Crap. Bad moderation. Sorry...
One thing I've wondered, though... If the market predicts that the project will fail and then the project is cancelled based on the market prediction... Do the payouts for the people who bet on failure still go through?
Lately it seems to me that the real cops are behaving much more like the GTA ones than "legally and sanely".
Refusing to authorize a raise in the debt ceiling would create a situation where the President is legally bound to do two different things (he MUST spend the money, but he's NOT authorized to do so).
For whataever reason it's being done, my impression is that this administration no longer feels legally bound to much of anything if it's not in the interests of those in charge.
So basically exactly the same argument for creating a monopoly across the wireless spectrum that was used to create monopolies across wired infrastructure. Look at the history of electrical and wired telephone rollout... Everything went fine until--
The monopolies lobbied for and got deregulation. Now there is no accountability and we get to either accept it or not have electricity and telephone communication.
Look, I get the economic benefits of centralizing. But to pretend that the monopoly formed will stay regulated in perpetuity flies in the face of history. In fact, given the way change has accelerated, I wouldn't give you a decade before a scheme became corrupted.
Common sense needs a common perception of reality in order to be effective. Relativism has pretty well destroyed that common base, and so the sense went with it.
That's why the National Guard would be used instead of the Active Duty personnel.
Good idea... But who's going to go first?
There is less difference than many suppose between the ideal Socialist system, in which the big businesses are run by the State, and the present Capitalist system, in which the State is run by the big businesses.
This is what I like about Slashdot. I can always find something new to learn. You're right that I've been guilty of prejudice in thinking that nihilism and solipsism were the position that modern atheism is based on. I see that in assuming that, I've disrespected you and many other people. I apologize sincerely for that. Equally so, I respect the amount of thought that you've put into this conversation and thank you for taking the time to discuss this rationally. And I agree totally with the distinction of society and government/corporate power that you elaborate here. My wording was imprecise. However, corporate interests appear to be driving the overall culture, and don't see that culture respecting individuals the way you so eloquently describe it.
That being said, you seem to be much smarter than me as well as much better read, so you've got plenty of firepower at your disposal that I don't have the capability to answer. My only choice at this point is to say, "Well played, sir."
I don't reject outright the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or godlike pink unicorns. The universe is simply too large and we don't know nearly enough about it for me to be arrogant enough to reject even the possibility of such things. I believe in a God that loves each and every one of us as a child made in His image and likeness. A God that only wants the best for us, despite the poor choices we insist on making. Now I know that the Old Testament seems to refute that, but if you asked a child to write a story about their parent after being punished for unacceptable behavior, you wouldn't get a very flattering result either. Christ's coming was an attempt to rescue us from childish behavior and clarify God's nature which we have consistently misunderstood.
I've come to this belief in God by way of personal experience, and of course I can't expect anyone to accept that as evidence. Being cured of an addiction to pornography instantly and completely after deciding that you're lonely enough to return to the church you were raised in has a way of doing that to a guy, though. I know how weak it looks, but this belief is what I need to get through each day without shutting down due to the pointlessness of it all. Your mileage appears to vary.
There's a few things that I don't understand, though, and I'd be interested to see what your answers are.
1) If the Golden Rule is completely sufficient for deriving what is moral versus immoral behavior, then is it morally justified for a masochist to torture someone or a suicidal person to commit murder? The wording I'm familiar with doesn't contain exceptions for deviant ways of wanting to be treated. Also, the fist-swinging wording doesn't seem to allow for self-defense the way I understand it.
2) When does human life begin? At what point does the Golden Rule start applying? Biologically speaking, human life begins at fertilization but there seems to be some controversy over when that life becomes worthy of being treated like a person.
3) How is "Life has value because life values itself" not a tautology? Because my understanding was that basing an argument on a tautology is a logical fallacy. And even if it's not a tautology, it does appear to assume itself and thus beg the question. I'd appreciate being corrected on this matter.
Again, well played, sir. I wish you all the best in life.
Ok, good. Now we're getting somewhere.
