Johnny Mac

Role? Who defines that?, I need to get organized.

This conversation is closed.

Does "Liberty" mean the pursuit of one's self interest?

Explanation: Liberty in economic terms. By seeking one's own gain, they make gains for everybody. The economy is a mechanism for transforming private gain into public benefit. Each person is a cog in this machine.
Or are all social systems built on the proper understanding of the human person...This person I the source and end of all social and economic value. Which is it? or do you think it is something else?

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    Dec 21 2013: Liberty and equality go hand in hand—they’re two sides of the same coin. To the extent that a system diminishes equality at the expense of class or caste, liberty is also abridged.

    There are those who assert that Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” is still relevant, and who find it fashionable to apply Darwinian “natural law” in addressing economic outcomes. It’s as if the “fittest” in the rat race of a capitalist system actually earn what they deserve, as do the “least fit” among us. But how are we bound by these opinions? And what has “natural law” to do with the economic systems created by human beings?

    Property ownership and the amassing of great wealth were only made possible by the organization of civilizations resulting from agriculture and animal husbandry. These economies produced divisions of labor and class systems. This we all know, and yet, how is this step in human history more “natural” than the hunter gatherer stage that preceded it for many more thousands of years? In other words, why is it more “natural” to possess land, accumulate wealth, stockpile surplus and hoard resources than it is NOT to do these things? And if it was “natural law” that drove humankind to domesticate animals, cultivate the land, build cities, create royalty and religion—each with their divine rights—it is just as “natural” that, using our “naturally developed” reason, we improve, modify, rebuild or completely eliminate systems that do not correspond with our evolving values.

    Although you may not have meant it, stating that “the economy is a mechanism for transforming private gain into public benefit” can point to redistribution in a “much is given, much is demanded” frame of reference—an ethos embraced in many cultures. What system benefits the public to the greatest possible extent? The one in which the overwhelmingly vast amount of gain is held by a fortunate few, or the one in which all gain is a public good?
    • Dec 21 2013: Positivist Nullifidian

      'Equality' obfuscates the fact of singular individual differences... under an ideological concoction meant to disempower the righteous while empowering the unrighteous... Does a liar have the same right to voice their opinion as the righteous? The whole notion of ownership stems from a long history of de-conflicting practices intended to maintain civility resulting from evolving settlements. Controlling resources and their allocation has been part of human existence for quite some time... The hunter gatherer shifted their prey from wild animals to domesticated ones... and would regularly go on a hunt to nearby territories... of course 'the prey' organized to prevent such matters... and we could even say that some hunter gatherers choose to settle down and protect their livestock from being hunted by others (only they could hunt their lands). If we look at the natural evolution of systems we would see that ecosystems develop to fill every niche with synergistic collaborative participants... that keep within certain parameters the whole interactions... Unfortunately many humans have lost touch with their natural integration into the system...

      Why is it that the talk shifted to "What system benefits the public to the greatest possible extent"? Do notice the implicit allure to a conflict between the individual and the system rather than a shared mutually enriching mutually enabling synergetic collaboration between the individual and the system ... kind of like the plants breathing in what we breath out and we breathing in what the plants breath out... just think of groups and individuals rather than plants and people...

      I used to consider the hunter gatherer vs the cultivators until I added a third notion involving the traders and merchants...
      • Dec 22 2013: Right? What do you mean by right? Law, social consent?

        Both of these are human artifice. In general, everyone can do anything, however some of the actions are practical and some are not. (Explicitly dodging the question of good vs wrong with praxeology.)

        The actions not beneficial are usually easy to be shown to be so, some have deleterious effects much later, but those are more rare.

        Equality does not obfuscate anything. What is meant by this word is actually equal (or preferably best) opportunity for everyone, which is currently not present, as there are extraneous factors such as inherited wealth and social status throwing a wrench into it.

        Similarly liberty is not about "you can do anything" since that does not need a specific word. It's about having a possibility to do as many things as possible, preferably beneficial to everyone or as many as possible. Or at least beneficial to those who further act beneficially giving a positive feedback loop.

        Then there are the hard questions when an action is beneficial for some and detrimental for others...
        • Dec 22 2013: Radosław,

          Will explicitly dodge the question of good vs bad, right vs wrong beneficial vs detrimental with praxeology that focuses on 'what be sustainable-congruent-desirable with the ways of life'. So to answer your question directly: by 'right' I mean 'what be sustainable-congruent-desirable with the ways of life'. Please note that life in principle can be replicated in 'what be sustainable-congruent-desirable with the ways of life' (SCD).. Also note that life gives to each what they desire with life; so to those who seek life --- life give them abundant life AND to those who seek death --- life gives them abundant life (which becomes the actual death of death). So you see life gives each abundant life and gives each what they desire. I could get into presenting other examples like truth, peace, understanding, tolerance, love, 'the visionary' all 'passing the SCD' hurtle and even how some notions like lies and charlatans fail the SCD test. The point here is that there are actions that are beneficial for everyone even tough someone may object and somebody may agree.

          For a while I have sought 'to dodge the invitations to fight it out' by seeking a graceful dance that guides and transforms 'blows' into 'caresses' while 'compelling' each into the dance - be it by choice or by compulsion. I would rather we focus on actions that are beneficial especially given the fact that some stuff can be easily to be shown to be so and some stuff can be a bit more complicated if not practically impossible to demonstrate.

          If equality means actually equality between what be preferably best and the alternatives then 'Houston, we have a problem'. Personally I consider that only certain alternatives ought to have and be allowed to develop. In other words IF somebody wants to be nice THEN by all means tip the field in their favor ELSE (when someone doesn't want to be nice) tip the field against them accomplishing what they want. That is: be it by choice or by compulsion be nice!
      • Dec 22 2013: There's rarely a known best, but there are usually a few options that can be considered generally +SCD with various degrees. You can of course ask someone why they're not picking the better option if there is one, try to compel, but not coerce. However this can degenerate to populism, some of which we see now, where the most compelling are rewarded - but there is the threshold when this becomes -SCD and this means there is a check built in. (Unless the systm is changed)

        The tricky part is deciding on which alternative is better - often there's no clear answer and there we should fall back on equality (of opportunity).
        • Dec 22 2013: Radosław,

          In recent weeks I have pointed out how often when we respond to someone who states "my way or the highway" with 'let it be the highway' someone rarely consents to followthrough and take the highway ! We are coming to a point where we need to figure out better ways to collaborate and coexists that move past older archaic forms of confrontation between the individuals and the collectives. 'Democracy' isn't supported on top of what the majority chooses because a single right individual may dictate the right course of action that will guide everyones actions. In the past this tended to be associated with the role the individual played though in the present this is shifting to be associated with the validity associated to the claim rather than who makes it.

          Indeed the tricky part is deciding on which alternative is better especially when often there's no clear answer and there we should always fall back on what actually be better (rather than give equality (of opportunity) to all possibilities). IN other words lets not confuse what isn't better with what is better just because we can't distinguish one from the other. Lets figure out a way to always pursue the better alternative...
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        Dec 23 2013: Equality is not synonymous with homogeneity. Are there two of anything that are alike? Not even two snowflakes or leaves or grains of sand—infinite diversity is the law. Equality must be measured primarily in terms of access, not outcomes.

        Hunter gatherers are not a panacea for an ideal society, but are useful in illustrating the point that it was just as “natural” for human beings to NOT possess private property and amass wealth as it was to engage in these practices. The mutually beneficial practices of trade and mercantilism arose as a result of agrarianism and animal domestication—surpluses carried on the back of beasts of burden were exchanged between communities, sometimes separated by great distances.

        As to “shifting the talk,” I am merely addressing Johnny Mac’s question: “[A]re all social systems built on the proper understanding of the human person[?]” The simple answer here is “no.”
        • Dec 23 2013: Positivist Nullifidian,

          Under the premise you put forth for equality being measured primarily in terms of access, not outcomes... I would then posit that there ought to be infinite disproportionate equality; the righteous ought have full access while the unrighteous ought to have no actual possibility of access (till they change and become righteous).

          As you sort of said Hunter gatherers, or even set agrarian cultivators, and merchants... forms of being hardly serve as a panacea for an ideal society. Within each there can be graceful humans and not so graceful humans. Each could be useful in illustrating this or that point ... as just the “natural” form of human beings to be.

          I agree with you that its unnatural to possess stuff through as I write this I have to say that as the entrusted tenant one may inherit certain rights, privileges and responsibilities; (which one may lose or keep) for 'being the entrusted caretaker of stuff' living within a certain domain. Note that 'The mutually beneficial practices of trade and mercantilism arose as a result of... ' interactions between different individuals! I used to hold the dual worldview of hunter gather evolving into cultivators which then evolved into more specialized service providers, industrialization, knowledge; until I realized that 'Merchants' coexisted with the hunter gather and cultivators forming an interesting triad. As you sort of said "The mutually beneficial practices of trade and mercantilism arose as a result of... (snipped)... surpluses carried on the back of beasts of burden were exchanged between communities, sometimes separated by great distances".

          Personally I do see that to hold private property and amass wealth as legitimate practices... unfortunately nowadays the notion of private individuals having private property is quite an urban myth. Tenants have to pay the king for all sort of dubious concoctions, including a fee for protection, protection from the king itself and other raiders!
    • Dec 22 2013: I would say that liberty and equality are two orthogonal but desirable traits. Complete equality requires the destruction of liberty, since some all-powerful authoritarian entity would have to shoot, imprison, punish, or otherwise threaten those who might dare stand out from the utterly equal mass. Complete liberty, on the other hand, results in stratification, since different choices lead to different outcomes. We will never have perfect liberty AND perfect equality, nor, perhaps, should we want this, since either looks likely to end up in severe injustice. However, the idea of a dynamic homoeostasis is too terrifying for mediocre minds, so they make up and believe lies that we can have everything at once, with no need for tradeoff.
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        Dec 23 2013: We will never have perfect anything, and the solutions to life's challenges seem most often to consist of tradeoffs. But at least entertain the concept, if only for a moment, that the goal should be for each to begin this race from the same start line--no head starts, and no special advantages for anyone. A meritocracy would seem appropriate for any society, but where equal rights and opportunity are not provided, the achievements and successes of the meritorious are cheapened. I denounce any system that produces advantages, or worse, obstacles to any aspirant, based solely on the gap in access to resources to improve one's chance for success, resulting entirely from an accident of birth.
        • Dec 24 2013: How do we implement such a paradise? Obviously, the state would have to exterminate a fundamental liberty by taking full control of reproduction. Second, it would have to kill off all infants who are too far away from the "norm"--no genetic handicaps or advantages allowed, or it would have to implement "Harrison Bergeron"-style handicaps for anyone whose abilities were above the lowest of the low.

          In short, you denounce any system that does not start off by exterminating humanity and replacing it with mass-produced machines. After all, genetic heritage is an unevenly-distributed resource. If you make a special exception for genetic heritage, then you must keep piling on additional special exceptions or be nothing better than a hypocrite who must be ignored.

          Inequality is built into life. No two independent organisms are identical, not even "identical" twins--indeed, they develop differences while still in utero.
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        Dec 24 2013: Replying to your most recent post here.

        I concur that infinite diversity is the law—there are no two anything alike. Equality of opportunity does not imply equality of outcomes, or, for that matter, raw talent. And whether it be sports, music or intellectual pursuits, our talents—which I view as largely genetic, but requiring effort as well—must be allowed to develop and rise to the top. And yes, I strongly support competition and decry efforts to diminish the value of peak performers, such as in the classroom, for the mere purpose of making everyone else feel good.

        The concept of an equal starting line does not come from a position of “bringing down” the truly talented, but rather “bringing up” the untapped potential in the most marginalized and underserved communities. There's no need for exterminations or hypocrisy when engineering systems that are truly merit based, not privilege based. Having served in the armed forces, I have witnessed the benefits of a meritocracy, first hand—hardly a paradise, I’ll grant you that!
        • Dec 24 2013: Want to highlight the notion of "systems that are truly merit based, not privilege based" coupled with a bit of opportune grants intended to bring about the cultivation of the best in each.
        • Dec 25 2013: "Raw talent" is part of "opportunity". There is not and cannot be "equality of opportunity". Likewise, upbringing is part of "opportunity". The only way to impose equality of upbringing is to exterminate all family diversity--bring children up in perfectly uniform environments, with no variation permitted at all. One must rip children away from the "advantaged" parents and make sure their upbringings are appropriately mediocre.
          What government should do is refuse to impose institutional barriers to accomplishment. Likewise, a willingness to invest in individuals who show promise is a good idea.
        • Dec 25 2013: Bryan,

          Take that a step further and have government and institutions promote individual accomplishments through fostering such actions... as it is presently them two tend to create drags that take away rather than help to create.
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    Dec 20 2013: Absolutely. And if a person has no interest in economic gains, they are free to do that too. Our constitution is based upon our rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"... I like to word it as " life and the liberty to pursue happiness"... with the implication that your pursuit does not interfere with someone else's pursuit.
    So you want to pursue wealth... no problem... you just can't rob banks.
    Now come social systems... A group of people who by all accounts are out for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.... but somehow it goes wrong... the group starts making rules that are seemingly supposed to help individuals, and then making rules to clarify rules and then there are the rules to anticipate interference of one's pursuit of happiness with another's pursuits and finally rules that only the society can determine who can be happy and who can have life or liberty.
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      Dec 21 2013: Monsanto has the liberty to genetically modify vegetables and fruits that grow with no seeds, for example. They argue that they hold the patent to that vegetable or fruit. So one day Monsanto can hold the patent of an exclusive technology of producing babies and parents, the generations produced by Monsanto that cannot produce 'seeds' will line up for a copy of a Monsanto child.

      Liberty means pursuing strictly 'self-interests', the moment it crosses over to other selves it can lead to one and only one destination - hegemony.

      But then you cannot profit and be philanthropic co-concurrently.
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        Dec 21 2013: Usually, you have to profit before you can be philanthropic, at least that has been my understanding :-)
        Seriously, In the past, hegemony probably could exist and has been describe by some in BCE Greece... Athens. The Roman Empire..... Even the rule of British Empire over your country... Some have even said that the USA holds that position over the world today.... I think that is a stretch.... but...
        This is about liberty... I see liberty is the ability of an individual to freely explore his goals
        without limits. I know it's a little stilted.
        I am a strict individualist. The individual is superior to his society and the society should be subservient to the goals of the individual. However, the individual should be cognizant of other individuals in his society that are seeking their goals.
        • Dec 22 2013: You do not have to profit to be philantropic. You only need your basic needs met. Ask any voluntary worker.

          Extras are nice but not required - the problem arises from envy, when others profit and you do not.
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        Dec 22 2013: This is an excellent point. But there's also a lot of authoritarian control that helps further Monsanto's business. The core of Monsanto's business strategies is the body of law that they work to influence. There's a Venn Diagram here that shows Monsanto employees, their position at Monstanto and their position in the US government. - http://occupy-monsanto.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/individual_monsanto_federal_position-large.jpg

        That's not excersizing liberty, that's excersizing authority. Patenting anything, an organism or a mechanical process, is excersizing authority against the liberty of others. Exerting influence over law is exerting authority over authority. That's double authority, certainly not liberty.
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          Dec 25 2013: Fred, the patent system goes back to old english law as I understand.
          An as much as I bite down when I pay a large price of a item I buy that is still under patent, I look at the rational and I have to agree.
          If I was to invent the better mouse trap tomorrow, most likely I have spent time and money working out my invention... patents allow me to recoup some/all my expenses bring my product to market, so I have two issues, I get a number of years to get my investment back, but I have to temper this with market pricing. It's difficult or everyone would be doing it.
          I have heard that Monsanto has great influence in our government. I don't know how true that is, or why it has happened if it does... I do believe that lobbying is a form or bribery that I would like to see made illegal just in case....
        • Dec 25 2013: I think we could find better ways to help recoup the investments individuals make...
      • Dec 24 2013: If liberty MEANS "pursuing strictly self-interests", then altruism and selflessness are enemies of liberty.
    • Dec 24 2013: If liberty IS self-interest, then anyone who wishes to pursue something other than self-interest is an enemy of liberty. It's that simple. If liberty PERMITS self-interest, then there is nothing inimical between liberty and selflessness.
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        Dec 25 2013: No, it doesn't. What you have stated doesn't make any sense.
        Liberty means freedom in the classic sense. If your self interest means you want to emulate Mother Teresa or Mandela or Ghandi, I would describe that as most altruistic. And then you can be as selfish as you like, you just can not prevent anyone else from pursuing their interest.
        • Dec 26 2013: You have a hard time with if-then statements, I see. If liberty is self-interest and nothing else, then altruism is the opposite of liberty. It's really that simple. Redefining "altruism" and "self-interest" in such perverted and evil ways as you choose does not change their actual meanings.
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        Dec 26 2013: Bryan... give me a break, I am not redefining anything.... Check your dictionary.
        I never said liberty was... self interest, you said that.
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      Dec 25 2013: The patent system often brings to mind famous inventors and scientists like Bell and Edison. And looking at the marketplace and technology of the 19th century, pro-patent arguments make some sense. In the age of discovery, patents were the promise of high reward to scientists and the investors funding them. Certainly patents are what got investors interested to begin with. The patent system fostered innovation and established a marketplace for ideas and discoveries.

      But we don't have to fast forward too many decades to see what became of the Bell company. Patent advocates like to cling to that vision of bright young lads with a sparkle in their eye being given the opportunity to make a living off of discovery and innovation. While the opposition points to modern patent trolls and the business culture of acquisitions.

      Today patents are usually acquired through merges and lawsuits. Software patents tremendously stifle progress and innovation, allowing owners to covet techniques for decades in a fast new world that innovates daily. Copyright law lives an uneasy coexistence with freedom of speech. Patents simply enable large corporations to control the flow and use of ideas, and gives them incentive to continuously merge and sue each other.

      Whether beneficial or not, being able to own an idea, the replication and implementation of it, stands counter to liberty. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes reverse engineering (discovery) illegal and enables censorship. If DRM was ever successful, then the cultural creations of the world would only be viewable on licensed devices, and licensed programs that only run on licensed operating systems. If this was the only alternative to no innovation at all, I'd bite the bullet and make do with it, but the advent of open source has offered us an innovation system that's much more in line with liberty.

      Edit: I replied to the wrong reply initially. Re-replied here to make the conversation easier to follow.
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        Dec 26 2013: Fred, I kind of see what you are saying, but, I am not sure how to do it better. If we don't guarantee the ability to get back your investment in your inventions, acknowledging that times are a changing and things move faster.... How do you invent something more then once...

        Of course, copy-write law is different then patent law....
        Open source code writing is another whole other issue and I have no problem with that
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          Dec 26 2013: Very true, patents, copyrights and trademarks are all different conceptually and legally. And certainly there's some undoubted necessity to trademarks and copyright. Trademarks are how organizations identify themselves, and doing business under someone else's trademark amounts to impersonation in today's world. I sure wouldn't want to write an article and have someone else claim it as their own either.

          Even though I concede there and acknowledge those as legitimate, imagine for a moment that they weren't the case. That there were no trademarks or copyright... would it be chaos, or would we simply have grown up in a world that developed differently, and with different expectations? What if organizations couldn't identify themselves with trademarks, and it didn't matter who wrote what? Would there still be organizations and writing? If so, how might they be different?

          Open source is quite remarkable to me, but one thing's for sure: no one makes a living writing open source code. Balancing open source projects with billable work isn't easy. Your statement "I'm not sure how to do it better" sure hits the nail on the head, because I believe that's one grand predicament of our time. If anyone's to argue that patents do more bad than good, what's the alternative?

