Libertarians on Lincoln (the President, not the car)
- -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
On 06/29/2010 08:52 PM, Craig J. Bolton wrote:
> Joshua, we use to have this same problem many years ago, and,
> apparently, we still have it. Not all questions about the behavior of
> human beings in society are intrinsically moral questions..Some are
> legal questions. Some are economic questions. Some are questions of
> political organization. You can, of course, view all such questions as
> moral questions, just as many economists view all such questions as
> questions of constrained maximizaiton of wealth or utility and many
> political economists view all such questions as questions of dominance
> and submission, and.... But presumably you either get the point or don't
> get it.
I'm not sure what it means to be an "instrinsically moral question,"
unless you're expecting all moral questions to be of a certain internal
form, all legal questions to be of a different form, etc. [*] If so,
you'll need to specify what form each kind of question has. Otherwise,
it looks like we have not got one set of questions that are
intrinsically moral, and another set of questions that are intrinsically
legal, but rather a lot of questions, roughly of the form "Should I do
such-and-such," which could be addressed from many different aspects --
"Morally speaking, should I...?" "Legally speaking, should I...?"
"Economically speaking, should I...?" "As a matter of etiquette, should
I...?" Etc. But then if you are in a situation where these shoulds seem
to conflict, you are going to have to give some reasons for which of
them should win out, and why. Anarchists aren't ignorant of the fact
that you could ask about the legal aspects of a course of conduct; we
just have a substantive view to the effect that ethical or prudential
shoulds -- the deliverances of individual conscience or individual
self-interest -- always trump legal shoulds. This may be because legal
shoulds are held to be simply irrelevant (because government law is held
to have no color of authority) or because legal shoulds are held to be
limited and partly determined by moral shoulds (if one holds to a theory
of natural law). In either case, claiming the opposite -- that there are
cases in which legal shoulds trump ethical shoulds, or cases where legal
shoulds completely determine the question of "What should I do...?"
without questions of individual ethics even arising for the individual
actor -- is a substantive claim that you will have to give some defense
of. Not just something you can assert as if it were obvious.
> Questions of the relationships between states are questions of political
> power and force. That's what states are [an institution that specializes
> in force] and the commodity they deal in [force]. Maybe in some
> imaginable world states would deal in the protection of rights or some
> other commodity other than force, but not in this world. Again, I would
> think that would be obvious to an anarchist.
This and your previous comment about wars and proportionality seem
simply bizarre. Of course it's true -- and Anarchists generally know it
to be true -- that government wars are never conducted in accordance
with principles of proportionality, and governments themselves never
deal in -- because the States-men who run governments never constraint
themselves to respect -- individual rights. It's not that we're naive
about how government wars and States are. That's just why Anarchists are
against government wars and the State as such.
The fact that an individual person, or an organized group of people,
consistently act without regard to moral considerations when they are
acting politically doesn't mean that it is senseless to consider what
they are doing from a moral standpoint. Any more than the fact that a
robber or rapist consistently breaks the law makes it senseless to
consider what they are doing from a legal standpoint. The *point* of
norms is that they persist even when they are being ignored or violated.
> Further, the exceptions are pretty rare. Anarchists are more
> typically in danger from "their own" state than from
> an invading and conquering state....
As if Anarchists weren't aware of the danger from "their own" state!
Exactly that statement is contained in more or less every Anarchist
article ever written on militarism, as part of an effort to puncture the
myth of "national defense." (And there are a lot of Anarchist articles
that have been written on militarism.) But what has it got to do with
the current discussion? The fact that local governments are a threat to
innocent people hardly changes the fact that invading governments are
threats to innocent people, too. All governments are a threat to
innocent people; that's why Anarchists are against governments.
[*] Of course, "Is it morally permissible to _______?" and "Is it
legally permissible to ________?" and so on will require a moral and a
legal answer, respectively, in virtue of their syntax. But
syntactically, you could always fill in the same thing in each of the
blanks. So the question is whether only one of the two questions is the
appropriate question to ask about a given course of conduct -- in which
case you'd have to say why -- or whether both can be appropriately asked
- -- or whether neither can. If you want to claim that there are courses
of conduct of such a nature that they are "intrinsically" suited to
being in one sort of question but not in the other -- so that the only
appropriate questions about one course of conduct are the moral
questions, and the only appropriate questions about the other are the
legal questions, say -- then you'll have to explain what intrinsic
features of each course of conduct make it so that it "fits" -- so to
speak -- in one and only one of the blanks.
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org/
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----