freedom emphatically (whatever he thinks it means in any detail since he hasn't said much about it), not Catholicism, as the basis of his own personal advocacy of capitalism and freedom in politics: "I think Ayn Rand did the best of anyone to build a moral case for capitalism... [T]he morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism,... to me is what matters most." That was said in 2009, not as a supposed 'youthful indiscretion' as characterized in the backtracking. It is what they are attacking him for in conjunction with their own politics, which politics are an expression of a very different morality that for them 'matters most'. Every political philosophy presupposes a moral philosophy.
A free society guaranteeing the rights of the individual requires a predominant culture recognizing that each individual has a moral right to live for his own goals, think for himself, and be capable of using his mind through reason to do it. The Catholic Church has institutionally supported authoritarianism, collectivism and statism for centuries as a consequence of its denunciation of life on earth -- to be subjugated to other-worldliness, denunciation of reason as each individual's means of thinking as his guide to living -- to be subjugated to unquestioning authoritarian belief from faith (requiring obedience to God as the primary virtue), and its denunciation of rational self interest of the individual -- to be subjugated to a belief in a duty to selflessly sacrifice to others and to God. It is the antithesis of American individualism. You can't base capitalism on selfless service and sacrifice, and a duty to suspend your mind to authoritarian faith and duty for another world.
Their philosophical view is in accordance with their view of man's nature and the nature of the world, meaning everyone -- not just themselves content to leave everyone else alone as you might. They are serious, and with those premises they aren't about to condone or allow -- if they can help it -- people like us running around using our own independent minds to understand and determine what we believe is true while pursuing happiness in our own lives here on earth. A presumed duty is a duty, and leaves no room to decide and act otherwise. Your moral freedom, to them, is the 'freedom' to do your duty to believe and act as God tells you, as interpreted by the official hierarchy. That is the foundation of their collectivist and authoritarian politics. They didn't just run off the rails deciding in a vacuum what political principles to pursue, their politics is a consequence of a much earlier train wreck of sweeping proportions.
Americans on "the right", including Catholics, with a typically American sense of independence (or what used to be typical) seem to have difficulty grasping how deep the institutional religious doctrine goes and that they really mean it. Though countered by the Enlightenment it has been there for centuries. It is today the basis of the the Christian left's denouncing the religious right and is employed in taunts implying hypocrisy by the secular left (like Obama with his cat calls about "your brothers' keeper").
"I enjoyed the irony of seeing the Bishops hoisted on their own petard when it became clear that their long-awaited government healthcare law would undermine their religious liberty."
It's a power struggle, not, at root, "religious liberty", in which the Catholic officials objected to Obama's recent decree on providing 'health care' for sex. Obama interferes with what they regard as a duty they insist everyone has to procreate, and a duty to believe in a sacred mystic soul of a cell, not any "freedom" other than their "freedom" to impose on others. Like Obama's demand for power, the Catholic Church would not allow it to be otherwise if it returned to the political power it once had. It was only a few decades ago (1970s) that the Catholic Church was fighting to prevent repeal of laws prohibiting contraception (remember their war with the activist Bill Baird?). There was irony in their recent squawking all right, but it's not "religious liberty" they are after in the end.
There is a long history of such absurdities, such as the Catholic Church's historically opposing the use of anesthesia when it was discovered on the grounds that we have an alleged duty to suffer because they have faith that God meant us to suffer. You can't argue with people who use such methods in their thinking to promote such human suffering and destruction of the individual, perpetrated in the name of the nature of man and an overarching God. Their dogmatic faith and denial of reason by the individual only leads to 'resolving' such disputes by physical force, which they illustrated for centuries.
Wow, a second reply with earnest argument! Very cool. I will try to respond soon but I want to do some digging first.
I wrote to explain my views on ideology and natural rights, since you seemed to have some misapprehensions about my meaning, not to make an argument. Respond if you wish, but please don't feel you must dig to produce a few factoid zingers to "demolish" my "argument."
No, my fundamental objection to bank bailouts is that they are economically harmful.
Welcome back to an oxygen-based atmosphere! We agree that economic benefit is not necessarily coincident with constitutional principle.
