- Capitalism and Alternatives -

this will be the case with any decent philosophy.

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on December 20, 1999 at 20:45:01:

In Reply to: UN articles? posted by Gee on December 20, 1999 at 14:53:56:

Perhaps the UN articlesdo lead to some degree of contradiction (or at least contrary impulses) when put into practice. But this will be the case with any decent philosophy. Given that humans are so complex. it is impossible to run human society based on a strict application of only one or two principles. Justice and mercy, for example, are also incompatbile when taken to extremes. Yet every legal system worth its salt, whether they be American, Biblical, Islamic, Hindu, Communist, etc. tries to incorportae both principles. Either justice salted with a little mercy, or mercy salted with a little justice. This does not mean that eithet justice or mercy should be discarded as a principle.

: : The problem with fsscism,a nd otehr ultra-right-wing ideologies, is the opposite; that it does away with moral duty

: You would need to define what 'moral duty' encompasses and how it is to be enforced. If it is not enforced then it is defacto not an obligation of any real meaning to people.

No; some things can be rght or wrong regardlesspof whethr enforcing them is practical. If women drown their children in secret immediately after they're born, I woudl consider that wrong, even though it is practically difficult to find out if they did it.

: : Stollerism, on the other hand, prevents teh strong from doing anythoing which might in any way increase teh suffering or perceived suffering of anyone worse off than them.

: Lets be clear about what 'worse off' means - do you mean economics circumstances? Popularity? Number of dates? Height?

Objective economic circumstances, being denied adequate food, shelter, etc., or being deneid the opportunity to take part in the decisions of running society as a free and equal being.

: As you left the door open with the notion of 'perceived suffering' I do wonder what on earth you meant. Also, why the assumption that the strong will injure the weak -

If left to their own devices, if acting out of self-interest, tehy will; because the interests of teh strong and the weak are incompatible. When you ahev fixed resources, people are going to fight to teh death for it, unless you scoialize them with some idea of restraint or altruism.

:or is the injury the same as that 'suffered' in the presence of superiority - the facing of an uncomfortable fact, ones relative inferiority (in whichever regard is the measure)? In that case your proposoal is disturbing. Can you clarify for me?

People may eb superior to one another in certain specific innate characteristics, but no one is to be considered superior in terms of access to basic human rights.

: You also seem to think that the above goal, of letting no one rise above the common denominator, is a worthy one. Why is that - given that you recognised earlier the dangers of underspecialisation and the liberty restricting aspects - which would be *bad* for people rather than good?

Well, again, there is a balance between the good of free choice of profession and specialization, and the good of equality. This is why I say that the MAJORITY of everyone's working time should be open to a free choice of profession, but a SIGNIFICANT MINORITY should be reserved for socialized labor. Say, 4 days of choosing your own profession, and 1 day of assigned work.

: : My view on rights is that of the UN Declaration of Human Rights,

: which contradict one another. So it shouldn't surprise one that every signee will break with it.

: Reading the first 21 articles would make any libertarian proud ; "Everyone has a right to life, liberty, and security of person" (Article 3);

Yes, except known criminals, subject to the moral definition of crime.

: "Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others" (Article 17);

Note, it doesn't say 'the means of production", you acn atke taht as referring to eprsonal property instead.

: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression" (Article 19).

which implies the need for a collectivist, anti-corporate media sourec to balance out the stifling power of the corporate voices. Public TV anyone?

: But then it goes and contradicts the earlier articles by creating rights, that if followed require that the earlier rights be abandoned;

: "protection against unemployment" (Article 23); "rest and leisure, including . . . periodic holidays with pay" (Article 24); "food, clothing, housing, and medical care and necessary social services" (Article 25).

Yes, those are riughts as well. Your point?

: Because all these things must be produced one assumed that the UN prescribe slavery - of producer to recipient,

Not unless you consider all socialized labor to be slavery. I consider teh parallel essentailly nonexistent.

: in contradiction of article 4 ; "No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.". Not that they dont sound very pleasant, but I ask how are to be done if the earlier articles are as true?

Taxation if you take the social democratic stance, taxation and socilaized production if you atke the strong socialist stance.

: Any lawyer could seriously embarass someone in court with this contradictory stuff.

: : We both agree that everyone should be liable to some amount of socialized voluntary labor.

: Voluntary? Does that mean you or I may decide that today we don't want to bother? At least Barry is clear about just how 'voluntary' its going to be.

Voluntary meaning unpaid. If you don't want to partciipate tehn you are not entitled to any of the produce of society.

: : My difference with barry is taht I think taht unless epopel are allowed to choose, up to a point, hwo much time to devote to tehir interest, many peopel will be very unhappy and unable to fulfil their aspirations and dreams, also jobs which require individualized labor, long hours, specialization and which don't mesh well with collectivization (science is the classic example) will not get done.

: Red Deathy's post explains the first feeling, and you have argued the latter well before. I ask what's meant by "up to a point" and who will be doing the "allowing". Thats no liberty - no more than a slave would feel when "allowed" to go to town on saturday, provided he be home to tend the dinner by 5 on pain of being killed!

Upt to a point = 4 days a week. Allowing si done democratically. Slavery is not the same as a universally applicable corvee for the benefit of the least well off. Slavery is when you work for the profit fo someone else. If there is no profit there is no slavery.

ANd if you think taxation si slavery, then lt me add, all atxation is doing is ensuring that your actions ahve consequences. If you choose to commit crimes, you will be imprisoned. And if you choose to ,make money, you will be forced to pay your fair share to the state/

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