          The idea of placing innovations in the public domain erodes some of the most fundamental pillars of the way we do business. But are we in the position of making this great change, or is the world changing, and we're in the position of holding it back? If a book can be copied for every person in the world at no cost, what business model is there, other than preventing the book from being copied? If books no longer need to be printed, and records no longer need to be made, then is that production still a viable business model?

          I have some examples of innovations that I see solving some of these issues, but I'm running out of characters. I believe business could adapt and evolve quite remarkably...
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          Dec 26 2013: Mike, see my reply to Esteban below for one such innovation.
        • Dec 26 2013: Fred,

          You address and make some interesting questions that fall within the domain of what I term "abundance economics" rather than "restrictive economics". Scarce resources economics differs greatly from abundance resource economics. The predicament we seem to face involves moving from one to the other in light of the underlying fundamentals vanishing and our ignorances of what to do next.

          Presently a book(and software and wetware) can be copied for every person in the world at almost no cost. Notice that rather than adapt and create a new innovative ways of doing abundant enriching businesses most have basically resorted to create artificial restrictions and operate on the antiquated ways. Whats even more perturbing is that sneakiness continues to be favored over coverless openness... I can conceive of many business model there, other than preventing the book from being copied... Ideally we ought find better ways to do business that benefit and enrich everyone. As you sort of mention : Presently we are in the position of making this great change, as the world, us and everything changes. We're in the position of holding it back or pushing it forward. Hopefully we will choose to move on to betters ways of interacting and enriching each others in multiple of ways. Just imagine the abundant possibilities...

          The way we do business presently differ in some respects to the ways we did business in the past and still retains some ways we did business in the past. Evidently there are still some past ties that need to be changed and adapted to present circumstances. Question is will we choose to venture into this new territory with an open explorative cultivator mindset or venture into it with the exploitative mindset. Clearly hunting everything down will lead to a dead-end while cultivating stuff will lead to a sustainable enduring synergistic existence. To me the way to go is clear and it's just a matter of doing what ought to be done... each doing their part!
      • Dec 26 2013: Fred,

        As you sort of stated: Patents enable to control the flow and use of ideas... it sort of stems from the misappropriation that individuals resort to. If I provide a valuable idea that benefit others from it without them restituting back to me part of the value there exists a less than desirable interaction. Ideally we should have interactions where we mutually enrich each other in multiple ways and end up with more for each and everyone... Though it seems we are still a ways off from figuring out a way to do this... thought there have been some recent croud-funding movements that sort of move in the proper direction... there are other movements to give to the inventor/author/artist directly for what they produce... and technology is enabling simpler forms to 'restitute' value.... Still there is much work to still be done...
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          Dec 26 2013: There's one new business-community relationship that I really like - diydrones.com and store.3drobotics.com.

          Both were started by Chris Anderson, former editor-in-chief of Wired. There's an article and video interview that go in detail about it here - http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/02/longtime-wired-editor-in-chief-chris-anderson-departing-to-be-full-time-ceo-at-robotics-startup/

          diydrones.com is an online community for open-source UAV designs. Members (anyone with the time, interest and/or skills) design all aspects of each drone - blueprints, CAD files, autopilot software, etc. - and it's all in the public domain. 3D-Robotics is then a manufacturing company that builds the parts, and sells them for 2.6x the cost of the supplies.

          So here, Anderson has succeeded in creating a business model around open-source. His company (3D-Robotics) doesn't own or patent any of the designs - it's all made by the community. His business model is simple and time-tested - manufacturing. He calls his "2.6x the cost" promise an "open business model".

          This is really a mutually-beneficial relationship. 3D-Robotics doesn't need to do R&D in-house, and they don't need to worry about patents, infringements, etc. It's simply not their business. The community is free to design and innovate, and purchase their creations for 2.6x the cost of the supplies. This brings the cost down to incredibly cheap. UAVs would otherwise be tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and now virtually every product on the site is under $1000. Autopilot hardware is under $200.

          3D-Robotics has a really healthy relationship with the US's DARPA, which is a regular customer. It's just a fact that crowd-sourced R&D is far more efficient than designing something in-house, in an institution. Patents don't really serve the greater good, but instead attempt to serve creators, by making discovery and creation a viable business. But in this example, all sides have found compensation otherwise.
      • Dec 26 2013: Fred,

        From considering what you posted and to restitute back to the member contributions the business model ought incorporate something similar to 'pay royalties' (maybe we should call it 'valueties' to decouple it from the notion of a royal right granted by a sovereign to an individual or corporation involving a payment for each instance. Here we turn it the other way around, the individual or corporation chooses to share from the benefits they got from the artifact/schemata). Imagine that the 3.0X manufacturing notion involves 1x for manufacturing 1x for the designers 1x for the producer (of course the particular numbers used could be different and somewhat based on the resultant values generated. In a way, presently that is what sort of happens though each part seeks to maximize their part by reducing the others to zero rather than recognizing that each part ought to get a share of the value.

        I read of an artists/singer who makes their living thanks to appreciative fans voluntary contributions. The artists sought a record company help to publish their music and basically got a contract which tanked/failed; then the artists sought to self-publish their music and basically succeeded. I would much rather operate under individual chivalry code of conduct which seeks to protect others who can not protect themselves. That is operate under civil noble ways that enrich everyone without the need to resort to 'arbitrators'. In other words we can play a game and be both player and arbitrators. Or say the just judge, judging themselves according to the facts. I know that this may presently seem like a nice fantasy, though its presently quite doable IF individuals so choose it!

        Edited to point to look for my response above...
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          Dec 26 2013: Giving pay royalties to community participants would be great too, and innovative. If 3D-Robotics gave a portion of the profit to the open-source designers who contributed, it might enable them to devote more time to designing. It would make contributing profitable, and in return for 3D-Robotics, development would happen at a faster pace.

          As for musicians, independent artists are a growing trend. I've seen quite a few bands that are quite remarkable, book their own gigs, make decent money with them and offer their music for free on their website. The music files are just a great way of marketing, getting their name out and booking more gigs (services that were formerly provided by record companies).

          Of course the record companies aren't willing to die, but one would think they would explore other business models. The ability of digital content to be copied and spread for free really changes the game. But today we see them struggling to keep the game the same. I'd rather see them leave content licenses behind, and innovate new business models. What if they put their resources into engineering services around music - more innovative performances, festivals, etc.? Rather than struggle to keep us mired in 20th century culture, why not bring us into the next century?

          I see IMAX and dome theaters as being a good example, along with TV series like Lost, Prison Break, Dexter, etc. 2 hour movies evolved before VHS, when movie theaters were a new and innovative form of culture. Today theaters are empty though, and we still see companies struggling to keep 20th century style movies alive. Why not invest more resources into experiences that aren't easily reproduced, i.e. IMAX and dome theaters, or some new submersive experience? Instead of crunching a story into a 2 hour movie (a time limit for archaic reasons), why not move towards TV series, which are more in-line with the depth offered by novels?

          Copyright-based business models seem focused on restricting progress.
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    Dec 20 2013: The economy is just another mechanism to stratify (not satisfy!!!) society. At the top of the socio-economic hierarchy there is more freedom: access to better things and circumstances. In that respect the economy is certainly not converting private gain into public benefit. In modern economies it is usually the other way round. Those at the top of the hierarchy use or abuse their access to make personal gains. The old adage: the benefits are private whereas losses are socialised.
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    Jan 8 2014: Salem summed up my perspective on liberty and self-interest.

    From an economic standpoint, certainly one is self-interested when it comes down to socioeconomic mobility, and in theory, one's private gains do transform into a public benefit. However, I think that some private gains are better than others at benefiting the public as a whole. What I mean by this is that private gains from services and products provided to the public, or private gains that are reinvested to expand business and increase employment are much more beneficial in the long run.

    As for if all social systems are built upon the proper understanding of the individual, I honestly don't think that social systems are structured to accommodate for every individual. However, the beauty of social systems is that we can either collectively adopt a new social system (i.e. collectively demand change), or individually find a social system that suits our needs (i.e. relocate to another state or country).
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    Dec 23 2013: I'd say, liberty is the ability to choose whose benefit to seek and how to do it. Why limit the choice to self-interest?
    • Dec 24 2013: If you do not limit the choice to self-interest, the cult of Ayn Rand is not able to dictate what is and is not "liberty". If you permit selflessness to count as a valid exercise of liberty, the cult of Ayn Rand loses all its credibility.
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        Dec 24 2013: Dictating what is "liberty" sounds funny, doesn't it? It's like killing all unhappy people to make society happier.

        I'm OK with ethical egoism. But I suggest that ethical egoists mind their own business and refrain from imposing their philosophy on the rest of society. If proponents of ethical egoism try to improve society by spreading their philosophy, they lose credibility anyway because they stop being egiosts.

        Altruism has its problems too. Altruists argue that altruism benefits everyone including themselves. Which means that altruism is a form of egoism. There is no way out of this vicious circle.
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          Dec 24 2013: answering to this below: "She seems to be a libertarian. How come you disagree with fellow libertarians?"

          1. libertarians come in many flavors
          2. not everyone is a libertarian that calls him/herself one

          my flavor is vanilla: i follow the main route from the founders, through rothbard to the latest followers, block, murphy, hoppe and a whole lot of people at the mises institute. randian romanticism is not for me.
        • Dec 24 2013: There is a way out of the vicious circle which involves transforming it into a virtuous one.
        • Dec 25 2013: But the totalitarian mindset of the Rand cultists requires they dictate what "liberty" is. I've yet to meet a Randie who can actually follow a philosophical discussion without retreating into "just so" dogmatism. Back when I was 15, Randism was appealing. I am no longer a 15-year-old.
        • Dec 25 2013: Not all altruists are totalitarian altruists. Were you not aware of this?
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        Dec 24 2013: Altruism and egoism are two sides of a Moebius strip.
        • Dec 25 2013: No, your straw man parody of altruism is part of that strip. Complete altruism is charitable not only with physical resources but also with emotion and personal history. Thus, part of complete altruism is to give others the benefit of the doubt and not presume there is never a good reason to appear to be less than 100% charitable. After all, to judge others for not being charitable is, in and of itself, uncharitable.
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        Dec 24 2013: the cult of ayn rand does not have a credibility to lose
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          Dec 24 2013: She seems to be a libertarian. How come you disagree with fellow libertarians? :-)
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          Dec 26 2013: Actually Randians would take exception to that point. I don't have a problem with Rand but imo it does not have the depth of the Austrians. Rand wrote a few books, Austrians of Equal intellect have written/are writing 100s of books all using the scientific method.
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        Dec 24 2013: @ Esteban re: " There is a way out of the vicious circle which involves transforming it into a virtuous one."

        Virtuous cycle can be a form of vicious cycle. :-)
        • Dec 24 2013: Sure we may be stuck in a cycle and depending on what we choose to do may determine if it becomes a virtuous one or something else... my point was that we may be able to transform for the better the cycle we be stuck into if we do what ought to be done :-)...
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          Dec 24 2013: What is vicious and what is virtuous, is often a matter of perception.
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    Dec 20 2013: It does mean the ability to pursue your own self interest.

    However, the theory that people will indirectly serve the greater good while pursuing their own self interest is a logical fallacy. There is no direct link to the greater good without some sort of regulation to guide decision making in a general direction, going against the very essence of liberty.

    Social systems are generally built upon misconceptions and archaic tradition. Economics is a complete crap shoot. The theories involved sound good when taken out of context. When applied against the backdrop of other sociological factors, they fail to achieve the proposed results.
  • Jan 15 2014: What are we liberated from? If responsibility, then I think you have posed an eye opening question.

    Rich get richer and poor get poorer isn't working well looking forward, I would say. With the information age and global economy I think we will face real crisis unless we figure out how to make self interest correlate with universal interest.

    I think that the greatest people are the ones least concerned with themselves.
    • Jan 15 2014: Mark,

      Did you notice, how each cultivates and gets a bit more of what they have? This get more of this and that get more of that... the real crisis will come from those who are poor and want to be rich , without changing the poor ways of being; especially if they try to change what be 'right' into what be 'wrong', and maintain, what be 'wrong' as if it be right.

      I think that the greatest people are the ones most concerned with everyones wellbeing who do what they ought to do for everyones wellbeing.
      • Jan 15 2014: Interestingly enough...I've pondered your last statement for years. As a freshman at Brigham Young University, a required class is American Heritage. They go over principles of capitalism and the one thing I remember from that class is that 'self-interest is the driving force behind capitalism.' Basically, if everyone maximized their self-interests, prosperity would flourish. (I'm definitely paraphrasing for fellow BYU alumni who may be reading.) This idea of how self interest works makes sense to an extent however... I don't think it's the only or best option. Random example... If I sold cars at a cheaper price than my competitors, I imagine I would sell more cars, profits would lessen but overall potentially boost economic prosperity; the man who once couldn't get to work (make money) because he didn't have a car, is now able to go to work, make money and spend it on food, toys for his kids, homes, vacations etc... i.e. economic growth? While it could be defined as self-interest to sell cars cheaper than my competitors, my overall personal profit would be less or comparable (since I expect to be selling more cars than my competitors) which in the end... the only difference I see is that I helped more people get into vehicles which then allowed them to get to work or even that second job. (The only way for this example to be viable is if it's understood that my point was not to maximize profits but just to sell cars cheaper to those who might need a vehicle and couldn't afford it...yeah, I know...no one sells cars for that reason.)

        One thing is for sure... Freebies (I honestly think this only applies to the United States) i.e. social programs... Do not advance economic growth/prosperity because those who do nothing and get something directly take from those who work their butts off and have to support those who did/do nothing. European countries have lived that way for years and the cultural understanding is drastically different than that of the United States.
        • Jan 15 2014: Kendall,

          I claim to understand the notion " Basically, if everyone maximized their self-interests, prosperity would flourish". It's a bit like if everyone behaved as they ought to behave, everything would be better (and we wouldn't need laws and rules, nor police, nor judges nor ...). Presently we seem to need such things to help guide individuals to behave as they ought to behave.

          Without getting bugged-down into the example... by selling at a cheaper price than competitors, one may open the door to have more competitors without boosting economic prosperity! Someone may step in buy from you, sell at competitors prices and keep the difference. Besides putting more product on the market may create all sort of issue (some good some bad and some that just changes what happens without necessarily changing it). For example a while ago I read or heard something about how humans have basically remained within a fix 'distance' of their livelihood; even though 'distances' have extended they have remained fixed within a travel time frame!

          Your last paragraph seems to use nice terminology that deals with how 'raiders', 'looters' and 'beggars' do not advance economic growth/prosperity because redistributing the wealth isn't creating wealth - it's just redistributing it! It may even disincentive the wealth production!

          The key to create wealth involves actually helping the less-fortunate become more-fortunate by each doing what ought to be done. The thing is that someone can work their butts off and have no support (may even induce active opposition) because of what individuals think and value. Sometimes it can be 'complicated' to establish who gets what. What is worth more the idea or the implementation? Without one the other can't exist! Those who 'do nothing other than get' something directly take from those who work their butts off could be seen in many ways. Enablers, agents arbitrators who act as catalyzers to appreciate the work, or who act as gatekeepers.
      • Jan 15 2014: I think this conversation is wavering on some foundational points that have not been established. My statement that I think that the greatest people are the ones least concerned with themselves does not include those who are not concerned with anything. That can be considered to be as positive as scuicide and for anyone to support this socioeconomic suicide is a testament to the fact that they have no idea what else to do. I think we all agree on that...

        I would also like to establish that economics is not a system of money or wealth, but one of value. Supply and demand is a principle that proves this fact. Things have value because we assign it value that we, and others, decide the value should be. Fluxuating values of currency, gold, oil, etc... This is why I believe that stockpiling gold is rediculous unless there is a use for gold that nothing else can do. Stockpiling anything, for that matter.

        Tools have value, like the cars used to get to work, etc... Because these tools multiply our ability to do a task. Housing has value, but why do we place all the projects in one place? Are there that many jobs in that area available? No! People are trying to get the poor out of sight! That is not a good recipe. That is where my point of not being concerned for ones self would take effect. We would consider that America should spread the OPPORTUNITY. That is where my point of having the Information Age and a global economy take effect. The rich have every opportunity to dominate their domesticated area, and even also the entire world, because they now have the tools to do that. This was not the case 50 years ago! The poor, however, are struggling to make rent with 2 minimum wage jobs that keep them from even having time with the families they are trying to support. It is the lack of opportunity that hurts someone who is willing but has no means. It is a trap many people are unaware of, but nobody is educating them about life in the school system either. We should.
        • Jan 15 2014: Mark,

          Indeed, we are making the conversation waver over some foundational points without having clearly establish the foundational points. I realize and am aware that at times I will 'push' a statement a bit out of the intended context seeking to share a consideration and hopefully enrich the conversation. I hope you perceive my good intentions and welcome my comments.

          In relation to the statement of the greatest people and the alternate statement, I basically took what you stated and reframed it in such a way as to include concern for others and self (everyone)... THEN I thought that I should also include something more than just being concerned which is why I added the last part of doing something. If we are literalist, formalist, the statement you made actually included everyone except the individual self. In principle I realize we all agree on what be right being right and what be wrong being wrong exempt the individuals who are wrong and choose to disagree because they see wrong as right and right as wrong and choose to disagree. (which is their way of agreeing because in their ways disagreement is agreement and agreement is disagreement). Point being that agreement is agreeable to those who seek agreement and agreement is disagreeable to those who seek disagreement. Agreement gives everyone what they seek!

          I will have to ponder regarding the notion that ' Things have value because we assign it value that we, and others, decide the value should be". I see it to related to the notion that reality be real because we say so and I hold that the veracity of a statement (the value) stems from the relationship of what is claimed and what happens to be. I will wonder a bit more on that and comment latter.

          I think that many of the poor are struggling because those with assets maintain an exploitative situation based on scarcity rather than shift and develop an economic model based on the abundance of resources. Of course there are other factors too...
      • Jan 15 2014: Poor ways of being are not all self imposed.

        I should say too though that the Information Age is helping level the playing field.

        Welcome to TED :)
        • Jan 15 2014: I agree, would like to have your (and others) input into what each one can do to 'impose' rich ways of being into those imposing poor ways of being. Let me give you a particular example that may help to focus this:

          In an interaction I am having with someone I want to show them a particular rich sight that conflicts with their present poor world view. To do that both require to walk over to a particular viewpoint take a look from a ledge in a particular way to realize something... alternative each requires to do an experiment following a particular set of instructions to observe a particular result. The thing is that they hold the view that it's impossible to do the experiment and/or take a look from the ledge in a particular way. Note that this is part of their present poor world view that conflicts with the particular rich sight I would like the to see and given the rules of individual liberties there isn't a thing I can do to force them to see or do the experiment. To complicate matters a bit more they don't see how they hold the poor view and insist that the rich view isn't possible. They do claim they want to change without actually doing it!