Or was it when Economike argued at length against my claim that his statements amount to a criticism of natural rights doctrine, and then slipped in at the last minute why he doesn't like natural rights doctrine?
One of your qualities I find most annoying, Three Pipe Problem, is your habit of announcing a triumphal gotcha! after you have failed to comprehend what others have written. I suspect that humility doesn't come easily to you, but faking it wouldn't hurt your presentation.
I did not say I "don't like natural rights doctrine." I said that the term should be used carefully because its meaning is ambiguous.
I suspect that humility doesn't come easily to you Oh my God, he he he
It is amazing how all of this discussion about Ayn Rands philosophy surprisingly distracts us from Paul Ryans actual voting record.
Economike, I didn't announce triumph. Perhaps if you re-read you'll notice that I was responding to Melvin's announcement of your triumph.
You previously said: "You singlehandedly (and tendentiously) reason that by "ideological libertarian" I must have meant "natural rights libertarian" and, having established that "you [economike] have since clarified your qualms with natural rights libertarians" you proceed as though I have conceded a point I have explicitly denied."
So, in response to my assertion that your criticism of ideological libertarians amounts to a criticism of natural rights libertarians, you note that you "explicitly denied" having criticism for natural rights. You also said "Not only have I not had any 'qualm with natural rights libertarians'..."
Then just above you state, "My frustration with those who claim "natural rights" as the basis of their constitutional rights is the implicit claim that "natural rights" precede constitutional rights."
Are you seriously going to argue that the meaning of natural rights is somehow controversial or confusing? It's odd, because in looking up definition after definition in philosophy texts and online, the definitions I'm finding are extremely consistent in explaining that natural rights are precisely those believed to pre-exist any government rights. By describing your frustration, you reveal your position as disagreeing with exactly what natural rights advocates posit.
I would be happy to cite numerous additional sources, but Wikipedia sounds non-controversial. You suggest that some natural rights advocates are confused about whether natural rights are distinct from constitutional, i.e. legal rights. Wikipedia, on the other hand is clear that the very definition of natural rights is in in distinction from legal rights. So once again we are in a position where you need to start editing Wikipedia (or in this case, deleting sections).
And the dictionary as well... one defines "natural rights" as "a political theory that individuals have basic rights given to them by nature or God that no individual or government can deny." Now you may not agree with natural rights doctrine... but to suggest that it is poorly defined and mixed up with consequentialsm is sophistry. We know you love Hayek... trust me, we know. But can you site anyone but Hayek attempting to construe natural rights in such a way that governments need to act before the rights exist? Why you cannot simply accept the well-established definition of natural rights and admit that you disagree with it is perplexing.
Your previous suggestion that founders would not have encountered natural rights doctrine prior to the French Revolution (which we now know, from your earlier post, went badly because of natural rights) is a joke. Yes, the term became more popular after it, but your claim that Jefferson would not have encountered the term before that is highly suspect. More importantly, the terms natural rights, natural law, inviolable rights, unalienable rights, and inalienable rights all refer to the same basic philosophy, which is precisely that rights pre-exist the law, precisely the concept you reveal your frustration with.
There seems to be an uncountably large number of sources documenting that the Federalists opposed the Bill of Rights because they believed it to be unnecessary. And it wasn't just viewed as unnecessary in view of the natural light; they were worried that including it implied the necessity of a legal document in order to claim rights that were truly inalienable... in other words the position you stated your disagreement with. Economike, it's all right to disagree with the founders... I disagree with the Federalists, for example, on a number of things. But to try to argue against the truth that the Founders were broadly inspired by Locke and his notion of inviolable rights is folly. (And of course, there were pragmatists among them).
Shall we talk about the wishy-washiness you allege in Madison? Do you disagree with this source -- "Therefore, when Madison rose to his feet in 1789 and proposed adding the Bill of Rights to the Constitution through a series of amendments, he was acting politically more than philosophically. He was trying to crush the opposition to the new Constitution by taking away the issue that had the most potential to galvanize his foes. He still believed that a list of explicit protections was unnecessary, in terms of the structure of the new government. But he recognized that a list was politically necessary in order to guarantee the stability of the young nation." -- or should we peel back the onion further?
