- --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "walto" <calhorn@...> wrote:
> > > Seriously, the basic problem here is that the term "rights" is used in several different ways.That's a valid issue, but your concern, expressed at top, was that the word was being used in several different ways, as indeed it is. So that's what I tried to straighten out. Now you are raising a different issue: the underlying meaning those different uses of the word have in common. You propose:
> > Yes, there is an intractable equivocation problem whenever we talk of rights. IMO we need to keep at least three different senses of the word straight: the "legal" rights specified in laws, contracts, etc.; the "effective" rights society recognizes -- which, in a democracy, legal rights attempt to formalize and codify (with varying degrees of success); and "natural" rights, which are the effective rights societies would recognize if everyone knew everything they had to know about people and how rights would affect their ultimate outcomes (i.e., if we could somehow play out a simulation of evolution all the way through the endgame).
> The problem I see above is that the term "rights" is used to explain (and not actually define, unfortunately) "natural rights" "legal rights" and "effective rights." The first desideratum should be to give some sense of what is meant by a right, simpliciter.
> ... maybe something like "entitlement" would do. Then, a traditional position might be something like this:Using "entitlement" to substitute for "right" doesn't really solve the problem, though. What is an entitlement in this sense? What is its effect or mechanism in the case of natural rights?
> "legal rights"--those goods to which some person or persons is provided an entitlement by some law or contract.
> "natural rights"--those goods to which some person or persons have an inalienable entitlement, just in virtue of existing as a person.
I'd prefer to construct the definition in terms of more concrete and fundamental concepts: a right is an undertaking by a society to constrain its members' behavior wrt one another, with natural rights being the hypothetical undertakings of an ideal society of wise, enlightened people.
> You turn these around by defining "natural rights" in terms of what you've called "effective rights." Maybe something like this:I think it's more accurate to say that natural rights are the ones that apply to any human society, inasmuch as every human society consists of human beings who have a specific biological nature in common. Unlike the societies of other social animals, which operate mainly on their members' instinctive behaviors, human societies need rights because our instincts are weak compared to our learned behaviors, and because cultural evolution is far too rapid for genetic evolution to keep up. Rights have probably become even more crucial in recent centuries, as technological evolution is much more rapid still.
> "natural rights"--those goods to which participants of some particular society are claimed to be entitled based on the theory that their provision is most conducive to "beneficial human outcomes."
> It's odd to call those "natural" though, since, presumably any society might be wrong about the matter.As it's a question of empirical fact, yes, any society might be wrong about it. There may be no final answer at all. But that's what makes it "natural": it's a fact of nature, though one we haven't actually nailed down yet.
> It probably would be better to just say something like:Reproductive success: persisting after competitors have become extinct. It's important to understand that rights have got us that far already, and wouldn't exist if they hadn't. History is in part an account of the competition between different societies' understanding of rights.
> "natural rights" those goods whose entitlement by society would be most conducive to beneficial human outcomes [whatever those are, exactly]
> Again, I think that would be preferable because your proposal has an epistemic element: it says they're natural just in case they're THOUGHT to be the most beneficial entitlements.No, our opinion isn't what _makes_ rights natural; it's only our best guess as to what rights ARE natural: i.e., what rights nature will reward with reproductive success.
> I don't really have much problem with that way of looking at things. It moves the key questions from the "natural law" arena to the "naturally beneficial" arena.IMO the key point is that they are one and the same. Our concept of rights _originates_ in what is naturally beneficial (i.e., reproductively successful).
> But, of course, the questions remain terribly difficult, wherever one puts them.Yes, and as it's an open empirical question, I don't pretend to have final answers. However, we can apply the known epistemological tests such as internal consistency and consistency with accepted facts to separate the likely from the unlikely candidates. There is a lot of interesting theoretical and modeling work being done in this area now with lethal conflict theory, etc. IMO a key factor, and one that is very hard to model or quantify, is the degree to which a society secures its members' loyalty. Rights may be crucial to the patriotism that enables a society to prevail in armed conflict.
-- Roy Langston
- JDK,Those who survive are presumably the fittest to survive for the "fittest" just describes those who have survived.With regard to your last sentence – Stalin got there first.Harry
********************The Alumni GroupThe Henry George Schoolof Los AngelesTujunga CA 90243(818) 352-4141********************
On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 9:54 AM, JDKromkowski <jdkromkowski@...> wrote:Evolution is not really: the survival of the "fittest" It is just survival of that which survives. Evolution is a way of describing the process of how variation within a population will lead to variation eventually of species. There are plenty of genes along for the ride which are not particularly "the fittest".Yes the survival of the two apostolic lungs of Christianity (Catholics and the Eastern church) despite its massive weakness and in fact embracement of weakness of the god who becomes human and is rejected and put to death is a puzzle and crazy on its face. It drove Nietzsche crazy (well that and syphillus drove him crazy). It also drove the communists crazy too. Massive defense? How many tanks does the church have?Jdk
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On Nov 16, 2012, at 11:26 PM, "mattbieker" <agrarian.justice@...> wrote:
--- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, John David Kromkowski <jdkromkowski@...> wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM, mattbieker <agrarian.justice@...
> > wrote:
> > The catholic church has one real function: serving the clergy. When it
> > was able to, it dominated a large swath of the earth in an imperial form.
> > It can't now, so it fills out whatever niches it can; but the main thing is
> > ensuring that members of clergy don't have to go and get real jobs.
> Thanks for sharing this one too. I'm getting better picture of Land Cafe.
> It really is best if we get it all out in the open. It's for the same
> reason I won't hide my background.
> This isn't a cocktail party, where we need to avoid the topic for
> charitable purposes - or at least for the purposes of not interfering with
> mutual love of beer or gin or your choice. I'd still have a beer in
> Baltimore (once), with any of you clowns.
*shrugs* Whatever one thinks of Roy's evolutionary basis for morals, I think there's fairly clearly a pseudo-evolutionary basis for ideas and institutions. Dawkins made this case in his "The Selfish Gene." Basically, ideas are duplicated, with variation, in the minds of individuals; from there, it's survival of the fittest. The conceptual equivalent to a gene being a "meme." Why do religious institutions survive despite being a load of crap that generally act as a drain on society? They're very advanced critters in the world of memes; they've evolved a whole host of defenses to offset their massive weaknesses, such as the notion that it's not polite or even acceptable to question a man's faith, or that without beliefs in these memes, we have no basis for social behavior.
Catholicism isn't necessarily the most egregious case of this sort of memetic virus (that has to go to Scientology, don't you think?), but that's what it is, and all the bottom line of them all is the same: enrichment (both financial as well as emotional) of clergy. Still and all, its senseless and generally ad-hoc opposition to contraception, even in the light of AIDS epidemics, is horrible enough in and of itself to give me a fairly thoroughgoing distaste for it in particular, and I'd pretty much rather not see any meme I deem useful or good to be mixed up with it.
Personally, I think one of the best parts of online discussion is that there's less tendency to hold back one's beliefs; many lament this, saying that the internet just makes everyone rude because they don't fear social repercussions, but I believe there's inherent value there, as it allows for a more rapid evolution of memes. The noise and nastiness comes with the territory, and I think people will just eventually find a new normal.
One common Christian meme is certainly right though: hate the sin, and not the sinner. I agree, I'd have a beer with any of you. It's worth making a conscious effort not to take attacks against our beliefs too personally, because it turns out everyone tends to be wrong quite often.