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Absolutes

Mapraputa Is
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There is a certain kind of ideas flying around this forum that bothers me, and trying to define what underlies them... This should be probably formulated as "absolutism" vs. "relativism" opposition. Interesting, that this opposition seems to correlate with "Americanism" vs. "anti-Americanism" infamous dichotomy. MD residents of American origin tend to support POV that there are certain "absolutes", (often expressed as " universal freedoms", "natural condition of man", "morale absolutes" etc). Non-American population tends to question the very existence of those "absolutes".
In the sharpest form these tendencies demonstrate themselves in a belief that the USA has right and some morale "advantage" to decide what kind of government will suit other countries better, and that the USA has a right to invade some countries and to replace their governments when it feels a need for it. The opposing POV condemns such a claim and frames it as "might is right".
Now as a hyphenated American I found myself in the state of confusion. How do American people know what is "absolute"? Are these absolutes written somewhere? What makes them... well, absolute?
Hope we can proceed in a civilised (but not too much!) manner or in what was defined as "cooperative arguing"...
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Thomas Paul
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The Declaration of Independence says, "We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
So there is a basis for some of our absolutes. But you did get one thing wrong. "... a belief that the USA has right and some moral advantage to decide what kind of government will suit other countries better..." The US only interferes with other countries when they interfere with their neighbors. We got involved with Iraq when they invaded Kuwait. I do believe that every country should be a democracy but that doesn't mean that I think the US has the moral right to force that on everyone.


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Rufus BugleWeed
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TP has hit the nail square on the head.
Show us another form of government with a 100 year track record that matches 100 years of democracy.
Compare Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton's sins to Saddam Hussein's.
I'm with Shura, US is more communistic than the USSR, in some ways. No country, people, civilization has all the good ideas.
US enjoys not making the mistakes, so many countries have made before. Somebody real smart said something like, "I stand on giant's shoulders."
[ January 30, 2003: Message edited by: Rufus BugleWeed ]
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:
Somebody real smart said something like, "I stand on giant's shoulders."

"If I see further, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants." - Isaac Newton in a letter to Robert Hooke.
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
There is a certain kind of ideas flying around this forum that bothers me, and trying to define what underlies them... This should be probably formulated as "absolutism" vs. "relativism" opposition.

Thomas pretty much summed it up. The first line of the Declaration is most relevant to me in this case:
"We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
These aren't absolutes because they are in the Declaration. The Declaration merely codifies them. These absolutes are self-evident.
Think about it. The converse is that not all men are created equal, and that they are not endowed with certain unalienable rights. In what way is it possible that merely through the act of creation one person is somehow more superior to another? Genetics certainly doesn't make one person inately superior to another. We are talking about the human condition as a whole, not certain socially desirable traits.
The natural condition of man is such that all are created equal, and endowed with certain rights. Those that are denied these unalienable rights, or those not afforded equality, are thus denied by other men, and therefore unnaturally.
There is no room for relativism here. There are no shades of grey. It is never a case where some men are created equal, or where some men are endowed with certain unalienable rights.
MD residents of American origin tend to support POV that there are certain "absolutes", (often expressed as " universal freedoms", "natural condition of man", "morale absolutes" etc). Non-American population tends to question the very existence of those "absolutes".

I can't speak for other cultures, however these ideas are inherent to our culture. These concepts were recognized since the formation of this country, and are in fact part of our very fabric. Other cultures are much older and have not always recognized these truths.
In the sharpest form these tendencies demonstrate themselves in a belief that the USA has right and some morale "advantage" to decide what kind of government will suit other countries better, and that the USA has a right to invade some countries and to replace their governments when it feels a need for it. The opposing POV condemns such a claim and frames it as "might is right".

I would disagree. I do not think we have the moral right that you speak of. I will say that in some cases we may believe we hold a moral superiority (whether or not this is true).
Now as a hyphenated American I found myself in the state of confusion. How do American people know what is "absolute"? Are these absolutes written somewhere? What makes them... well, absolute?