          So what say ye? what each one can do to 'impose' rich ways of being into those imposing poor ways of being without forcing them nor allowing them to force their way out?
      • Jan 15 2014: By rich ways do you mean an optimistic attitude? I'm not sure I'm following you correctly. I understand the ledge analogy, but what are we looking at from that ledge? Do they value what you are leading them to? What is the experiment, and do they have the resources to do it well? Like the guy with a family who is working so much that he is starved for time with his family he may be feeling like that that is all he wants and until that need is met then he may not see anything else clearly. Like a person who is starving hungry, sometimes that need has to be met before talking about innovation or finding solutions to other problems. Thats just kind of the way that people function, I think. It is a self preservation instinct, but as a father, for example, that instinct is not just for ones own self but for the whole family. Entrepreneurship is always coupled with some form of risk. That may not be something for a father in that position just because he doesnt want to put his family through it if it means pain for them. so and even without a family the principle is the same. I'll stop since I may be out in left field talking to myself haha.
        • Jan 16 2014: Mark,

          By rich ways I meant more plentiful abundant understanding, though in the particular example and experiment I simply meant them seeing the particular sight with a particular way. I wanted them to see and consider an idea I had seen from the ledge to then tell me what they thought of such notion. Without them getting to the ledge, getting the idea it's rather difficult for them to comment on the actual idea. The experiment involved doing an ideological consideration regarding what meaning to use.

          It's amazing how some individuals will begin to object to a notion/expression without even getting the notion/expression. They think they get it, without ensuring that they actually get it, sometimes they never even realize that their objections are to what they perceive rather than to the actual thing. Succinctly put first lets understanding a statement, then comment on it. You said it well with "clearly establish the foundational points".

          I hold everyone has the resources to do the experiment, it's just that they don't want to because they already know the results and refuse to accept the implications. For example if the experiment involves the claim "lets consider that truth of the matter exists" some will object on the grounds that such consideration will rob them their freedom to agree or disagree and insist that the truth doesn't really exists that it depends on what individuals claim to be... Of course sometimes a consideration may tumble a life's work and even have deeper implications. What do you mean that the earth isn't the center of the universe and everything doesn't revolves around us? What do you mean that the truth of the matter isn't as the expert authorities on the matter claimed? Remember that in academia/beliefs an error in ones statements can tumble the house of cards. In principle whomever makes the right claim takes the authoritative powerful position in practice determining who is right can be complex and oftentimes is done by position.
      • Jan 16 2014: I do believe there is underlying truth in everything and I also believe that getting to an agreement with others is always worth the effort. The truth will set you free! :)
        • Jan 16 2014: Mark,

          Choosing to be bound by truth enables one to understand the possibilities of what one ought to do. In actuality one remains bound to truth, it is just that the truth enables one to actually understand what be and realize what to do about it. I did a cartoon involving the most secure prison which involved the idea that prisoners remained bound because they thought they where free and if they crossed over to the other side they will become bound. It was a bit humorous because each side said the exact same word to the others "Freedom is on this side, you'r side be in prison. The gateway or doorway had a two signs, one read "Prison's door" and it was on the side of the prison, the other read "Freedom's door" and it was on the side of Freedom... 'Prisoners' would not dare go into the prison's door which lead to freedom because they thought the door was to the prison for so read the sign. Those prisoners who had gone through the door and reached the other side read the sight there ("Freedom's door" ) and quickly returned into the doorway thinking it lead to freedom ... The wise and 'free' knew how to interpret the signs correctly!

          One can be bound to truth which enables one to do quite a bit OR one can be bound to a deception and think one be free to do as one pleases. The freedom one has involves opting to recognize the truth of the matter or rejecting it. The notion that "one can determine the truth of the matter" requires that one know precisely how to interpret the statement and followthrough with the appropriate actions. In other words one can choose to get it right or wrong without this meaning one gets to control what be right and what be wrong. Picking what is right leads to getting it right and picking what is wrong leads to something else.

          I find worth the effort to converse with others and if an agreements is reached its even better.
      • Jan 16 2014: yeah bro! thats good stuff! can I see your cartoon? I'm in the arts myself and love to see what people are doing! Especially when it is done to make a difference and spread the truth!
        • Jan 17 2014: I would have to search for it somewhere, translate it into English and somehow get it to you... and though the idea I consider was great my drawing sketches I consider still have much to be developed... it was effective for what I needed at the time... If still interested let me know (and will find it or recreate it...
  • Jan 8 2014: hi again, just another thought

    One's self interest is often accomplished not by freedom of choice, but by freedom from choice in a good environment. Ironically I learned this form TED.

    I mean children would not do what is best for them if given the choice, and if you think about it same for adults. Yes, we do want the best for ourselves, but do we really act on what we want? If we are given no choice but to do what is best for us, we would not default back. That is where the liberty in economics comes in hand; by lifting your self you lift everybody around you in a free market economy. Now, do we actually left ourselves? Some do, and some do not because we are free or choose and that is what makes free economy great. -liberty
    • Jan 8 2014: What does it take to choose to act on what be best accordingly to what be best?

      In other words how does one incorporate habits and practices that are best for individual ?
      • Jan 8 2014: hi Esteban

        The answer of what is good bad or great is not black and white, it is so diverse I would not even consider it as gray. It is like the specter of all colors. Many say that there is not any answer for your question, but i strongly disagree; I believe it is the exact opposite, there are infinite amount of answers for your question.

        What is right one's self interest regarding the habits differ for one person and another, it differs form one person to any other, should say. Everything is put in a perspective and every person's perspective is different leading to everyone having different answers to what is right or wrong, good or bad, great or worst.

        The bottom line is you have the freedom to do or not to do what you think is good to you, regardless of your answer there is always someone who will disagree.
        • Jan 8 2014: Salem,

          I been on a quest seeking the resolution and to better understand what it takes, often getting into all sort of interchanges. Curiously often times there seems to be a rather peculiar shift that moves from 'what be best' frame into 'what individuals think/claim/believe to be best' frame.

          As you sort of say -"Everything is put in a perspective and every person's perspective is different leading to everyone having different answers to what is ...- Thing is that when I 'push'/'pull' to move out of some perspective and into 'what be' there seems to be strong opposing reticences that seek to maintain the subjective notion that holds there being absolutely no absolutes (which rejects the fact of there being absolutely some absolutes).

          Its a bit like me proposing we look at what the text claims and individuals insisting we disregard 'that' and instead look at what we each think /imagine/ desire / perceive/ claim it does. How are we to know if what we think to be corresponds with what happens to be when we reject to consider what happens to be? Said in a slightly different form ... To get it right, one has to choose what happens to be right... then one can decide if one agrees or disagrees with it. There exists a subtle difference between the freedom to do it right or not to do it right which involves selecting what happens to be right that differs from being able to establishing something else as what happens to be right. That is to understand what you mean, I must decode the words according to the meaning you use.

          I like to say: if I where you, I would do ... what you do!

          Generally most use that statement in a different form without noticing the logical fallacy they commit. Its a bit like when someone claims "I don think that... " and proceeds to point out what they though off.
          If one wrote it, one had to think of it!

          I am still seeking for the better resolutions and ways. I am convinced there are there to be discovered/created.
  • Jan 8 2014: hello

    Liberty is defined in many ways. It is not however not defined by the pursuit of self interest or happiness, but rather of the option in pursuing of one's self interest.
    For example, my interest is chocolate, i love chocolate. Liberty is not having chocolate, but the option of having chocolate if i wanted to. i love chocolate but i do/don't want any now; that is liberty.

    I am new on TED and this is my first comment I am not sure if i answered the question in a right manner. i saw some of the comment and some seemed irrelevant to the subject.

    Looking forwards for any replies.
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      Jan 8 2014: Salem, you perfectly summed up what I was going to ramble about. I love your analogy, as it does a great job of explaining liberty within the context of our social framework.
  • Jan 7 2014: "Each person is a cog in this machine."

    If it is the case, and i think, it is, then 'Liberty' means liberation from the need to belong to this machine.
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      Jan 7 2014: Very succinctly put!
      And the irony is that without the cogs there is no machine.
      Liberty and the pursuit of whatever one likes is an attractive proposition so long as your tummy is full, your blood warm, and you are free from pain and fear.
      When Hard Times hit, 'Libertarian' values quickly lose their sparkle.
      • Jan 7 2014: What if this machine is oiled by fear ?
        We think we need it for security , but do we feel secure ?
        ' Machine ' generates Hard Times we fear and seek protection in the machine that generates them.
        A kind of vicious circle :)
        • Jan 7 2014: What if our fear of the machine is part of the machines mechanisms to feed it fear?
          What if the need for security is part of the machines mechanisms to feed it fear?
          ' Machine ' generates enemies we fear to feed upon the fear that generates and to have us seek protection in the machine that generates them.
          Kind of like racketeering extortion scheme set up by the thugs where businesses pay the thugs to be protected from the thugs ...
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          Jan 7 2014: Hmmm. Interesting thoughts. Very interesting.
      • Jan 7 2014: Sumesh, in the comment below you said '...pleasurable wants that our minds sometimes misinterpret as needs."
        Probably it's what we should deal with: our minds. The machine we belong to is the function of who we are at present state of our mind.
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          Jan 7 2014: Agreed 100%
          True liberty is a state of mind, not a state of being. It's probably why we will never have true liberty, we are nowhere ready as a species I think.
      • Jan 8 2014: So, it's the state of our mind that slaves us and sells us to the machine it created to guard the status quo till the last syllable of the recorded time.
        Is it what you are saying ?
        I would be more optimistic :)
        Have you noticed that as a species we've become antagonistic to the planet we inhabit ? This situation can't be tolerated any longer. Crisis is the opportunity, we have to evolve as a species.
        If we don't , why should we survive ?
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          Jan 9 2014: :)
          T(ouch)é. I can't argue with that. Even though your question is rhetorical, It begs an answer because at the back of my mind is the nagging suspicion we would somehow rather choose extinction than evolution.
          All in all you make a convincing argument.
        • Jan 9 2014: Natasha,

          Note that depending on which state our mind holds and cultivates there emerge different influences over what happens within us and within the machine, the state of our mind can help direct the workings of the machine! Yea I have noticed that as a species we've become antagonistic to the planet we inhabit... and to our fellow creatures ... some have even become antagonistic to themselves and others rather than finding an enriching way to synergistically collaborate. I have also noticed that some individuals within the species do care about the planet we inhabit... and for other fellow creatures ... some have even begun to do what needs and ought to be done in themselves and with others seeking an enriching way to synergistically collaborate.

          Some will choose evolution of extinction while some will choose a better road... and hopefully the latter will thrive ... extinguishing the extinction notion once and for all through a better road... Life sustains life to those who seek to live. life is also the death of death and the life of death. we could have life without death (only life with enduring beginnings) BUT we could not have death without life (the death of death leaves life live once and for all... the singularity that endures forevermore (where death exists as a bygone possibility that will remain forevermore as just a possibility).
      • Jan 9 2014: Esteban, there is no reply option on your post, hope you'll find my response here.
        You say,
        "Some will choose evolution of extinction while some will choose a better road... "
        As a species we share one destiny, don't we ?

        " ... some have even become antagonistic to themselves .."

        Those ' some' are, actually, 'us' , iow. we become antagonistic to ourselves. If you think, that personally you don't, think again. Do you use electricity ? Do you drive a car ? Do you eat food , which is delivered to your place via air from far away? Do you address to a doctor...a lower...etc..if necessary ? No need to continue, probably you understand what i am trying to say , we are one complex system and as all complex systems it is governed simultaneously. The system we've created is us and it's antagonistic to us.
        Don't take me wrong, i don't want to say, that there is no use of doing the best you can with what you have, it does matter. But i think, we would be in a better position to understand what actually is going on , if we didn't entertain the idea that there are 'others '

        Who are those bad guys who are ruining the planet ? :)


        Sumesh, sorry for hijacking your reply button :)
        • Jan 9 2014: Natasha,

          Indeed at some point there are no more replay options so we have to do as you did or respond at the top and ideally provide the context to what we are responding...

          I was going to say that as a species we do share one destiny ... until... I realize that meant and was only applicable if such a destiny involves everyone dying... rather than some carrying on the torch.

          When I stated "" ... some have even become antagonistic to themselves .." I did had in mind that 'some' included 'us personally'. i think, we would be in a better position to understand what actually is going on , if we entertain the idea that actually corresponded to what actually is going on... entertaining the idea that there are 'others ', the idea that there aren't 'others' becomes secondary and subservient to what is done with them ideas. From a perspective where it's just 'us' (no others) what we/you/'other'/me do corresponds to a personal/shared decision by each and all to do what we do. 'new agers' tend to have the notion that we are all one until this one tells to do as one tells; then 'they' display a spectacular reticence to do as one tells; the transformation 'they' suddenly display to the one telling a story which isn't part of 'their' system becomes quite evident. What's rather amusing to me is how they get into all sort of contradictions with themselves and others rather than just do what ought to be done. For example consider the relativists and the absolutist it turns out that when the relativists rejects the absolute way they deny being a relativist and when they accept the absolute way they deny being a relativist. Curiously the absolutist can ALWAYS choose that the absolute truth be the relative truth and legitimately become both an absolutist and a relativists simultaneously. That feat is only possible for the relativist under one particular case where they just happened to choose the right answer. I prefer the option that actually provides more freedoms.
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    Jan 7 2014: 'Liberty' is the state of being where one has the ability to independantly conclude whether or not the meaning of liberty is the pursuit of one's self interest.
    The decision as to whether the meaning either literally or in spirit is aligned with the generally accepted norms within society is sadly mostly tested when 'damage' to another individuals right to liberty has already been infringed. This is why true liberty is currently impossible for our species. We seem to have settled into a tempered form of prescribed liberty that 'polices' self interest. This is a good thing. We are currently still very potentially 'animalistic' if left COMPLETELY at liberty to pursue the biologically driven interests in meeting the pleasurable wants that our minds sometimes misinterpret as needs.
  • Dec 23 2013: There is no liberty in this matrix
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    Dec 22 2013: "Liberty" means freedom of choice. So the answer is yes. It IS self interest, and it IS social interest. It is the ability to make choices based on those value systems.
    • Dec 24 2013: No, it is not self interest in the normal way "X is Y" is used in English. It includes the freedom to exercise self interest, but it is not identical to self interest.
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        Dec 28 2013: If my choice is to pursue self interest, I can. If my choice is to pursue social interest, I can. Liberty is the ability to choose how to act based on my value system. Not yours.
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    Dec 22 2013: I think it does mean the freedom to pursue one's own interests, but if those interests intrude on the liberty of another individual, then it's authority. Authority implies lack-of liberty for the subjugated. Thus a society that values liberty can only maintain liberty if it resists excersizing authority, to whatever extent seems reasonable.

    So for example, we can say that a dictator has maximum liberty, but the society he dictates doesn't. Thus liberty shouldn't be seen as merely an end goal for individuals, but for society. If we all want liberty, we need to respect the liberty of others.

    Authority seems to be a natural occurrence, i.e. even if there's no authoritative structure in place, individuals will be free to attempt authority, which can only naturally be met with authority. For example, if we live in an anarchic society, but you attempt to do me wrong with force, then for me force may be the only viable response. So I don't believe that to have liberty, we need to completely abandon authority. But I don't believe authority needs to be in the form of a central authority. I believe a "code of conduct" for society could exist without a central government enforcing a body of laws. Even an anarchic society may have a code of conduct that's enforced only by individuals, which would clearly rely on the majority of individuals respecting the code.

    All this being said, I don't believe liberty should only be seen as an "all or nothing" goal for society. We don't need anarchy to have liberty. We can take any society, from anywhere on the scale of authoritarian to libertarian, and begin hand-picking aspects where we would like to substitute liberty for authority. Even for a country like North Korea, eradicating a single rule in the name of liberty, "3 generations of punishment" for example, would greatly improve the quality of life there.

    So I don't see a radical revolution as being necessary or viable for liberty anywhere. Liberty can be established bit by bit.
  • Dec 22 2013: Liberty is a straw man of democracy.

    Individual rights must be subjugated in a democratic society in favour of the majority(at least in theory). Which means self interest is tempered by social consciousness.

    Pursuit of liberty in a self interested manner requires an individual to first consider their wants in relation to the majority (or at least the systems created by the majority). Only then can they formulate the best approach to achieve their goal. So I don't believe there's a direct correlation between liberty and self interest.

    But that said...I think the artifice of liberty is perpetuated by self interest. ;-)
    • Dec 24 2013: Spoken like a true fascist.
      • Dec 25 2013: Spoken like a callus self centred antagonist. No wonder democracy needs social programs. Have a nice day.
        • Dec 26 2013: Only a self-centered fascist could consider liberty to be a "straw man".
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    Dec 21 2013: Should the pursuit of one's self-interest be guided by wisdom?
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      Dec 21 2013: Absolutely, as should all pursuits.
    • Dec 24 2013: According to the Ayn Rand cultists, any guidance or limit on self-interest beyond self-interest is innately immoral.
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    Dec 20 2013: no it does not. the very essence of liberty is that you can pursue whatever goals you want. if your goal is to help others, it is well within the scope of liberty. you don't become antiliberal doing that.

    the correct definition of liberty is self ownership. you own your life. you can do whatever you want with it, including bad and good, smart and silly, selfish and altruistic. it is up to you.
    • Dec 22 2013: But you cannot pursue any goals you want, there are always material limit.

      Almost no matter what we do, we cannot currently send, say, one million people to Mars. Or can we?

      Self-ownership also means taking the blame and correcting mistakes.
      If your goal is preventing others from excercising their liberty, even indirectly... that's where the problems begin.
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        Dec 22 2013: there is no limit in pursuing a goal. your tools are limited, but goals are not.

        self ownership does NOT mean correcting mistakes. i can make mistakes, and stick with them. i can be an alcoholist, and freeze to death under the bridge.
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    • Jan 19 2014: Brendan,

      Thanks for the article. I found some interesting intellectual tidbits in it and would like to say that the issues resulted from what individuals choose to do with the stuff than from the stuff itself. There are a couple of ideas I would like to highlight:
      - Of course they adopted it because agriculture is an efficient way to get more food for less work.
      - One answer boils down to the adage "Might makes right."
      - O It's not that hunter-gatherers abandoned their life style, but that those sensible enough not to abandon it were forced out of all areas except the ones farmers didn't want.
      - there can be no kings, no class of social parasites who grow fat on food seized from others.
      - Only in a farming population could a healthy, non-producing elite set itself above the disease-ridden masses.
      - took up farming not by choice but from necessity in order to feed their constantly growing numbers.
      - they traded quality for quantity,

      There is the whole issue of the problems resulting from the concentrations of individuals in a given area allowed by higher yields and higher dependencies on certain particular resources. Maybe the issues stem from the notion of getting more food for less work --- taken to the point of getting others to do all the work including the one to fork the feed that will be taken away to feed social parasites who grow fat on food seized from others.

      Would like to reiterate that from where I stand the issues results from what individuals choose to do with the stuff than from the stuff itself.
  • Jan 19 2014: As this conversation allotted time draws near ( only a couple of hours left) I wonder about the topic, our interactions around it and a couple of other 'things'. I had expressed the wish that 'WE' could had create a shared conclusion; at this moment it seems quite evident what each choose to do within the timeframe of the conversation.

    Ideally these conversation would involve a coming together, with each side positing 'their contribution', engaging in an enriching interchange and culminating with a shared deeper understanding of the notions, their validity and even a couple of extra things. From where I stand this conversation followed a different route and basically just wiggled around the mountain. I had hoped we could had reached the view from the mountain top and enjoyed that sight together.

    Visionaries make statements on the assumption that it will prove to be true in dew time, where as charlatans make statements on the assumption that what isn't will pass as if it was true. The crucial difference invokes how the acceptance of the facts impacts the statements. Only the visionary can rightfully continue to make the statements!