Economike, I didn't announce triumph.
It was one your numerous attempts at "gotcha." Deny it if you want.
Are you seriously going to argue that the meaning of natural rights is somehow controversial or confusing?
I wrote that the meaning is ambiguous. Are you seriously going to argue that its meaning is fixed and inviolable?
But can you site anyone but Hayek attempting to construe natural rights in such a way that governments need to act before the rights exist?
Why should I? Hayek didn't argue that government needs to act before rights exist, nor would I. Once again, you are interpreting the views of others through the filter of your own misconceptions. By the way, that's "cite."
Your previous assertion that the founders did not agree with natural rights doctrine is a joke.
If I had made such an assertion, it would be a joke. But I didn't. Have I mentioned that your misconceptions get in your way?
Yes, the term natural rights became more popular after the French Revolution, but your suggestion that the doctrine was absent from English before that is objectively false.
I agree that such a suggestion would be objectively false. I didn't make that suggestion.
But to try to argue against the truth that the Founders were broadly inspired by Locke and his notion of inviolable rights is folly.
Yes, it would be folly. That's why I didn't make the attempt. Are you trying to make some sort of point here?
I'm not going to continue a discussion in which I spend more time helping you with your reading comprehension than making any kind of progress. Since you're qualified to fabricate my arguments for me, why don't you continue the debate on your own?
I wrote that the meaning is ambiguous...
You wrote it, but you can't demonstrate it? Why not cite any basic philosophy text, dictionary, or reference that introduces the sort of ambiguity that would make your argument work? It seems abundantly clear that natural rights means rights that pre-exist any Constitution. No I don't think it is an inviolable definition. If there were any substantive break from conventional usage of this term, the meaning might change or become ambiguous. But that isn't the case -- I don't think the meaning changes because Economike uses it ambiguously.
On natural rights, you stated "The founders - even Jefferson - were not ideologists and did not know the word, which came into use following the French Revolution." You have provided no evidence of this, but I provided evidence that the term was in wide English use prior to the French Revolution. Forgive if my recap of your false statement lacked precision.
Do you not understand that claiming the founders were "not ideologists" is equivalent to claiming they did not support natural rights doctrine, which is wholly ideological? No, you don't, because of the supposed ambiguity of the meaning of natural rights, which you provide no evidence for.
You state that "I'd say that the 'founders' they were at least as much influenced by the English legal tradition and by Humean skepticism as by a theory of "natural rights."
"At least as much influenced" eh? In other words probably more influenced, or at minimum 50/50, eh? Again, Google Ngrams provides one way, though imperfect, to avoid mere speculation on this -- http://bit.ly/PtLPOA -- as the Humean terms barely register in all of the collected writing during the founding, whereas talk of natural rights soars.
Natural rights doctrine as defined by Locke was the guiding light and the running theme underlying the founding. Explicit references to Lockean aka inviolable rights aka natural rights permeate our founding documents... but I don't find the same sort of overt Humean references. Yes, some founders agreed with Hume, but that does not change the argument I have put forth: that the definition of natural rights is pretty simple and clear, that it is basically same concept as inviolable rights or inalienable rights, and that our founding fathers largely found their common ground around that notion and talked about it both very directly and at length. Rather than spell out your views clearly, you keep arguing against my attempt to pin you down, pointing out clearly only what your claims are not, and acting as though the notion of natural rights is too ambiguous and nuanced for me to understand.
You can argue from one side of your mouth that the concept of natural rights isn't as well defined as I portray, and out of the other side that it wasn't as important as I portray, and you can nit pick about the way I point out that's what you're doing. But once again, you can't seem to back up your claims about natural rights.
Your response to my last post is correct in that I was insufficiently precise in characterizing a few of your views. I was a little hasty in writing it because of the number of your specific claims that my citations refuted. I'd be happy to make those characterizations of your views more precise so that we can refocus on the supporting evidence ... but it sounds like you and I are done here, and I can't seem to steer you towards any discussion of Ryan. I think the discussion of Ryan could include discussion of absolute versus other kinds of rights, but without that context it's just a further exploration of your personal vendetta against "ideological libetarians", now matter how loosely related to the topic under discussion it may be.
