Anarchist Philosopher vs. Retired Attorney On Morality & Anarchy

The following conversation took place at my Discord server.

Many, many people have cited the problems accurately but have been unable to make the final leap to a non-government solution. It’s as if they just can’t pull the trigger on advocating full-on freedom. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to be deemed a kook, or maybe it’s just about the unfounded fear of being left alone in the wilderness.

A big part of the problem is a misconception about the proverbial “We”. It’s often said that freedom is unmanagable (a somewhat oxymoronic concept in its own right) when scaled up to very large populations (e.g. “Anarchy can work in small groups, but when you’ve got 300 million people, you need centralized solutions.” But there is no 300 million people. That arbitrarily defined number is born of a national mindset.

Each individual’s scope is as large as it is, and interactions ripple across degrees of separation. There are areas of higher interactive intensity, like communities, but there is no reason why someone in California and someone in Alabama need to come to some agreement about how things should be done. By interacting appropriately with those in your immediate surroundings, the ripple will be one of propriety.

From an aerial view, one may look down upon 300 million people and describe what it looks like after the fact, but its ludicrous to suppose we can – or should – prescribe what that should look like beforehand (at least in the particular). The assumed need for this absurd level of control is core to the deception that implies the need for government.

Juan Galt

I’m not reading 200 pages to figure out your response to what I just said. I will read it if I deem it a valuable exploration, but that’s a separate issue.

Juan Galt
Whatever. I’m not an anarchist, but am open minded enough to read the thesis of one of them and view others videos.

For sure, I will give what you’ve shared its due. I am only here to speak what I’ve found most true, with the desire that I, those with whom I speak, or both of us, move closer to Truth via these conversations. I do not have a preference as to which one of these occurs, only that Truth gains further ingress into our aggregate perception. In the immediate term, I wanted to hear your personal response to what was said.

Juan Galt
My response is that I’m not convinced that anarchy is viable at any level beyond the individual. Even the touted anarchy of old Ireland had hierarchies, ie: a form of govt.

Do you acknowledge morality as objective?

Juan Galt
I’m not convinced it is.

Ok, so that’s something that deserves serious consideration, because it has tremendous implications either way. Determining the viability of anarchy hinges upon an understanding of behavioral cause-and-effect (which is the only rational definition of morality, to my mind. If you’re interested in evaluating one argument for why this is so, I have outlined it in the article at the bottom of this post).

But if it can be established that morality defines this extant cause-and-effect process, and that “immoral” behaviors are always to mankind’s detriment, and that external authority (e.g. government) is inherently immoral, then the viability of anarchy is – without question – established in the affirmative.

Juan Galt
I would imagine that the viability of anarchy hinges on much more. Here’s that IF word again. “It is clear that morality is a feature of humanity. However, if morality were objective then every member of our species would share the same moral values”.

I don’t think we’re using the same definition of morality. Did you read the article? Beacause it addresses this issue… And no, we don’t have a choice as to how we define this word – there is only one rational definition, and not because I say so.

First of all, it’s exceedingly likely that every member of our species does have the same moral sense on the most fundamental level, though it’s indicated by conscience, which is an emotional feature, and emotions can be repressed or misunderstood. But I won’t argue this because I can’t feel for anyone else.

More importantly, everyone need not have the same understanding of morality for morality to be objective. There is an objective truth about the shape of the Earth, but people don’t agree on it. Guess what? Someone’s right and someone’s wrong. There’s a truth to morality as well, though not everyone understands it equally well (and this is exacerbated by a purposeful effort on the part of those who have the power to influence culture, and who benefit from this misunderstanding).

Juan Galt
I guess my free will ends at the choice of defining morality. I’m always wary of those who say that they know the solution exists. IMO they are closet authoritarians. JS

Well, yeah. You can’t free-will away logic. And it doesn’t matter what I think I know. I’ve put forth an argument that purports to establish the assertion, so this is between you and it.

Juan Galt
OK according to you, I am not free to determine what the definition of morality is based on definitions that don’t fit your definition of morality. I would assume then, based on your belief, I am not free to determine the definition of logic that doesn’t fit your definition, whatever that is. I’m beginning to see hints of authoritarianism. But if it is between me and your assertion, well that doesn’t seem like sound reasoning to me. It goes against what I would call logic. Assertions and arguments don’t have a physical presence and don’t exist but as an opinion needing persuasive proof. Your argument of your assertion falls short in this regard. In other words, I am not persuaded. If anything it would be between me and your evidence and I’ve only been presented with your theory. BTW, I’m fairly sure you wouldn’t accept my chosen definition of logic relevant to this discussion either. I, again, offer this argument, “It is clear that morality is a feature of humanity. However, if morality were objective then every member of our species would share the same moral values. But it is patent that we do not share the same moral values. For example, there’s clearly a lack of moral consensus with respect to our views on euthanasia, abortion, or our treatment towards non-human animals”. Such is the nature of the diversity of human thought so, this is between you and it.

