Does this mean we don’t have a deal?
You do not have to read Fotopoulos; it’s really up to you. I’ve read Rand before, and long ago realized it was not the direction I was heading in. I think Rand has terrible and inaccurate notions about human nature, money, capitalism and radical individualism. Her sort of mindset strikes me as adolescent - and perhaps, as the human species in it’s adolescence right now, it holds some truth (if only temporary); but I feel we will soon move forward from adolescence to adulthood, forgetting our more wacky teen-aged ideas. I really cannot dedicate more time to regressive ideologies as I think we need to progress toward a more humanistic society and not waste time proving any further than most of us already have, that such regressive ideologies are anti-humanistic and false.
Are objectivism or libertaianism mutually exclusive with Humanism?
I feel Left-Libertarianism fits humanism, but not objectivism or Right-Libertarianism. Note that Left-Libertarianism leaves market capitalism in the dustbin of history ... where it ought to be put.
Wow, we have really gone off the deep end here! I take my eyes off the boards for a day, and now we’re justifying political terrorism in the name of liberating the oppressed, talking about doling away with money and replacing it with some vague sort of communitarian honor system based on personal reputation (craziness from the left), or honoring money as the highest expression of human reason, creativity, and industry from which nothing evil can flow (craziness from the right). I despair of finding anything rational to say, but I can’t leave poor Doug out there all alone trying to be the voice of reason.
I don’t mind the sarcasm Brennon, but please don’t equate “poor Doug” with “reason,” for his “reason” does not extend very far beyond his own comfort zone. Doug seems to me to be very traditional - about human nature, economics, politics… etc. This is why he fits so well with CFI. Paul Kurtz once said humanism was “radical,” and I intend to keep it that way :D
Open Money- Read the essay and, as I said before, it is vague and founded on what I believe to be a ridiculously Polyanna and naive utopian notion that people are so naturally cooperative that only the evil institutions of government, and the artificial hierarchies they impose lead, us to bad behavior. I still think it’s bullsh*t.
Well, no words minced there! And I happen to agree that the Open Money folks need to be clearer on what they are talking about. Again, perhaps one of their advocates will join this forum and we can begin an Open Money thread! I spoke to an advocate in Canada yesterday via www.skype.com - something we all should try because it allow FREE voice communication for two to many people at the same time over the Internet (not telephone) through you PC or Mac - and it is becoming much clearer to me.
But we need more background in order to have a rational conversation about it; otherwise it will be like explaining natural selection to pre-Darwin laypersons.
YES, we have been selected for cooperative behavior since group living was a clear advantage to our ancestors, and we have inherited that as have most of the other extant primates alive with us. We are probably the most complex cooperators in nature, and as individuals we get along more often than not. BUT, we are also naturally very competitive, since the same social environment which we cooperate to sustain is a selective force and leads to intragroup competition. The two aspects of human nature (and yes, Barry, I believe there is such a thing) are not mutually exclusive. And the competitive side can give rise to lots of bad behavior within the context of sociality. Sure, environment influences the type and frequency of the behavior. Resource scarcity increases competition and violence, bread and circuses lead to less overt competition and struggle, culture plays a role, etc. But outside of very small, culturally (and probably ethnically/ideolgicaly) homogenous groups, the idea that we can create our own medium of exchange which others will give value to based on our personal reputation is nonsense.
First of all, I never said we were NOT both competitive and co-operative. I think you are fairly correct there. But I agree with David Buller that there is no universal human nature, that humans are very plastic and we have multiple natures, and that most of our behaviors are directed by our surroundings (natural or human-made) ... which is why I think we need to find ways to build a humanistic society so as to activate our better natures.
Capitalism and traditional money systems are tied up with profit and markets and bring out the worst in us. I am looking for workable solutions. I think the overall LETS program is one such solution. I also think community-based economics is something to consider, and perhaps participatory economics an even better idea for we 6 billion humans.