I'll lay my cards on the table here. Postmodern philosophy (if you're intellectually honest and you follow things to their logical conclusion) eventually leads one to conclude that nihilism and solipsism is the only rationally defensible position. And if you've done that, we're done with the conversation because we're not playing on the same board. That's the limit of rational truth in this universe. I believe Gödel incompleteness was mentioned earlier, and that's absolutely true. If you choose to only believe rational truths and reject faith in unprovable truths, we have no basis for argument.
But I suspect that a lot of people are uncomfortable with that. Something inside us doesn't like those choices very much. You can come up with all sorts of rationalizations to comfort yourself, but if you're interested in nothing but rational truths that's the road you're led down. Now you can argue that belief in God is just another of those rationalizations, and you wouldn't be logically wrong in thinking that. But that doesn't make it any less valid of a coping method than any other you could come up with (such as ignoring the problem altogether and not thinking through the logic). So the hostility of some atheists towards religious is not the result of an honest search for the truth, in my opinion.
Now points 1 and 2 I concede. It's a symptom of stereotyping, and also assuming that anyone who's honesty searching for truth yet trying to take God out of the picture must necessarily have followed the logic all the way to nihilism. But those don't really hurt my argument.
Now as to the value of human life, something either has value or it doesn't, yes? Ignore intrinsic vs. extrinsic for a moment. Something either has value or it doesn't. If the value is extrinsic, in other words, dependent on circumstance, then it's not guaranteed to be there at all times. Value can be reassigned or taken away. Only if value is intrinsic does it stay no matter what the external circumstances are. That's why I believe objection #3 is invalid. Once again, if you're all way down the road to nihilism, it doesn't matter and nothing I say is going to make a difference anyway.
Now the question of value is important because the Golden Rule is not a reality in itself but is dependent for meaning on whether or not you value other individuals enough to take their well-being into account. There doesn't seem to be any rational basis for the belief in inalienable human rights (as mentioned in the Declaration of Independence) other than the intrinsic value of human life. I'd be happy to learn of any other logically supported grounds for our rights as individuals. So if inalienable rights depend on the value of human life, they can't be inalienable if based on extrinsic value and can be taken away due to external circumstances. So inalienable rights depend on intrinsic human value. Now again, if you're a nihilist or a solipsist, then the Golden Rule doesn't really apply to you anyway, right? You just prefer to live that way, you're not rationally required to.
Now as to #4, I would be interested in other suggestions for another basis for the value human beings such that there is a rational argment for the existence of individual rights. My life experience has led me to make the leap of faith that my theology is a sufficient basis. Given other arguments for the existence of God and none against other than "you can't prove it!", it seems to me that Occam's razor favors that notion.
So here's the bottom line. Our society has lost focus on the value of individual human life and has cheapened it to such an extent that we're all just cogs in a bureaucratic machine, easily replaced and only valued as long as someone's making money off it. So yeah, you're absolutely right about the dismal state of affairs regarding lawyers. It wasn't intended to be this way, as evidenced by the writings of the founding fathers. There was a belief that self-government of individuals was an inalienable right. That right has been usurped as we've forgotten the value of human life over the desire for short-term satisfaction.
So to bring things back around... All of the crap that the government has been pulling behind our backs, all the lying and unconstitutional behavior, has as its root cause the lack of respect for the value of individuals. Until we get that back, we might as well bend over and take it or go all French Revolution in reverse because we won't be able to recover what made this country great over the years.
Well, just enumerate off the top of the list, then. I'm interested in exactly what erroneous assumptions I've made. Or are you full of it?
Absolutely. Moral systems don't have to flow from religion. But I don't think it's reasonable that moral systems make sense without the implicit assumption that every human being has worth. So why do we make this implicit assumption? On what do we base the worth of human individuals? If individuals have no intrinsic value, then it rationally makes no sense to respect their feelings and agree to something that's not in your own self interest.
The Golden Rule: he who owns the gold makes the rules. That fact of society has never changed and never will.
And yet a lot of people seem to feel that there's something unjust about that... Why do we bother feeling that way? If might does make right, why do we cling to our identities as individuals? Life would certainly be more tolerable if we didn't...