3 Blog Posts I Now Disagree With

Reading up for a post about economic calculation and it’s taking me a while because I want to make sure I properly understand the concept. So thought I’d throw this together for the time being.
Many of the posts I put here are ones where the conclusion I have hasn’t changed, but the way I get to the conclusion has. Bad arguments are bad arguments.

So in a sense, this is less of me making a list of posts (whose conclusions) I disagree with, but rather making a list of posts I think are bad. If you think these posts are bad too, then great! We’re in agreement! Just don’t assume these are posts representative of the typical quality of this website. Nevertheless, if you read some of the other posts and think the quality still sucks, then feel free to give me some feedback on how I can improve.

I’m going to start with the smaller errors and save the worst ones for last:

1) Are you a libertarian?

I actually like this piece I wrote overall. I think it makes some good points for libertarianism that the layman might find appealing, and that was my target audience. However, I pulled the following fact out of my ass:

The philosophers of the pasts were generally consequentialist utilitarians. In other words, their philosophy stressed the outcome that would be the “best” for mankind. The hidden assumption was that they were willing to do absolutely anything to make that outcome reality. That is, they were willing to aggressively, violently force other individuals to act accordingly with their utopian desires. And the prevailing mechanism was the State.

While it’s true that there are many consequentialist philosophers, it’s definitely not appropriate to throw that label on the ancient ones (I think it would actually be more applicable to modern ones). To claim this is a characteristic of the majority of past philosophers is probably blatantly false.

2) Voter Apathy? Quite the Contrary

This article was written to show that one might not necessarily be apathetic just because he decides not to vote, and secondly, to dissuade people from voting. While I still agree with the conclusion of this piece (maybe I’ll write another post when voting time comes around again), one of the arguments I made is clearly not a good one:

Let’s start off with a clear understanding of what the State is. The State is a monopoly of force over a given territory. What the State decrees is forced upon the entire nation, upon every individual who may or may not be opposed to that decree.

Voting is an act of taking part in the State’s process of forming decrees. By voting, you are imposing your opinion on someone else.

We all have opinions and surely have the right to have an opinion. But when you take part in the political process, you are forcing someone else to go along with your opinion.

For example, if 51 people vote that we all dye our hair red, and 49 people vote against it, all 100 people end up having to dye their hair red even though 49 did not want to.

So by its very nature, politics turns into a “them vs. us” situation. Normally we can both go our separate ways and choose whatever hair color(s) we want…

While this is true, as a libertarian who thinks there indeed is some proper use of force (self-defense), I cannot use this argument against voting, at least without proper clarifications. Since the libertarian is in favor of the non-aggression principle, and thus against activities such as murder, rape, and theft, he is in favor of the right to use violence to stop these activities. In other words, he is in favor of forcing his opinion that murder, rape, etc. should not be allowed on others.

Of course, there aren’t that many people who the libertarian is forcing his opinion on. In fact, the vast majority of the public agrees with outlawing these activities (there are obviously some issues with this argument since libertarians are individualists and typically don’t care what the majority thinks, however).

It can also be argued that the particular use of force of self-defense is more justified than others. The libertarian only allows the use of force in response to the initiation of force by someone else. Defense against those who are already transgressing against others is certainly necessary, while forcing other opinions of taste and personal choices on individuals has a variety of unintended consequences. My intention isn’t to prove this argument at the moment but rather to show that it exists and could be used. So let’s move on:

3) Does God Exist? Yup

I realized pretty quickly after I had written this that there is so much I don’t understand about the arguments for God. While that’s true about virtually every subject I learn about (I’m just a student after all), I think I’ve been lucky to have access to good sources on most topics, something I lacked when I jumped into a discussion about first causes. This isn’t completely my fault, of course: I don’t think 99% of people that jump into discussions about God properly understand teleology, and most don’t even discuss the metaphysical views necessary to reaching conclusions about God but instead decide to argue at a less basic (incorrect) level.

I think I’ve found the proper sources (check out The Last Superstition by Edward Feser yourself) to have an educated conversation about this, so hopefully next time I bring this up I won’t be so uninformed.

Note: I still like the intuition I give in that post, but obviously I was looking for more than intuition, I was looking for a proof.

Photo Credit: smootchie pooches via Compfight cc


Posted on August 29, 2013, in Ethics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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