The short answer is they are self-evident. They certainly seem to pass the common sense test, as I tried to illustrate previously. The longer answer is that these values evolve and are reflected throughout our history. We did not always practice what we preached, as evidenced by slavery, but one does their best to evolve as a society.
The counter idea, that some people are superior to others as an accident of birth, is ridiculous. While some people are afforded the opportunity to achieve more than others, this is most often a function of society, and is in no way a reflection of the natural condition of man. Additionally, favorable genetics sometimes give people an advantage in society, depending on which traits a society values, but again this is no reflection of the natural condition of man (the natural condition of man being his essence at creation).
Anonymous
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Which country has 100 years of democracy? I thought Blacks got to vote only 30 or so years back.
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
Which country has 100 years of democracy? I thought Blacks got to vote only 30 or so years back.

History of the Right to Vote in the U.S.
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
Which country has 100 years of democracy? I thought Blacks got to vote only 30 or so years back.

You are probably talking about the Civil Rights acts of the early 60's. It is true that in some southern states blacks were deprived of their right to vote but their right to vote was codified in the Constitution in the 1860's. Women were given the right to vote in 1920.
Thomas Paul
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I just noticed the exact wording of the 19th ammendment:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Does this mean that you could be denied the right to vote if you weren't getting any? Inquring minds want to know!
Gregg Bolinger
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    6

Thomas is funny.
One other thing to point out that may have been said, but was not clearly stated.
In regards to
"In the sharpest form these tendencies demonstrate themselves in a belief that the USA has right and some morale "advantage" to decide what kind of government will suit other countries better..."
Any form of government that kills their own citizens with chemical weapons needs to be changed.
I realize that Map's statement was more worldly in nature and not specifically about Iraq, but considering current events, I find it relivent.
[ January 30, 2003: Message edited by: Gregg Bolinger ]

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Rufus BugleWeed
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You are so right slacker. Look what democracy has done for women, blacks and imported IT workers.
Mapraputa Is
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Regarding "sex and voting", I just read a charming article that makes a direct connection between them...
"Early in the 1996 election campaign Dick Morris and Mark Penn, two of Bill Clinton's advisers, discovered a polling technique that proved to be one of the best ways of determining whether a voter was more likely to choose Clinton or Bob Dole for President. Respondents were asked five questions, four of which tested attitudes toward sex: Do you believe homosexuality is morally wrong? Do you ever personally look at pornography? Would you look down on someone who had an affair while married? Do you believe sex before marriage is morally wrong? The fifth question was whether religion was very important in the voter's life.
Respondents who took the "liberal" stand on three of the five questions supported Clinton over Dole by a two-to-one ratio; those who took a liberal stand on four or five questions were, not surprisingly, even more likely to support Clinton. The same was true in reverse for those who took a "conservative" stand on three or more of the questions. (Someone taking the liberal position, as pollsters define it, dismisses the idea that homosexuality is morally wrong, admits to looking at pornography, doesn't look down on a married person having an affair, regards sex before marriage as morally acceptable, and views religion as not a very important part of daily life.) According to Morris and Penn, these questions were better vote predictors — and better indicators of partisan inclination — than anything else except party affiliation or the race of the voter (black voters are overwhelmingly Democratic).
<...>
But over the past several elections a new political configuration has begun to emerge — one that has transformed the composition of the parties and is beginning to alter their relative chances for ballot-box success. What is the force behind this transformation? In a word, sex.
<...>
But sex, unlike war, does not go away; its return to political center stage is inevitable. And that is decidedly to the Democrats' advantage."
http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2003/01/edsall.htm

[ January 30, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
Jason Menard
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Map,
After a discussion in this thread, it suddenly hit me where we get our crazy ideas from. You see, as children many of us were subjected to intense propaganda and brainwashing every Saturday morning.
We were young and impressionable. All we wanted to do was watch Scooby Doo, the Super Friends, and all that other wonderful animated goodness. It turns out though that the cartoons were merely a lure to indoctrinate our maleable little minds.
See this site for further info. You will be hard pressed to find a single American kid from that era who didn't know many of these by heart. In the History Rock collection, my favorites were "No More Kings", "Shot Heard Around the World", and "The Preamble", as I remember it.
Not that I would know, but I would guess you could find these easily using P2P clients like Kazaa if you were so inclined.
[ January 30, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Mapraputa Is
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Ha! After your link I also thought that the whole problem is that you all were exposed to the wrong kind of music! This undermined your not yet fully developed intellectual abilities and made you defenseless against American imperialistic and militaristic propaganda.
But there is still some hope...
Right songs for you.
"Internationale" - the official anthem of the Communistic party.
Real audio
Mp3
And here is a particularly authentic variant, performed by members of the Communistic party of Norway.
And this is very important piece, the anthem of the Soviet Union.
Ok, I can sit now...
[ January 30, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
Mapraputa Is
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
The Declaration of Independence says, "We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