We won’t get to an equitable, humanistic society overnight - we won’t reward effort and sacrifice over contribution or productivity over night either - but if we stay where we are now, we will screw up the world even more than we have already. The U.S. (and its exportation of neoliberal globalization), has not been as non-equitable - in terms of the gap between the rich and poor - since the “Robber Barons” years… And this time, Social Democracy won’t save us because it allows market capitalism to remain the foundation for human trade systems and thus leaves open plenty of room for the robber barons (last time, begun by Reaganomics and Thatcherites) to roll back any and all progressive advances and the safety net. The early social democrats - pre W.W.I - knew that the main question was how to supplant market capitalism with social democracy. But with Roosevelt’s “compromise” with capitalism (the ‘New Deal’) and Europe’s Keynesian, the question changed to how do we keep market capitalism from destroying humanity. A good question, and social democracy made some headway - created a larger middle class - but its compromise with capitalism led to its downfall.
Social democracy needs to take a page from libertarian-socialism and understand that a truly free and equitable democracy will not come about until we begin to dismantle the market. We NEED democracy. We NEED to abolish market capitalism (and not replace it with market socialism), but it will take some time, and a number of reforms to let folks see how much more humanistic life would be if it were created by we humans to be as fair as possible. THAT we can do… as a species. It is in our “multible” natures! It is certainly not utopian.
And a rational reading of the economists and analysts I have been reading the last few years would lead any of us on this forum to the same conclusions… so as long as we are not dogmatically married to capitalistic or Hobbesian rhetoric/ideologies.
There may be alternatives to money as we know it now, but it has developed and stayed with us largely because it is an effective medium of exchange on the scale at which our economic interactions take place these days. And I don’t think we’re going back to the kind of small, largely self-contained geographically local communities that would be necessary to abolish such a mechanism.
But it won’t have to be small or self-contained… In fact, the Open Money project is about building up to a global exchange system using the Internet as a tool. Also, Robin Hahnel’s Participatory Economics is also set up for World-Wide usage.
Terrorism-Killing people is usually wrong, and certainly killing people who have no personal connection to whatever evil you are trying to fight just to frighten a population, gain attention, or manipulate public opinion (which is, I think, a pretty fair definition of terrorism) is absolutely wrong. Is there sometimes justification for armed rebellion? Probably. Is the U.S. a horrifically arrogant and brutal (not to mention myopic and driven by bizarre factors like Bush’s religious ideology and domestic political posturing) actor on the world stage? All too oftem, yes. NOT, I hasten to point out, always. Sometimes we are genuinely trying to do the right thing, and occassionally we even do some good. But the fact that most Americans were shocked by the 9/11 attacks and bewildered as to where they came from and why (and subsequently cynically and all too easily misled into supporting the wrong response) is just a function of the fact that we pay too little attention as citizens to what’s going on in the world. Bread and circuses again.
Americans (mainly white Americans) are a privileged and naive people. Living with an irrational fear of people coming to take away our “stuff” or “freedoms” because we are so privileged, and - most importantly with regard to 9/11 - horribly UNaware of what our leaders do in our name in other countries.
I spoke to African-Americans after 9/11 and asked if they were as shocked as the white people I spoke with were. They were not. They told me how they have been the victims of white America for hundreds of years and have seen what white westerners do to people of color (who have what we want to have or can use), throughout the last few centuries. They did not know all the facts.. say those about how Osama bin Laden was ‘America’s main man’ working against the USSR in the 1980s, or how Saddam was ‘America’s main man’ when he gassed the Kurds and others with American made weapons and American support, or other such facts of history; but they were not surprised to hear these facts either. They were certainly felt that ‘one day,’ people of color in the so-called “Third World” would get some revenge.
They only wondered what took them so long!
Anyway, I myself could not kill innocent Israelis any more than I (a Jew) could have killed innocent Germans in 1942 Germany. But if others could and would and did do this to save me from genocide or worse, I would not hold it against them. Afterall, it was/is the elected leaders of the German people and Israeli people who have and still commit myriad crimes against humanity ... Why were/are most of them silent? It may have been hard for German Christians or pagan to protest the Nazi treatment of the Jews in their Germany - I admit; but it is certainly not for Israelies (more than just a few) in modern day Israel to do this!
When Spain was bombed because the Spanish leaders participated in Bush’s attack, invasion and occupation of Iraq, the Spanish people elected a socialist leader who got them our of Iraq! Jingoists here called that empeasement. I called it humanistic action! Spain has not been touched since. Why do the Israeli people NOT elect reps who will demand Israel stop their genocidal, apartheid behavior and pull back to the pre-1967 borders and move toward “truth and reconciliation” with the Palestinians? How can such still be going on in a democracy UNLESS people want it to go on. In this way, the Israelis are being immoral by their inaction. The killing of these so-called innocent Israelis is the sad price of their allowing their leaders to act immorally toward a people who have no other option left to them via methods to resist their plight.