    Technically an individual bound to the pursuit of one's self interests:
    - could be a slave of their self interests
    - could be a master of their self interests
    - could be doing it for all sort of reasons

    It should also be evident by now that seeking one's own gain, one may make gains for everybody or may just involve a transfer of gains from others to self (which can include extras that lead to devalued stuff). Hopefully each will realize that the way to increase wealth involves inducing wealth generation within self and within others (that is 'without self' - external to self) in line with what actually generates wealth. Social systems built on the proper understanding of the human person can result is all sort of things. Individuals ought to be conscious of what it is they do, support and help feed (and do what's right).
  • Jan 19 2014: I send an idea to be reviewed about special toll roads with electric coils by side, But no Information so far

    Can I know why no comment about the Idea I submitted, Either it is not workable etc, or why it cannot be posted, It was told 24 hours I could get a reply But so far 3 day nothing happens
    ThankYou
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    • Jan 19 2014: Brenda,

      You seem to point at 'individual' accountability as a key success factor... where the systems both allow and makes sure 'the individual' remains fit to finds 'compatible jobs' rather than whatever happens to come along first... that coupled with mobility and a couple of other factors bread in a bunch of enriching opportunities for each and everyone. In other places it's a bit like pay and don't dare ask question because we will make you pay more for it... whatever we say and whatever we consider fair determines what's fair and what's acceptable tribute for what we give/demand of you.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jan 19 2014: Brendan,

          For a while I held the story of human 'evolving' from 'hunters' into 'cultivators' with some laggers who couldn't leave behind the exploitative ways of hunting and embrace the caring ways of cultivators. The hunter vs cultivator metaphor integrated many ideas from fighting for scarce resources to collaborating to maximize crop yields.

          To me this story was sort of a spring board into the economy of scarce resources with bylaws to prevent fights among hunters loot while fostering collaboration to gain strength in numbers. On the other hand was an economy of cultivated sustainable abundant resources where the same land was made to yield much more produces. The latter seems to be an economic model which still has much to be developed as former bylaws spilled over into the new domain.

          There came a time when I realized that the story ought to have a third archetype kind of human : the trader. (Just now I am wondering about the possible implications for having this kind and if it will lead to an additional economic model) From what you said Denmark's happiness ranking seems to stem from their caring collaboration to look after each wellbeing to ensure survival- likely influenced by their geographical northern location. Japan in ways is like Denmark though in a different parallel and their societies seem to be quite different!

          ( Of course we would also have to consider who made the article... and why? Kind of like considering who made the map and why because different maps/stories result in different appreciations). There likely is much more to the stories that each hold than we have considered . The point I been seeking to push is how to integrate them in an enriching way. That is the individual, the collective symbiotically collaborate resulting in a product of a whole richer than the sum of it's parts. Rather than a mechanism for transforming private gain into public benefit we ought to look to expand what each gains by helping the other.
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    Jan 17 2014: Never.
  • Jan 16 2014: So long as it does not infringe upon another individual's liberty.
  • Jan 15 2014: Consider that underlying my comments in this conversation there is the idea : "By seeking one's own gain, they make gains for everybody".

    For those wondering why I have responded to many comments here, I sort of have sought to provide an expansive alternatives that may seem to challenge the points made when it basically seeks to expand what be considered to ensure a broader 'better' possibility. This process helps me better understand the issues while hopefully also being useful to others. In a way whenever I see a particular storyline that I come to see promotes a certain way I tend to put forth an alternative which seek to promote an alternative storyline...

    For example when I perceive someone resort to an absolute to claim there are no absolutes I chuckle at the cognitive dissonance of the claims and actions. Personally I prefer to hold that there are absolutes. Note the cognitive congruence and harmony between the absolute claim there are absolutes and the notion of that being one of the absolutes that there be. This position also helps to figure out what be happening. I can also take the relativistic perspective. In fact I can even take a perspective where the absolute and the relativistic become one while remaining singularly distinctive. In this singular perspective one be both a relativist and an absolutists harmoniously and there distinction sort of blurs. Its akin to seeking one's own gain, by making others gain and helping everybody be enriched! It's a win-win situation! I gain while you gain and everyone gains.

    This conversation is coming to a close in a couple of day and I wonder if we could create a shared conclusion in these timeframe.
  • Jan 15 2014: Any liberty is not absolute..still bounded by existing laws and rules...the pursuit of one's self interest is still in question...no matter how good the intention is...the result is still important...
    • Jan 15 2014: gas grill

      As you sort of stated, the intention of getting to the finish line and getting there are two important part of the event. Lots of things be still important: the intention, the actions, the preparations, implementation, timing, results, the company, who one helps along the way etc..

      I have noticed that liberty is absolute, individuals choose if to remain bounded by existing laws and rules and follow them; If they choose to step outside of them laws and rules and 'enjoy' the repercussion; if they choose to (cede/change/enforce/maintain) them rules and laws.

      There is much that could be said in relation to the pursuit of one's self interest focus on self or others and these ways being an intention or an actuality ... the key question involves how to converse and carry these ideas in reality? for what we seem to still require much insights and lessons into conversations that some do not like to have and actively avoid having to safeguard their ways...
  • Jan 14 2014: It does mean the ability to pursue your own self interest.

    However, the theory that people will indirectly serve the greater good while pursuing their own self interest is a logical fallacy. There is no direct link to the greater good without some sort of regulation to guide decision making in a general direction, going against the very essence of liberty.
    • Jan 14 2014: Celling fans

      the logical fallacy you mention vanishes when the regulation to guide decision making in a general direction resides within the self, because the self realizes that it is in their best interest to take care of everyone wellbeing. In other words one may cultivate plants/animals/environments to cultivate the oxygen/food/spaces they want to experience.

      I can even see how the regulation to guide decision making in a general direction could be external to the individual without this infringing on the individual's liberty. Someone can choose between the right way and the wrong way and thinking they got it right or wrong with or without actually getting to know the truth of the matter though they may think they do know it... or that it just doesn't exist when it does exist and guides what happens wether some recognize it or not...
  • Jan 13 2014: if we were a population of one then yes, however we live in a society of many, and so where the pursuit of a person's own self-interest impedes the liberty of another, it must be restricted.
    • Jan 13 2014: Indeed, where the pursuit of a person's own self-interest (clean healthy air in public place) impedes the liberty of another (to smoke in such places) , it (smoking) must be restricted.
  • Jan 13 2014: I and many others always say, "I want my liberty!" This simply means, liberty is Godly given. It is an abilityto think, like, wish and do what you want. The challenges only come in respect to the negative attitudes which may intrigue on other people's freedoms. That is why authorities put limits on people's liberties. Otherwise, everyone, once with positive thinking, is entitled to freedoms. This is liberty. http://bit.ly/1hV3xI3
    • Jan 13 2014: Rockfeller

      Generally those who claim "I want my liberty!" do so because a lack of it!

      Yesterday I had a conversation where I stated "Its an interesting conundrum: the only way out is to think an alternate thought (one which one can't think unless one be out and when one can think it one doesn't need to think it for one be out )". (hey I just saw the conversation was two post below as of this moment :-)

      Similarly with liberty when one has it the want of it tends to dissipate for one has it... maybe a better saying would be 'I appreciate liberty' 'I value and am grateful to have liberty ... to do good' .

      We be free to choose between alternatives, the good ones and the bad ones without this meaning that we can actually change what happen to be the good better alternative. To get it right one has to pick the right alternative! Of course within the alternatives there be the real deals and the faked ones... which one one picks determines which one one gets! Why would anyone in their right mind pick the wrong one? Why would anyone in their right mind keep the wrong one after they picked it rather than recognize the truth of the matter and choose to embrace the truth of the matter while fixing what needs fixing. If one picked the wrong path in the past that does not mean one has to pick the wrong path in the present.

      There are all sort of reasons why authorities seek to put limits on people's liberties even when people have positive thinking some authorities seek to limit the people and would like to control them usurping individuals liberties. Note that "... entitled to freedoms. This is liberty." be an oxymoronic expression ... those free have no need of someone giving them a title nor require an authority to give (someone) a legal right or a just claim to receive or do something!

      Please be careful of seeking to vanish the clouds, when wishing for a clear sky. One can wish for a clear sky and be grateful appreciative of having a clear sky! It's wonderful!
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    Jan 12 2014: Have intellectual highway robbers taken over our stratosphere to indoctrinate all outcomes, does the internet liberate us or enslave us in its web? Sorry still peed!
    • Jan 13 2014: Bog,

      You asked: "Have intellectual highway robbers taken over our stratosphere to indoctrinate all outcomes"?

      The simple answer is: no. What intellectual highway robbers have sought to do is artificially indoctrinate everyone to think like they do while inundating the commons with distractors to keep individuals from realizing the truth of the matter. Intellectual highway robbers still need the individual consent to cede over to their control the individual choices and many individuals cede it convinced they don't have any choice on the matter. Its an interesting conundrum: the only way out is to think an alternate thought (one which one can't think unless one be out and when one can think it one doesn't need to think it for one be out ). Besides maybe one be somewhere to fix up the place and should be focused on making it a better place.

      The internet will liberate the free and enslave the bound ... then again the free and the bound are so with or without the internet!
  • Jan 12 2014: I actually thought about the "graceful dance" this morning! The win -win situation! It often occurs to me to ponder over how it is for myself or others to shush another person with even louder noise.
    May I ask what do you do to dance gracefully?
    • Jan 13 2014: "Hay listen, pay close attention... did you hear that"... Indeed sometimes we get into shushing one another to see who gets the last shush ... I find it rather humorous to do the experiment and initiate/participate in the shushing wave to hear how many follow ... some get all railed up 'peed of' rather than enjoy the relieving energetically frustrations through playful engagement. Look at it this way, honking the car could be done in such a way as to generate music while stuck in traffic... the same could be done with the shushing ...

      Keep in mind that the graceful dance may involve a jujitsu style; "gentle, soft, supple, flexible, pliable, or yielding" "technique" that guides and manipulates the force at play rather than confronting them with one's own... I have to admit that In a way I still have much to learn about that kind of style, I do tend to just stand firmly ... to some it may seem like I 'confront them' when I simply stand firm ... those who run into a fixed boulder or hit it or yell at it will quickly realize that's not such a good idea ... the boulder simply reflects back the forces ... a moving boulder is a bit different, just keep clear of its set trajectory and you will be ok...
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    Jan 12 2014: How much should work be worth in the future common age of equality, fairness sustainability and morality, to ensure humans have a sense of common self-worth in the exchange of contribution for reward in the temporal jurisdiction of gain if economics was naturally democratic within the legal jurisdiction of the law and all humans agreed what order was between appearance and reality?

    Whose gain is gain whose gain is loss, how should we measure the temporal jurisdiction of work within the natural unity of all interrelated exchange and to what extent should gain be regulated in the common carbon future?
    If all humans are equal, should they have a progressive economic reality they share to define equality as a standard and quality of living…is universal absolute pure equality a possibility in the next modern age if as a species we collectively agree upon the value of unity to meaning in life as a collective reality of universal existence, or is absolute pure equality a really bad idea?

    How should we economically turn the global financial corner in 2014 if Right is a progressive financial certainty to 7 billion micro judicial private chambers, shares of equality, shares of morality, and shares of rightful common reason to seek gainful employment in exchange for a contractual proportion of your natural temporal life span, what is a transparent, a responsible and a fair working contract within the global public domain?
    • Jan 13 2014: Bog,

      What makes humans be equal is what makes humans be different. Individuals singularities that distinguish one from the other is also what makes us belong to the category we share. The notion that there is an equitable fair contract for a share of ones natural temporal life span can lead to all sort of destinations. Should one be reimbursed and rewarded in relation to the enrichment one produces? What if something I made available leads someone to make a fortune should they reimburse me? What if something someone did took away my future should they reimburse me? What if I can't prove that what someone did took away my healthy future, should they reimburse me? How would we calculate what something be worth? Some humans have a exaggerated sense of self-worth while an undervalued sense of others worth which bias the exchange of contributions for rewards. Some play buying at a discount and selling at a premium quite well; some buy at a premium and sell at a discount... The idea that all humans will agree what order exists between appearance and reality is going to be complicated by the fact that many humans consider reality to be.... what they think to be rather than what happens to be (http://www.ted.com/conversations/21159/what_is_reality_2.html).

      Its going to be interesting how we turn the financial conner in 2014... hopefully we will find a way to enrich each other and share of the values created.
  • Jan 11 2014: Liberty means one's will that enables him to use his pursuit of his self interest for doing good things to others.
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      Jan 12 2014: found this quote:
      Liberty in economic terms is a common and shared universal awareness of the economic transparency with regards to the common rate of exchange! why discriminate? why exploit? no one can beat time, all work is equal within the temporal period of a natural life span, no one can work that much harder than the next person because they are all physical prisoners of a temporal unity of reality which restricts their ability to be superhuman, hence, an economy of the people by the people, for the people should relate and respect the human condition with compassion if it wants to succeed – ‘Rogue Trader’
      • Jan 13 2014: Bog,

        why discriminate? because not all work is equal within the temporal period of a natural life span! There is a difference in hiring this or that individual! Some do work harder than the next person and are more efficient, and effective at getting the job done. It's even possible that the hard work done by someone is a rather simple diversion for somebody else. What may be simple for me to do may be complicated for you to accomplish and what may be valuable to you/me may not be valuable to me/you... ideally we should find ways to enrich everyones lives ... the thing is that as you mentioned some would rather exploit others than engage in transparent regard to the common benefit of everyone.
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          Jan 14 2014: The common rate of exchange is the common right of exchange if the composition of exchange is true to the unity of gain as a common translatable standard of living within the balance and regulation of fiscal equilibrium.

          If by working the individual is making gains for everybody should everybody gain the same standard income as a principle of living within a states standard of unity to life as an individual and universal meaning...the duality of self is between the individual age of reason and the collective age of reasonable security if by distribution fiscal security breaths a standard and quality of life into the temporal path of every breathing member of the same is the meaning of gain not greater than the individual utility of the word in action?

          Should the natural equality of a condition aligned to liberty as a rule of translatable law financially discriminate between one human intellect and the next if everybody gains by every bodies action through pure financial equality?

          What is the best way to distribute the compilation of human gains to everybody if everybody gains from everybody’s action through work?

          Financial discrimination in the division of gain is the division of unity, the division of state, division of community cohesion, division of security, division of a standard, division of a quality of life...why would anyone want to divide the meaning of gainful employment into a have and have not condition when they could democratically agree upon the significance of a fair, reasonable and transparent working contract.

          I don't want to earn more or less than the next individual because I respect the liberty of the next individual, as much as I respect my own, I don't want to pay more or less tax than the next individual because tax is a collective utility of gain we all share the public benefits of?

          Why should I (whatever my work), want to earn more or less than you, if Liberty was Right within the temporal future as common universal truth?
      • Jan 14 2014: Bog,

        There are lots of ideas embedded into what you stated, and depending on the associated meaning to them, the words lead to different actions. For example take ", I don't want to pay more or less tax than the next individual ', does that mean everyone should pay the same tax or does that mean everyone should pay the same proportional levy? In other words Is the equal duty payed based on some standard of unity or some proportional base? Why would some have to pay more for the same services? Why would one have to pay for some service one doesn't even get or even worst artificially created to 'incentive' that one pay? For example the other day I was in a conversation related to extortions because many businesses in the area had had to close down dew to such practices. It was a rather curious chat because it revolved around the idea that one had to pay one way or another. My comment sought to focus on the issue of why would one need to pay for protection one way or the other to begin with? Evidently we each should contribute towards the wellbeing and betterment of everyone to improve the standard and quality of life of everyone. The issue here has more to do with dealing with discriminating and distributing the costs/benefits/values.

        The fact we could democratically agree hardly implies that we reach such agreements or that such agreements would be reasonable. Getting the whole population to agree on some issue can be rather elaborate besides the control by the majority of the members or the practice or principles of social equality can be a pretty facades that prevents proper addressing of the fundamental issues. A single voice of reason should suffice to gag unreasonable demands ... and authoritatively guide what takes place. It should be self-evident why we ought to discriminate reasonable and unreasonable demands and only allow the reasonable. As i sort of said : why discriminate? because of benefits of choosing what is right and valuable over alternatives
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          Jan 16 2014: Hi Esteban,

          If universally we had a progressive unconditional income based fiscal autonomy every common member with natural authority to choose, would own a common universal standard and quality of life regardless of their background, as a moral imperative of fiscal certainty. Is progressive fiscal certainty a good idea?

          To what extent is gain mutual respect, should we identify universally before we identify individually, is the collective age more significant than the particular age, everything we are certain of is in the past, yet, 7 billion footprints exist in the present, hence, is it a matter of time before democracy gets bigger?

          If the carbon future is the intrinsic value of 7 - 11.5 billion footprints what if a fair, reasonable and transparent rate of consumption per individual given the Earth is the common wealth singularity we share temporally. How do 7 billion income related neighbors balance the books if each individual through their rate of income was respecting the planet as much as the next person...should the working environment of the modern civilization respect each other as much as they respect their home?

          Is it right for the majority to gain by democratic consensus if the opportunity to gain presents itself within a future common age of awareness…liberation is a slow process, but how should we calibrate independence with liberty if freedom to choose is restricted?

          Financial discrimination is an uncivilized management tool of an amoral history of consequences that can only be exercised through resetting of the moral and fiscal financial compass of global economics. Absolute pure equality is justice for all if justice for all is the purpose and objective of social justice.

          Temporal morality is the unified respect for life beyond the physical appearance in the past present and future morphology of change! The ownership of change is a democratic opportunity to exceed benchmarks of liberation defined by previous ancestral groups.
      • Jan 16 2014: Bog,

        What do you mean by 'progressive fiscal certainty'?

        I find rather peculiar how some of the most despot wasteful contaminating people create the facade that others should conserve and not be wasteful shielding themselves behind the idea that it's the others who need to change and because they will not change and they will not change their ways.

        You do realize that some benchmarks of liberation are not to be exceeded in fact some possibilities are meant to remain as just possibilities forever constrained as mere possibilities . Unfortunately some individuals and some being do not respect their home thus using that kind of respect as the baseline to how to respect each other opens the door to all sort of stuff... Better that each individual respect their home and others as each ought be respected accordingly to what actually ought to be done!

        What if those that consume more payed fair price rather than at a discount and those who didn't consume get payed for not consuming. Even better get payed at a premium for not consuming and get charged at a discount for consuming little ... heavy consumers would have to pay at an even larger premium... The thing is that some footprints who think they don't consume much consume much more than simpler individuals who don't have the resources to demand a fair deal.

        Take for example radioactive contamination of the environment and other contaminants that have affected millions if not billions of individuals who end up paying the cost with their health...

        the issue here as I see it revolves about identifying universally AND individually ... it isn't one vs the others ... it is one synergetic collaboration between one and the others... those who kill end up killing themselves and those who live end up living with those who desire to live...
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          Jan 18 2014: Universal liberation or peace is a common opportunity of any common age given the right mechanism for change.

          If respect for common fiscal liberty is the moral imperative of gain, sharing liberty in a more transparent way would be beneficial to development, if all personal development was gain.

          The liberation of gain is in the quality as opposed to the inequality of distribution to the meaning and purpose of justice in motion. If the law of human right as a fiscal reality is true for one, should not all humans gain significance by the same standard of truth within the harmony of interrelated exchange, if in equilibrium of democratic order to meaning in life, we discover peace?

          Is universal liberation a greater gain than the perception of individual gain and is individual excessive rights to gain obstructing growth in liberation, whose growth is relative to the intrinsic value of the human condition as physical and mental growth, is fiscal security, fiscal health, fiscal well-being, fiscal standard and quality of life a common law awareness of distribution in motion yet to be realized?

          Should a right to future life be a certainty we experience without prejudice?

          Should a right to future work be a certainty we experience without prejudice?