We hold these truths -- who are "we"?
"to be self evident" - :roll: Some centuries ago it was self evident that the Sun rotates around the Earth.
"that all men are created equal" -- created by whom?
"that they are endowed by their Creator" - aha. What if am an atheist? I believe that I have two creators - my mother and my father.
"that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" - well, for me it is self evident that the humans are the result of evolution and their closest relatives are monkeys. Monkeys aren't "created equal", their "societies" are hierarchical. When I read K.Lorenz "On Aggression" book I was amused how much of human behavior is actually "animal". In this sense your "the natural condition of man" isn't natural at all.
JM: These aren't absolutes because they are in the Declaration. The Declaration merely codifies them. These absolutes are self-evident.
Self evident for whom??? For you, because you are born in this society? What if you were born some time ago? And I believe there are still societies that would deny this "self evidence". That's why these "truths" are not absolutes to me. Call them "premises", if you want.
Jim Yingst
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We hold these truths -- who are "we"?
Presumably the people who signed it. It's a document with a bunch of signatures at the end; "we" is pretty straightforward in this context.
That was the easy one. For your other questions though, I'm with you - I don't see any "self-evident" absolute truths at all. The ones listed in the declaration, I espouse as "really good ideas" or "ideals we should strive for". E.g. all not created equal - but we should do our damnedest to give them equality of opportunity. I don't hold this to be "self-evident", but it's something I agree with, and I wouldn't want to be part of a society that isn't at least trying to achieve this goal. (Flawed though the implementation may be at times.)
Genetics certainly doesn't make one person inately superior to another. We are talking about the human condition as a whole, not certain socially desirable traits
I don't believe genetics makes one person superior to another - not in any overall sense. The class Human does not implement Comparable. But it can certainly confer some advantages or disadvantages in different contexts. I can't see how "equal" can really be applied to actual people.
Map's response to the "natural condition" argument is exactly what I was thinking. For my part I'd replace "natural condition of man" with "the condition we'd really like men to be able to have". Sorry if that doesn't sound as glamorous.
I do think that the fact that the Declaration of Independence is inculated in us (Americans) as we grow up, does tend to encourage many Americans to accept the idea of "self-evident truths" and such absolutes. (If there'd been a Schoolhouse Rock for the Declaration of Independence, I'd be sure that was the root cause.) Most forms of Christianity also tend to promote this sort of belief, I think; likewise numerous other religions. I wonder how much of the absolutism you (Map) perceive in Americans is really the sort of absolutism that you might also find in religious people elsewhere? I doubt that's all there is to it, but given that we two atheists seem to have pretty similar perspectives here, even though I'm American, makes me wonder.
I'm sure there are exceptions to this proposed "rule" even if it does turn out to be generally true. E.g. I think Jason has indicated he acquired his religious beliefs much later in life, and most of his personal convictions may have predated this. And I myself was not raised as an atheist; rather, a Protestant (Presbyterian mostly). But I still think there's probably a stong general correlation between between religious upbringing and belief in absolutes, and this may ultimately more significant than the American-vs-non-American dichotomy Map perceives.
[ January 31, 2003: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]

