:: Thursday, November 07, 2002 ::
de Jasay's first axiom of choice: Individuals Can, and Onley They Can, Choose
To make this work, of course, he must qualify this to a considered choice. Groups can not make a considered choice because while a group can deliberate or debate, a group cannot consider....i.e.only individuals have minds. In a sense groups can make "choices", but they are only the outcome of a number of indivudal choices. "To ask why, given the physical environment, a certain state of affaires prevails, is ultimately to ask why individuals choose it; the laws of historical development or the dynamics of class and race do not explain it. Finally, de Jassay talks about a desire for responsability and how coercion dilutes the responsability. "Only the absence of coercion allows responsability for one's actions to remain intact".
This axiom he calls the "individualism axiom". I prefer to think of it as the "responsability axiom". Why was this axiom included? One can presume that he includes it because of a focus on responsability. But why an emphasis on responsability? Is it possible that consaquences are more important than responsability? Does responsability presume free will? Or are we talking of a different kind of responsability? Furthermore, it would seem absurd to rip a person outside of his consequences.
Besides the questioning of the importance of responsability, one can also question the issue of coercion. Does coercion really reduce responsability? According to Sartre, all of one's actions are chosen. If one is in a POW camp it is because one chose to be i.e. by not committing suicide. Furthermore, choices are limited. If a person purchases a Gateway computer, one cannot say that they also chose the Windows operating system because if you purchase a Gateway, you get Windows regardless. Yet you really can't say there is coercion operating. One may not
:: Mike 12:51 PM [+] ::
Recently I have been reading bits and pieces of the work of Anthony de Jasay. Who is de Jasay? De Jasay is an obscure author of political and social philosophy. He has various wonderful books including Against Politics and The State. Right now I picked up Choice, Contract, Consent: A Restatement of Liberalism. In this book he puts forward six basic principles with which classical liberalism can be upheld. Actually, I think the movement from six pretty bare principles to a strong coherent philosophy is interesting. It is a deontological work, which I tend not to like, yet he can pull this kind of thing off well. Since I don't feel like writing about much else right now, I think I will start outlining this structure now and share my views.
:: Tuesday, November 05, 2002 ::
:: Mike 12:31 PM [+] ::
Comments on cultural objectivism:
Have you ever read a political or moral commentary where one principle is used to describe every ethical or political situation imaginable? Rothbardians tend to do this with the principle of non-agression. However, looking into this Objectivist commentary on the family we see a much more stupid line of thought: explaining the whole of family relationships based on the "trader principle" i.e. that all relationships should be even trades between people.
While there is nothing wrong with the trader principle, I think that some relationships may not need a trade (even if it is an "I value you because you value other things that I also value" type arangement). There may be a perfectly plausable reason for considering some family structures not based on trades or even shared values appropriate. Certainly the larger the family (and perhaps the more open styled relationships i.e. considering "friends" as a type of "larger family") and its extension and mutual aid are a good thing. In fact, I think that the objectivist idea of how relationships are structured may not be totally appropriate, at least not for all relationships.
Now I think about it, the Objectivist theory of trades and valuing friends based on shared values actually conveys a lot of valuable ideas. However, there are problems applying it family relationships. I think that there is a value to close families and enduring familial relationships even between people who have very little in common. There has to be better theories for these relationships. Furthermore, cohesive extended families tend to be more sufficient, better able to deal with hard times, better able to help others. Certainly if families took care of themselves, we would have much fewer social problems than we do have today. However, like I said above, family should not necessarily mean "blood relative" and should also include vast and amorphous networks of others, especially friends.
:: Mike 3:47 PM [+] ::
Goddam! Libertarians for moral purity??
The Objectivist Center's Rodger Donoway has written The Importance of Blacklisting, where he defended an employer for terminating an employee because the employee was running for mayor as a communist.
Hmmm.... well, I don't know what to think of that issue in particular. I can see why one would want to reject communism and actually to do what one can to prevent its spread. But I also see the value in keeping ideas and serious intelectual trends around. There is some definate value to that
But then Donway takes a swing at all people he finds immoral. He really thinks that libertarians should adopt the burgeoise value system in total. Any other system, of course, is destructive to self and society. Can you add any more bullshit.
For a long time I have been looking at different stylings of libertarianism. In many ways objectivism, especially the more one applies the theory to new and unthought of situations is a good idea. However, this just seems wrong.
:: Mike 3:25 PM [+] ::