          The proportion of currency in a system should be linked to the number of humans in existence, if distribution is a representation of reward for employment, how should the universal value of work be measured, given all employment is a temporal arrangement?

          Should temporal contracts of employment be on the international curriculum, is common and unique security a common right of transparency…is currency, supposed to make humans secure or insecure or is there a happy medium within which equality is a commonly understood truth within the fiscal future of a common kind?
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          Jan 18 2014: Fiscal certainty is a fair, reasonable, transparent, sustainable rate of fiscal liquidity within the temporal micro pathways of each and every member of the same condition, effectively putting the lights on in the intellectual forward chamber of a universal macro brain. The economy is ahead of each and every democratic public face between the temporal jurisdiction of beginnings and end, therefore, we share a common security within the natural rate of exchange, if all exchange is equal to the intrinsic value of each and every member of state, what is the universal value of the state to the meaning of progress, life and death?

          What is the purpose of logical equations if as a kind we are less equal than ever…it didn’t start out this way!

          The temporal contract thus embraces all existing laws and projects legal certainty into the future subconscious highway of the human condition to illuminate the quality of future life within the temporal micro chambers of a naturally unified international state, a common unique brain between the individual state and the universal state of natural awareness. Creating a universal positive mental platform for growth and development morality in which the human is the intrinsic value of growth.
      • Jan 18 2014: Bog Creature,

        I been working with the notion of transcending equilibrium through incorporation of a much richer idea that manages to produce a singular perspective, deeper than the alternate individual views, especially when someone insists on maintaining opposing forces. My temporal assertions stemming from 'the timeless way' are perceived by the opposers as opposing; are perceived by the supporters as supporting; are perceived by the knowers as informative insights (of course some knowers perceive the actual validity underlying the assertions and some perceive other stuff). The temporal become atemporal given they have a beginning from which they continue to exists eternally. I realize that conversing about 'after' after time runs it's course is akin to conversing about 'before' before time initial existence which may be perceived by some as... it being this or it being that; it being this AND it being that. 'When' we observe that the underlying notion of being as related to time itself 'THEN' some may wonder of the possible ways to converse resorting to 'the timeless way'. What would that involve? Right now I would bet few know about the E-Prime language scheme: a thinking clarifying device theta strengthens communicating by 'inducing' a focus towards individuals experiences rather than allow individuals to confuse opinions with facts. If we allow equality between valid and invalid ways of thinking on the basis that every individual has a right and freedom to their opinions THEN we allowed injustice to correspond to justice rather than ensure the right order everybody into proper just ways.

        Peace can be discovered by many ways. Why should we hold the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities rather than recognize individual singular abilities and value the uniqueness of each one? It's rather curious that what sets us apart is also what unites us, only certain individual singularities ought be allowed to develop.
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          Jan 18 2014: Hi Esteban,

          I don't dispute the abilities of particular singularities but the division of labor (physical/mental intelligence) is the division of unity to the concept of 'work' as a democratically regulated interpretation of liberty within the temporal contract of a working life.

          How is Liberty, Liberty if a few gain by exploitation of the masses, how is it democratic?

          Also the accumulation of skills and abilities is the accumulation of ancestral public knowledge, hence, is public knowledge meant to serve public gains or private gains in a public state of the union? Should the Earth be a public property of the people or a privatized consortium between the few?
      • Jan 18 2014: Bog,

        Why would the division of labor (physical/mental intelligence) lead to the division of unity? Of course we ought to 'keep in mind' the spirit, emotions, and a couple of other notions.

        Also why focus on a few gaining by exploitation of the masses?
        I can see a focus of how a few gain by the cultivation of the masses .
        I can even see how everyone gains by the symbiotic enriching interactions that a few and the masses have with each other and amongst themselves.

        The accumulation of skills and abilities in each could be seen as the accumulation of ancestral public/private/individual knowledges just at it could be seen as ... (This, That and Everything Else - including the many possibilities)! You ask: is public knowledge meant to serve public gains or private gains in a public state of the union? I say both and a bit more!

        In regards to your inquiry: Should the Earth be a public property of the people or a privatized consortium between the few? I am inclined to say that the possession of the Earth sounds a bit demonic and would posit that there exists better alternatives to the management of the commons and individual resources. Evidently we seem to still have lots to learn in this regard... with some needing a bit more work than others... unfortunately it seems that the ones who need to learn the most are the ones least interested in learning... SO we seem to still have to learn in this regard too... how does one help someone who needs to change but doesn't want to change nor wants others to help them realize what they ought to do to choose to do what they ought to do and change what ought to change?

        Personally I am still wondering and pondering about that... any ideas?
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          Jan 19 2014: Why would the division of labor (physical/mental intelligence) lead to the division of unity? Of course we ought to 'keep in mind' the spirit, emotions, and a couple of other notions...I guess it already has, if you count the division of natural equality into universal inequality over generations past, but, generations forward is a common/unique opportunity to address the imbalance left in the wake of capitalism and its crony relative.

          I can even see how everyone gains by the symbiotic enriching interactions that a few and the masses have with each other and amongst themselves...nice sentiment, but, it's not real democracy, it's corporate manipulation and monopolization of the process, which, is the opposite of enriching in my mind, its more akin to a criminal dictatorship, but, while the masses swallow the load its just business as usual!

          The accumulation of skills and abilities in each could be seen as the accumulation of ancestral public/private...the majority of ancestors are dead, hence, it can only be public knowledge if they left privately contributed knowledge in the continuum with an educational value.

          The possession of the Earth sounds demonic...sorry I'm not religious, If the species with the ability to realize possession of a singularity of common wealth agree upon the legitimacy of common law ownership between the 7 billion living ancestors, the shares of morality and growth will be a level playing field and a real legacy to pass onto future caretakers.

          posit that there exists better alternatives to the management of the commons and individual resources...there will always be better ways to share the load!

          The ones least interested in learning were conditioned and manufactured to comply with the perceived demand for compliance by the elites with the carrot and stick.

          any ideas?
          Change, the employment system, education system, economy, make the rule of law an educational prerequisite beyond appearance, utilize democracy to stimulate growth!
      • Jan 19 2014: Bog,

        Did you know that 'democracy' is often a facade of 'corporate manipulation and monopolization of the process...'? 'the masses swallow the load its just business as usual'!

        BTW If the species with the ability to realize possession of a singularity of common wealth agree upon the legitimacy of common law ownership ... it still does note make such possession actually legitimate (it just usurps a singularity and takes possession of it claiming legitimacy without really having it).

        I sort of perceive how you seem insistent on the notion of 'democracy' ... over individual freedoms... to guide the ordering of interactions... my insistence tends to focus more on the notion of the individuals choosing to do what the individual ought to do... which would respect both the individual freedom and the directive of doing what ought to be done ... thus the guiding principle of order follows intrinsic and extrinsic foundations without the need of explicit rules of law nor dedicated policing agents. Where a single voice of righteousness suffices to guide and direct everyones actions.
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          Jan 19 2014: Hi Esteban,
          Yeah, possession and ownership of the Earth in a world entrenched in possessions and ownership is not conducive to a realistic appreciation of temporal judicial morality between the singularity of species versus the singular object of natural association, hence, 'claim universal responsibility for', instead of ownership of, which, is a public legitimacy as opposed to a private one. Anyhow, ownership and possession was your tangent, my question was is the Earth a public property or a private property?

          I would say a public property, given 7 billion individual private judicial subconscious chambers constitute the conscious universal public face of reality in perpetual motion. Also is space (inner and outer) a public property or a private property, neither or both in your mind?
          I would say in exchange we convert public space into private subconscious reflection of the appearance of reality unique to the individual observer, but, as a species we are in reality blind to the real environment, which, encapsulates our condition. I would also say this process of exchange and conversion is the origin and precursor behind the history and accumulation of all ancestral knowledge and the organizational framework of all knowledge's is the democratic freedom of future members of the same condition to choose paths of personal liberation between the individual and universal dynamic.

          I think true democracy is complimentary to our state and status as free thinking participants of growth transparency. I don't see democracy over individual freedoms, I see democracy expanding and enhancing individual freedoms through the real consensus of participation... which would respect both the individual freedom and the directive of doing what ought to be done ... thus the guiding principle of order follows intrinsic and extrinsic foundations without the need of explicit rules of law nor dedicated policing agents.

          It helps if everyone understand the same rule in practice, but, do they
      • Jan 19 2014: Bog,

        The question you posted considered that the earth was a property and you wanted to know who's property it was... 'the tangent' I put forth related to the notion of possession of things ( which I sort of said had some relationship to the demonic ways of controlling stuff). If you insist on pushing the notion of property belonging to someone and that it be a public property then we need to consider that the public includes everyone: which even includes the future generations.Asking 'who does space belong to'? implicitly posits that space-time belongs to someone or somebody or something... I am pointing out this implicit projection and questioning it's veracity? To put it in a slightly different form I would rather we focus on 1- what be right rather than on 2- who be right. When we focus on 1- what be right, we may learn a bunch of things. Notice that 2- who be right is akin to asking 'who's property it be'. I would rather we shift the focus and wonder about it being a property to be owned or a place to be cared for. When we focus on who be right who owns the property the conversations tend to lead to conflicts of interests where as when we focus on the place to be cared for and what ought to be done with it the conversations tend to lead in a different direction.

        I liked what you said about 'this process of exchange and conversion'. I hold the process is a bit bidirectional and that while the individual only has access to their recreative internal constructs these can be identical copies to external constructs. In fact some can change the internal copy and have the external one reflect such change!

        Evidently some understand the same rule in practice in different ways ... and it helps to understand how each understands the same rule, how they practice it and the correspondences involved. BTW maybe seeking personal liberation distracts from focusing on personal transformation one ought to incorporate to transcend 'captivity' and realize what and how one be.
  • Jan 10 2014: Freedom is the option of one - but this "self-interest" is only to the benefit of the whole when an individual action under his/her "option of one" is motivated to do so by a "higher self" - otherwise it is usually simple greed - and such has produced the current situation where corporations rule the world to the dis-benefit of the whole.
    • Jan 11 2014: Toaster... :-)

      to the benefit of the whole when an individual action under his/her "option of one" is motivated to do what be in fact what they ought to do (according to what they ought to do; which may or may not be in agreement with that the and others think/feel/desire/want). The current situation has resulted from individual actions (which include what one does and abstains from doing in other words what individual do involves their actions and their inactions in thoughts/words/feelings/physically etc).
  • Jan 9 2014: I understand some of your frustrations. I can't help but think that sometimes the point you might be trying to make gets 'lost in translation' and it would be beneficial to just speak simply and openly about the examples being discussed.

    It's interesting that you mentioned Stanley Milgram's experiment on obedience to authority figures. I conceded that it did show that there were other ways to convince people to do bad things than religion. You seemed to get quite excited and I wonder if I did you a disservice. Milgram, as far as I remember, studied how Nazis got people to run concentration camps and kill people. Initially it was difficult to get soldiers to murder people in cold blood and soldiers suffered psychological trauma. Difficult to feel sympathy for them, I know. So, the authorities sought to isolate killers and victims and break down the process, so people running the concentration camps were as much as possible kept unawares of the process as a whole.

    Milgram sought to replicate some of the aspects of the concentration camps. The authority figure removes much of the responsibility from the subject for his actions. The subject is given an absorbing, minor task to distract from the main task. Prompts and coercion are used by the authority figure. The subject is separated from the 'victim', so does not see the outcome of his actions and largely speaking does not have to face up to what he's done. The subject starts out with very low level shocks to his 'victim', so doesn't have to think about lethal doses of electricity for some time, and is gradually led there.

    It's not a good example to make your point because there's so much trickery and psychological manipulation. Actions carried out in time of war aren't as I said before the best examples to look at of 'normal' human behaviour in peace-time society. I also think it's worth pointing out that most subjects tried to stop the experiment and some did, despite considerable coercion.
    • Jan 9 2014: Dave,

      Indeed, sometimes stuff gets 'lost in translation' and it can be daunting to learn each others particular language nuances, we could speak simply and openly about the examples being discussed as long as we keep in mind that we actually have to ensure that we get each others claims as intended. In many occasions we may actually get by without having to hammer out the details and may even 'find in translational nuances' emergent valuable insights that neither had considered!

      I am glad you wrote " I conceded that it (some particular example provided) did show that there were other ways to convince people to do bad things than religion". I am also glad you wrote a bit more details related to the experiments, from my persecutive I just knew how some good individuals where induced to do 'bad' things given the circumstances. I consider this a particular case of a broader point where individuals are induced to do things given the beliefs or states of mind they hold which may or may not be beneficial.

      I did get all exited at the prospect of having provided an example that served to expose a point I wanted to share which in principle would lead to a reassessment of the story being cultivated. The notion that to get good people to do bad things requires religion seems logically untenable considering that there are other ways to convince people to do stuff. Now that you associate the experiment to studies done by Nazis I have to wonder how and if it relates to the particular example I knew off (unfortunately there isn't a simple way for me to find out). From what I recall the experiment I referred to involved psychological studies to evaluate the effects of 'looking-like a doctor/authority' on individual responses. It could had been a tone-down recreation of the ones you mentioned. In any event I found what you shared quite informative and see trickery and psychological manipulation provide additional examples of other ways.

      Stories we tell : DUI / OUI.
  • Jan 8 2014: A good person will do bad things if you hold a gun to their head. I hardly think you're right to say that good people will do bad things under these circumstances and claim that the good people are in any way willing accomplices.

    I think you are extremely disingenuous. If I have changed any parameters in my examples it is because you tried to circumvent the logic contained within, so I tried to clarify, not alter the terms of the debate.

    You still haven't said what anyone ought to do. You appear to admit that you don't actually know, so how do you know that everyone here isn't doing exactly what they should be doing?

    Your examples of bad people committing violent acts because of ignorance still doesn't put them into the 'good people' class/group, so your point appears to be illogical. If good people are involved with road rage incidents, they're really not appropriate examples of 'good people', just ignorant, violent people. I'm not sure how I can be more clear.
    • Jan 9 2014: Dave

      I provided examples that should had helped to see the underlying flawed logic contained in some of the absolute claims you put forth. At this stage I consider that you just insists to see the facts as you see them and maintaining what you hold independent of the actual evidences presented. Had it been a year or so ago I would had probably sought to work at convincing you, though nowadays I will pass on that. If you choose to accept or reject what I provided and whether you found it useful or not it's up to you.

      Keep in mind that the pursuit of one's self interest, in principle involves what actually be one's self interest, rather than what one thinks to be said things.
      • Jan 9 2014: Sometimes it's a little difficult to understand what you're trying to say, but I'm doing my best to understand!

        Personally, I'd prefer you to make a point if you have one, rather than just post links for people to follow. It doesn't, for me at least, help with replying, or the flow of the conversation, but that's probably just a personal preference. If I missed your points... it was probably because you didn't make them here.

        I've tried to be clear. My whole argument has been set out and there's much that you seem to have ignored, or chosen to wilfully misinterpret, but that's just my reading of the situation. Like you, I do feel a little frustrated. Maybe if you tackled my arguments more directly we could have a more productive discourse?!
        • Jan 9 2014: Dave,

          I am doing my best too! Like you, I too personally prefer to make a point myself rather than just post links for people to follow; believe it or not, the link was meant more as complementary to the point made! I stated : without the actions necessarily determining what individuals are... this is an abstraction of the claim : making a mistake (a wrong action) doesn't lead one to be a mistake (determines what an individual is). The former can lead to guilt while the later leads to shame, well at least thats one of the points I got from the ted talk by brene_brown_on_vulnerability ... Do note that you missed my point for whatever reason, What I find a bit amusing is how you put forth the idea that it was probably because I didn't make it here (what you think to be) rather than state that it was because you didn't get it (what actually happened).

          For clarity sake the point I am making right now is that sometimes we focus on what we think and use schemes to justify our thoughts rather than just look at the evidence and think according to it.
          In another conversation with another individual they mentioned that IF i provided an example of just one observation/case to support what I had stated THEN they would change what they thought regarding it. I was rather amused when they explained away the observation/case while insisting that I support with another example what I had stated THEN they would change what they thought regarding it. They seemed set out to ignore, or chosen to willfully misinterpret the situation to maintain what they thought about it, rather oblivious about the inconsistencies of their argument.

          As I see it the challenge involves jointly tackling the conversation to observe what be going on through collaborating with one another. Ideally seeking to perceive the others perspective as they see it AND in proper relationship to what happens to be in order to produce an integrated deeper better understanding of the situation based on the situation
  • Jan 8 2014: The last two sentences of your reply are the most interesting. Personally I believe that the removal of the term 'martyr' along with the promise of 'paradise' would probably make the majority of people who commit terrorist acts at the present time think again about their actions. It is a psychological 'safety net' that allows individuals to give their lives whilst taking the lives of others and believe that they will 'go to an even better place'. This also makes it possible for those intent on leading terrorists to get their followers to give their lives for the cause.

    Good people do good things. Bad people do bad things. But to get good people to do bad things requires religion.

    I realise this won't be popular with many people, and they will disagree, but I'm not the first person to say it, or repeat it. It was originally stated by a Nobel Prize winner. I think that the main objection would be that most people with religious beliefs don't murder or commit violent acts against others. That being taken as read, the statement still stands, in my opinion.

    In the interests of honesty and fairness, it has to be said that most governments, legitimate or otherwise, also often appeal to the religious beliefs of their populations to convince them of the legitimacy of their decisions and actions.
    • Jan 8 2014: David,

      The distinctions used, the particular words, can/does influence what individuals think/feel/do and each ought be aware of what it is that they are cultivating, promoting and supporting. Just because some call terrorists 'martyrs' doesn't make them so... though if the terrorists believe it so they may end up doing all sort of stuff to get to a better place rather than doing what they ought to do to fix this place. (note it works the other way around too, calling 'martyrs' terrorists doesn't make them so... ) granted if the individual believe to be a certain way they may end up doing all sort of stuff...

      Indeed, it is a psychological 'safety net' that allows individuals to give their lives, whilst (-X-) & believe that they will 'go to an even better place'.

      Exploring what makes it possible for those intent on leading to get 'their followers' to give their lives for the cause, freely choose to sacrifice themselves for the plan, could expose a mechanism for transformational actions that empowers individuals to consciously choose what to do. It can also lead to all sort of schemas that range from 'passive' prevention to 'active' interventions for good or bad.

      I agree that good people do good things... and bad people do bad things... and of course people do all sort of things... without the actions necessarily determining what individuals are... making a mistake doesn't lead one to be a mistake (see talk http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html). Besides good people can do bad things without really knowing what they do... same for bad ones they can do good without really knowing what they do :-)

      to get people to do things requires their consent, which is mostly given when individuals believe to be doing something appropriate given the circumstances. Religion/distinctions are NOT required, Beliefs are. These can lead to good and bad choices. What you claimed as required can not validly stand considering that there are other alternatives
      • Jan 8 2014: Esteban, my name is Dave, not David. Nobody calls me David, not even my parents. I don't think that the name David occurs anywhere in association with me. If you could just call me Dave, like everyone else, I'd really appreciate it.

        I appreciate that you agreed with much of what I said, but...

        You criticised what was said about the need for religion to convince people to do things that are bad, when under other circumstances they would do good. Firstly, as I clearly stated, it was not my illustration, but someone else's. Secondly, I know of no other circumstances where a 'good' person would do 'bad' things so readily than when they've been told that it's right for religious reasons. If you're looking for a 'belief' that runs contrary to what a person might normally do to get the best outcome for themselves and others, then I would have thought that religion would have to be a prime candidate. Of course, blackmail would be another, but that, again, would be going off piste!