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Mapraputa Is
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Good post, Jim.
To add to "natural condition" problem - actually, my idea is right the opposite. That these freedoms and "democracy" in general are anything but "natural". "Naturally" people tend to form what can be called "gangs" - criminals, teenagers, etc. It takes a lot of education and special social mechanisms to prevent this natural order of things.
Now your ideas about kicking Saddam out of power and installing some form of "better" democratic government in Iraq bothers me, because if a society did not naturally grow up to this idea, then...
I remember words of one of parliamentarians in Russia at the dawn of "democratisation": "Our democracy is still a young girl. We cannot expect from her what we expect from an adult woman" -- pretty much gives you an idea how "democracy" is understood in Russia
the American-vs-non-American dichotomy Map perceives.
Well, I wasn't too serious about this, just wanted to stir thing up, because this place is getting boring lately.
I wonder how much of the absolutism you (Map) perceive in Americans is really the sort of absolutism that you might also find in religious people elsewhere?
No idea. Unfortunately religious people I met so far weren't... How can I put it... too deep thinkers. Ah, this is not true, but every time I met somebody worth talking to, it turned out he/she isn't that much religious really. Instead, I can offer another comparison. Some passionate anti-communists look so similar to their cognates of communistic origin. Makes me think that there is some psychological ground under this kind of phenomena, that manifests itself as "anti-communism" in one society, "communism" in another, perhaps "Islamic fundamentalism" in yet another... Political views are only epiphenomena, veil, "form" rather than "content".
Mapraputa Is
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And speaking about "all men are created equal" -- gee, this was precisely the point so dear to Communists. They used to share this belief and to go on to say that in capitalistic societies there is no true equality. (well, try to argue with it). For example, how is it that some people are 100-1000-whatever time richer than other? Are they 100-1000 times more productive? Come on. The difference in productivity can be 2-3 times, tens at most, but not thousands. So... And people who inherit multi-millions -- is this what you call "equality"? I wonder what (besides anti-communistic propaganda) prevents advocates of equality from turning into communists... Well, I do realize that your press did a great job painting "horrors" of communism, but as somebody who saw the truth with my own eyes, late communism wasn't 1/100 that horrible, really.
[ January 31, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
The US only interferes with other countries when they interfere with their neighbours.

I beg your pardon... but what is called poking your nose in others matter.
I think lot of guys has preoved it earlier that one country does it for its own purpose, not for charity or to become absolute. So, say so.
Please dont tell what is self evedent, common sense, freedom and all ....
By TP

The Declaration of Independence says, "We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. .......it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

If I am not getting wrong then it says "it is the right of people" and how much I understand it is talking abt the people of that country.
If there is any country where a dictator kills their own citizen with chemical weapon, then "it is that country's people's right to decide what to do with it."
Please correct me if I am wrong.
And more over as per my knowledge there are lot of other countries are also who are independent and democratic and whatever is self evedent as per you for to be absolute.
Then what is that "absolutism" which makes you think that US has the moral right to force that on everyone?


"Thanks to Indian media who has over the period of time swiped out intellectual taste from mass Indian population." - Chetan Parekh
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:
Show us another form of government with a 100 year track record that matches 100 years of democracy.

India has achived more than 70% of that in less than 50 years of democratic govt...
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
I can't speak for other cultures............Other cultures are much older and have not always recognized these truths.

On which basis are you saying ???
In my view, as US does not have any culture and society of it own, it should NOT talk abt culture and society for another 500 yrs till it is mature enough to say to have things like culture or society.

The longer answer is that these values evolve and are reflected throughout our history...

What do you want to say ?? :confuse:
Every country has changed thrughout their history.
For US, woman became eligible to vote in 1920 and for Taliban it might 2020 or 3020.
For you skirt might be normal for someone else Burqa is normal.
Are you saying skirt is self evident of absolute???

I will say that in some cases we may believe we hold a moral superiority (whether or not this is true).

So do I (whether or not, this is true).
And when I say America does not hold absolute, the short answer I have is "it is self-evident."

PS: I am debating YOUR views.
T & R
Ravish Kumar
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Closing your eyes in sand will not save you from storm.
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

"that they are endowed by their Creator" - aha. What if am an atheist? I believe that I have two creators - my mother and my father.

Have you seen dollor ... its written there We believe in God.

