On 12/16/2012 3:53 PM, meekerdb wrote:
On 12/16/2012 11:31 AM, Stephen P. King wrote:
On 12/16/2012 9:49 AM, Craig Weinberg wrote:

    My standard comment is that the Democrats will say that they are
    going to do good things and not do them while Republicans will
    do bad things and then say that they are good.

Hi Craig,

To me it boils down to a willingness to be objective. If one defines a standard of measure of good and bad, then one must apply it consistently. Otherwise there is no such thing as "good' or 'bad". Tribalism comes with a shiftable measure of good and bad (stealing from non-members of the tribe is OK, stealing from tribe members is bad, for example), this makes tribalism bad, IMHO, not matter what kind of tribalism it is!

That strikes me a confused from the start.

Hi Brent,

Yep, it is. We already agreed that political discussions are off-topic here, but we go on and have fun with them anyway. My motivation is to use this discussion as a way to look at how we define measures. ;-)

What does 'defining' have to do with good or bad.

Because our minds do not come pre-loaded with knowledge of what is "good" and "bad". IMHO, we have to figure such valuations as we go.

I think you need to recognize that ethics, public standards of behavior, are separate from morals, personal standards based on personal values.

What is the dividing line? It seems to me that the difference that makes a difference is that public measures are stationary with respect to variations in the individual measures of the members of the group that make up the 'public'.

Personal values are relatively incorrigble, a cire is hardwired by evolution,

    What is a cire?

and so ethical systems can be measured by how well personal values are satisfied.

Ah, but this implies a measure of its own; a measure that is private: "how well personal values are satisfied". I see circularity!

But neither the personal values or the public ethics are just 'defined' by somebody.

What defines the "somebody"? Some hypothetical "ideal person"? What is the list of traits of such? Blond - brunette - ginger, blue - brown eyed, strong - weak, obedient - spirited, ...?

Beyond what is provided by biological evolution both are cultural and cultures evolve and compete too. So a culture that is worse as measured by personal satisfaction by conquer and eliminate a culture that provides more personal satisfaction; think Sparta vs Athens or Mao vs Sun Yat Sen.

    OK, good point.

Bertrand Russell said that the democratic and open society always defeats the more autocratic and closed society in warfare, but that may be true only in the long run.

I agree with Bertrand, but I also think that he would agree that if policies which do not select for behaviors that are "error correcting" and equiminious, but instead select for the inability to define measures of "good" v. "Bad" are guaranteed to lead to tyrrany. Witness the rise of Napoleon in post Revolution France. The failure mode of democracy is that voters can come to be able to loot the treasury of the state and the pockets of any one that complains about the looting.



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