        I find some of what you've said a little vague and other sections unhelpful. You seem to be arguing some points just for the sake of argument, but that could just be me not understanding?

        In most conversations one has to generalise. One usually respects the wording somebody uses and it's not usually helpful to go 'off piste' and argue about what we mean by 'right' or 'wrong', or 'good' and 'bad'. We could get into an argument about what we mean by 'beliefs', for instance, but I really don't think that that would be helpful either.

        Some good people do bad things and bad people do good things. But to take your point and give it validity one would be able to argue that at some point the devil must have done at least one good thing, maybe before he was kicked out of heaven, therefore the devil is really good. Like I said, I'm not sure this is at all helpful. You seem to want to find fault in some arguments whilst missing the original point of the original conversation and the points people make.
        • Jan 8 2014: Dave, sorry about calling you David please don't read much into the particular word I used for sometimes we make mistakes that we are unaware off; in fact if you hadn't mentioned I would had never become aware that I called you by a different name. My intent was addressed to you (and others who read). In fact I know sometimes individuals use a different word than intended (I do that all the time in part thanks to the gift of dyslexia :-)

          There are some studies where individuals followed instructions to 'electrocute others' thanks to the circumstances of the experiment that have nothing to do with Religious beliefs. I am sure that within organizations some good people do bad things following orders and the pear pressures involved. The idea that religion is required to get good people to do bad stuff just isn't true and holding that religion gets good people to do bad stuff rather than the inverse, getting bad people to do goos stuff, can lead to an outright rejection of religions.

          I do seem to question/argue about certain issues that most usually respect as givens. if it would be helpful for me to elaborate on a particular statement and why I chosen to pursue it please just ask. I agree going off piste to argue about stuff and it's meaning can be a waste of time though going off piste to converse and clarify the meanings about stuff can dissipate arguments.

          In regards to the devil doing at least one good thing... I heard many individuals argue that their mistakes and errors where actually good things because they learned from them! Of course the good thing was that they learned, which they could had done in multiple ways some that involved always getting it right. The reason I find helpful the notion that individuals can do all sort of things resides in keeping an open mind-frame rather than a fixed mindset.

          I can see how some may perceive me as wanting to find fault, rather than perceive what I seek to share; I rather it be the latter. Why do they do that?
      • Jan 8 2014: I know of the experiment you spoke of, and others that show that people can be pushed into doing some generally unpleasant things when told to do so by an authority figure. What greater authority figure than God/holy scripture?

        These experiments usually rely on some degree of separation between subjects. Few people will actually commit violent acts against individuals, for example, when face to face with the victim and seeing the consequences of their actions. Few 'good' people would mutilate the genitals of a child or stone someone to death for loving the 'wrong' person, or wearing the 'wrong' clothing!

        We're not talking about people who are generally 'good'. People who don't harm others, who live balanced, social lives and contribute positively in general to the lives of those around them, and society as a whole.

        What I'm talking about is the person who's sane, balanced, cares for their children, and the children of others, who would stop a fight, if they could, who would help a stranger, not just a friend. This is a person who is caring and loving and a good example of what a citizen should be, right up to the moment when they detonate the explosives they have strapped to their body and kill and maim many people around them. Are these victims soldiers? Are they foreigners? No, just people who happen to be believers of a different form of the SAME religion, who were out buying items in the local market. Bad people do bad things, but I can't think of instances outside of war where such atrocities are committed by normally sane people. Even in war, such actions are carried out by the religious, not soldiers, and not usually intentionally to cause maximum death and distraction of civilians. We're not talking about soldiers killing civilians through mistake, or even carelessness, but an act deliberately calculated to kill civilians!

        How many non-religious people feel the desire to hack away at the genitals of a newborn baby boy or prepubescent girl?
        • Jan 8 2014: Dave,

          You seem to be arguing some points about religion which relate to a different topic. I observe you conceded the point that there are other ways for good people to be pushed to do bad things though you do seem fixated on insisting its religion related. For clarity sake some religions as some organizations cults and even situations can make good people do bad things. For example road rage can make the loving dad into something else. I seen people who harm others rather than seek to contribute positively in many places. for example bullies, charlatans, liars, thief's, gangsters...

          How many non-religious people feel entitled and the desire to hack away at institutions, and others just to do what they want and think? I would say quite a few... in fact I consider many if not all here need to learn better ways to behave with others and themselves. We ought each do what we ought to do rather than what we think/feel/believe.

          Question is how do we figure that out and do it relying on what we think/feel/believe?
      • Jan 8 2014: No, I think I'm very much on topic.

        I only insist that issues are religion related, when they're religion related!

        People who commit road rage, bullies, charlatans, liars, thieves, gangsters... I'm not sure that these are compelling examples of 'good' people! They very much seem to fit in with the model I described originally. I'll repeat it.

        Good people will generally do good things.
        Bad people will generally do bad things.
        For good people to (willingly) do bad things requires religion.

        For obvious reasons blackmail is not included. I hope it's obvious. Do I have to explain why holding a gun to the head of a good person (either literally or metaphorically) is just an example of a bad person forcing a good person to do a bad thing? Do I have to explain that it's really just a bad person doing a bad thing? Do I have to explain why the good person, being forced to do something bad, is just a victim?

        You say that most, if not all here ought to do what we ought to do, not what we want to do. And what is that exactly? Who or what is to decide what everyone here ought to be thinking, feeling and doing? Would you like to tell us all what we should be believing? You seem to have clearly indicated (to me at least) that you feel most people here are wrong, and you have some answer. Would you care to share with us all?
        • Jan 8 2014: Dave,

          I include myself within the individuals here how still need to learn better (and more effective) ways to behave with others and themselves! I do think that it the way involves what happens to be the better way and choosing to think accordingly to such better ways.

          what we ought to do is exactly what we ought to do... and do note that while this specifies what ought to be done it also leave it rather open for each to discover it.

          In this thread I questioned the notion that to get good people to do bad things requires religion for its quite evident (at least to me) that there are other means. I provided specific examples to show you this and while I noticed that in principle you have conceded the point I perceive how you refuse to accept it, even resorting to subtle shifts in what you claim.

          I also questioned the validity of additional claims you put forth... like the one that stated "Few people will actually commit violent acts against individuals, for example, when face to face with the victim and seeing the consequences of their actions". Again I provided examples that should help you see that many will actually commit violent acts against individuals unless they lear how they ought to behave... In regards to some of the examples being good people who have learned to misbehave or who still have to learn how to behave vs them being bad people that will get us to a different subject.

          The idea of the bully bulling someone to bully others hardly exonerates the bullied bully... by that standard the bully may had been bullied into acting that way?
  • Jan 7 2014: Liberty is defined strictly in terms of a free agent's need to act. In my humble opinion, it is a very dangerous concept when used as an absolute value as seen on TV. The notion that liberty means the pursuit of one's self interest is a very logical consequence of the current libertarian philosophy deliberately or subconsciously propagated in the western world. I am proposing a thought experiment to illustrate the destructive nature of such philosophy. If liberty were an absolute value the best strategy would be to bring it to a maximum. What is the absolute liberty in the physical world – the material fundament of our existence? If liberty is removing restrictions then it is removing differences for two things different have a boundary where one finishes and the other starts. When all boundaries are gone all information goes too – nothing is different so no more bits of information, you know...? In fact, no more difference in energy levels means the thermal death of the Universe. Ergo, absolute freedom equals absolute death.
    The values that we embody in our existence, whether we acknowledge them or not, boil down to creativity. Anything that is generally considered ethical is assisting and promoting creation and it is related to putting boundaries to make (in the minimal case) 2 bits of information out of one. Is it normal that I am restricted by a boundary on my actions? Could be. Being free is not good by itself but depends on whether you are free to do good. The next problem is who says what’s good…
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      Jan 7 2014: I am going to play devil's advocate and ask what would happen if right at the conception of your thought experiment we concluded that liberty was not an absolute but a product of many things - like ability (consciousness, self determination, access to adequate substrate for survival, etc.). We then could not take it to the maximum since it may be possible it is not of analogue quality, but a unique state that either is or isn't.
      This would render the rest of your conclusion invalid.
      • Jan 9 2014: A good point, Sumesh. Maximum is an ill chosen word implying quantitative apect. What I meant is maximum scope of effect since liberty cuoldn't be bad if it is an absolute.

        But still...

        Wouldn't it be nice if, before I even started, the proponents of the current philosophy (as seen on TV) would give up their stand and demote their concept of liberty to less than an absolute, to a mere modality as it really is. Then I could rest my case. But they wouldn’t. Liberty as an absolute is a comfortable distortion of ethics used to justify egotism.
        • Jan 9 2014: Anastas

          Would be even better if everyone promoted their concept of liberty according to the actual absolute modality of maximum scope of what Liberty entails rather than distort it to fit and justify individual actions. In principle ethics, what be and righteousness depends on what be rather than some idea that someone holds to be. Its not something Arbitrary 'it is' whatever 'it is'.
  • Jan 7 2014: Esteban,

    Thanks for your comments. I'm not sure that we fully understand each other, but maybe with time and a little effort we will.

    In my example, I mentioned pursuing the best interests of the potential victim. The person doing the saving was maybe sacrificing themselves, or at least that was a possibility. The victim risked death or serious injury from being run down by a vehicle on the road. The best interests were quite straightforward. Get saved from death. Nothing more was implied, nor should it be. I'm sure that one could find an instance where the victim might be better off being killed by a vehicle on the road, but generally, most people would accept that in normal circumstances, it would be better if this did not happen and the victim was saved. One would have to ignore the norm and find an unusual circumstance where one could argue against the example, but I wonder why anyone would want to.

    You've mentioned 'martyrs and terrorists' twice now. I wonder if you have views that I am not addressing because you are not asking direct questions, or expressing views overtly. I'd be happy to answer direct questions or look at specific example together if you'd like to suggest any?

    'Martyrs' indicates the involvement of a religion of some kind. Throughout history there have been many martyrs, real or imagined. Many never took up arms and were simply tortured and murdered. Some were lucky enough to skip the torture and be murdered. Many called martyrs are, I would argue, terrorists fighting under a religious as well as a political banner. Their actions are often worthy of the most unhealthy psychopaths we have ever known. Many have been convinced to bad things with a promise that their actions are the will of 'god' and with the promise of paradise ever after their death... and often the murder and maiming of many innocent men, women and children.

    So, do you have a question, or something that you'd like to discuss?
    • Jan 7 2014: Dave,

      Indeed at this time we may not fully understand each other nor what we mean by our claims and with time a little effort we may come to understand each others much better and understand what each state. I hold that our interactions also serve a broader purpose as we demonstrate particular 'nuances' that others can perceive and experience.

      I think I got your example of the best interests of the victim. I can envision the different possibilities you mention and how some may seek to pursue them for whatever reason. Given I consider we pretty much agree on that case I didn't delved much into it and sought to focus on a different issue. Something I tend to do involves expressing views that fit both sides, abstaining from mentioning which side I side with, which I hold leads you to hold I am not expressing views overtly . For example when I mention 'the veracity of a claim' I am expressing a statement that is applicable to both valid and invalid claims without getting into the details of which be the valid claim. Something similar happens when I mention 'what be' which references the actual reality without getting into the details of which that happens to be.

      I have a pet-peeve with the claim "pursue the best interests of another individual or group, even to the detriment of oneself" given that I see how another's best interests may not be in line with what be best for them/others. As you mentioned many have been convinced to bad things with a promise that their actions are necessary justifiable good leading to paradise (regardless of who dies). By presenting an example that would help reject 'the claim' as stated; and replace it with something better I sought to change "pursue the best interests of some individual' to "pursue the best interests" in everyones mind.

      I agree many terrorists are called martyrs just as killers are called heroes/patriots.

      How do we get terrorist/killers to see the truth of the matter and redirect their ways to do good?
  • Jan 7 2014: One can only go so far when one tries to be noble. One cannot always accommodate the idiot, the deviant and the terrorist!

    Illustrations often have limits and can only go so far in illustrating a point. One can illustrate a point, but if someone is intent on exploring it's limits rather than accepting the point(s) it was designed to illustrate, one cannot be held responsible for someone's reticence to accept the point... they are intent on not accepting it.

    I see nothing noble in terrorism. If I step into the road to save the life of a child, but are injured or killed by a vehicle in the process, it will probably be seen as noble. Maybe you have an example of noble terrorism? Did you have something in mind when you asked the question? I see little in common between self-sacrifice and most modern/current terrorism. Maybe what sets the noble apart from the terrorist is the desire, in general, to save life, not take it, though I accept there may be exceptions one could give.
    • Jan 7 2014: Dave,

      Indeed I had something in mind when I asked the question that has more to do with the stories cultivated and told. The particular examples used sought to expose how some stories cultivate good and bad where as the better ones cultivate what be better. As you sort of mentioned -One can only go so far when one seeks to share a notion and may be limited to accommodate those who intent on not accepting it- BTW the intent on exploring an illustration's limits rather than accepting the point(s) was designed to perceive the illustration from multiple angles to form a deeper view of what was put forth. When I read ""pursue the best interests of another individual or group, even to the detriment of oneself" for whatever reason I thought of those who work for peace and work for violence, the martyrs and the terrorist; then though of how the "pursue the best interests" would only allow for the better alternative.

      I consider that each ought to be more aware and careful of the stories they cultivate and what these allow. I think you do actually see that some individuals choose to self-sacrifice themselves for what they believe; and how this applies to different beliefs systems that could be labeled this or that. I also think that you just do not like to consider 'self-sacrivides for beliefs' fitting all within one category dew to the cognitive dissonance that results from considering both the bad and the good beliefs belonging to the same group.

      You made what I consider some excellent points and contributions, indeed 'one cannot be held responsible for someone's reticence to accept the point' (well unless that someone happens to be one). I perceive you meant - each one is held responsible for what they choose to do (including when doing nothing) and if someone accepts or rejects the point that be someone's responsibility. I too observe how some are -reticence to accept 'certain points' they are intent on not accepting them.

      The example sought to explore a point
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    R H

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    Jan 7 2014: "Liberty in economic terms" is ultimately an oxymoron, isn't it? Yes, we theoretically have the ability to choose whether to participate in 'the economy' or not, but since the whole inhabitable world is virtually explored, claimed, and/or owned our 'liberty' is to choose whether to live well or beg. Therefore we no longer have true liberty because in capitalism we are subject to the decisions and directives of the most powerful (read: affluent), and in socialist, or in dying communistic, systems we are subject to the whims and 'ambitions' of the collective, or face a very real social ostracism which translates into a 'forced' limited liberty - strictly economically speaking, of course.
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      Jan 7 2014: Good point. Freedom to dance and sing or play a role or anything...but the sort of "bracket" effect that occurs from the laws, externally, ideological consists of arising questions...
      sorry to sound so cryptic but isn't there a dynamic of justice intertwined with everyday decision making?

      Johnny
      • Jan 7 2014: That would depend on the decisions involved and underlying principles upheld at the theater ... it can be a circus with all sort of schemes... dancers singers players and other roles...
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        R H

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        Jan 12 2014: from my point of view, the 'dynamic of justice' is limited to the arena we're allowed to play in. In other words, my dog is 'free' to run around the farm and negotiate with the other dogs about 'who does what', but I determine how much of the land I want him in. So goes with our 'justice'. We have a sense of what's right and wrong, but those in power determine the actual definitions and who it applies to. Thank you for this interesting topic.
        • Jan 12 2014: R H

          We run around the farm and negotiate with the other dogs about 'who does what'... of course some dogs think they be the boss and owner of the farm until they get out of line and the farmer leashes them... Thing is in the farm the dogs determine who has got the power by individual actions rather than collaborative ones... that focus on what be better to do...
  • Jan 6 2014: To me liberty is the freedom to do as one wants so long as it doesn't impose on others who do not wish to be imposed upon. As I once heard it put, you're free to swing your arms, bit when you hit others and take away their freedom, then you've gone too far!

    Liberty is freedom, but true freedom might be to pursue the best interests of another individual or group, even to the detriment of oneself. There may well be times when this is not only seen as right, but indeed noble, even heroic!
    • Jan 6 2014: Dave,

      What happens if I swing my arms and someone decides to walk within hitting distance to take away my freedom to swing my arms? Have they gone too far and imposed upon me their wishes rather than respect my own? Let's consider that the encounter results in their face moving into the space where my fist will be moving into and the two collide? Did my fist strike their face, did their face get in the way of my fist? At what point does one have the right to interfere and impose a certain way upon others rather than respect their wishes? When is an act noble and heroic and when is it something else? I can see how "pursue the best interests of another individual or group, even to the detriment of oneself" can apply to 'patriots' and 'martyrs' who in one place be known as heroes while in a different place be known as terrorist... That is why I asked 'When is an act noble and heroic and when is it something else'?
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        Jan 7 2014: I hear you, with that... are individual acts so important compared to collective acts of one people?
        • Jan 7 2014: In a way individual act are the result of a collective and collective acts emerge from individual actions... so in a way....with that ... .your question becomes: are acts so important compared to acts of one people? It seems to me that when each acts as one people one looks for the wellbeing of each and everyone. my questions cease to be about me and someone else and become a question of a part of me and another part of me... each sort of operating independent of each other rather than in unison. The question "Did my fist strike their face, did their face get in the way of my fist"? becomes "Did fist strike face, did face get in the way of fist? and may move to either way it hurts so lets figure out a way to keep from striking and getting in the way of ourselves ... we can move gracefully without striking ourselves nor getting in our ways.

          At what point does one have the right to interfere and impose a certain way upon self rather than respect ones wishes? Well lets not get dizzy nor stop moving altogether :-)

          BTW note that "pursue the best interests" can only apply to 'patriots', 'martyrs' and 'heroes' who in one place be known for what they are while in a different place they are made to look unlike what they are... I asked 'When is an act noble and heroic and when is it something else'? the simple answer is: when the act pursues the best interests

          Do note how that last statement is generic and absolute and doesn't focus on someones or what they think- feel
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    Jan 6 2014: nah liberty doesnt mean the pursuit of one self interest...liberty is about the collection of many ppl together....not being trapped
    • Jan 6 2014: In a way we are all trapped... those entrapped within the domain of knowing the truth can move better than those entrapped within the illusions of knowings... The truth shall set you free mens that by knowing the truth of the matter one recognizes that one be free to choose what to do ... it can be a bit complicated because of the fact that anyone can choose to give the right answer though to give the right answer they must choose only the right answer. So in a way they can and can't choose what be the right answer...

      One can be trapped within an infinite domain and for all practical purposes one be free...
  • Jan 5 2014: The short answer is, "No."

    The long answer is, "Liberty" is the right to choose whether to pursue your self interest or not. If you choose not to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, that may be against your self interest, but it is your decision, not the governments', and passing a law to require you to do so is an assault on liberty, just as passing a law that forces you to purchase any particular thing or be branded a felon is.
    • Jan 5 2014: The short response is that when some choose to affect me (say by second hand smoke) by what they choose to do (smoke) it becomes my business; establishing appropriate laws that each follows simplifies interactions by making it about what each ought to do and how each ought to behave instead of what individuals think and would prefer to do.

      In principle the spirit of the law involves passing a law to require you to do what you ought to do; which isn't an assault on your liberty (unless you choose not to do what you ought to be doing). In a way it's an additional incentive for you to choose to do what you ought to be doing! Unfortunately many laws are passed to force individuals to do all sort of things ... or be labeled as disobedient criminal felons to be prosecuted to the full letter of the law (some times for daring to question the authority of the authorities)... as long as you do as they say and keep quite you will be sort of ok...
      • Jan 6 2014: However, no one forces you to go to an establishment that allows smoking. If you don't like second hand smoke, then don't go to "Smoking allowed" establishments.