And we dont care if you believe in that or not as it is self evident that if you print We believe in God your currency becomes absolute.
Oppsss.. I used smiley in this post
Mapraputa Is
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For example, I once picked up University of Oregon (Eugene) newspaper, and the article said 70% of students work (part-time or whatever) to pay for their education. By the time they graduate, they have stomach ulcer and $70,000 debt for a family of two students What can I say... That in communistic hell you actually received money for studying? For these money you could (barely) support yourself, but if you did not want to work, you did not have to -- you wouldn't die from hunger. Top students got more money per month than a typical entry-level engineer. And no idea of "debt", of course. Just how evil it is... :roll: And I do know what kind of education it is when you have to work. I think, your society is **** good at brainwashing your students to make them think the current state of affair is the best they can ever get.
[ January 31, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
omar khan
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
MD residents of American origin tend to support POV that there are certain "absolutes",

I am not American and I believe in "absolutes".
R K Singh
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Originally posted by OMAR KHAN:

I am not American and I believe in "absolutes".

IMHO your absolute is slightly totally in different dimension.
CMIW
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
Map's response to the "natural condition" argument is exactly what I was thinking. For my part I'd replace "natural condition of man" with "the condition we'd really like men to be able to have". Sorry if that doesn't sound as glamorous.

Let's put it this way... Taking away all societal factors, and even what we might call genetic advantages and disadvantages, at the moment of creation, is there anything which makes one person inherently have more or less value than another person? What I think of as the natural condition of man is pretty much humans as they exist at the moment of creation, essentially blank slates, free of societal (and for the sake of argument environmental) influences. Anything after this point is influenced by society and/or environment. So given man in his natural condition, how is one "more equal" than another? Okay since we are talking about creation there is a certain religious/spiritual implication I think, but if there is I see it as secular.
If there'd been a Schoolhouse Rock for the Declaration of Independence, I'd be sure that was the root cause

Well... actually...
Jim Yingst
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Huh. I have almost no memory of that song. Unlike "We the people...". Guess they needed a catchier tune if they wanted to successfully brainwash me about the existence of absolutes.
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Ravish Kumar:

Have you seen dollor ... its written there We believe in God.

And we dont care if you believe in that or not as it is self evident that if you print We believe in God your currency becomes absolute.
Oppsss.. I used smiley in this post

I have seen the dollar, and nowhere on it is written "We Believe in God". What is written on it is "In God We Trust".
Rufus BugleWeed
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In God we Trust

The rest of the story is - all others pay cash.
Jim Yingst
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And we dont care if you believe in that or not as it is self evident that if you print We believe in God your currency becomes absolute
Absolute currency. Cool. Will this protect us from fluctuations in exchange rates? Until now I'd viewed "In God We Trust" as a very minor annoyance, since it's contrary to my own beliefs. But if it has tangible economic benefits, I'm all for it.
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Originally posted by OMAR KHAN:

I am not American and I believe in "absolutes".

What are they?
Mapraputa Is
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Meta-comment: referring to another popular thread, we need to beat a crap out of each other. I insist on "a crap" -- one crap per attempt. One by one. No need to lump everything together... And since there is no crap in me, let's start with Jason.
JM: Let's put it this way... Taking away all societal factors, and even what we might call genetic advantages and disadvantages, at the moment of creation, is there anything which makes one person inherently have more or less value than another person?
If we take away "all societal factors, and even what we might call genetic advantages" than what is left? What we are talking about? Certain amount of meat? If it has any "natural value", than it is nutritious for certain kind of predators. Humans are social phenomena and here we do not have anything but plenty of room for relativism.
JM: There is no room for relativism here. There are no shades of grey. It is never a case where some men are created equal, or where some men are endowed with certain unalienable rights.
No room for relativism... We need to define what "equal" means. Again, some people inherit mountains of money -- how does it fit into your B&W picture of "equality"? Everybody have chances to succeed, yes, on the level of individuals. If to look at statistics, children whose parents have college education are more likely to get a degree, etc. "no room for relativism" - you must be kidding.
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:
Show us another form of government with a 100 year track record that matches 100 years of democracy
Originally posted by Ravish Kumar:

India has achived more than 70% of that in less than 50 years of democratic govt...