By the way, I do not see the U.S. planing to regime change Israel so that the country would have to treat their neighbors better. Iraq broke a few UN resolutions, Isreal has ignored every single one since 1967!
Honderich is right on, and he and I are very sad that he is…
Rand and Barry are both wrong in thinking that without some coercive authority people will all just naturally arrange the most peaceful and prosperous possible social order. Obviously, there are libertarians in CFI in sizeable numbers who believe their program of little to no government and unrestricted markets is the best path to individual fulfillment of potential, but I think history and present-day reality argue stringly that they’re wrong.
Coercive authoritarianism is not needed… and you don’t have to be an anarchist to agree with this. You see the problem with religious authority but not secular? Anyway, there are just too many examples I have already pointed to in these forums which disprove your notion, and there are many, many ways to keep people motivated and cooperative if the right system is in place. Anarchism is not disorder, but order without bosses. Libertarian socialism is perhaps less interested in total state abolition than anarchists, but in the end, it will lead to a stateless society (at least not of the kind we have had for the last few thousand years)...
And there are many reformist ways to move from here to here so no bloody revolution is required.
Also, libertarians who believe in unrestricted markets are not true libertarians. Milton Freedman and Rand and the like are pure capitalists, not libertarians. American economists like Freedman distorted libertarianism and the term has come to mean something very different from what it was before the middle of the 20th century. True libertarianism is socially the same for the most part, but void of market capitalism ... and that is where we ought to head back to…
PS: To me, your “libertarians” (which since I am writing in America, I have called Right-Libertarians on these posts), may ‘belong’ to CFI as atheists or skeptics, but they certainly ain’t humanists!
First Barry, “anarchistic society”??? That’s about as good an oxymoron as I’ve seen lately.
You do not understand Anarchism or Liberarian Socialism very well. An example of such a society, though it lasted less than 2 years due to the fascist attacks on it by Franco’s army, was what was occurring in Spain around 1936. If not for others in Spain buying into Hitler and Mussulini’s ideas of the state, and getting actual support from Nazi Germany and Italy, Spain might be a fully libertarian-socialist nation by now (if not totally anarchistic; that is, totally stateless.)
PS: An oxymoron would be an “anarchist state,” but NOT an anarchist society!
Second, now I’m a neo-libertian??? What the devil is that neologism?
Like Brennen I’m usually considered extremely liberal. Now I’m a tool of the conservatives???
I think I’ve used the term neo-liberal” which is not the same as classical liberal (which is close to Left-libertarianism if not mutated by capitalism or conservatism), and not the same as New Deal Liberalism either (or social liberalism, for that matter, which is something else completely).
Neo-liberalism is most similar to Right-Libertarianism or unrestricted free market capitalism, only its not totally unrestricted ” yet…
I’m glad that CFI is cooperating with CIA or former CIA members, and with ideological rightists.
Handing one side of the spectrum over to religious people is just plain stupid. We should be courting both sides of the spectrum, because if there are atheists on both sides then the discussion with be less about whether something is right or wrong based on the Bible and more based on the merits.
I do not see the logic in this. Religion is regressive when it turns to the Right” when people interpret the texts (which can often be interpreted many ways due to its contradictions and unverifiability), in conservative ways. Religion is less regressive and even progressive (politically) in the hands of those who interpret it in liberal ways. The liberal ways may be arguable in many cases, but the point is there ARE very religious liberals.
The question we need to ask as HUMANISTS is whether or not humanism is in line with conservative ideologies or liberal ones? Secularists or atheists on the right are just as cynical as rightist religionists and just has Hobbesian and regressive ” they simply don’t need to believe in God to be that way.
So, ideologically lining up with atheistic rightists is no less destructive and anti-humanistic than lining up with religious rightists. Of course, ATHEISTS can be rightists, Joe Stalin, Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss are three such atheists, but as I have argued, while CSH and humanists are being represented under the CFI banner, inviting rightists and perhaps murderers (CIA is a murderous club, as is the Israelis military and ‘friends’ of Sharon), may be fine for atheistic rightists, but not for humanists!
Humanists then are being disenfranchised by CFI in Florida re this conference, and need to have their voices heard.