Let's see....counting sheep; reading hydraulics contests on AMG; watching 'reality shows' on TV.
All have SF's in the 8-10 range, making it tough to pick a winner.
Bob S#137 Sat, 08/18/2012: "It is amazing how all of this discussion about Ayn Rands philosophy surprisingly distracts us from Paul Ryans actual voting record."
If you mean the exchanges with Jeffersonian, Economike and Three Pipes, they aren't discussing Ayn Rand's philosophy. For that you would have to read Ayn Rand.
As for Ryan's candidacy, the essential question is his view of the nature and purpose of government, which remains less than clear. He didn't explain in any specifics what he meant by his enthusiastic advocacy of Ayn Rand as the moral foundation for capitalism and freedom, or how it supposedly fits with his Catholicism and its traditional hostility to individualism and political freedom, or how any of it fits with his voting record, which seems to have been disturbingly Washington-conventional.
The impression from Romney's choice of Ryan makes it sound like Romney is serious about controlling spending, but even that is a question of degree. Compared to Obama and the Democrats, yes, but what about doing enough to solve the problem rather than only slow down its acceleration into the pit?
What we do know is that Ryan isn't Biden and that the most urgent goal is to get rid of Obama and the progressives before they cause even more devastation than middle of the road Republicans typically do. We would then deal with the more "normal" problems and Republican "compromises" after a Romney election. Right now it's about "buying time" for survival and the possibility that maybe something better might still be done for the future.
Is this thread still about Paul Ryan?
"Ryan is a big government, Washington DC Republican who votes to fund foreign interventionism and the erosion of our civil liberties. Ryan began his political career as an acolyte of one of my heroes, Rep. Jack Kemp. Yet Ryan has wandered far from Kemp's" snip end
As for Ryan's candidacy, the essential question is his view of the nature and purpose of government, which remains less than clear.
After looking at his voting record, his view on the purpose of government is pretty clear to me. What he says to the public, and how he votes are two different things.
"Supply side statism"? -- Arguably not as bad as Obama's "tear everyone down to the lowest common denominator" statism. But his recent statements supporting Atlas Shrugged and the morality of capitalism before he voted against it and before, during and after he voted for the opposite indicate a very confused individual.
Economike on natural rights: "My frustration with those who claim 'natural rights' as the basis of their constitutional rights is the implicit claim that 'natural rights' precede constitutional rights."
Paul Ryan: Natural rights “come to us naturally before government, they are ours automatically."
VIDEO link -- http://thedc.com/MlOHMs
Paul Ryan and Ron Paul were among the 12 co-sponsors in 2000 of a bill to reduce the risk to taxpayers from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Unfortunately they did not prevail.
Housing Finance Regulatory Improvement Act of 2000
Like Ron Paul, Paul Ryan faces charges of hypocrisy from progressives and some conservatives because he voted against the Obama-Pelosi-Reid stimulus, then turned around and requested stimulus funds for his district.
Let's recall how Ron Paul routinely defends this practice of bringing funds back to the district:
“Congressman Paul votes against all appropriations bills but when appropriations are passed, it is the job of Congress and not the administration to decide how appropriated funds are to be spent," Mills said. "Fiscal conservatives should applaud the return of tax dollars to the American people..."
Peggy Venable, director of fiscal watchdog Americans For Prosperity in Austin, says ...
"Once the stimulus passed, voters were equally burdened with the cost of paying for it," she said. "It makes good sense, even if you didn't vote for it to roll up your sleeves and go to work making sure those dollars are spent wisely and where they ought to be spent. I have to respectfully disagree with the Tea Party on this one."
I totally reject pork, but as long as it's "what's for dinner," please pass the platter. And I'd like a doggy bag, please.
So much for perfect, principled candidates.
Maybe this will be enough for the lingering perfectionists to holster their guns and move on to facing reality, pleasant or not.