OK, so India has achieved 70 years of democracy (70% of 100 years) in only 50 years! Is there a time machine involved here?
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
For example, I once picked up University of Oregon (Eugene) newspaper, and the article said 70% of students work (part-time or whatever) to pay for their education. By the time they graduate, they have stomach ulcer and $70,000 debt for a family of two students
I doubt very much that the article said that all the students have stomach ulcers. The State University of NY charges about $2,000 for a full semester's worth of credits. The local community college charges uder $1,000. Hard working students with good high school grades and students with financial difficulties can get financial aid.
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I do not have this article now, so I cannot check... This is what my memory keeps, it was a polemical article and this was intended as a hyperbola, I think, but again, I cannot tell for sure. Good call.
Let's see what you will get for it...
Thomas Paul: But you did get one thing wrong. "... a belief that the USA has right and some moral advantage to decide what kind of government will suit other countries better..." The US only interferes with other countries when they interfere with their neighbors.
As it was said in this thread, countries change, and I suppose you are talking about last years, yet...
Russian Civil War (1918-1922)
Here is marxist's take on it:
http://www.marxists.org/glossary/events/r/u.htm
and here is American side of the story:
That the United States actually sent units of the United States Army into Russia at a time especially critical in Russian history, the first months of the Russian Civil War, no one disputes. That these soldiers, three regiments to Northern Russia, to the Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel, and one division, some 8500 men, to Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan, engaged in combat with elements of the Red Guard and the Red Army is also not disputed. That these soldiers, especially those sent to Siberia, actively assisted the anti-Bolshevik forces in the area in various and numerous non-combatant ways, thus liberating them for combat against the Bosheviks, is also generally agreed upon.
<...>
It is also true that under the moral and political guidance of Woodrow Wilson, the United States had militarily intervened previously in Haiti, Nicaragua, and Dominican Republic and Mexico.
<...>
The Bolsheviks, Lansing wrote in a private memorandum to Wilson, on December 7, 1918, pose "a direct threat at existing social order in all countries." He urged upon the President that "the correct policy for a government which believes in political institutions as they now exist and based on nationality and private property is to leave these dangerous idealists alone and have no direct dealings with them." While this continues to be the basis of United States’ foreign policy toward militant communists, December 7, 1918, was but one month after the Bolshevik seizure of power. Not only was their power not consolidated, but they had yet to do anything that the United States – or President Wilson – might oppose. American opposition was on ideological grounds; it was because these new leaders of Russia were communists.
<...>
The point that must be made here is that as early as December 11, 1917, only one month after the Bolshevik seizure of power, the President of the United States had decided in principle on intervention in Russia.
<...>
it has been my argument that the United States acted in essentials no differently than the rest of the interventionists, and that the primary motivation in that intervention was the desire to destroy the newly established Bolshevik regime – to put a stop to the Russian Revolution.
http://www.mmmfiles.com/archive/civilwar.htm
R K Singh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5370
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

OK, so India has achieved 70 years of democracy (70% of 100 years) in only 50 years! Is there a time machine involved here?

We are ahead of time
R K Singh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5370
Originally posted by Jason Menard:

I have seen the dollar, and nowhere on it is written "We Believe in God". What is written on it is "In God We Trust".

Be happy ...
no argument
I am 101% agree with you
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
And since there is no crap in me...

C'mon Map, we all know you are full of it.
MI: If we take away "all societal factors, and even what we might call genetic advantages" than what is left? What we are talking about? Certain amount of meat? If it has any "natural value", than it is nutritious for certain kind of predators. Humans are social phenomena and here we do not have anything but plenty of room for relativism.
I don't think I'm coming across clearly. Many, but not all, of the arguments for the equality of man and the existance of fundamental rights use religion as a basis of the argument. While their references are often religious, I don't think it is necessary to possess any particular set of beliefs in order to appreciate these arguments.
Thomas Pain in The Rights of Man traces the rights of man back to creation. He dismisses the abridgement of these rights such as are often opposed by governments.
If any generation of men ever possessed the right of dictating the mode by which the world should be governed for ever, it was the first generation that existed; and if that generation did it not, no succeeding generation can show any authority for doing it, nor can set any up.