        While I, personally, do not smoke and dislike the smell of tobacco smoke, I have a big problem with taking away the liberties of someone else, EVEN IN THEIR OWN HOMES, which has been done, to force my nonsmoking habits on those who do smoke.

        And I think you meant "Keep quiet", not "Keep Quite" - and to "Do as the authorities say and shut up about it" is clearly NOT in the spirit of the first amendment to the US Constitution's statement of "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" - What country are YOU living in where this is NOT a guaranteed right?
        • Jan 6 2014: Robert,

          Why should I be forced to choose not to go someplace public just because others who choose to go to that public place decide to do something 'uncivilized' rather than seek that everyone who chooses to go someplace behave in a civil manner? I am pushing the point to make a point... what I am after has to do with how we redress grievances ... From where I stand many still have to learn how to actually resolve the issues amongst 'themselves' ... many continue with running to daddy and mummy or some authority to settle the matter; the idea of 'my way or the highway' is still present in many... and when one tells them that it will be the highway they get all upset about it not being their way... (it could had been their way AND the highway IF their way corresponded to the highway--- though thats another matter).

          Why would the people 'petition' the Government to do something rather than direct the government as to what to?
          A single voice of righteousness should suffice to direct what a group does, unfortunately when every voice is allowed the same rights as those of the righteous or when the unrighteous/or the more powerful can drown out that whispering voice that be right the direction of what a group does can be lead to perverse group think dynamics rather than more reasonable alternatives. I am sure that in many countries we live in the people do not have a guaranteed right to many stuff though they like to think that they do. Its easy to observe how those with money/power can change and bend the rules in multiple ways. I am just pointing out something that actually happens to be going on. And you are right I live in a country where the laws do not guarantee a right... in spirit and in letter they do but in practice well there be rampant impunity... its seems that the criminals have more rights and means than the righteous ...

          Yes it was keep quiet :-)
  • Jan 5 2014: That depends on your definition of "self-interest." Is a mother's or a couple's self-sacrifice for their children in her interest? Or the military or other hero's sacrifice? When I give money to a panhandler? Or a kidney to my brother? etc. In all of these cases, giving can do ME good, as much as the beneficiary.

    According to the economic definition, people do not have "interests", only "preferences"…their "interest" being to satisfy whatever these preferences are. My liberty can be curtailed when I am legally penalized for, or even prevented from being generous (e.g. because the city where I live has turned "squeegees" into criminals by outlawing their so-called "solliciting", but NOT the Salvation Army –i.e. it makes (personal) charity ultimately punishable by prison, but not the (anonymous and impersonal) philanthropy industry, that can CONTROL the poor's "needs").

    It is thus no surprise that personal ties –including and starting with family ties, but especially all the thousand subtle, small, limited everyday every gestures that, once cumulated, add up to the substance of "community"– have evaporated in modern individualist culture that ends in atomization and loneliness …but which –as careful scrutiny reveals– actually institutes selfishness thru official policy (for individualism and collectivism are not at odds: they make up the tandem that replaces the traditional (personalistic-community) tandem, that operates thru very different modes-spirit, largely forgotten by now.

    The protestant work ethic –needed to tame people into alienating industrial work– was originally imposed by making charity illegal and punishable by prison, with laws that actually elicited major popular protests (if anyone is really interested I can look up the specific reference). Today it is imposed through a whole array of legal and fiscal measures that subtly –unwittingly and invisibly but no less decisively– penalize nonindustrial forms of production, consumption and activity.
  • Jan 5 2014: That depends on your definition of "self-interest." Is a mother's or a couple's self-sacrifice for their children in her "self-interest"? Is the military or other hero's sacrifice ? When I give money to a panhandler? Or a kidney to my brother? etc. In all of these cases, giving can do ME good, as much as the beneficiary.
    According to the economic definition, people do not have "interests", only "preferences" ...their "interest" being to satisfy whatever these preferences are. My liberty can be curtailed when I am legally penalized for, or even prevented from being generous (e.g. because the city where I live has turned "squeegees" into criminals by outlawing their so-called "solliciting", but NOT the Salvation Army --i.e. it has made (personal) charity ultimately punishable by prison, but not the (anonymous and impersonal) philantropy industry, that can CONTROL the poor's "needs").
    It is thus no surprise that personal ties --including and starting with family ties, but especially all of the thousand subtle, smaller, limited everyday every gestures that, once cumulated, add up to the substance of "community"-- have evaporated in the culture that champions individualism. When you look closely, this actually institutes selfishness as official policy (for individualism and collectivism are not opposites, but two sides of the same tandem, which replaces the traditional tandem: personalism-community, that operates in very different modes and rules)
    The protestant work ethic --needed to tame people into alienating industrial work-- was originally imposed by making charity illegal and punishable by prison, with laws that actually elicited serious popular protests (if anyone is really interested I can look up the specific reference). Today it is imposed through a whole array of legal and fiscal measures that subtly --usually invisibly but no less decisively-- penalize nonindustrial forms of production, consumption and activity. [...cont..]
    • Jan 5 2014: Alfredo,

      Liked what you said with:

      --people do not have "interests", only "preferences" ...their "interest" being to satisfy whatever these preferences are--

      Thank you
  • Jan 5 2014: if we were a population of one then yes, however we live in a society of many, and so where the pursuit of a person's own self-interest impedes the liberty of another, it must be restricted.

    there's nothing wrong with going for what you want, as long as you don't stop anyone else from also going for what they want in the process.
    • Jan 5 2014: Ben,

      My initial idea to respond back was along the lines that:

      -- There is something right with going for what one ought to seek and that is always in synergy with what others ought to seek IF going for what one wants corresponded with what one ought to seek--

      WHEN one is in harmony and doing what one ought to do, one collaborates with others who seek good one can pursue a person's own self-interests as one pursues one's own self-interests. The two tend to complement and enrich each other.

      The conundrum that a pacifist faces and has to deal with when interacting with a fighter involves doing something in order to win the fight; without in the process ceding into the fight nor forfeit the challenge. Note that the pacifist will lose if they forfeit the fight OR choose to fight. IF pacifist fight they end up losing the interaction even when they win the encounter. Consider that there exists a fighting virus and a pacifist virus seeking total control of the domain; or consider that there exists an intolerant individuals and a tolerant one that seek to establish the shared ways to interact. Should the tolerant tolerate the intolerance ways and cede to intolerance? Should the tolerant impose their ways and cede over into intolerance? That is does the tolerant who insists on tolerance by choice or by imposition behave like the intolerant who insists on intolerance by choice or by imposition? Seems to me that these are quite different in nature.

      Incidentally the resolution of a fight without a fight involves a graceful dance that guides 'the fighters' to become 'graceful dancers' (or choose to forfeit the challenge). Note that the pacifist will win if the other forfeit the fight OR 'choose' to dance; If fighters choose to fight they end up dancing throughout the interaction because of the pacifists movements converting the blows into caresses by directing the flows toward what ought to be a graceful dance in them and in others.

      Sometimes one may need to lead
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        Jan 6 2014: Hi Esteban.I actually thought about the "graceful dance" this morning! The win -win situation! It often occurs to me to ponder over how it is for myself or others to shush another person with even louder noise.
        May I ask what do you do to dance gracefully?
        • Jan 6 2014: Next time you get the urge to shush ask for attention or ask to listen... its curious how when one seeks to listen one becomes quite... of course one could also play the shush game to see how many will fall for it... its a bit like when being stuck in traffic and bored... one can honk the horn to see how many will do the same thing ... its amazing the symphony that one can initiate and many are oblivious as to the underlying reasons behind it all...

          In regards to the graceful dance... I am still working on it... and would be a bit like Po -Kung Fu Panda main character... a bit clumsy (maybe more than a bit - mostly clumsy)... In a way it could be like a bull within a glass store... every move seeks to cause something to fall and break ...
      • Jan 7 2014: i would contend that it isn't a conundrum at all. desmond tutu put it quite well: If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

        the important thing to remember is the difference between claiming to be pacifist and actually promoting pacifism. if your action or failure to take action allows aggression to continue, how can you call yourself a pacifist? similarly, tolerating intolerance promotes intolerance. that said, we need to be careful not to take it too far by tolerating things that are harmful just for the sake of tolerance.
        • Jan 7 2014: Ben,

          The notion that if you are not a friend then you are an enemy hardly consider the alternative that one can be neither one ! I heard those who claim if one sees fraud and doesn't yell fraud one is complicit of fraud as a way to pass responsibility towards bystanders; when the truth of the matter may be that one simply chooses the alternative to let the elephant and the mouse deal with each other. You posted ' If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor' hardly reflects the truth of the matter; that one chose to remain neutral in such a situation ... reflects what one chose to do... In principle a free being has the choice as to how to participate in such situation...

          I find curious how you define the importance thing to remember about pacifist in terms of aggression rather than resorting to pacifism. The conundrum of tolerating intolerance promoting intolerance and the tolerant being intolerant of intolerance also promoting intolerance reflects how easy it is to be drawn away from a peaceful graceful tolerant dance into all sort of alternatives... that said, we need to be quite careful into what we choose to delve into, how far we go, the form and distinctions we choose to employ and the ideas we create and recreate and invite others to contemplate. things that are beneficial just for the sake of being ought be cultivated now and into the future.
      • Jan 7 2014: you've misunderstood. i didn't say if you're not a friend then you're an enemy. also, fraud is very different from aggression and oppression.

        we do indeed have the choice to participate, and sometimes that choice is between allowing oppression to continue and bringing it to an end. in these cases, doing nothing is the same as siding with the oppressor: help the oppressed and the violence ends, side with the oppressor and the violence continues, side with neither (let the elephant and the mouse deal with each other) and the violence continues exactly as if we side with the oppressor. we can't claim to love peace while doing nothing to stop war. leading by example is great and always the first choice, but it fails where the other party isn't interested in following.
        • Jan 8 2014: Ben,

          You stated " If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor"... which in principle is the same as ' if you're not a friend then you're an enemy" or ... stated in a different form when one isn't part of the solution one is part of the problem! All of these have a dualistic this side vs. the other and sort of ignore the possibility of other alternatives while to pass responsibility towards bystanders... one CAN claim to love peace while doing something to promote peace... as you said -leading by example is great and always the first choice, but it fails where the other party isn't interested in following- well let them stay behind sooner or latter they will die off... and only the peaceful shall remain....
      • Jan 9 2014: no it isn't the same. there's a difference between throwing fuel onto a fire and letting it spread on its own through inaction, but the outcome is the same, the house burns down when you choose not to intervene.

        you're assuming they'll eventually just give up and go away, but you have no reason to believe that assumption is correct. on the contrary, if someone has chosen to oppress someone else or another group of people, it's more likely they will continue to do so, caring little about how peaceful others choose to be, and probably even appreciating others' choosing not intervene which allows them to continue oppressing without obstruction.
        • Jan 9 2014: Ben,

          Each is responsible for what they do (and not do)... passing the responsibility towards bystanders... seems like a cheap shot that distracts from where responsibility resides. As absurd as it may seem someone today told me that I was responsible for what they thought of me! Imagine that, they want to pass the responsibility of their thinking to me rather than assume the responsibility of their thought themselves. BTW know that I do have reasons to assume that the notion I stated is correct.

          For clarity sake depending on what happens to be I may be in part responsible for what they think of me just as they are in part responsible for their thoughts!
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    Jeff z

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    Jan 5 2014: Unfortunately not or else we would all be rich. Theres two questions that appear to me as being the most important through your question. The first being what Liberty means in economic terms and how its a achieved? As well as the notion of what liberty really means for the individual and how it can relate to their economic standing? What Liberty facilitates is Choice. The choice to see liberty as a way to advance social systems as you say or the choice to emphasize more personal responsibility as opposed to a social, communal responsibility. This is Positive liberty vs. Negative Liberty. Social systems vs. Libertarians if you will, although this is a generalization to a degree. IMO negative liberty is the closest to that of the economic reality of which the United States currently has, but it does not stop at the individual. To truly establish liberty, the economic argument extends beyond personal rights and responsibilities and more to the big picture. The Liberty of the United States can be found in our free trade agreements and free movement of capital and labor. Without those mechanisms in place, self-interest wouldn't be worth going it on your own (indicating a need for positive liberty). As each person is a cog in the machine , specializing and pursing their interest, this would not be nearly as possible without the structure of a liberal economy. Again, Liberty provides choice of self interest, meaning it wont always reflect economic models as people have human tendencies that economics cannot account for.
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    Jan 4 2014: I don't think of liberty only in economic terms. I think of liberty as the agency and ability to set your social, political, artistic as well as economic course. How we pursue our liberty or what we do with it-- whether for our own gain or to help others comes from a different place.

    It comes from whether we see understand the way in which all things are connected. It comes from whether we understand that caring for others is caring for ourselves. Just as we are coming to understand ecosystems and the impact that seemingly unconnected systems have on one another. The joy or suffering of one of us has an impact on our own personal joy and suffering.
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    Jan 2 2014: Any liberty is not absolute..still bounded by existing laws and rules...the pursuit of one's self interest is still in question...no matter how good the intention is...the result is still important...
  • Jan 1 2014: So long as it does not infringe upon another individual's liberty.
  • Dec 31 2013: This discussion needs to get a reasonable sense of just what a "Person" is before we could make any moral judgments. It seems pretty well agreed in the scientific age that "things" are an elaboate illusion created by basic elemtents such as energy and cyclic patterns of various kinds. If that is true, then a Person is also an elaborate construct, but with "Consciousness". But C. is probably of the same basic type is electricty, in other words, a "Field" of energy, basically. An essential part of a Field is its "Oneness". So that would have a profound effect on people's actions , if they ever took seriously the idea that everyone is not only related, in a family sense, but actually "the same", but without being (usually) aware of it. That's a conclusion of the Buddhist idea. But it is also in tune with modern science, in a way the Christianized West doesn;t seem to understand, although we talk about it a lot.,,I.e. "the Church is the Body of Christ", etc. What I am saying that any kind of Selfishness as a Principle of social life is a profound mistake. Self Preservation is fine, but Greediness is simply inappropriate..
    • Jan 1 2014: shawn,

      as you mentioned, we need to get a reasonable sense of just what a 'person' is! Some hold a person is just an elaboate illusion created by basic elements AND some hold that a person is more than the sum of it's constituents ... in other words there is a difference between a group of individuals and a team of of individuals and getting the group into becoming a team can involve more than just putting the constituents in close proximity. A person is a bit like a team, in fact its a bit like a transcontinental organization that integrates multiple teams and groups under a singular uniting image ...

      I think you are on the right track with the notion that everyone is related... each ones welfare impacts everyones welfare and personal improvements can have repercussions into the societal domain. In a way it isn't the individual vs the collective; its more like the individual and collective coexistence and cooperation. We are reaching a point where what each does and what everyone does influences everyone and we will need better ways to resolve differences of opinion ... hopefully following the higher ways...

      Have a wonderful new year... 2014.
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    Dec 29 2013: No. Liberty to me means Autonomy (the ability to have control over your own actions). It just so happens that people are self interested, so given the choice they will choose to pursue their own self interest. However others may choose override this initial impulse and choose to be more altruistic, in the sense of giving more concern to other people well-being. However it is important that other peoples interests are often are own, for instance take the idea of reciprocity. Reciprocity enables two self interested organisms to form a 'contract' to help each other, where both organisms will benefit in the long term (which could require some degree of self control). Does that make sense?
    • Dec 29 2013: Bernard,

      given the choice some will NOT choose to pursue their own self interest! Some will cede into doing what they think they want which may be detrimental to themselves regardless of the fact that they know what is better. For example addicts! Existing under the influence of certain systems, parasites, addictions, ideologies, beliefs can complicate choosing to pursue one own self interests . To complicate matters even more some individuals will choose to pursue stuff agains their own self interest just to get back at others. In other words thinking that humans will behave rationally is actually quite an irrational idea! Heck some individuals will choose to make the wrong choice over conceding and accepting the right choice just to be able to say they chose whatever they wanted...
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        Dec 31 2013: "Some people call this city the 'City of Sin', but in truth it is the city of freedom. And in freedom most people find Sin".
        I find this statement to be rather accurate when it comes to Human Nature.
        With regards to ideologies and systems, indeed they do affect the person. However the person still acts within their genes self interest regardless of the creed. Fundamentally we are created via the process of Evolution, and even though many of our behaviours may seem altruisic on the surface they are (usually) serving some purpose of either increases the chances of survival or sexual selection, unless of course that behaviour is maladaptive.
        I do find those experiments where people choose others to loose money when they make a lose, yet this can still be explained by reciprocity. Under the view of the 'Tit for Tat' form of reciprocity you would expect that of two organisms which have to play a non zero sum game.
        However I am up for correction if I am wrong! :)
        Kind regards,
        Bernard.
        • Dec 31 2013: Bernard,

          Finding it, and acting on it, are distinctly different... In regards to how we humans are created I think that there are multiple possibilities to speculate upon. Our behaviours may seem this or that though who knows with full certainty if it's destiny or individual choices that lead into a particular state? many of my comments seek to address this subtle nuance of actual uncertainty especially with those who seem so certain of what they hold. It's sort of curious how many choose to shy away from a conversation that points out particular notions that create cognitive dissonance rather than work through the ambiguities. I am generally up for a conversation related to perceptions of reality...

          I think that we inherit certain genes and certain memes, we are also put through a set of molding experiences... ultimately its up to us to choose how to be though pear pressures can certainly influence what individuals choose to be...
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          Jan 8 2014: The term "sin" is very loaded.
  • Dec 27 2013: in order to understand the teory one must see that the latter statment is what drive and validates the former statment. it is because everyone is looking out for themselfs that every one gains, because if every looks out for themselfs (and provided that they are succesful in doing so) then everyone is gianing which means a socity in which everone (succesfully) looks out for themselfs will create bayproduct which is that the socity in general will gain and be more succesfull. which in a sence both the former and the latter are one and the same thing.
    • Dec 27 2013: A better society results when everyone looks out for everyone...
      That is each must look out for themselves AND look out for others!
      Or stated in a slightly different form to be happy/well involves helping those around to be happy/well... in fact by doing the latter one can achieve the former!
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        Dec 29 2013: So, how is it that people are not looking out for each other? If they look out for each other it is an attempt at equality, but in order to that they have to sacrifice liberty...hence the value of selfless service. The value coming from the sacrifice of liberty. Ironically, it has been said in the past by those in power that sacrifices in liberty "are to be expected", as if human beings were vehicles stopped at a traffic light, or sign.

        In order to have accountability for equality, there are rules or "laws" put into place to make sure that people are doing the right thing by others. My question is why is this external factor needed? Why is it people can not internalize the right and the wrong? I think they can. I think laws should be more about health and welfare and safety more than distribution of wealth and power...but that's not how it is...

        So, what do we do about it?

        thanks,

        Johnny
        • Dec 29 2013: Johnny,

          How is it that people focus on their wellbeing while disregarding the wellbeing of what surround them ? Well these people have disconnected themselves from reality and think that they can be well-off even when their surroundings are not.

          BTW looking out for each others needn't involve equality nor a sacrifice of liberty. The rules or laws are put into place to settle disputes without resorting to what individuals think of the matter nor involving violence. In principle these are unneeded though in practice they are required because some people have disconnected themselves from doing what be right and ought to be done.