You’re not persuaded by what, and why? Nothing here addresses the argument at all. Your quote is no rebuttal; it argues against objective morality using a definition of morality that is entirely undefined, and was nowhere employed in my argumentation (since mine was explicitly defined and the quote does not logically apply).

I did not only provide a theory, but reasoning for why it must be so. I may be wrong, but you must demonstrate this for the denial to be meaningful. There is much there to choose from – select one thing I said in the article that you find unconvincing and explain why.

If you will not do this from a concern for Truth itself, do it from a sense of common compassion – I honestly want to know if I am wrong and why, not just to have the “X” buzzer hit and sent upon my unhappy way.

Juan Galt
You originally asked if I thought morality was objective. I replied I was not convinced it was. I gave you hints as to why. You undertook the task of convincing me, not the other way around. You presented an argument based on a theory and a definition sans evidence. Your reasoning is not evidence as you admit you may be wrong. It is not my task to prove you are wrong or not, but to accept or reject your argument as convincing to me. The burden of persuasion was on you and I’m under no burden to rebut or explain your failure. I am the only one who can determine whether I am convinced or not. I am not. Now you may go upon your unhappy way, if your free will chooses that emotion.

Well, of course, if you believe you are not bound by reason, then you may disagree on a whim without the slightest rational justification. It seems odd that you would participate in conversations such as these if that’s your position.

”I’m not convinced and I won’t (or can’t) say why” is not befitting a person engaged in the discussion of mature topics. I can see no flaw in the argumentation, and if I am correct in this evaluation, then it stands as evidence. Admitting that my discernment may be off in this regard is merely prudence. It takes nothing away from the argument itself, just as my believing it to be sound lends it no validity.

Juan Galt
LOL Bless your heart. Do you need a hug? I’m not easily convinced without evidence and you offered none. You offered your theory and you’re not even confident in its correctness. So, you failed your burden of persuasion. Big deal. It happens all the time in litigation and people don’t get emotional or snarky, even though they don’t see the flaws in their argumentation. Maybe your evaluation is correct, there’s no evidence that it is and I rely upon evidence to be convinced. I reach conclusions on evidence not merely someone else’s reasoning, as reasoning can be flawed. I provided you with my rationale for not being convinced that morality is objective. You failed to clear that hurdle. This should suffice as why you failed to persuade me. You should try persuading 12 jurors about something, with all their varied beliefs and ingrained biases, which involves high risk circumstances and mature topics. Now THAT takes skill and talent! Have a nice day.

I’m an attorney. While a philosopher studies and contemplates the theoretical basis of a particular branch of knowledge or experience, an attorney has a burden to PROVE with evidence, sometimes beyond a reasonable doubt in other’s minds, as well as the burden of persuasion.

As a troll, I know you’d like to believe you hurt my feelings, but I have no ego investment in any argument. The moment I find it no longer serves, it will be cast out in favor of its vanquisher. I am, however, indignant on behalf of Truth itself, and disgusted on behalf of authentic humanity. You’ve spent your life immersed in the moral and logical relativism of man’s legislation, and so you equate persuasion with victory, instead of valuing Truth as the only worthy prize. In this way, you are a credit to your satanic profession.

The bad news is that the “skill and talent” you’re so proud of is an illusion – you have no power to persuade another, since they alone set the parameters by which they will be persuaded. The (alleged) fact that you’ve successfully leveraged the intellectual befuddlement of the masses to your advantage is mere unscrupulous opportunism; no different than that of the misanthropes who feed on humanity’s fear and subsequent ignorance to effect their own wealth, power, and appeasement of self-loathing.

It is not possible for me to convince you by any talent of my own; I can only align my approach to your personal parameters for admitting new information. This I choose not to do, since whatever your parameters are, they are not in full alignment with Truth, and this alone I endeavor to wield in such efforts. If humanity is stubbornly unwilling to be persuaded by these means, then it deserves its hell-world, and I’m resigned to let them have it. Attempting to convince them in any other way is to plug one hole only to watch another inevitably spring forth elsewhere.

You’ve deserved to be blocked long before now, and I’ve been guilty of entertaining the disingenuous for want of more suitable alternatives. But now, the time has come. So spit your parting shots to the wind – I will not hear them – and as a piece of personal advice: Teenage smarm is not a good look for a village elder.

Juan Galt
I hope your venting was cathartic. So, I’m a troll because I answered a question YOU asked about a subject YOU initiated? LOL Take your own advice to wit: “you have no power to persuade another, since they alone set the parameters by which they will be persuaded”. By all means, block that with which you disagree. That’s the ticket! I knew you were a closet authoritarian!

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