In other words, the rights of man are not afforded to him by any government. He then lays out his case that the rights and equality of man extend from creation.
Every history of the creation, and every traditionary account, whether from the lettered or unlettered world, however they may vary in their opinion or belief of certain particulars, all agree in establishing one point, the unity of man; by which I mean that men are all of one degree, and consequently that all men are born equal, and with equal natural right, in the same manner as if posterity had been continued by creation instead of generation, the latter being the only mode by which the former is carried forward; and consequently every child born into the world must be considered as deriving its existence from God. The world is as new to him as it was to the first man that existed, and his natural right in it is of the same kind.
The Mosaic account of the creation, whether taken as divine authority or merely historical, is full to this point, the unity or equality of man. The expression admits of no controversy. "And God said, Let us make man in our own image. In the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." The distinction of sexes is pointed out, but no other distinction is even implied. If this be not divine authority, it is at least historical authority, and shows that the equality of man, so far from being a modern doctrine, is the oldest upon record.

When Paine is referring to the rights of man, he distinguishes between natural (intellectual) rights and civil rights. It is natural rights which are afforded us by virtue of creation, although civil rights are an extension of natural rights.
Natural rights are those which appertain to man in right of his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the natural rights of others. Civil rights are those which appertain to man in right of his being a member of society. Every civil right has for its foundation some natural right pre-existing in the individual, but to the enjoyment of which his individual power is not, in all cases, sufficiently competent. Of this kind are all those which relate to security and protection.

He goes into much more detail and justification, for which I would direct you to read the document for yourself.
While Paine's arguments reflect his Christian beliefs, similar arguments are made in almost every religion as well as philosophy. Another, more humanistic, argument of the equality of man Was made by a gentleman named Eli Siegel in 1923:
Mind needs nourishment, care and training .... And the fact is plain enough that millions and millions of people ... have not got this mind's nourishment, care and training.... Men have not had an equal chance to be as actively powerful as they might be. And if they had been given an equal chance to use all the powers they had at birth, they would be equal.... Arguments, I believe, for the Equality of Man, are in man's Love, History, Art and Pleasure, and in man's most beautiful actions....

MI: No room for relativism... We need to define what "equal" means. Again, some people inherit mountains of money -- how does it fit into your B&W picture of "equality"? Everybody have chances to succeed, yes, on the level of individuals. If to look at statistics, children whose parents have college education are more likely to get a degree, etc. "no room for relativism" - you must be kidding.
You are basing your argument on societal advantages, whereas I am contending, as did Paine, that a societal measure of equality is artificial and irrelevant to the discussion of natural equality and natural rights.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
As it was said in this thread, countries change, and I suppose you are talking about last years, yet...
Russian Civil War (1918-1922)

Just to get the ground rules straight, how far back are we allowed to go? Can I talk about the Polish partition of the 1700's when Russia gobbled up huge chunks of Poland?
The sad part is that the Bolsheviks weren't destroyed in 1918. A lot of suffering in the world would have been avoided if the Russian people hadn't allowed Stalin to get in power.
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Originally posted by Jason Menard:
C'mon Map, we all know you are full of it.

Hm... But how do you know it? Did your founding fathers write something on "crap in Mapraputa"? :roll:
Regarding your quotes, I wont say anything about religious part of argument. There are a lot of reasons, but here is one. As a female, I do not care for religious POV. This institution (probably in its Catholic part, but I can be wrong here) employed itself with a profound discussion whether women are "humans" or not a while back (they decided "yes", boys, *am* I impressed!), and even now, are there female priests in Catholic Churches? If not, why not? There are none in Russian Orthodox Church, and what kind of revelation am I expected to find in Orthodox branch of Christianity? It is sad that the Bolsheviks weren't destroyed in 1918, yes, right, but I must note that Bolsheviks did *a lot* more in treating women as equal than Christianity did. But then Bolsheviks were EVIL, of course, and this said EVERYTHING. No need to think further.
"Equality of Man" -- you *mean* it, right? That's Ok, but I hope you do not expect me to participate in this hypocrisy?
Natural rights are those which appertain to woman in right of her existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual for her own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the natural rights of others. Civil rights are those which appertain to woman in right of her being a member of society. Every civil right has for its foundation some natural right pre-existing in the individual, but to the enjoyment of which her individual power is not, in all cases, sufficiently competent. Of this kind are all those which relate to security and protection.
Hm... sounds good, but a bit feministic to me... I wouldn't extrapolate "woman" to the whole... well, womankind, would I? It's only about "women", not about all human beings? In other words, what is good for a man, is good for humans, but what is good for a woman... Hmmm...
 
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