          The laws of distribution of wealth and power stem from archaic systems that desire to have the wealth and power of the wealthy and powerful rather than instill for each to cultivate the wealth and power. You ask why is the external factor of the law needed to direct what each individuals does. Why does the king have to follow the laws himself? In principle the king would do what be right in practice the king requires guidance of what be right to do what be right. Evidently people can internalize the right and the wrong... its just that some choose to reject such notions and insists that whatever they choose to be that is what is right to be ... we can see how some here adhere to such notion rather than choose to recognize that what be right be what be right.

          If we look closely at 'the deadly sins' we will see how they are directives related to and at stuff which tempts the healthy, welfare and safe ways of being and can lead to death. The notion of abstinence for some seems like untenable. they would rather cover it up and pretend it will somehow be ok; when in reality the truth of the matter is that if one plays the russian roulette eventually one will get it! the only way to win, is not to play some game!

          So what do we do about it: well abstain from certain games while choosing to play better ones; it may involve new challenges.
        • Jan 1 2014: johnny mac: if laws currently in use today were only about moral and not other B.S. (i.e. how many nursing homes in one area) then you would be right.
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    Dec 26 2013: Freedom is the option of one - but this "self-interest" is only to the benefit of the whole when an individual action under his/her "option of one" is motivated to do so by a "higher self" - otherwise it is usually simple greed - and such has produced the current situation where corporations rule the world to the dis-benefit of the whole.
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    Dec 26 2013: Private versus Public is a "zero sum" game would indicate that all is right with Liberty. How does justice equate into the equation? In the world of assumed roles, competencies and responsibilities where people call for democracy and work in hierarchical agencies.
  • Dec 26 2013: Fred,

    Indeed from what you said I perceive you understood what I was pointing too... I would like to highlight one particular idea in your response that I consider rather important: "Why not invest more resources into experiences that aren't easily reproduced". I would frame it as - invest more resources into producing experiences that are memorable and cherished for generations to come.
  • Dec 26 2013: Of course not lah.
  • Dec 26 2013: Balance is a thought but who is to register the scales?.....I think that the word liberty is in a weaker state of affairs today then in the past. Our laws, sensitivities and greed have diluted the base meaning of the founding fathers original concept of liberty.Today, one finds liberty by wiggling through the dungeons of law books in order to achieve the simplest of freedoms and our sensitivities to our egos has stripped us of free speech liberties to all.
    As to economic gains makes gains for all, well does a flying butterfly truly begin hurricanes? This I find difficult to believe for there has always been wind current prior to butterflies, economic gains are simply developed by producing an illusion of lasting happiness that in reality is only momentary. Did the child gain from all the toys under the tree, maybe for a moment he/she found joy only to be forgotten by the next wrappings. IE how many different kinds of so called smartphones do we have to develop and can you honestly say that yesterdays phone is now less beneficial then today's?
    Ones true society is an illusion in the greatest magnitude, where one gains another suffers, have vs. the have knots. If mankind could turn away from the simulations that have been produced by man and redirect his self towards inner peace one may find that economic gains will be reduced due to reduction of want.
    • Dec 26 2013: Russell

      I can envision the state of being where one gains thanks to others gainings ever increasing into abundance of wonderful stuff. I can also see the redirect self towards inner peace one may find that economic gains will be increased due to proliferation of self-help materials...

      I sort of liked what you said that "economic gains are simply developed by producing an illusion of lasting happiness that in reality is only momentary". Yes, "the child gain from all the toys under the tree, maybe for a moment he/she found joy only to be forgotten by the next wrappings" and maybe that instant will now last an eternity and help to transform that child's existence and with that help to transform the future of everyone! That butterfly can truly begging a hurricane or help to produce nice rains. Heck that thought you are having right now could do the same and user in prosperity (or something else). So as someone sort of said the other day please think good thoughts and have good dreams... of course thoughts/feelings/attitudes/actions can and do influence the realities we experience!
  • Dec 25 2013: The question is a typical example of one designed to provoke further dialog in the vein of 'private' vs 'public'. The whole debate is history. Not useful. No one is capable of defining and measuring gain, and no one is capable of defining private in a way that makes it clearly separate from public, and vice versa.
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    Dec 25 2013: more interesting to me is - why does this question piss me off?
    • Dec 25 2013: Because you know that a large number of people believe that liberty is self-interest, and in the name of "liberty" they proclaim a "gospel" in which voluntary charity is evil.
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    Dec 23 2013: Is private gain and public benefit a zero-sum game?
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      Dec 23 2013: that question should not be so hard. i don't remember seeing smartphones around when i was a kid.
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        Dec 23 2013: No.It's a non-zero sum,meaning its possible that pursuing private gain also contributes to the public benefits.What do you think?
        • Dec 23 2013: Clearly there is no correlation between private loss/gain and public loss/gain.
          And so it is possible to have situations of private gain/ public loss (i.e. patents), and private loss/ public gain (i.e. parking tickets).
          I don't think this is news.
      • Dec 25 2013: I also don't remember seeing a generation of obese kids dramatically unfit compared to their previous generation. Just because the communications revolution went too far, what makes that a gain, and who is capable of defining what is gain and what is not?
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          Dec 25 2013: yeah, kids these days don't practice the art of archery and sword wielding, horse riding, poetry and playing the lute. they don't know a thing.
      • Dec 25 2013: Your attempt at sarcasm is embarrassing. The point to be understood is that what you call a gain (smartphones) is not a gain (obesity), depending on how things are being assessed. In light of obesity, lute playing, fencing, horse riding, and football would all be gains. If smartphones are preventing children from doing these things, as you suggest, then smartphones are a national disaster. Likewise, liberty is not necessarily the pursuit of self interest (eg: obesity)
        • Dec 26 2013: Hey Frank obesity is actually a gain .-) resulting from a pursuit of self indulgence into goods one likes to eat!

          On a more serious note, I agree with you that what some call a gain may not be considered a gain and in fact be a determent to what one ought to seek and cultivate. I would also like to point out that the stuff isn't preventing children from choosing to do certain stuff... it is children who choose to spend their time on this stuff rather than that stuff which 'prevents' children from that stuff while glued to this stuff! In other words the possibility isn't what makes it a reality it is choosing the possibility that makes it into a reality... we better choose what to consume and allow into our existence!
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          Dec 26 2013: it was not an attempt, it was a glaring success at sarcasm. my next attempt is at mockery: obesity is gain, in the most literal sense.

          just to restore the balance of values, try to go to rural india, and warn people about this "danger" of using smartphones. then RUN!

          obesity is best combated by knowledge about nutrition and healthy lifestyle. this knowledge is best distributed on smartphones.
      • Dec 27 2013: My local bar has a sign "NO WIFI, get drunk and talk with your friends",

        smartphones, as enabling as they are, are also a generator of estrangement and a constant work-related or social network stream of pings which disables your ability to introspect, constant mail/forum/facebook/etc checking is supposed to generate a short term memory impairment similar to smoking marijuana, using a GPS physically shrinks your hypothalamus, blue-ish glow of the screen sends "its daytime" signals into your brain and impair your sleep cycles, etc

        you could say smartphones themselves might be a zero sum game because we lost a couple of things along the way when we accepted the good stuff they brought (though I wouldn't blame obesity on them, this part has more to do what you eat then how much facebook you do in a day)
      • Dec 27 2013: Clearly we are Kriszt :)

        doomed into being monitored, semi-retarded and believing in goblins and gods and whatnot as long as there's no social responsibility for application of commercial innovation.

        I'm certain there's a way to market smartphones as utility devices, something that can help you find your way when lost, something with which you can check your mail or do an internet search in pinch etc,

        thing is, its just not done this way. It's Big Data meets 1984 + other (intended and unintended) consequences
    • Dec 23 2013: Amily,

      private gain and public benefit can be zero-sum games, just as they each and together can be win-win games and other possibilities. As you said 'its possible that pursuing private gain also contributes to the public benefits', of course its also possible that pursuing public benefit also contributes to the private gain and other possibilities... Its even possible for the pursuit of one's self interests to involve the pursuit of other's self interests as the two merge into a singular pursuit of interests... Do note that here 'one's' and 'other's' may refer to:
      - the individual and the collective
      - the collective and the individual
      - the individual and the individual
      - the collective and the collective...

      To frame it a bit differently "when God's will is for one to be happy and one will is to for one to be happy then is seeking to be happy doing: A) one's will B) God's will C) one's will AND God's will D) one's will OR God's will E) all of them.

      It's actually possible for the pursuit of one's self interests to involve the pursuit of other's self interests as the two merge into a singular pursuit of interests... beneficial to each and all...
    • Dec 24 2013: Let me put it this way. We should, and have already done the rule of private activity for the individual gain does not seriously or disproportionally violate the public safety or environmental damage, then it should be permitted, otherwise it should be illegal or criminalized if it is knowingly carried out. I don't think that every kind of individual activity and public interest is strictly a zero sum game. Also, even when some charity or political gesture-work by certain individuals is just to buy votes to achieve certain political gains are not a zero sum game either.
      In summary, the relationship of personal and public gain or loss is rarely exactly equal, or not even approximately equal at all.
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      Dec 24 2013: Rather than private gain vs. public benefit, consider individual gain vs. common gain, and in a closed system with finite resources, gains are zero-sum—the equation must balance.
      • Dec 24 2013: Well if we consider individual gains as part of common gains then the more the individual gains the more the common gains there be... think of it this way when an individual in the group changes the group also changes because the individual is part of the group! The other way isn't necessarily so... that is when the group changes that does not mean that every individual changed it just means that the group changed...
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          Dec 25 2013: Not sure I follow. If we assume there's a finite amount of whatever resource in circulation--dollars, gold, beads, etc.--and there are limits on this resource--no more dollars printed, no more gold extracted, no more material for beads, etc.--how does an individual's gain improve the group's position, since it is they from whence the gain came? It's akin to a game of poker, where each player begins with the same number of chips, but by the end of the night, all but one goes away with empty pockets.
      • Dec 25 2013: Positivists,

        Under the particular case you put forth there be no overall gains to the group from one individual gainings stuff while another loses it! There would only be redistribution of what's on the table. Now lets say that each player gets to put into the game ALL the assets they have. Lets also assume that as they are playing the game one player gets a notification that they just gotten awarded an additional asset (or has lost it). Under this particular case put forth the overall value of the group has increased (decreased) in relation to the individual's changes.

        Notice that the underling premises of scarce finite resources you put forth differs a great deal from interactions where value is actually produced with the shared interactions. In other words there is a great difference between the sum of the parts and the emergent properties can be more than the sum of the parts. Kind of like the difference between a group of individuals working side by side and/or a team of individuals working side by side while also collaborating with each other to do quite a bit more together...

        For a while I have been thinking that the scarce resource economic model needs a complete overhaul especially when considering that abundant resources are made scarce in order to maintain working the present scarce resource economic model... Consider that when I share an idea with you there now exists two instances of such idea... thats quite different than what happens when I share 'the beads' with you... there continue to exists a set fixed number of 'beads' (until one creates/finds more beads). Though at some level we still need to share 'scarce' resources to subsist, presently sharing ideas to thrive continues to be seen as a scarce resource to be controlled and restricted to and by TPTB...
        • Dec 26 2013: I agree with you, Esteban.
          Let me also put up more examples. When we used electric bulbs using tungsten, in the filament, a relatively rare material, then the resource competition would cause some slight market disturbance. But now we have fluorescent bulbs, or even light emitting diodes (LED), so the latter are much cheaper and made of abundant materials with much longer life span. It means that we have CREATED MORE "RESOURCES" IN QUANTITY AND VALUE.
          As a matter of fact, The United States of America, during the past couple hundred of years, has become an economic superpower not merely based on its natural resources, but, most importantly, by the human innovation and improvement in the management skills and the industrial productivity by its citizens. This is exactly the point we are discussing here. Unlike the colonialism of European countries during the 18-19th centuries, the U. S. never engaged in grabbing any natural resources or territories to get the so-called gain at the expense of other countries.
      • Dec 26 2013: Bart,

        Indeed, though actually if we look closely we will discover how they did engage in grabbing the natural resources and territories to get the so-allend gain at the expense of others... though that's another story.

        It's also curious to note that fluorescent bulbs, or even light emitting diodes (LED), are so much more expensive than the previous ones... They may use less energy but they cost more... and overall I am not sure how the balance ends up. Also I am not sure what would happen if we take into account the whole costs... which happen to be more efficient overall. I once read that the clean solar cells electricity happened to be more detrimental to the environment because of their 'dirty production'. Yea once you have the cell it doesn't contaminate but to have it made it does contaminate.

        One example of CREATING MORE "RESOURCES" IN QUANTITY AND VALUE. could be using plants to filter the air and grow clean air within buildings. We could add to that fish cultivation and a couple of other things to create a self-sustainable ecosystem that enables more life within a given space. I read that the amazon forests land isn't fertile... that the abundance of life there stems from the delicate balance resulting from the flora and fauna interplays... some plants even have multiple roots systems ... some of them in their branches ... the roots in the ground basically exists only as anchoring foundations ... the nutrients and water is absorbed through the branches root system... Whats even more amazing is that the rains result thanks to the plants being there! Something to do with the evaporation of water from the leaves and other characteristics. I read that In cities the hot roads keep the water vapor from condensing and raining !

        You are right on the spot when you state that one of the key points to flourish centers on doing more with less... you mentioned it as "innovation and improvement in the management skills and the industrial productivity".
        • Dec 27 2013: Esteban, Let me just give you a brief explanation of the 2 questions you raised:
          1. I was comparing the total costs of either CFL or LED bulbs in the sense of what will cost you the amount of money for the same light intensity (lumens) in the consumption of the amount of electricity AND the effective life span of each bulb. Then the CFL or the LED would cost MUCH LESS than the tungsten bulbs.
          2. The U. S. A. was established not from the hands of the American Indians, or even the Conquistadores in Mexico,. It was from the hands of the English mostly. The Alaska and Louisiana territories were purchased from Russia and France respectively. The inclusion of the State of Texas was a little murky, but all of these happened before the petroleum resources became well known. Furthermore all of these occurred before the invention of light bulbs and discovery of petroleum fuels.
          The most important point in my previous discussion is that during and after the period of the industrial revolution, say from 1800 to 2000, the U. S. joined several small military conflicts and the major wars, it didn't get any major resources or territories, like the Russian and French "victors" did.
      • Dec 27 2013: Bart,

        The main point I seek to point out involves how the stories we tell influence the realities we consider... regardless of the actual concordance with the actual facts... A secondary point revolves about what to do now with the situations...how do we intertwine individual and social existences to enrich each other and mutually complement each while also catalyzing the good stuff like 'liberty' and mitigating the bad stuff like 'exploitation' ...

        I see we are basically looking at the same data while deducing different conclusions... As you sort of pointed out... there exists some murky stuff ... that murky stuff could change the determinations we chose to make based on how we choose to interpret it. Besides some of the data we hold may even be quite distorted. For example I recently bought a LED lamp that lasted only a few weeks just as I have bought regular light bulbs that lasted only a short time rather than last the expected life span stated in the box... That's why I mentioned that overall I am not sure how the bulbs cost compare in the end...

        Focusing on what you referred as the most important point in your previous discussion from what I know there where major resources gained from the military conflicts; though I will concede that these where unlike what other 'victors' got.

        Please note that I tend to make comments that seek to question and open up the considerations... this can be perceived as disagreeable rather that as it is actually intended. Hopefully you will perceive the later rather than the former. As you sort of mentioned we in essence actually agree and both seek to CREATE MORE "RESOURCES" IN QUANTITY AND VALUE. (resources == notions ideas thoughts innovations considerations).
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    Dec 23 2013: Liberty is about freeing one self from his own idiosyncracies, myopic,negative perceptions and thoughts. if this is done, everyway is a highway. period.
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    Dec 23 2013: If you're the U.S.A. as a country with the biggest guns and the most money then you can have all the liberty you want , whos going to stop you .
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    Dec 23 2013: "The economy is a mechanism for transforming private gain into public benefit. Each person is a cog in this machine."
    Which solar system are we talking about here, buddy?
    I would like to migrate there.
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    Dec 22 2013: Liberty as self intrest, then how does one generate liberty?
    • Dec 22 2013: Liberty isn't self interest. Liberty includes permitting self interest, but liberty is no more self interest than all organisms are ducks.
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      Dec 23 2013: I don't believe that anyone can “generate” liberty. Liberty, which is synonymous with freedom, must either be willingly dispensed by, or involuntarily seized from, the source(s) of power. Liberty, in short, is either given or taken.

      When it comes to self-interest, who among us would claim to be perfectly disinterested? We all act, to one degree or another, in our own interest. One can only hope that our self-interest is “enlightened.”
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        Dec 23 2013: good direction, but i think liberty can not be given, only taken.
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          Dec 23 2013: History supports your assertion, sadly with few exceptions, the "velvet revolution" in 1989 during which the Communist governments of the Warsaw pact allowed themselves to be "sacked" without a shot being fired (except in Ceaușescu's Romania), being one noteworthy example. This time the tanks remained in their garrisons.
        • Dec 23 2013: Pity that it was mostly replaced with authority of poor quality and base self-interests. As usual in such attempts.
    • Dec 23 2013: liberty and society are two opposite things which cannot coexist. If you are in a society, whatever be the form of government, you will have to follow some rules which are necessary for the sustenance of that society. One may or may not like rules. But they have to follow it. And any form of rule, except for the ones decided by an individual for his/herself are an infringement of their liberty.
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        Dec 23 2013: you have a hole in your argument. you say: no type of government can coexist with freedom. and then you conclude that no type of society can exist. you missed one type of society: one without a government.
        • Dec 23 2013: well government or not, any society is based on rules that make up the framework of that society. anyone born into that society is expected or conditioned to follow these rules. Even at the cost of personal liberty. In case of a government it happens on a larger scale.
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        Dec 23 2013: i see no inherent necessity for any other rules than those protecting other people's freedoms.
  • Dec 22 2013: Yes liberty can mean the pursuit of one's self interest, that's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you don't take liberties with it.
  • Dec 20 2013: No. Liberty means being permitted to do so, but liberty also means being permitted to be charitable and selfless. It also means being permitted to do anything between those extremes. Should any force say "You must not be charitable" or "You must not be self-interested", that force is attempting to destroy liberty. Liberty includes the freedom to do as others do not do, even if that means not worshiping the dogmas of Ayn Rand.
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    Dec 20 2013: yes.
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    Dec 20 2013: Liberty is the quality individuals have to control their own actions. Different concepts of liberty articulate the relationship of individuals to society in different ways. Some concepts relate to life under a social contract, existence in an imagined state of nature, and therefore define the active exercise of freedom and rights essential to liberty in corresponding ways. Understanding liberty involves how we imagine, and structure, individual's roles and responsibilities in society in terms of free will and determinism, which involves the larger domain of metaphysics.

    In my opinion liberty provides the opportunity to pursuit one's self interest if desired ... thus free will.

    Thanks, Bob.
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    Dec 20 2013: "The economy is a mechanism for transforming private gain into public benefit"

    Exactly Perfect.
  • Dec 19 2013: Not really for many social systems are built on the understanding of the social system maintenance ... the understanding of the human person is just a resource cog to be administered... The economy results from individual interchanges of goods and services often mediated and conciliated by an intervening arbitrator who partakes of the value within their designated domains. In principle liberty means "the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views" which only actually happens so long the individual follows the societies imposed rules!
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      Dec 20 2013: is that Madison? That's very funny.

      Is it an issue about value? or is there any liberty at all...imagination? possibly.